Monday, May 4, 2015

Provençal /prÉ'vÉ'nˈsæl/ (Occitan: Provençau or Prouvençau [pÊ€uveⁿˈsaw]) is a variety of Occitan spoken by a minority of people in southern France, mostly in Provence. In the English-speaking world, "Provençal" is often used to refer to all dialects of Occitan, but more properly it refers to the dialect spoken in Provence. However there is an important controversy about whether Provençal is an Occitan dialect or a particular language.

"Provençal" (with "Limousin") is also the customary name given to the older version of the langue d'oc used by the troubadours of medieval literature, while Old French or the langue d'oïl was limited to the northern areas of France.

In 2007, the ISO 639-3 code changed from prv to oci, as prv was merged into oci.


Provençal dialect

The main sub-dialects of Provençal are:

  • Rodanenc (in French Rhodanien) around the lower Rhone river, Arles, Avignon, Nîmes.
    • A Rodanenc subvariety, the Shuadit (or Judeo-Provençal), has been considered extinct since 1977. It was spoken by the Jewish community around Avignon. When Jews were granted freedom of residence in France the dialect declined.
  • Maritim or Centrau or Mediterranèu (Maritime or Central or Mediterranean) around Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Toulon, Cannes, Antibes, Grasse, Forcalquier, Castellane, Draguignan.
  • Niçard in the lower County of Nice.

Gavòt (in French Gavot), spoken in the Western Occitan Alps, around Digne, Sisteron, Gap, Barcelonnette and the upper County of Nice, but also in a part of the Ardèche, is not exactly a subdialect of Provençal, but rather a closely related Occitan dialect, also known as Vivaro-Alpine. So is the dialect spoken in the upper valleys of Piedmont, Italy (Val Maira, Val Varacha, Val d'Estura, Entraigas, Limon, Vinai, Pignerol, Sestriera). Some people view Gavòt as a variety of Provençal since a part of the Gavot area (near Digne and Sisteron) belongs to historical Provence.


Provençal dialect

When they are written in the Mistralian norm ("normo mistralenco"), definite articles are lou in the masculine singular, la in the feminine singular and li in the masculine and feminine plural (lis before vowels). Nouns and adjectives usually drop the Latin masculine endings, but -e remains; the feminine ending is -o. Nouns do not inflect for number, but all adjectives ending in vowels (-e or -o) become -i, and all plural adjectives take -s before vowels: lou boun ami "the good friend" (masculine), la bouno amigo "the good friend" (feminine), li bouns ami "the good friends" (masculine), li bounis amigo "the good friends" (feminine).

When they are written the classical norm ("norma classica"), definite articles are masculine lo, feminine la, and plural lis. Nouns and adjectives usually drop the Latin masculine endings, but -e remains; the feminine ending is -a. Nouns inflect for number, all adjectives ending in vowels (-e or -a) become -i, and all plural adjectives take -s: lo bon amic "the good friend" (masc.), la bona amiga "the good friend" (fem.), lis bons amics "the good friends" (masc.), lis bonis amigas "the good friends" (fem.).

Pronunciation remains the same in both norms (Mistralian and classical), which are only two different ways to write the same language.


Provençal dialect

Modern Provençal literature was given impetus by Nobel laureate Frédéric Mistral and the association Félibrige he founded with other writers, such as Théodore Aubanel. The beginning of the 20th Century saw other authors like Joseph d'Arbaud and Valère Bernard. It has been enhanced and modernized since the second half of the 20th Century by writers such as Robèrt Lafont, Pierre Pessemesse, Claude Barsotti, Max-Philippe Delavouët, Philippe Gardy, Florian Vernet, Danielle Julien, Jòrgi Gròs, Sèrgi Bec, Bernat Giély, and many others.

See also

  • Occitan conjugation
  • Languages of France


Provençal dialect
  • Manuel pratique de provençal contemporain, Alain Barthélemy-Vigouroux & Guy Martin, Édisud 2006, ISBN 2-7449-0619-0
  • Provencal Language at the Classic Encyclopedia, based on the 1911 Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica
  • Smith, Nathaniel B.; Bergin, Thomas Goddard (1984). An Old Provençal Primer. Garland. ISBN 0-8240-9030-6. 

External links

  • Provençal - English Dictionary - a list of words, with some mistakes
  • Modern Provençal phonology and morphology studied in the language of Frederic Mistral (1921)

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