Occitan is a Romance language spoken mainly in southern France, and also in Monaco, in the Aran Valley (Val d'Aran) in northern Spain, and in the Occitan Valleys (Valadas Occitanas) in Italy. There are perhaps 1.5 million people who speak Occitan in their daily lives, while 5 or 6 million people are able to speak the language. The majority of speakers are elderly and live in rural areas. There are six main varieties of Occitan: Provençal, Gascon, Languedocien, Limousin, Alpine and Auvergnat.
Occitan first began to appear in writing during the 10th century and was used particularly to write the poetry of the troubdours. The troubadours performed their poetry of love, satire and war in the courts of kings and nobles all over France, Spain and other countries in Europe.
When France became a unified country in the 15th century, the language of the French court, langue d'oïl, was favoured over Occitan and other regional languages, which went into decline. Langue d'oïl developed into modern French.
A revival in interest in Occitan started during the 19th century, largely thanks to poet, Frédéric Mistral (1830-1914), who wrote the much-admired long poem Mireiò and worked to standardise written Occitan. Mistral was adwarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1904.
Today there is one weekly newspaper La Setmana, and one monthly magazine Prouvènço d'Aro written entirely in Occitan. Some of the popular regional newspapers, such as La Dépêche du Midi publish columns in Occitan. There are also cultural and/or political magazines and reviews such as L'Occitan, and bilingual ones such as Aquo d'Aqui and Monde en Óc. There are also a few Occitan radio and TV programmes.
Occitan is taught in about 40 primary and secondary schools in southern France, and is also used as a medium of instruction, along with French, in some schools in the Midi-Pyrénées region.
In the Occitan-speaking part of Spain, the Aran Valley, Occitan has co-official status with Spanish and Catalan and is used in official documents, on road signs and as a medium of instruction in schools. The local government also provides financial support for the publication of books in Occitan.
Download an alphabet chart for Occitan (Excel)
Totas las personas naisson liuras e egalas en dignitat e en dreit. Son dotadas de rason e de consciéncia e lor chau (/fau) agir entre elas amb un esperit de frairesa.
Totas las personas naisson liuras e egalas en dignitat e en drech. Son dotadas de rason e de consciéncia e lor cal agir entre elas amb un esperit de frairesa.
Totas las personas naisson liuras e egalas en dignitat e en drech. Son dotadas de rason e de consciéncia e lor chau (/fau) agir entre elas emb un esperit de frairesa.
Tóuti li persouno naisson liéuro e egalo en dignita e en dre. Soun doutado de rasoun e de counsciènci e li fau agi entre éli em' un esperit de freiresso.
Totas las personas naisson liuras e egalas en dignitat e en drech. Son dotaas de rason e de consciéncia e lor chal agir entre elas amb un esperit de fraternitat.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Information about Occitan | Phrases | Kinship terms | Learning materials
Information about Occitan
Occitan courses and lessons
Online Occitan dictionaries
Online radio in Occitan
Online news in Occitan
L'association Convergéncia occitana
Information about the use of Occitan in education (en français)
Aragonese, Aranese, Aromanian, Asturian, Catalan, Corsican, Dalmatian, Emilian-Romagnol, Extremaduran, Fala, Franco-Provençal, French, Friulian, Galician, Gallo, Gascon, Genoese, Guernésiais, Istro-Romanian, Istriot, Italian, Jèrriais, Ladino, Ladin, Ligurian, Lombard, Lorrain, Megleno-Romanian, Mirandese, Moldovan, Monégasque, Mozarabic, Neapolitan, Occitan, Occitan (Auvergnat), Occitan (Languedocien), Occitan (Limousin), Occitan (Provençal), Picard, Piedmontese, Portuguese, Romanian, Romansh, Sardinian, Sicilian, Spanish, Valencian, Venetian, Walloon
Languages written with the Latin alphabet
Page last modified: 04.12.21
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