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Thread: Occitan vs French vs Italian vs Catalan-Can they Understand One Another

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    Occitan vs French vs Italian vs Catalan-Can they Understand One Another

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    Non si fa il proprio dovere perchè qualcuno ci dica grazie, lo si fa per principio, per se stessi, per la propria dignità. Oriana Fallaci

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    Angela,
    I could record 5 subdialects of Occitan for you (I dont speak the dialects but can read very easily with tone and phonetics, surely more close to occitan than learners of unified occitan we can hear sometimes). The question is that I don't know how to attach a sound record to a post here. I'm bad at technical level!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MOESAN View Post
    Angela,
    I could record 5 subdialects of Occitan for you (I dont speak the dialects but can read very easily with tone and phonetics, surely more close to occitan than learners of unified occitan we can hear sometimes). The question is that I don't know how to attach a sound record to a post here. I'm bad at technical level!
    My only exposure to Occitan came at university when we read medieval Occitan poetry to see its influence on other poetry, including the poetry of Italy.

    I've always been fascinated by it. I could understand quite a bit of this, but it was easier to read it than to understand the audio.

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    The difficulty with what is referred to as Occitan is that over time it split into a myriad local variants, with subtle changes affecting the pronunciation, sometimes from one valley to the next. As geographic distance increases, mutual intelligibility becomes more and more of a challenge.

    For example, what the guy in the video pronounces "quicom" was pronounced /tjikwã/ by my grandmothers, with /ã/ standing for the nasalized 'a', and /j/ a yod palatalizing the 't'. In my region, also, all the initial prefixes in a- had been dropped. Hence 'anam' in the video would have been 'nem" (nasalized) in Auvergne. Most 'k' sounds were palatalized, the terminal 'r' in infinitives was dropped, so standard Occitan "acabar" (= finish) is now "tsabä" on my plateau. To compile what vocabulary I inherited from my grandparents, I had to devise my own phonetic system to cover the specific needs of "my language" - with a sound table as a preamble to the main thing.

    This is the reason why Occitan 'revivalists' in the 1970s failed in their effort to produce a standardized orthography for the whole Occitan area. And that's also the reason why, for lack of a significant enough linguistic and cultural shared patrimony, most dialects died out during the course of the 20th century - greatly helped in that process by the fact that when schooling became compulsory, local dialects were adamantly banned from the classrooms.
    It is therefore worth while to search out the bounds between opinion and knowledge; and examine by what measures, in things whereof we have no certain knowledge, we ought to regulate our assent and moderate our persuasion. (John Locke)

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    Quote Originally Posted by hrvclv View Post
    The difficulty with what is referred to as Occitan is that over time it split into a myriad local variants, with subtle changes affecting the pronunciation, sometimes from one valley to the next. As geographic distance increases, mutual intelligibility becomes more and more of a challenge.
    For example, what the guy in the video pronounces "quicom" was pronounced /tjikwã/ by my grandmothers, with /ã/ standing for the nasalized 'a', and /j/ a yod palatalizing the 't'. In my region, also, all the initial prefixes in a- had been dropped. Hence 'anam' in the video would have been 'nem" (nasalized) in Auvergne. Most 'k' sounds were palatalized, the terminal 'r' in infinitives was dropped, so standard Occitan "acabar" (= finish) is now "tsabä" on my plateau. To compile what vocabulary I inherited from my grandparents, I had to devise my own phonetic system to cover the specific needs of "my language" - with a sound table as a preamble to the main thing.
    This is the reason why Occitan 'revivalists' in the 1970s failed in their effort to produce a standardized orthography for the whole Occitan area. And that's also the reason why, for lack of a significant enough linguistic and cultural shared patrimony, most dialects died out during the course of the 20th century - greatly helped in that process by the fact that when schooling became compulsory, local dialects were adamantly banned from the classrooms.

    Agree.
    It seems to me that the more southern, say Languedocian and Provençal subdialects spite different, could be roughly intelliginle respectively when spoken slowly. The Gascon-Béarnais and more northern dialects are surely farther from this cluster and lower-auvergnat and "Marceh" dialect are very very far (to day) from the occitan standards! Just by curiosity, where are/were your grand'mother from?
    Surely too, medieval occitan was very more intelligible to modern other romance languages.

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    "Marceh": sorry, "Marche" but I thought the so called "Croissant", North of Limousin and Auvergne, in fact some kind of 'Oc-Oïl' no-man's-land without center.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MOESAN View Post
    Just by curiosity, where are/were your grand'mother from?
    My roots are on a God-forsaken plateau (Haut-Livradois), on the "border" between Haute-Loire and Puy-de-Dôme, half way between Ambert to the north and Le Puy-en-Velay to the south. I guess extreme isolation, due to the local topography, accounts for the "linguistic drift" that characterizes the area.

    You are right about the linguistic transition zone. Old people in Bourbonnais (Allier) spoke a kind of altered French peppered with quite a few Occitan words. The Occitan influences affected only the vocab, though - not the grammar.

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    Clearly there is a linguistic "continuum" in Northeast Spain, South France and Northwest Italy ...

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    @italouruguayan
    It evolved with time, evidently, but yes, we could say that, I think. No tight beam of isoglosses between them, spite some peculiarities as always. Mediterranea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by italouruguayan View Post
    Clearly there is a linguistic "continuum" in Northeast Spain, South France and Northwest Italy ...
    I agree. I haven't had occasion to speak to many Provencal speakers, but I didn't have much difficulty understanding Catalan speakers. Some of the words definitely sounded Ligurian to me, or the "Latin" root was obvious.

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    It is surely no coincidence that many of these regions, in their regional flags or shields, include a common element: alternating yellow and red vertical bars ...

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