Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Not guilty, milud

We were a little disturbed (mainly by the somewhat agressive tone) when a reader upbraided us for calling Occitan a patois. So far as we can see there is only one reference to "patois" on the subject of responchons (sic) and that was the comment of a reader referring to a meal we had at L'Univers in Villefranche, who said that in "Occitan (patois)" responchous have various names.
Occitan is a language, but like many languages there are dialects and local usages - and presumably the language is not stuck in the past, so that neologisms will creep in and archaisms will die out. Some people (nowadays older) speak a mixture of French and Occitan, which might be described as a patois.
Malc says: when we lived in England I was very interested in the Lancashire dialect and had a nice collection of books written in that dialect. But it was clear that modern writing and songs were the work of enthusiasts, who wanted to preserve the language of a culture which was long past, and not the product of everyday use. Despite the efforts of Occitan supporters it is unlikely to supplant French as the everyday language of use - but its cultural heritage needs to be supported and its relevance as a regional language emphasised.
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