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What’s with this “Wren” thing?
The oldest extant version of the fable
are presenting here appeared in 1913 in the first volume of a two-volume anthology
Saxon folktales (Plattdeutsche
Volksmärchen “Low German Folktales”)
collected by Wilhelm Wisser (1843–1935). Read
Occitan language assertion and calls for recognition as
an official language of Occitania has been including public rallies
Language information: Traditionally, the Occitan language has been known internationally as “Provençal,” in some quarters as “Limousin” (or “Lemousin”). These labels tended to include Catalan as well, at least Catalan dialects of France. Another name used is “Langue d’oc.” Nowadays, the preferred name is “Occitan,” derived form “Occitania” (Occitan Occitània) a revived name of the region in which Occitan is traditionally spoken. Provençal
provençau), Limousin and Languedocian (langue d’oc, Occitan lenga d’òc) are merely three of the main dialect groups of Occitan. The other groups are
Auvergnat (Occitan auvernhat), Vivaro-Alpine (Occitan vivaroaupenc) and Gascon. Most of the Gascon dialects (in the western range of the language)
have Basque substrata, because Gascony (Occitan Gasconha, French Gascogne, Basque Gaskoinia)
used to be Basque-speaking, or the dominant language used to be closely related
to Basque (which is a language isolate). On the northern edge of the Limousin
and Auvergnat regions there is a crescent-shaped dialect
(called Croissent in French and Creissent in Occitan) that constitutes a transition to French, though the dialects seem
to be fundamentally Occitan. The northern edge of the Vivaro-Alpine dialect
area borders on the Arpitan language (also known as “Franco-Provençal” and “Romand”) which covers an Alpine region shared by France, Switzerland and Italy.
under the label “Provençal,” Occitan is
mostly known for its great medieval literary tradition, especially for its lyrical
poetry of the troubadour (Modern Occitan trobador).
of true Occitan speakers is unknown due to the absence of authoritative statistics.
Many people claim to be proficient in Occitan but are mostly just able to understand
it. A fairly
1.5 and 2
and Monaco are actual speakers of Occitan.
The vast majority of Occitan speakers lives in Southern France. Outside France,
Occitan is used in Spain’s Aran Valley (Val d’Aran, side by side with Catalan and Castilian), in the Occitan Valleys of Italy’s Piedmont and Liguria, and in Monaco coexisting with Ligurian under
French dominance. In 2010, the government of Catalonia (in Spain) afforded
language status to Aran Valley Occitan, the first time an Occitan variety
has ever been officially recognized. Outside the old Occitan territory, there
enclaves of long standing
Italy’s Calabria, in Germany’s Württemberg (descendants of Protestant refugees), in the United States of
America (especially in North Carolina’s Valdese), in the Argentinian town of Pigüé, and in Canada’s province of Quebec.
is an endangered language. This owes primarily to the fact that most of Occitania
is a part of
France (making up most of what is known as “Southern France”), and France, insisting on a particular interpretation of the national constitution,
refuses to officially recognize within
jurisdiction any indigenous language other than French.
This is particularly precarious for Occitan, since it is related to French.
Traditional negative labels like patois have convinced many people in France, including most Occitanians, that Occitan
is nothing but “debased French” and therefore not worth cherishing and saving. However, in recent years there
has been a wave of Occitan linguistic and cultural reassertion, and this has
engendered a fair amount of renewed Occitan
language activity. This includes several specialized organizations, a good
number of web pages, various types of books, and radio stations dedicated
to Occitan. It further includes Occitan as a part of some school
curricula, albeit officially as a foreign language in order not to cause state
funding to be withheld. Meanwhile, university departments and dedicated associations
(such as the Institut
Occitan and the Conselh de la Lenga Occitana) do their part to increase awareness and
appreciation of Occitan.
closest relative of Occitan is not French but Catalan-Valencian-Balear. Mutual comprehensibility
between Occitan and Catalan is fair, especially in writing. It is better than
mutual comprehensibility between either of them with French and Spanish (Castilian).
Occitan may be seen as a link between the Gallo-Romance languages (to which for
instance French and Walloon belong) and the Ibero-Romance languages (which includes for instance Castilian, Galician and Portuguese, and among which
some count Catalan-Valencian-Balear). (Occitan and Catalan-Valencian-Balear together might be more appropriately assigned
separate group situated between these two groups.)
names associated with Southern France are Francized versions of Occitan names. For instance, “aïoli” (or “aioli”) comes from alhòli, “bouillabaisse” comes from bolhabaissa, and “ratatouille” comes from ratatolha. Below please find a selection of place names.