(redirected from Provencal)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.



the language of the Provençals, spoken in the southern departments of France. Speakers number 8 million (1972, estimate). Provençal is one of the Romance languages. In the Middle Ages it was known as langue d’oc, in contradistinction to the langue d’oïl, that is, French (from Provençal oc and Old French oil [“yes”]). Since the early 20th century, the term “Occitan language” (from lingua occitana, Latin for langue d’oc) has been widely used.

The dialects of Provençal are grouped into three zones: North Occitan Limousin, Auvergnat, and Alpine-Provençal), Middle Occitan (Languedocian and Provençal), and Gascon. Phonetically, these dialects preserve the final unstressed vowels i, e, and o(u) and diphthong combinations of the type ai, oi, and au. They possess a highly developed system of verbal inflections. The categories of gender and number in substantives are expressed by the article and pronominal adjectives, as in modern French.

Some linguists believe that literary Provençal has existed since the tenth century. The poetry of the Provençal troubadours was known throughout northern France, Italy, Spain, and Germany during the 12th and 13th centuries. The literary Provençal of this period—the language of poetry and prose—was the koine, which had more or less uniform norms. Until the mid-16th century, Provençal served as an administrative and business language. When southern France lost its political independence, the literary language lost its uniform norms, and dialectal features appeared.

Attempts were made to revive a common literary Provençal. Most successful was the attempt of the felibres in the second half of the 19th century to create a new literary Provençal on the basis of the Provençal (Rhône) dialect, making use of the resources of literary Old Provençal. The felibrean movement was headed by F. Mistral, the language of whose works became the norm for the new literary language. By the late 19th century, the Occitan variant of this language arose, using a broader dialectal base.

Certain phonetic and morphological features reveal a resemblance between Provençal and the Ibero-Romance languages, including the fricative -b-, the apical r, the retained l’, and the well-developed verbal inflections. Old Provençal preserved two cases: the nominative and the oblique. The dialects of Provençal are used for spoken communication, especially in the countryside, but are being rapidly supplanted by French.


Gurycheva, M. S., and N. A. Katagoshchina. Sravnitel’no-sopo-stavitel’naia grammatika romanskikh iazykov: Gallo-romanskaia podgruppa. Moscow, 1964.
Ronjat, J. Grammaire historique des parlers provençaux modernes, vol. 4: Les Dialectes. Montpellier, 1941.
Bec, P. La Langue occitane. Paris, 1963.
Camproux, C. “Situation actuelle des lettres d’oc.” Neophilologus, 1967, vol. 51, no. 2.


References in periodicals archive ?
You'll see these dishes of (hopefully) green shoots decorating displays and homes throughout the region and are traditional adornments for the Provencal Christmas Eve dinner table.
The latest Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie sequel is being described as powerful and elegant with a "mouthwatering finish." These raves don't appear in Hollywood bible Variety, they're from Decanter magazine's review of the celebrity couple's second vintage of rose wine produced at their Provencal estate Chateau Miraval.
"This year our worldwide launch of the decorated version, Artesano Provencal, will take place at Ambiente and we are very excited about how it will be received," Villeroy said.
Hudon-Barbeau was arrested on Sunday and Provencal surrendered peacefully after police established a security perimeter around a building where he had barricaded himself.
Alleged arsonist Provencal was tracked to a cake shop nearby.
A white dwarf is a "dead" star that doesn't generate its own energy like the sun does, Provencal says.
Roberta Provencal: CMC is a community hospital with 330 licensed beds; our lab-test volume is about 45% inpatient; and 55% outpatient including outreach.
Federation, Provencal Government, Secretary Forest, Secretary Law, Information Secretary and General Manager Forest Development Cooperation have been made party in the petition.
"Provencal Cooking: Savoring the Simple Life in France" is a combination memoir and cookbook as Mary Ann Caws reflects on her time in Provence and the lessons she learned about food and drink during her time there.
Because the locals drink so much of it and also sell a huge amount to the droves of tourists who crowd on to the Provencal beaches every year, until recently a relatively small proportion of the production has been exported and it has not always been easy to find in our shops.
HEAD for the picturesque Provencal countryside of France this month - when the vineyards of the Vaucluse are changing colour - and enjoy a fantastic pounds 300 saving with Vintage Travel.