|France, Spain, Andorra, Monaco, parts of Italy|
The Occitano-Romance or East Iberian (Catalan: llengües occitanoromàniques, Occitan: lengas occitanoromanicas) branch of Romance languages encompasses the Occitan language of France and the Catalan language of Spain.
The group covers the languages of the southern part of France (Occitania including Northern Catalonia), and, in Spain, Catalonia, Valencian Community, Balearic Islands, La Franja, Carche), together with Andorra, Monaco, parts of Italy (Occitan Valleys, Alghero, Guardia Piemontese), and historically in the County of Tripoli and the possessions of the Crown of Aragon. The existence of this group of languages is discussed on both linguistic and political bases.
According to some linguists both Occitan and Catalan should be considered Gallo-Romance languages. Other linguists concur as regarding Occitan but consider Catalan to be part of the Ibero-Romance languages.
The issue at debate is as political as it is linguistic, because the division into Gallo-Romance and Ibero-Romance languages stems from the current nation-states of France and Spain, and thus is based more on territorial criteria than historic and linguistic criteria. One of the main proponents of the unity of the languages of the Iberian peninsula was Spanish philologist Ramón Menéndez Pidal, while from a long time ago others such as Wilhelm Meyer-Lubke (Das Katalanische, Heidelberg, 1925) have supported the kinship of Occitan and Catalan.
During the Middle Ages, for five centuries (8th to 13th) of political and social convergence of these territories, there was no clear distinction or separation between Occitan and the Catalan. For instance, the Provençal troubadour, Albertet de Sestaró, says: "Monks, tell me which according to your knowledge are better: the French or the Catalans? and here I shall put Gascony, Provence, Limousin, Auvergne and Viennois while there shall be the land of the two kings." In Marseille, a typical Provençal song is called 'Catalan song'. (M. Milà i Fontanals, De los Trobadores en España, p. 487)
Even though most linguists do separate Catalan and Occitan, both languages have been treated as one in studies by Occitan linguists attempting to classify the dialects of Occitan in supradialectal groups. This is the case of Pierre Bec and, more recently, of Domergue Sumien. Both join together in an Aquitano-Pyrenean or Preiberian group Catalan, Gascon and a part of Languedocien, leaving the rest of Occitan in one (Sumien: Arverno-Mediterranean) or two groups (Bec: Arverno-Mediterranean, Central Occitan).
- Monges, causetz, segons vostre siensa qual valon mais, catalan ho francés?/ E met de sai Guascuenha e Proensa/ E lemozí, alvernh’ e vianés/ E de lai met la terra dels dos reis.
- Pierre BEC (1973), Manuel pratique d’occitan moderne, coll. Connaissance des langues, Paris: Picard
- Domergue SUMIEN (2006), La standardisation pluricentrique de l'occitan: nouvel enjeu sociolinguistique, développement du lexique et de la morphologie, coll. Publications de l'Association Internationale d'Études Occitanes, Turnhout: Brepols