OCCITAN INTERVIEW.

Joe Clark has very kindly put up a snatch of an interview in Occitan on Flickr. As he says, “Do not be surprised if Occitan sounds like French as spoken in a Spanish accent.” If you can’t understand it, no problem: there are subtitles… in Breton!

Comments

  1. Actually it sounds like Catalan spoken with a French accent. Subtitles were a great touch!

  2. marie-lucie says:

    I am very disappointed in this interview. Both the interviewer and the interviewee do not sound like native speakers of Occitan but like Northern French people who are trying to speak Occitan and have French accents and intonation (the interviewer especially).

  3. AJP Crown says:

    Thanks, Marie-Lucie. Most of us would have no way of knowing that. Why on earth didn’t they use the right people to do it, I wonder?

  4. The only person I know who can speak Occitan is English, so I don’t suppose his accent is a reliable guide, but to me this sounds more like French than Spanish or Catalan. I sometimes hear Provençal on one of the regional programmes of France 3, and although a lot of the people have strong French accents and don’t sound as if they are native speakers, a few of them do, and then it sounds like a real language clearly different from French and Catalan. I remember we had this before, Marie-Lucie, but I don’t remember your answer, do you regard Provençal as a sort of Occitan, or as a distinct language?

  5. I couldn’t follow it at all; but I must agree, the sounds are heavily French. I expected something like the roseate vowels and lambent consonants of Catalan, as I recall them from Barcelona. (Ah! I lay awake just listening to the radio in the dark.)
    But it sounds nothing like that.
    As for Provençal and Occitan, and the gradations in and between, isn’t their individuation going to be yet another politically determined matter, like Croatian and Serbian and all the rest?

  6. michael farris says:

    Had I just heard it, I would have thought it was French, maybe slightly accented somehow…
    Not to get too far off topic, but this kind of brings up the topic of ‘how to tell a native speaker’ of a language you don’t know.
    When I’ve listened to Irish and Welsh language radio (thank you internet!) I’ve noticed that some speakers sound more …. fluent than others and I can’t always tell why. It’s not just hesitations and obvious use of fillers either.
    At the institute where I work I often have the chance to hear (Polish) students speaking languages I don’t know.
    When talking to their teachers I’m sometimes surprised at which students the teachers mention as being especially fluent.
    If I were interested enough in psycholinguistics (which I’m not) I’d do research on this with people making native/non-native judgements of speakers (native/non-native) that they (the subjects) don’t know. Thinking about it, I assume it’s already been done.
    Odd data-point: Some years ago I showed some video I’d shot in Poland of about 6 kids at the local deaf school to a couple of ASL interpreters (hearing but native users of ASL).
    Of course they couldn’t understand the signing, but when I asked if they could tell which of the kids had deaf parents they both immediately picked the right one though they couldn’t articulate exactly why.

  7. but when I asked if they could tell which of the kids had deaf parents they both immediately picked the right one though they couldn’t articulate exactly why.
    NZSL is an official language here, and your comment got me wondering – do you think that those interpreters would have been able to differentiate between the kids who had deaf parents and those whose hearing parents had used SL as the kids’ first language from the very start? There are such hearing parents around, after all.

  8. michael farris says:

    Good question, it probably depends on how fluent the hearing parents are and whether they use NZSL or speak English with signs added or something in between.
    Two things that made the deaf kid with deaf parents stand out (I think) were
    1. higher ‘signiness’ quotient (the other kids used both more pantomime and more mouthed words than the dkwdp did)
    2. better coordination between manual and non-manual components of signs.

  9. AJP Crown says:

    Although I’m a bit deaf, I can often distinguish people at a distance who are speaking in English, even if they’re not native speakers. I haven’t figured out how I know, yet.

  10. I add my thanks, m-l; we’d have had no way of knowing that important fact.
    Interesting discussion!

  11. roseate vowels and lambent consonants….
    These technical linguistics terminology is beyond me. I’m a man of the people.

