The Occitan language nowadays / L’òc al present
The place of the Occitan language in society has radically changed from an overall presence at the beginning of the 20th Century, as a language of integration for the Catalan, Spanish and Italian immigrants, to a language whose importance has been considerably reduced, all in less than a century. Its decline, brought about by the pressures of society amongst other things, shifted into higher gear just after the Second World War when the language was no longer handed down from one generation to the next as was the case in families. It was excluded from the media and from education and had to change its status in order to survive and become a strong aspect of the regional identity, opening up new perspectives for the region and making it possible to comprehend it.
This dynamic can be seen, for instance, in the bilingual classes (public school of Lézignan-Corbières (lien page commune site PTCM) ; the privately run Calandreta schools) as well as in a wide range of strong and lively artistic creations: the foyer du Minervois with Laurent Cavalié, the Bartàs, la Mal-Coiffée (lien site http://www.sirventes.com/), the Minervois fanfare (brass band) and the Grop Òc (lien site www.ocmusic.org) which follows in the footsteps of Mans de Breish and La Sauze, who, together with Claude Martí, took part in reviving the Occitan chanson in the early 1970s.
Occitan artists go and meet their audiences during a variety of regularly or irregularly organized events in both the Corbières and Minervois regions: the “La Ruée vers l’Oc”/A fum cap a l’Òc (“The Oc Rush”) week held in the Espace Culturel des Corbières/Airòl cultural de Corbièras in Ferrals (lien fiche ECC du site PTCM), the events organized by Promaude (lien fiche promaude site PTCM), the Maison Gibert programme (lien fiche MG site PTCM), the annual Total Festum event in June (lien site http://www.laregion-culture.fr/2668-total-festum.htm), the Festival occitan de Canet d’Aude in March (lien Page Agenda site PTCM), the Fête du conte à Cucugnan (lien page Agenda site PTCM) in July, the Festen’ Òc in Camplong (lien page Agenda site PTCM) early August, different events organized by L’ Abribus in Montlaur, etc.
The Encontrada is a one-day event held in Capendu in June. Thousands of children from the Aude department whose school education has been partly structured around the awareness of the Occitan language and culture gather to enjoy different activities.
Several departmental or local cultural organizations are established in places where people can meet and take part in activities with regard to the Occitan language: the Institut d’Estudis Occitans d’Aude (lien site occitan-aude.over-blog.com), the Grop occitan of Fabrezan (lien page commune site PTCM), the Grop occitan of the MJC (Communal Cultural and Youth Center) of St-André de Roquelongue (lien page commune site PTCM), the Grop Occitan of Canet d’Aude (lien page commune site PTCM), etc.
The Minervois and Corbières regions are situated in the broadcast range of the non-profit Occitan radio station Ràdio-Lenga d’Òc-Narbona - 95,5 mhz (lien site www.lengadoc.eu) which transmits mostly in the Occitan language accompanied by Occitan, Latin and Mediterranean music.
This highly active and eclectic cultural movement aims to keep alive and further develop the use of the language in the media, the institutions and the educational bodies as well as in day-to-day life from one generation to the next.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the evolution of rural society in the course of the 20th Century, we suggest you take a look, as we have while gathering information for our own site, at the works published in the series Vilatges al País.
If you would like to evaluate how fluent you are in Occitan, you might want to try the following vira-lenga without stumbling over the words:
Aviái una cabeta contrequatrepecolhat
Anèri a çò del quatrecontrepecolhaire
Le contrequatrepecolhaire i siaguèt pas
Ieu me la contrequatrepecolhèri
E siaguèt tan plan contrequatrepecolhada
Coma se le contrequatrepecolhaire
Me l’aviá contrequatrepecolhada.
in Vilatges al País - Canton de Durban