"The Occitan Language" Toulouse Local Custom Tip by mikey_e

Toulouse Local Customs: 35 reviews and 56 photos


For those who speak French, it will be apparent (maybe not immediately) that the name of the region of which Toulouse is the capital - Langue d'Oc - means Language of "Oc". The indigenous language of Toulouse, Occitan, was once widely spoken throughout southern France and, in the 12th and 13th centuries, was the language of a vibrant poetic tradition that influenced much of Western Europe. Occitan was surpressed after the French Revolution in favour of French, but the rapid decline did not come about till the last century, as mass communication, urbanization and improved national education combined deal a near-fatal blow to the language. Despite the fact that many people no longer use the language as a daily tool of communication, it is undergoing a renaissance, and more young people are learning it. It is also used with greater frequency in the media, schools and universities, and, as you can see, it is also used on bilingual street signs in Toulouse. Occitan is a romance language that is closest to Catalan (not French) and that has numerous regional varieties, of which Provençal is one. Lenguadocien, spoken around Toulouse, is the medial dialect. Its name comes from "òc", which means "yes" - the Romans had no specific word for yes, so the romance languages had to make up their own. The Franks came up with "oïl" (later "oui") from hoc ille, while the Occitans used "òc". Books in and on Occitan can be bought at most major bookstores in Toulouse.

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  • Written Dec 13, 2008
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