  12. roseate vowels and lambent consonants….
    These technical linguistics terminology is beyond me. I’m a man of the people.

  13. Here’s another Occitan interview; this one sounds much less French-accented. As a bonus, there are Catalan subtitles. As an extra bonus, the video’s title and info are in Esperanto.

  14. Whoa… some of the subtitles are Esperanto as well. Weird.

  15. When I’ve listened to Irish and Welsh language radio (thank you internet!) I’ve noticed that some speakers sound more …. fluent than others and I can’t always tell why.
    I feel the same way. In both languages the more “English” intonation you hear, the less “native” it seems to be. But I have no idea if that is really true.

  16. michael farris says:

    The woman is speaking Occitan (which she calls ‘jargon’) and the subs are in esperanto.
    The man is speaking Esperanto and the subtitles are in Catalan.

  17. Well, she calls it patois. I’m surprised she is using this very politically loaded and pejorative term to describe her own language: I wouldn’t dream of calling a minority language of France that, and not just because I like my bones unbroken.

  18. michael farris says:

    I was using the esperanto subtitles obviously. Anyway, what she’s saying is common enough in minority language experience (translating from the esperanto titles, if someone can translate from the original that would be better of course)
    (Context: He’d just been talking about adults not speaking in Occitan with each other but not with children)
    “No, the adults don’t speak patois.. well Occitan! with them, for us it isn’t Occitan, it’s patois. Patois wasn’t a language, it was the language of peasants, it wasn’t a ‘beautiful’ (real?) language. It was the language of those who lived in the countryside and didn’t know how to speak (French?) well. And in school patois wasn’t allowed and that’s why they spoke French to us.”
    The book “Deaf in America” mentions similar attitudes towards ASL. The best example was someone who listed ‘none of the above’ on a survey of what their home language was (while the authors expected them to choose ASL because that’s what the person had used). “But we didn’t call it ASL, we didn’t call it anything!”
    One of the problems is that language revitalization (and renaming) movements often come attached to political movements and many natural linguistic allies hold back, not sure if they want to be associated with the political movement.

  19. Yes, it’s too bad when small languages get politicised. There’s an Oslo linguistics prof. in the Norwegian newspaper today, reportedly complaining about how a member of the royal family has given her kids names like ‘Emma Tallulah’, instead of something more Norwegian, like ‘Kari’, ‘Karl’ or ‘Knut’. He sounded like a Nazi , but I’m sure he didn’t mean it that way (I’m not sure what he meant by it, actually).

  20. michael farris says:

    “complaining about how a member of the royal family has given her kids names like ‘Emma Tallulah'”
    Is this the one that talks to angels? That could explain a lot…

  21. AJP Crown says:

    Here’s the blog where the guy wrote it, for anyone who ‘knows’ Norwegian. (Also 236 comments — not bad for a language blog, but not as many as we can write, when we feel like it).

  22. AJP Crown says:

    That’s the one, Michael. She’s ok, though.

  23. Queen Ikeah Decibel? Fine with me.

  24. marie-lucie says:

