Occitània

Occitània

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Occitània. Land of the Occitan language. Occitània is composed of: • The southern half of the French state: Provence, Drôme-Vivarais, Auvergne,. Limousin ...

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Occitània
Land of the Occitan language
Occitània is composed of:
The southern half of the French state: Provence, Drôme-Vivarais, Auvergne,
Limousin, Guyenne, Gascony and Languedoc
1
,
The Occitan valleys, in the Alps (Italian state) where the Occitan language received
legal status in 1999,
The Aran valley, in the Pyrenees (Spanish state) where Occitan has been an official
language since 1987.
Occitan or langue d'oc is a Latin language in the same way as Spanish, Italian or
French. There are six main regional varieties with easy intercomprehension between
them: Provençal (including «Niçois», Vivarais-alpine, Auvergnat, Limousin, Gascon
(including «Bearnais» and Languedocien. All those varieties of the Occitan language are
written and valid. «Standard Occitan» is a synthesis.
Catalan is a language very similar to Occitan and there are quite strong historical
1 Belonging to Occitania are the east of Charente, the south of Isère (except Grenoble), the Fenouillèdes
and a few parishes in Loire, Cher, Indre, and Vienne. In Bayonne and Biarritz, Occitan has been spoken
since the 14
th
century. Basque has also been spoken there since the 20
th
century.
© Partit occitan 2000
and cultural links between Occitania and Catalonia.
1200 years' history
The Occitan language appeared in the 9
th
century: it was used at once in legal then
litterary, scientific and religious texts.
Occitania in the Middle-Ages was a free country, united by its culture, but divided
between its sovereigns: from the 11
th
to the 13
th
century, the dukes of Aquitaine, the
counts of Toulouse and the Catalan kings rivalled in their attempts at unifying the country.
The Occitan litterature was glorious and flourishing at that time: in the 12
th
and 13
th
century, the troubadours invented courtly love (
fin'amor
) and the langue d'oc spread
throughout all European cultivated circles. Actually, the terms «langue d'oc», «Occitan»
and «Occitania» appeared at the end of the 13
th
century.
But from the 13
th
to the 17
th
century, the French kings gradually conquered
Occitania sometimes slaughtering the population (one million people were killed during the
Albigensian crusade !).
In the days of the Ancien Régime (16
th
to 18
th
century), the French kings abolished
autonomous parliaments in the Occitan regions. The nobility and bourgeoisie started
learning French while the people stuck to the langue d'oc. In 1539, François I
st
issued the
Villers-Cotterêts edict that imposed the use of French instead of Occitan in
administration
2
.
In 1789, the revolutionary committees tried to re-establish the autonomy of the
«Midi» regions: they used the Occitan language but the Jacobin power neutralized them.
The 18
th
century witnessed a strong revival of the Occitan litterature and the writer
Frederic Mistral was awarded the Nobel Prize for litterature in 1904.
But from 1881 onwards, the children who spoke Occitan at school were punished
ans traumatized in accordance with minister Jules Ferry's recommendations. That led to a
depreciation of the language: everyone spoke Occitan in 1914, but French gained the
upper hand during the 20
th
century. The situation got worse with the media excluding the
use of the langue d'oc. In spite of that decline, the Occitan language is still alive and trying
to gain fresh impetus...
A living culture
There are 13 million inhabitants in Occitania today: 6 million (nearly one half)
understand Occitan and 3 million speak it. The Institut d'Estudis Occitans has been
modernizing the Occitan language since 1945. Nowadays Occitan is used in the most
modern musical and litterary styles such as rock'n roll, detective stories or science-fiction.
It is on the internet. Association schools (Calandretas) teach children in Occitan.
The Occitan political movement has been developping since the beginning of the
20
th
century and particularly since post-war years. In 1987, several organisations merged
2 Occitan remained Bearn's official language until French annexion in 1620.
© Partit occitan 2000
into the Partit Occitan. The Occitan Party is a member of "Régions et Peuples solidaires"
(a grouping of autonomist and regionalist parties in the French state) and of the European
Free Alliance (EFA-DPEP).
The Occitan political movement is part of a huge worldwide drive of peoples
towards a modern organisation logic, based on cultural and human realities.
At the time of Europe's emerging Regions, Occitania can become a federation of strong
regions, with a lively culture and open to the world.
Occitània es lo futur !
PARTIT OCCITAN
BP 31
F- 16270 ROMASIERAS
partitoccitan@free.fr
http://partitoccitan.org
© Partit occitan 2000