Provencal language

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Provençal (French le provençal , Occitan lo provençau / lou prouvençau [pruven'saw]) is the name of the varieties (dialects) of Occitan spoken in Provence . It belongs together with Languedocian (French le languedocien ) to the group of South Occitan (French l'occitan méridional ). "Provencal" was used in the older Romance studies , but often also in common usage, to refer to the entirety of the Occitan dialects. In this meaning, the term "Occitan" is preferred today.

A group of linguists who emphasize the diversity of the Langues d'Oc, partly with the support of the population, oppose viewing Provençal as a dialect of Occitan. For them, Provençal and the other dialects (varieties) of Occitan are independent languages ​​of the language group "Langues d'Oc" (see photo below).

The dialects of Provencal according to the division and terminology of Frédéric Mistral .
1 = limit of Occitan.
2 = dialect boundary within Occitan.
3 = limit of subdialects.
4 = border of the Provençal according to Phillippe Blanchet.

The term "Provencal"

"Provençal" is used today to describe the varieties (dialects) of New Occitan spoken in Provence. Especially in the older Romance studies, Provencal was synonymous with Occitan in the broader meaning and denoted as a generic term the totality of the varieties of Occitan. These are differentiated according to their affirmative particle oc "ja" (from Latin hoc ) as langues d'oc from the langues d'oïl (old French oïl , from Latin hoc individuelle , new French oui "ja"). Langues d'oïl [lãɡdɔj] is the name for the varieties (dialects) of French.

Instead of Provençal and Old Provençal , based on the entirety of the Occitan language, the terms Occitan and Old Occitan are preferably used in linguistics today . More information under Occitan language .

Demonstration for the diversity of the langues d'oc ("pour la pluralité des langues d'oc") between Beaucaire and Tarascon on October 3rd, 2009. "Lou Prouvençau es nosto lengo" "Provençal is our language" (not Occitan) .

In France, the following terms are used in official language (for example of the Ministère de l'Éducation Nationale): occitan-langue d'oc for Occitan in its entirety and occitan-langue d'oc provençal , or occitan-langue d'oc nissart for the regional dialects (varieties).

The Occitan of Provence

Provencal in the narrower meaning as a variety (dialect) of Occitan, is spoken in the following departments of Provence: Vaucluse , Gard , Bouches-du-Rhône , Var , Alpes-de-Haute-Provence , Alpes-Maritimes , Hautes-Alpes , Drôme (without the région de la Valloire), Isère (some localities).

There are three sub-dialects:

  • Rhodano-Provençal (French le Rhodanien ): Département Vaucluse and northern Département Bouches-du-Rhône with Avignon , Arles , la Camargue , les Martigues , Nîmes , Uzès .
  • Maritimes-Provençal (French le provençal central / maritime ): southern Bouches-du-Rhône, Var and western Alpes-Maritimes, the Mediterranean coast from Marseille to Antibes , Draguignan and the surrounding area.
  • Nissart (French le niçard / le niçois ): Nice and surroundings.

The Provencal dialect group is bounded in the east by northern Italian , in the north by Franco-Provencal , in the northwest by Auvergnat and in the west and southwest by Languedocian .

Occitan literary language

As Old Provençal were referred to in the earlier research on the one hand Altokzitanische generally, on the other hand, especially the medieval Occitan Trobadordichtung southern France. This Old Provençal of the Trobadors is not to be equated with the older language level of today's Neo-Occitan dialect "Provençal" in the narrower sense, but it is a written language or Koine mainly on the basis of the Limousin and Languedoc (Tolosan), in the words and word forms of different variants of the Occitan entrance. It was used as a relatively uniform written language for poetry until the 13th century. At the same time, a relatively uniform written language developed in the administration. As the official language, it was completely replaced by French by the 16th century.

Linguistic peculiarities of the New Provencal

For Provencal in the narrower sense, that is, the dialects spoken in Provence today, the following peculiarities apply. (For a general description of Occitan see Occitan Language ).

Differentiation (together with Languedocian) against North Occitan :

  • No palatalization of Latin [ka] and [ga]. Example: Latin cantare "to sing"> North Occitan chantar [tʃantá], Provencal cantar [ k antá],
  • Preservation of the intervowel -d-: North Occitan dormia , Provencal dormi da ,
  • Preservation of vowels instead of apheresis : North Occitan na femna "a woman", Provencal u na femna .