    Ben, thank you for the video. The woman speaks Occitan and her speech is close to what my grandparents used, but among other things she uses the sound s when they would have used sh (there is no phonemic difference), her Occitan intonation is not as marked, and whe is not quite as fluent, like a person who learned Occitan in her own family but who did not get much practice in speaking it – perhaps she spoke it with long-dead grandparents but has not spoken it in quite some time. But she sounds much more genuine than the two men in the previously mentioned video.
    Only the word patois (occitanized as patoués – this is not a standard spelling – as the woman uses it) was used when I was a child – each village or small area had its own, and even scholarly descriptions sometimes used the word. It had a slightly pejorative connotation, but not extremely so: it was just not French (in the northern part of the country, calling rural French dialects patois would have been more pejorative). The word occitan was rediscovered (or back-formed from the medieval geographical designation Occitania) and brought into more general use through the university in Montpellier, I think after WWII. The current Occitan spelling (which is counterintuitive for most Occitan speakers) is based on the Montpellier form of Occitan, which is supposed to be closest to the medieval form as used by the troubadours. Of course using a single name rather than referring to a vague collection of individual patois greatly enhanced the credibility and stature of the language.
    The Occitan varieties tend to blend into each other, with slight variations from one area to another, so whether Provençal (= the dialect in Provence, not Occitan in general as in older usage), Languedocien, Limousin and Gascon are separate languages or not depends on the definition of language as opposed to dialect. I wrote a paper for a course once comparing the usages of 3 modern poets, one Gascon, one Languedocien and one from the area just about in between, which not surprisingly had features from both. Incidentally, Catalan is the closest language to Occitan, especially to the Languedocien variety which my grandparents spoke.

  25. David Marjanović says:

    Why on earth didn’t they use the right people to do it, I wonder?

    Because there aren’t enough of the right people left that you could easily find any.

  26. marie-lucie says:

    David is right, unfortunately.

  27. marie-lucie says:

    the word patois (occitanized as patoués)
    It just occurred to me that this is not an occitanization but an instance of borrowing of a French word into Occitan, but a few centuries ago when the diphthong written oi was pronounced we and the final s was also pronounced in all cases (nowadays the word is pronounced in French patwa). This is similar to how the French word framboise ‘raspberry’ was borrowed into Spanish as frambuesa, probably around the 16th or 17th century.

  28. Occitan is a language family. Dialects are mostly mutually intelligible, but the differences can be considerable: someone from Pau could communicate with someone from La Gàrdia, but not without difficulty. You can hear some fairly neutral Occitan (i.e., that might be more widely understood) starting at 3:42 (and ending at 5:15) on the 2008-10-04 broadcast of Infòc.

  29. That man is very Spanish, though.

  30. marie-lucie says:

    I listened to the whole program twice. The first time I thought that all were speaking Catalan (in different dialects), but the man with a beard was indeed speaking Occitan – not quite the variety I know (more or less), but it was Occitan, and he sounded like a native speaker. You can see (or hear) that the two languages are indeed very close. Thank you for the link, Alex!

  31. marie-lucie says:

    Note, however, that the Occitan speaker was much older than the two Catalans.

  32. Thanks very much, Alex; I loved that clip (especially the bearded guy, who reminded me of my friend Dave), and it even finished up by discussing a dictionary! The subtitles enabled me to understand it even though I don’t speak Catalan at all and read it only with difficulty.

  33. This is similar to how the French word framboise ‘raspberry’ was borrowed into Spanish as frambuesa, probably around the 16th or 17th century.
    If it were borrowed today I suppose it would be framboasa, if croasán is anything to go by. I was quite puzzled by this very un-Spanish looking word when I saw it as one of the items offered for breakfast. Once I realized it was French it was as easy as it was to understand why a Chilean newspaper calls its Sunday magazine Wikén once I realized that it was supposed to be an English word (though I’d have probably spelled it Huiquén, which would have given it a perfectly Chilean look, albeit Mapudungún rather than Spanish).

  34. AJP Crown says:

    Athel, I was reading the American dictionary of English usage — is it Mirriam? I don’t want to go out through the snow to find it, but anyway it’s the recent one the non-prescriptivist linguists like, and it is indeed a jolly good read — I was reading it in the loo today, and I came across ‘gender’. Damn, i ought to have written it down, but the gist of it was that although they admitted that using it only in the context of grammar was pretty sensible, using ‘gender’ to mean ‘sex’ can be traced way back to … I’ve forgotten, but a long way, anyway, maybe it was the 13th century.

  35. Marie-Louise: Do you think that the subtitles for the Esperanto-speaker are in Catalan because if written in standard Occitan orthography they would not be useful enough? And what makes the orthography counter-intuitive: are the rules simply bizarre from the point of view of French orthography, or are they actually a bad representative of the widely spoken dialects? (As anglophones know all too well, cross-dialect orthographies can seem extremely perverse to those who know no dialect but their own.)

