Occitano-Romance languages

Narbonensis dialect
France, Spain, Andorra, Monaco, parts of Italy
Linguistic classification Indo-European
Glottolog None

The Occitano-Romance or Gallo-Narbonnese (Catalan: llengües occitanoromàniques, Occitan: lengas occitanoromanicas) is a branch of the Romance language group that encompasses the Occitan language, the Catalan language, and the Aragonese language.[1]


The group covers the languages of the southern part of France (Occitania including Northern Catalonia), Spain (Catalonia, Valencian Community, Balearic Islands, La Franja, Carche), together with Andorra, Monaco, parts of Italy (Occitan Valleys, Alghero, Guardia Piemontese), and historically in the County of Tripoli and the possessions of the Crown of Aragon. The existence of this group of languages is discussed on both linguistic and political bases.


According to some linguists both Occitan and Catalan should be considered Gallo-Romance languages. Other linguists concur as regarding Occitan but consider Catalan to be part of the Ibero-Romance languages.

The issue at debate is as political as it is linguistic because the division into Gallo-Romance and Ibero-Romance languages stems from the current nation states of France and Spain and so is based more on territorial criteria than historic and linguistic criteria. One of the main proponents of the unity of the languages of the Iberian Peninsula was Spanish philologist Ramón Menéndez Pidal, and for a long time, others such as Swiss linguist Wilhelm Meyer-Lübke (Das Katalanische, Heidelberg, 1925) have supported the kinship of Occitan and Catalan.

From the 8th century to the 13th century, there was no clear linguistic distinction between Occitania and Catalonia. For instance, the Provençal troubadour, Albertet de Sestaró, says: "Monks, tell me which according to your knowledge are better: the French or the Catalans? and here I shall put Gascony, Provence, Limousin, Auvergne and Viennois while there shall be the land of the two kings."[2] In Marseille, a typical Provençal song is called 'Catalan song'.[3]

Internal variation

Most linguists separate Catalan and Occitan, but both languages have been treated as one in studies by Occitan linguists attempting to classify the dialects of Occitan in supradialectal groups, such is the case of Pierre Bec[4] and, more recently, of Domergue Sumien.[5]

Both join together in an Aquitano-Pyrenean or Pre-Iberian group including Catalan, Gascon and a part of Languedocian, leaving the rest of Occitan in one (Sumien: Arverno-Mediterranean) or two groups (Bec: Arverno-Mediterranean, Central Occitan).


  1. "Mas se confrontam los parlars naturals de Catalonha e d'Occitania, i a pas cap de dobte, em en preséncia de parlars d'una meteissa familha linguistica, la qu'ai qualificada d'occitano-romana, plaçada a egala distància entre lo francés e l'espanhòl." Loís Alibèrt, Òc, n°7 (01/1950), p. 26
  2. Monges, causetz, segons vostre siensa qual valon mais, catalan ho francés?/ E met de sai Guascuenha e Proensa/ E lemozí, alvernh’ e vianés/ E de lai met la terra dels dos reis.
  3. Manuel Milá y Fontanals (1861). De los trovadores en España: Estudio de lengua y poesía provenzal. J. Verdaguer. p. 14.
  4. Pierre BEC (1973), Manuel pratique d’occitan moderne, coll. Connaissance des langues, Paris: Picard
  5. Domergue SUMIEN (2006), La standardisation pluricentrique de l'occitan: nouvel enjeu sociolinguistique, développement du lexique et de la morphologie, coll. Publications de l'Association Internationale d'Études Occitanes, Turnhout: Brepols
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