Aranese, lenga d'Òc
Northwestern Catalonia (Aran Valley), southern France, northwestern and southern Italy (western alpine valleys of Piedmont and the town of Guardia Piemontese) and Monaco.
Approximate total number: between 1,000,000 and 3,700,000.
Northwestern Catalonia: 4,700.
Southern France: between 1,000,000 and 3,600,000.
Northwestern and southern Italy: between 50,000 and 100,000.
Official language in Catalonia.
Legally recognised in Italy.
Non-specific protection in France.
Unrecognised in Monaco.
BADIA i CAPDEVILA, Ignasi. Diccionari de les llengües d'Europa. Barcelona: Enciclopèdia Catalana, 2002.
Occitan emerged in the lower Middle Ages as the administrative and cultural language of Occitania. The earliest texts that have been conserved date from the 11th century and, in the 12th and 13th centuries, Occitan became the vehicle of a vigorous culture. From the 13th century, however, and throughout the rest of the Middle Ages, France held control over almost the entire country, which led to the beginning of a process of cultural and linguistic Francophonisation.
There have been attempts to revive the language, mainly the renascent literary movement in the 19th century and the Occitanism movement in the 20th century. This latter movement has given prestige to the language and has seen it obtain a certain presence in the media, the education system and, especially, the publishing industry. In addition, it has promoted the present standard language, which is based on the dialects of Languedoc, though adapted to all of the Occitan variants.
The Gascon dialect unique to the Aran Valley, which has formed part of Catalonia since the 14th century, is called Aranese. Through the protection given to the language under the Statute of Catalonia, the legal status of Occitan in the Aran Valley was consolidated in 1990 with co-official language status, along with Catalan and Spanish.
Prior to this (1982), an Occitan reformed orthography had been adapted, recognising the links with Aranese, and the language had begun to be used in schools (1984). At present, Aranese is used in the administration and in the education system, and has a certain presence in the media and in literature. The process of the linguistic substitution of French Occitan has not affected the Aran Valley, where the language is very much alive and there are groups interested in its protection. In spite of this, the position of Aranese is not secure. It is subordinate to Spanish and also, although secondarily, to Catalan, which is taught in schools and spoken by a majority of the population. In addition, it is being undermined by phenomena such as immigration and tourism.
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