  36. Damn, i ought to have written it down,…
    I can’t see why you raise this at all, *kr°n-; but everyone here recognises it as the entry for gender in M-W’s Concise Dictionary of English Usage (or its earlier non-concise shelfmate). Fowler is mentioned as disapproving of gender to mean “sex”; and against him M-W adduces OED’s findings from the 1300s, and superadds the combined heft of Johnson and Webster. M-W stops short of finding the Man–Woman gender in the Book of Common Prayer or the Bible; and Shakespeare remains your non-racy, pure grammarian. From MWW, 4(i):

    EVANS. Oman, art thou lunatics? Hast thou no understandings for thy cases, and the numbers of the genders? Thou art as foolish Christian creatures as I would desires.
    MRS. PAGE. Prithee hold thy peace.
    EVANS. Show me now, William, some declensions of your pronouns.
    WILLIAM. Forsooth, I have forgot.
    EVANS. It is qui, quae, quod; if you forget your qui’s, your quae’s, and your quod’s, you must be preeches. Go your ways and play; go.

  37. marie-lucie says:

    “gender”
    This word is derived from the same Latin (genus, generis) as the French word genre meaning “kind, sort, ilk”: the two sexes are the two “kinds” humans and animals come in, and in Latin or German there are three “kinds” of words, the third kind being neuter, meaning literally “neither [one or the other]” in Latin. But the word in a grammatical sense applies to noun-classes which, in spite of being called masculine and feminine, are only occasionally linked to biological differences. The French word genre used in English literature studies also means basically “kind” or “sort” of literary production.
    Even if the word gender could be used in 13th century English to refer to the difference between male and female, it does not follow that it was used in the same way as nowadays when the word has left the confines of grammatical categories. I am not one to chase references through dictionaries but I doubt that the word had widespread usage outside of grammatical discussions (where it remained for centuries), or that it had a meaning more specific than that of the still rather vague French word.

  38. Besides nouns, it’s also difficult to sex baby chicks. Even the most skilled chick-sexer gets about 10% wrong. Modern methods of chick-sexing were developed in Japan.

  39. Besides nouns, it’s also difficult to sex baby chicks. Even the most skilled chick-sexer gets about 10% wrong. Modern methods of chick-sexing were developed in Japan.

  40. AJP Crown says:

    Oh, God! I didn’t expect the Spanish inquisition. The abrupt change of topic happened when I saw Athel’s name. I remembered that if he encounters the word ‘gender’ on a form, where he’s supposed to put M or F, he crosses it out and writes ‘sex’. I inferred that also as a biochemist he found the word ‘sex’ to be helpful when specifying a sex. Now you linguists are going to tell me that ‘gender’ is as plain as a pikestaff and no one gets confused, etc. etc…

  41. marie-lucie says:

