Provençal dialect

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For other uses of Provençal, see Provençal (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with Franco-Provençal, a distinct language that shares features of both French and Provençal.
Prouvençau (mistralian norm)
Provençau (classical norm)
Native to France, Italy, Monaco
Native speakers
(350,000 cited 1990)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Glottolog prov1235[2]

Provençal /prɒvɒnˈsæl/[3] (Occitan: Provençau or Prouvençau [pʀuveⁿˈsaw]) is a variety of Occitan spoken by a minority of people in southern France, mostly in Provence. In the English-speaking world, the term "Provençal" has historically also been used to refer to all of Occitan, but is now mainly understood to refer to the variety spoken in Provence.[4]

"Provençal" (with "Limousin") is also the customary name given to the older version of the langue d'oc used by the troubadours of medieval literature, while Old French or the langue d'oïl was limited to the northern areas of France.

In 2007, the ISO 639-3 code for Provençal, [prv], was retired and merged into [oci] Occitan.


The main subdialects of Provençal are:

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 a closely related Occitan dialect, also known as Vivaro-Alpine. So is the dialect spoken in the upper valleys of Piedmont, Italy (Val Maira, Val Varacha, Val d'Estura, Entraigas, Limon, Vinai, Pignerol, Sestriera).[5] Some people view Gavòt as a variety of Provençal since a part of the Gavot area (near Digne and Sisteron) belongs to historical Provence.


When written in the Mistralian norm ("normo mistralenco"), definite articles are lou in the masculine singular, la in the feminine singular and li in the masculine and feminine plural (lis before vowels). Nouns and adjectives usually drop the Latin masculine endings, but -e remains; the feminine ending is -o. Nouns do not inflect for number, but all adjectives ending in vowels (-e or -o) become -i, and all plural adjectives take -s before vowels: lou boun ami "the good friend" (masculine), la bouno amigo "the good friend" (feminine), li bouns ami "the good friends" (masculine), li bounis amigo "the good friends" (feminine).

When written in the classical norm ("norma classica"), definite articles are masculine lo, feminine la, and plural lis. Nouns and adjectives usually drop the Latin masculine endings, but -e remains; the feminine ending is -a. Nouns inflect for number, all adjectives ending in vowels (-e or -a) become -i, and all plural adjectives take -s: lo bon amic "the good friend" (masc.), la bona amiga "the good friend" (fem.), lis bons amics "the good friends" (masc.), lis bonis amigas "the good friends" (fem.).

Pronunciation remains the same in both norms (Mistralian and classical), which are only two different ways to write the same language.


Modern Provençal literature was given impetus by Nobel laureate Frédéric Mistral and the association Félibrige he founded with other writers, such as Théodore Aubanel. The beginning of the 20th Century saw other authors like Joseph d'Arbaud and Valère Bernard. It has been enhanced and modernized since the second half of the 20th Century by writers such as Robèrt Lafont, Pierre Pessemesse, Claude Barsotti, Max-Philippe Delavouët, Philippe Gardy, Florian Vernet, Danielle Julien, Jòrgi Gròs, Sèrgi Bec, Bernat Giély, and many others.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Provençal dialect at Ethnologue (15th ed., 2005)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Provençal". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh
  4. ^ Dalby, Andrew (1998). "Occitan". Dictionary of Languages (1st ed.). Bloomsbury Publishing plc. p. 468. ISBN 0-7475-3117-X. Retrieved 8 November 2006. 
  5. ^ Nòrmas ortogràficas, chausias morfològicas e vocabulari de l'occitan alpin oriental [tèxte imprimit] / Commission internacionala per la normalizacion linguistica de l'occitan alpin, Published by Espaci Occitan, Piemonte, 2008 . - 242. ISBN 9788890299742-PN-01

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