Differentiation within South Occitan from Languedocian :

  • Preservation of the nasal vowel: Languedocian: tambèn [tabɛ] "also", Provencal: [ta nn ].
  • [r]: languedocian: rolled tip of the tongue-r, Provencal: unrolled uvula-r [ ʁ ], but one also encounters a slightly rolled r.
  • Graphemes “v” and “b”: Languedocian: both spoken as [b], Provencal: pronounced separately as [ v ] and [ b ].
  • [-l]: Languedocian: as [l] received lo / lou solelh [lusu'lel] "the sun", Provencal: often vocalization lo / lou solè u .
  • The consonants at the end of a word other than -s and -r are not spoken. Farra t [farra] "bucket", cin q [sɛ̃] "five". -S and -r are also often mute calou r [kalu] "heat".
  • Plural articles los and las often become lei or li and lis in Provençal .
  • 1st person singular present indicative active: trabalhar (lh = [ʎ]) "work", Languedocian trabalhi (education on -i) "I work", Provencal trabalh e (education on -e) "I work".


  • Virginie Bigonnet, Simon Calamel avec la collaboration de Philippe Blanchet: Le Provençal de poche . Assimil, Chennevières de Marne 2011, ISBN 978-2-7005-0530-6 , ISSN 2109-6643.
  • Philippe Blanchet: Parle-moi ”provençal“! Parlo-me prouvençau! . Assimil, Chennevières sur Marne, 2010, ISBN 978-2-7005-0429-3 .
  • Xavier de Fourvières : Grammaire provençale, suivi d'un guide de conversation . Nouvelle édition revue et augmentée. Aubanel, Avignon 1973, ISBN 2.70006.0006.1. (Other edition: Éditions Aubéron, Aicirits 2000, ISBN 2-84498-006-6 ).
  • Alain Barthélemy-Vigouroux, Guy Martin: Manuel pratique de provençal contemporain . Edition revue et corrigée. Éditions Édisud, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence 2000 (1st edition) ISBN 978-2-7449-0619-0 .
  • Guy Martin, Bernard Moulin: Grammaire provençale et atlas linguistique . Deuxième édition. Édisud, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence 2007, ISBN 978-2-9530712-1-4 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Joseph Salvat: Provençal ou occitan? In: Annales du Midi , 1954, pp. 229-241.
  2. ^ Philippe Blanchet: Le provençal, essai de description sociolinguistique et différentielle . Institut de Linguistique de Louvain, Peeters, Louvain 1992. Philippe Blanchet: Langues, culture et identités régionales en Provence . L'Harmattan, Paris 2002.
  3. ISO 639-1: oc ; ISO 639-2 and 639-3: oci ; ISO 639-2 and 639-3: pro
  4. Designation according to ISO 639-3: prv , s. Provençal: A Language of France Ethnologue, 15th edition, 2005.
  5. Information from: Jean-Claude Bouvier and Claude Martel: Atlas linguistique et ethnographique de la Provence (ALP) (= Atlas linguistiques de la France par régions ). Préface de Charles Rostaing. Volume I. Édition du Center National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris 1975. (The authors point out that the “linguistic” Provence in the sense of the ALP is not completely identical with the “geographical” Provence and also not congruent with the “historical “Provence des Ancien Régime , still with that administratively dismembered by the Revolution.)
  6. This structure according to: Pierre Bec: La langue occitane (= Que sais-je?, 1059). 6e édition corrigée. Presses universitaires de France, Paris 1995. p. 46 and Pierre Bec: Manuel pratique d'occitan modern (= Connaissance des langues , collection dirigée par Henri Hierche, volume VII). Picard, Paris 1984, p. 17.
    Another classification, which goes back to Frédéric Mistral , in: Alain Barthélemy-Vigouroux, Guy Martin: Manuel pratique de provençal contemporain . Edition revue et corrigée. Éditions Édisud, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence 2000 (1st edition) ISBN 978-2-7449-0619-0 . S. 16.
    A division into five sub-dialects: Rhonic, maritime, central, Lower Alpine Provencal and the Nissart in Peter Cichon: Introduction to the Occitan language (= library of Romance language textbooks , volume 4). 2nd corrected edition. Romanistischer Verlag, Bonn 2002, ISBN 3-86143-132-7 . P. 118.
  7. s. Peter Cichon: Introduction to Occitan Language (= Library of Romance Language Textbooks , Volume 4), 2nd, corrected edition. Romanistischer Verlag, Bonn 2002, ISBN 3-86143-132-7 , p. 116.
  8. Examples from: Philippe Blanchet: Parle-moi "provençal"! Parlo-me prouvençau! . Assimil, Chennevières sur Marnes, 2010, ISBN 978-2-7005-0429-3 , page XX.