    (Marie-Louise: Please, my name is written at the end of all my posts – this name is not mine!) [Note to all: if my name seems too unusual to remember, just use “m-l” for short.]
    Do you think that the subtitles for the Esperanto-speaker are in Catalan because if written in standard Occitan orthography they would not be useful enough?
    I suppose that the subtitles (including the ones for the Occitan woman) are in Catalan because the program is produced by and for Catalans. Possibly the subtitles are in a standardized form of Catalan, readable by all speakers in spite of dialectal differences.
    And what makes the orthography counter-intuitive: are the rules simply bizarre from the point of view of French orthography, or are they actually a bad representative of the widely spoken dialects?
    There was a discussion about this some months ago, perhaps more. Both reasons actually:
    1) since ALL the Occitan speakers in France are by now thoroughly familiar with French orthography, in most cases the spelling is difficult to reconcile with the Occitan rather than the French pronunciation: an example is the word spelled topin (a type of old cooking pot) which looks to a French person like it should rhyme with the name Chopin but is actually pronounced [tupi] (and there is no way to know from the pronunciation that it should be written with a final n – by contrast, Catalan spelling does not write an etymological but unpronounced n).
    2) the Occitan spelling is supposed to be valid for all or at least most of the dialects, but in practically all of them most feminine words end in unstressed [o], not in [a] as in Latin or in the medieval troubadour spelling, except in Montpellier where they apparently still say [a]. So written a is [o], and written o is [u], except that they are pronounced [a] and [o] respectively when stressed. This orthography makes it easier for a speaker to read the troubadour texts, but not to relate spelling to pronunciation and to facilitate learning by bilingual or French-only speakers and readers. However, not all texts published in Occitan follow this spelling, especially if they are meant for circulating within a single dialect (eg Gascon or Limousin) rather than the entire Occitania.
    I read an article once about the topic, which argued that since French speakers were already used to (for instance) not pronouncing all the plural s‘s, they should not have trouble learning all the rules of Occitan pronunciation, but I think that accumulating the difficulties for the reader is not a good way to proceed. For instance, people setting up (or reforming) orthographies for still largely unwritten languages (eg in South America) are urged to use letters and digraphs already familiar to them from (eg) Spanish or Portuguese in order to make it easier for speakers to learn to read and write their languages (and vice-versa, if they don’t know Spanish or Portuguese already, these languages will look less foreign on the page if the spelling conventions are not too different).

  42. M-L, Krunuu doesn’t remember his own name if his wife doesn’t write it on his hand in the morning. Don’t feel insulted.

  43. M-L, Krunuu doesn’t remember his own name if his wife doesn’t write it on his hand in the morning. Don’t feel insulted.

  44. marie-lucie, I empathise. My email address contains my name correctly spelled, yet I still have regular correspondents who use another spelling when addressing me. It’s my one vestige of prescriptivism, and I ain’t letting it go.

  45. marie-lucie says:

    JE, thank you, but it wasn’t Krunuu (or whatever alias he goes by at the moment) who miswrote my name this time. I don’t feel insulted, just left in a strange limbo – as if the person is looking past me at a life-size cardboard image, perhaps.
    (FYI, because my full name is unusual, and the other one much more common, even French people make the same mistake, but that’s no excuse when my name is written right there after each comment, and can even be copied without retyping, so without mistakes).

  46. Not Crown but Cowan (he crowed, uncowed).

  47. I don’t know the Finnish for Cowan, sorry.

  48. I don’t know the Finnish for Cowan, sorry.

  49. michael farris says:

    “I don’t know the Finnish for Cowan, sorry”
    Certainly kovanni ?
    As for written Occitan, I understand what marie-lucie is saying but I have two questions.
    1. What would be better for a non-standardized language with apparent significant local phonemic variation? A new compromise standard (of the kind that historically pleases no one and fails)? The hell with standarization? Something else? Maytbe just import written Catalan as the base with local vocabulary and and syntactic changes?
    2. I’m very familiar with the approach of trying to make sure a minority language’s orthography doesn’t clash any more than necessary with the majority orthography. On the other hand, most of the orthographies created in this way fail (if creating some kind of literacy in the service of language preservation is the goal). In NAmerica IINM the historically two most successful native orthographies were not even latin-based – the Cherokee and Cree syllabaries (the latter more for Inuit than Cree). I’ve long thought that one of the requirements for a successful minority orthography is usually ‘a distinct appearance’. Would an Occitan orthography that looked more like French just make the language seem …. unncessary in the first place?

  50. A.J.P.von Bodelschwingh says:

    Marie-Louise: it wasn’t Krunuu (or whatever alias he goes by at the moment) who miswrote my name this time.
    I can’t remember ever having miswritten it, but if I’m going to be taking the blame anyway, I may as well start.
    ‘Krunuu’ isn’t an alias, I’ve never used it myself. It’s a nickname.

