Published March 27, 2014
Occitan (occitan, lenga d’òc) is spoken by approximately 110,000 people in Southern France, with about 108,000 speakers elsewhere (especially in nearby regions of Spain, Italy, and Monaco, together these regions are often referred to as Occitania). It is an Occitano-Romance language, and thus closely related to Catalan (català), within the Romance subgroup of the Indo-European languages. Occitan’s various dialects tend to adopt many features from other nearby languages; as such, mutual intelligibility is limited between some dialects of Occitan. Occitan is taught in some schools, but those learning it in school report being unable to communicate with native speakers. It is generally losing speakers, with the younger generation - especially in rural areas, where it is used at home - learning it far less frequently. There are, however, positive attitudes toward the language among residents of the region.