Provençal (Provençau) is one of several dialects of Occitan spoken by a minority of people, mostly in Provence (in southern France).
In the English-speaking world, "Provençal" is often used to refer to all dialects of Occitan, but actually refers specifically to the dialect spoken in the former province of Provence as well as south of Dauphiné and the Nîmes region in Languedoc and the upper valleys of Piedmont, Italy (Val Maira, Val Varacha, Val d'Estura, Entraigas, Limon, Vinai, Pignerol, Sestriera).
Outside Europe, the language in spoken mainly in the Northern Californian counties of Tehama, Siskiyou, Napa, Alpine and Mono counties, especially in the Mono County town of Chalfant Valley. A small community in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties also exists in Southern California.
"Provençal" is also the customary name given to the older version of the langue d'oc used by the troubadours of medieval literature, corresponding to Old French or langue d'oil of the northern areas of France.
On the 14th March 2007, the ISO 639-3 code changed from prv to oci. (prv was merged into oci)
The main sub-dialects of Provençal are:
- Rodanenc (in French Rhodanien) around lower Rhône river, Arles, Avignon, Nîmes.
- A Rodanenc subvariety, the Shuadit or Judeo-Provençal is considered as extinct since 1977. It was spoken by the Jewish community around Avignon. When Jews were granted freedom of residence in France the dialect declined.
- Maritim or Centrau or Mediterranèu (Maritime or Central or Mediterranean) around Aix-en-Provence, Marseilles, Toulon, Cannes, Antibes, Grasse, Forcalquier, Castellane, Draguignan.
- Niçard in the lower County of Nice.
Gavòt (in French Gavot), spoken in the Western Occitan Alps, around Digne, Sisteron, Gap, Barcelonnette and the upper County of Nice, but also in a part of the Ardèche, is not exactly a subdialect of Provençal, but rather an occitan dialect of its own, also known as Vivaro-Alpine. Some people view Gavòt as a variety of Provençal since a part of the Gavot area (near Digne and Sisteron) belongs to historical Provence.
Modern Provençal literature
was given impetus by Nobel laureate Frédéric Mistral
and the association Félibrige
he founded with other writers, like Théodore Aubanel
. The beginning of the 20th Century saw other great authors like Joseph d'Arbaud
and Valère Bernard
. It has been enhanced and modernized since the second half of the 20th Century by major writers like Robert Lafont
, Pierre Pessemesse
, Claude Barsotti
, Max-Philippe Delavouët
, Philippe Gardy
, Florian Vernet
, Danielle Julien
, Jòrgi Gròs
, Sèrgi Bec
, Bernat Giély
, and many others.
The Provençal language is not to be confused with the Franco-Provençal language
, which is a linguistic sub-group of its own between the Langue d'oïl
and Langue d'Oc
- Manuel pratique de provençal contemporain, Alain Barthélemy-Vigouroux & Guy Martin, Édisud 2006, ISBN 2-7449-0619-0