  51. Probably whenever a nonstandardized [group of] “dialect[s]” declares itself a language there will be standardization fights between the various “dialects” of the new language. I know that that has happened with Sardinian, and also, IIRC, with Trukese. It would seem that a koine would always be best, but often the majority version wins, or maybe the politically dominant version.
    Ivan Illych’s writing about language standardization and prescriptivism in “In the Vineyard of the Text” and “Vernacular Values” should be read by everyone.

  52. Probably whenever a nonstandardized [group of] “dialect[s]” declares itself a language there will be standardization fights between the various “dialects” of the new language. I know that that has happened with Sardinian, and also, IIRC, with Trukese. It would seem that a koine would always be best, but often the majority version wins, or maybe the politically dominant version.
    Ivan Illych’s writing about language standardization and prescriptivism in “In the Vineyard of the Text” and “Vernacular Values” should be read by everyone.

  53. marie-lucie says:

    MF: As for written Occitan, I understand what marie-lucie is saying but I have two questions.
    1. What would be better for a non-standardized language with apparent significant local phonemic variation? A new compromise standard (of the kind that historically pleases no one and fails)? The hell with standarization? Something else? Maytbe just import written Catalan as the base with local vocabulary and and syntactic changes?
    I realize that there are quite a few problems with setting up an orthography, and the Montpellier people probably did the best they could by taking the troubadour spelling as a model (at least that model is remote enough that the current dialectal speakers won’t be fighting with each other about which ones speak “the true Occitan”, but I would prefer something closer to the general phonetics, especially with the vowels.
    2. In NAmerica IINM the historically two most successful native orthographies were not even latin-based – the Cherokee and Cree syllabaries (the latter more for Inuit than Cree).
    True, but at the time these were invented the people were not literate in any other language. I have seen some older Cree people write in syllabics, and there are publications in this script.
    I’ve long thought that one of the requirements for a successful minority orthography is usually ‘a distinct appearance’. Would an Occitan orthography that looked more like French just make the language seem …. unncessary in the first place?
    No, because the language as a whole is distinct enough from French, for instance past participle endings corresponding to French -é, -ée are -at, -ado (the latter in Montpellier spelling). The first widely known modern publication in an Occitan dialect was Mirèio (Mireille) by Frédéric Mistral, and if you look at it you can see that it is definitely not French in spite of preserving more of the French spelling conventions than the official Occitan spelling, in which the title name would be spelled Mirelha.

  54. marie-lucie says:

    ‘Krunuu’ isn’t an alias, I’ve never used it myself. It’s a nickname.
    Apologies, AJP (it’s a good thing you have so many initials).

  55. A.J.P. Crown says:

    I apologise for taking your name in vain, Marie-Lucie. i didn’t intend to be rude.

  56. marie-lucie says:

    Occitan spelling: past participle endings corresponding to French -é, -ée are -at, -ado (the latter in Montpellier spelling)
    A crucial part unfortunately disappeared from my sentence: -ado is spelled -ada in Montpellier (= official) spelling.

  57. michael farris says:

    Okay, I was going to leave it alone, but since marie-lucie herself brought it up ….
    What’s so weird about orthographic o = unstressed [u] stressed [o]? It also occurs in Catalan and Portuguese.
    The orthographic a as unstressed [o] or stressed [a] is weirder but doesn’t seem like a deal breaker to me.
    I would drop the final -n in topin if it’s gone in the main varieties but in the final analysis I would say that yours or my preferences are mostly irrelevant. I would be most inclined to defer to the judgement of those who want to write in Occitan (absolutely not me, and I assume not you). If it’s comfortable for authors it’ll be okay for readers.
    That said, is there much writing going on in Occitan?

  58. Christophe Strobbe says:

    Did anyone notice the sign “Parlez français – soyez propres”? It appears after approximately 1 min 20 sec, just when the women is saying that speaking Occitan is not allowed in schools (if I understood her correctly).

