Provençal dialect

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
prouvençau (mistralian norm)
provençal/provençau (classical norm)
Native toFrance, Italy, Monaco
Native speakers
(350,000 cited 1990)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3prv (retired); subsumed in oci

Provençal (/ˌprɒvɒ̃ˈsɑːl/, also UK: /-sæl/,[4] US: /ˌpr-, -vən-/; Occitan: provençau or prouvençau [pʁuveⁿˈsaw]) is a variety of Occitan,[5][6] spoken by people in Provence and parts of Drôme and Gard. Historically, the term Provençal has been used to refer to the whole of the Occitan language, but today it is considered more technically appropriate to refer only to the variety of Occitan spoken in Provence.[7][8] However, it can still be found being used to refer to Occitan as a whole, e.g. Merriam-Webster states that it can be used to refer to general Occitan, though this is going out of use.[9]

Provençal is also the customary name given to the older version of the Occitan language used by the troubadours of medieval literature, when Old French or the langue d'oïl was limited to the northern areas of France. Thus, the ISO 639-3 code for Old Occitan is [pro].

In 2007, all the ISO 639-3 codes for Occitan dialects, including [prv] for Provençal, were retired and merged into [oci] Occitan. The old codes ([prv], [auv], [gsc], [lms], [lnc]) are no longer in active use, but still have the meaning assigned to them when they were established in the Standard.[10]

Some groups have called for Provençal's recognition as a full language, distinct from Occitan. The Regional Council of Provence has variously labelled Provençal as a dialect of Occitan or as a distinct language, depending on different lobbies and political majorities.


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 Varaita, Val Stura di Demonte, Entracque, Limone Piemonte, Vinadio, Sestriere).[11] 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 (this is the opposite of the neighbouring Italian masculine gender). 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.

When written in the classical norm ("nòrma classica"), definite articles are masculine lo [lu], feminine la [la], and plural lei/leis [lej/lejz = li/liz]. Nouns and adjectives usually drop the Latin masculine endings, but -e [e] remains; the feminine ending is -a [ɔ]. Nouns inflect for number, all adjectives ending in vowels (-e or -a) become -ei/-eis [ej/ejz = i/iz] in some syntactic positions, and most plural adjectives take -s.

Comparison of articles and endings between the two norms
English Mistralian norm Classical norm
Singular Masculine the good friend lou bon ami
[lu ˌbɔn aˈmi]
lo bòn amic
[lu ˌbɔn aˈmi]
Feminine la bono amigo
[la ˌbɔn aˈmigɔ]
la bòna amiga
[la ˌbɔn aˈmigɔ]
Plural Masculine the good friends li bons ami
[lej ˌbɔnz aˈmi]
= [li ˌbɔnz aˈmi]
lei bòns amics
[lej ˌbɔnz aˈmi]
= [li ˌbɔnz aˈmi]
Feminine li bònis amigo
[lei ˈbɔnejz aˈmigɔ]
= [li ˈbɔniz aˈmigɔ]
lei bòneis amigas
[lei ˈbɔnejz aˈmigɔ]
= [li ˈbɔniz aˈmigɔ]

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

The IETF language tags register oc-provenc-grmistr for the Mistralian orthography and oc-provenc-grclass for the classical one.[12]


Modern Provençal literature was given impetus by Nobel laureate Frédéric Mistral and the association, Félibrige, which he founded with other writers, such as Théodore Aubanel. The beginning of the 20th century saw other authors like Joseph d'Arbaud, Batisto Bonnet 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 [Wikidata], Philippe Gardy [Wikidata], Florian Vernet [Wikidata], Danielle Julien [Wikidata], Jòrgi Gròs [Wikidata], Sèrgi Bec [Wikidata], Bernat Giély, and many others.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Provençal dialect at Ethnologue (15th ed., 2005) Closed access icon
  2. ^ "Occitan (post 1500)". IANA language subtag registry. 18 August 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  3. ^ Error: Unable to display the reference properly. See the documentation for details.
  4. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh
  5. ^ Holtus, Günther; Metzeltin, Michael; Schmitt, Christian (1991). "Band V/2 Okzitanisch, Katalanisch". Lexikon der Romanistischen Linguistik (LRL). Berlin, New York: De Gruyter / Max Niemeyer Verlag.
  6. ^ "Langues régionales". Ministère de la culture (France). Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  7. ^ Dalby, Andrew (1998). "Occitan". Dictionary of Languages (1st ed.). Bloomsbury Publishing plc. p. 468. ISBN 0-7475-3117-X. Retrieved 8 November 2006.
  8. ^ On the persistent use of Provençal as a synonym of Occitan see: Constanze WETH. « L'occitan / provençal ». Manuel des langues romanes, Edited by Klump, Andre / Kramer, Johannes / Willems, Aline. DE GRUYTER. 2014. Pages: 491–509. ISBN (Online): 9783110302585
  9. ^ "Definition of PROVENÇAL". Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  10. ^ "Deprecated Language Codes". SIL International.
  11. ^ 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
  12. ^ "Language Subtag registry". IANA. 2023-10-16. Retrieved 13 November 2023.


  • Jules (Jùli) Ronjat, L’ourtougràfi prouvençalo, Avignon: Vivo Prouvènço!, 1908.
  • Robert Lafont, Phonétique et graphie du provençal: essai d’adaptation de la réforme linguistique occitane aux parlers de Provence, Toulouse: Institut d’Études Occitanes, 1951 [2nd ed. 1960]
  • Robèrt Lafont, L’ortografia occitana, lo provençau, Montpellier: Universitat de Montpelhièr III-Centre d’Estudis Occitans, 1972.
  • Jules Coupier, (& Philippe Blanchet) Dictionnaire français-provençal / Diciounàri francés-prouvençau, Aix en Provence: Association Dictionnaire Français-Provençal / Edisud, 1995. (rhodanian dialect)
  • Philippe Blanchet, Le provençal : essai de description sociolinguistique et différentielle, Institut de Linguistique de Louvain, Louvain, Peeters, 1992 (lire en ligne [archive]).
  • Philippe Blanchet, Dictionnaire fondamental français-provençal. (Variété côtière et intérieure), Paris, éditions Gisserot-éducation, 2002.
  • Philippe Blanchet, Découvrir le provençal, un "cas d'école" sociolinguistique [archive], cours en ligne de l'Université Ouverte des Humanités, 2020.
  • Philippe Blanchet, Langues, cultures et identités régionales en Provence. La Métaphore de l’aïoli, Paris, L'Harmattan, 2002.
  • Pierre Vouland, Du provençal rhodanien parlé à l'écrit mistralien, précis d'analyse structurale et comparée, Aix-en-Provence, Edisud, 2005, 206 pages.
  • Alain Barthélemy-Vigouroux & Guy Martin, Manuel pratique de provençal contemporain, Édisud 2006, ISBN 2-7449-0619-0

External links[edit]