Occitan language

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Occitan is a Romance language spoken in Southern France, the Occitan Valleys of Italy, Monaco, and in Val d'Aran in Catalonia, Spain, the regions sometimes known informally as Occitania. It is also spoken in the linguistic enclave of Guardia Piemontese (Calabria, Italy). It is an official language in Catalonia (known as Aranese in Val d'Aran).[2] Modern Occitan is the closest relative of Catalan.[3] Since September 2010, the parliament of Catalonia has considered Aranese Occitan to be the officially preferred language for use in the Val d'Aran. The languages, as spoken in early medieval times, might be considered variant forms of the same language. The term Provençal is often used to refer to Occitan while actually Provençal is only one of Occitan dialects mainly spoken in South-Eastern France.[4]

The area where Occitan was historically dominant is home to some 15 million inhabitants. It may be spoken as a first language by as many as 1 million people[1] in France, Italy, Spain and Monaco. In Monaco, Occitan coexists with Monégasque Ligurian which is the other native language.[5][6] Some researchers state that up to seven million people in France understand the language[7][8][9] while twelve to fourteen million fully spoke it in 1921.[10] In 1860, Occitan speakers represented more than 39%[11] of the whole French population (52% for francophones proper); they were still 26 to 36% in the 1920s[12] and less than 7% in 1993.

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