  59. On January 24, 2009, AJP Crown said:
    > That man is very Spanish, though.
    Actually, “that man” (Jaume Figueres) is probably Catalonian and, although AFAIK he is affiliated with the Arxiu Occità at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, it needn’t follow that he is a Spanish citizen: his accent is just as likely the consequence of his work as an academic in a department spawned by the Institute of Medieval Studies of the UAB. In any case, I don’t see how being “very Spanish” (or not) bears on one’s proficiency in a given language.
    But I think I see what AJP is getting at: I provided a sample of neutral Occitan, but he would have liked a sample of deep Occitan with plenty of regional character. Would an interview with a rustic fellow wearing a beret do? (Or is the “regional character” in this clip so strong as to render the speaker’s dialect a separate language?)
    Now, I suppose AJP might contend that “that man is very French, though” — and he would be right. This is precisely the point that speakers of minority languages have been trying to make over the years: the desire to hold on to one’s cultural heritage does not impair one’s allegiance to the state of which one is a citizen — or, indeed, preclude one’s respect for the laws of the country in which one resides.
    In closing, I would like to note that the only form of Occitan that enjoys official status (a “parlar” that, FWIW, bridges Gascon and eastern dialects of Occitan) is spoken in the Vall d’Aran, which is in Catalonia, which is in Spain. You may draw your own conclusions about the possible meanings (and appropriateness) of the “very Spanish, though” caveat.

  60. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Alex Laburu, if you’re somehow a proponent of something: Catalonia, Spain, Occitan, whatever it is, you should first figure out whether you’re interested in helping your cause or just in self-indulgent wanking in public.
    I’ve never been there, but the Vall d’Aran looks quite pretty.
    Don’t bother spending another week writing another answer. Go back to sleep, I’ve finished with this thread.

  61. Huh? AJP, maybe you need a nap—I have no idea what you’re so fighty about. Alex’s comment seemed to me thoughtful and helpful.

  62. marie-lucie says:

    I think the “rustic fellow wearing a beret” is a fake – he sounds like a French speaker to me, perhaps someone who has inherited or bought a house in a picturesque village now deserted by the original inhabitants (the fate of many villages especially in the mountainous areas of Southern France). He is speaking Occitan and is doing his best, but he does not really sound like a native speaker (and neither does the interviewer). This is a problem: a lot of current Occitan speakers did not grow up speaking the language.
    The other bearded guy did speak Occitan on the tape, even if he was Catalan.

  63. Hello, some precisions about the spelling.
    Past participle for English “sung” and French “chanté, chantée” is spelled “cantat, cantada” in Southern Occitan (Gascon, Languedocian, Provençal), “chantat, chantada” in North-Western Occitan (Limousin, Auvergnat) and “chantat, chantaa” in North-Eastern (Vivaro Alpine, with alternative feminine in “chantaia”). This is the “classical norm” as supported by the Institut d’Estudis Occitans.
    These spellings support multiple pronounciations: for instance the final -a is generally pronounced as an [open o] (reversed c in IPA), but all the Western Gascony pronounces it like a “French e” (sort of schwa) and there are some few locations where it is pronounced [a] (Pontacq in Béarn, Gascony; Montpellier in Languedoc; Orange in Provence; some area in Auvergne) or [u]. And for “topin”, it may be [tu’pi] or [tu’pin] (with variable degrees of nasalization of the n) according to the areas. The “n” is heard in Provence and in a part of Gascony.
    As a comparison, the mistralian norm, in use in Provence, writes “canta, cantado”, which is closer for local pronounciation (but not all, remember Orange pronounces [kan’tada]) and increases ambiguity. Because they also write “canta” for the infinitive (“cantar” in classical orthography, the final “r” is heard in the Vivaro-Alpine area only, where they say “chantar”…)

  64. Joan Francés: Thanks very much; it’s great to have those regional details.

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