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Occitan phonology
This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and ⟨ ⟩, see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.
This article describes the phonology of the Occitan language.
Consonants
Below is an abstract consonant chart that covers multiple dialects. Where symbols for consonants occur in pairs, the left represents a voiceless consonant and the right represents a voiced consonant.
IPA chart of Occitan consonants[1]
LabialDental/
Alveolar
Palato-
alveolar
PalatalVelarUvular/
Glottal
plainlab.
Nasalmnɲ(ŋ)
Plosivep   bt   dk   ɡ
Affricatets   (dz)  
Fricativef   (v)   βs   z   ð(ʃ)   (ʒ)ɣ(h)
Approximantjɥw
Laterallʎ
Trillr(ʀ)
Tapɾ
Notes
Gascon consonants
Vowels
Vowels
IPAExamplesEnglish approximation
aquatresack
efetgesay (without the y sound)
ɛmètgesect
ivitzcease
ɔescòlacause
uTolosasoup
ylunaas in French rue and German Blüte
Diphthongs
IPAExamplesEnglish
approximation
ajmairetie
ejreibay
ɛjglèisa
ɔjjòiaboy
ɔwplòure
awpausanow
ewEuròpa
ɛwbenlèu
jaembestiaryard
jeorientalyes
fr
lcyawn
juaccionyou
iwviurebeware
ujsoiyou yawned
waqüadragenariwag
webilingüewait
stwet
ɥɛflha
dswar
wiLsweed
ɥiambigüitat
Triphthongs
IPAExamplesEnglish
approximation
jawsuau
jejfieiral
jɛjfièira
jewieu
jɛwcamaièu
jɔwbuòu
ɥɛjpuèi
Vowel pronunciation according to position
SpellingStressedUnstressed but not finalUnstressed and final
PronunciationExamplesPronunciationExamplesPronunciationExamples
a/a/ or /ɔ/bala, cantaràs, occitan /a/
veniá /ɔ/
/a/partir /a//ɔ/companhia/ɔ/
e/e/ or /ɛ/pel /e/ (skin)
pèl /ɛ/ (hair)
/e/esfòrç /e//e/autre /e/
o/u/ or /ɔ/rascós, informacion/u/
esfòrç /ɔ/
/u/portal /u//u/basco /u/
Note:
General ablaut
In an unstressed position, some vowels cannot be realized and become more closed vowels:
Vowel changes in Auvergnat
One typical characteristic of Auvergnat (also a feature of some neighbouring dialects of Vivaro-Alpine) is the transformation of the following phonemes:
In an unstressed position, some vowels cannot be realized and become more closed vowels:
Vowel changes in Limousin
A strong characteristic of Limousin (also a feature of some neighbouring dialects of Vivaro-Alpine) is the neutralization of the phonemes /e/ and /ɛ/ in one single phoneme /e/, that can have various degrees of opening.
In words of popular formation, the sequences ⟨as, es, is, òs, os, us, ues⟩ [as, es, is, ɔs, us, ys, œs], when at the end of a syllable, first became [ah, eh, ih, ɔh, uh, yh, œh] and have now become long vowels, [aː, (ej), iː, ɔː, uː, yː, œː], which tends to create new phonemes with a relevant opposition between short vowels and long vowels. The same phenomenon exists in one part of Vivarais,[which?] and also occurred in the transition from Old to Middle French.
In an unstressed position, some vowels cannot be realized and become more closed vowels:
Regional variation
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IPAExamplesEnglish equivalent
Auvergnat
vventvalid
ʃservicishoe
dzgenteads
tschabracats
œfuelhablur
pòrtawar
ɥiajuidarFrench lui
wiboissonwe
œjnueitFrench accueil
IPAExamplesEnglish equivalent
Gascon
ʒjoençameasure
hhemnahigh
ʃFoishshoe
ywcuu
wewueu
IPAExamplesEnglish equivalent
Limousin
vventvalid
dzgenteads
tschabracats
œfuelhablur
ocòstabetween spoke and sport
ɥiajuidarFrench lui
wejboissonaway
IPAExamplesEnglish equivalent
Provençal
vventvalid
ʒagemeasure
œfuelhablur
bònawar
ʀrraFrench rue
IPAExamplesEnglish equivalent
Vivaro-Alpine
vventvalid
Word stress
Word stress has limited mobility. It can only fall on:
These proparoxytones are equivalent to paroxytones in all other dialects. For instance (stress underlined):
general pattern
(no proparoxytones)
Cisaupenc
(some proparoxytones)
Niçard
(many proparoxytones)
paginapàginapàgina
arma, anmaànima, anmaànima
dimengediamenjadiménegue
manja, margamàniamànega
The stress is oxytone if the last syllable ending in a consonant or a diphthong ending in -u or -i (occitan /utsiˈta/, verai); while the stress is penultimate if the last syllable ending in a vowel (or vowel + -s) and vowel + -n when in the case of third-person plural verb forms (libre, libres, parlan), the stress is also penultimate when the syllable ending in two different vowels (estatua). Irregular stresses is normally marked orthographically by acutes (á, é, í, ó, ú) and graves (à, è, ò).
Historical development
As a Romance language, Occitan developed from Vulgar Latin. Old Occitan (around the eighth through the fourteenth centuries) had a similar pronunciation to present-day Occitan; the major differences were:
Old Occitan phonology
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Consonants
IPAExamplesEnglish
approximation
bbeutatzbeauty
çFoihhuman (but not happy)
ddomnadoll
ðfoudatzthis
ffolfool
ɡgaygarage
jornraging
chansómatch
kcansóneglect
llauzetalaundry
mamorsmarine
nbenanansanatural
pperdudacaptain
ɾvestiduraItalian mare
r(r)rossinholsSpanish rápido
ssospirlast
ʃlaisharshoe
ttuihfact
vVentadornvalid
ksamixbox
zrozaamazing
tsamanzcats
Full vowels
IPAExamplesEnglish
approximation
aquarsack
efetzsay (without the y sound)
ɛmelhssect
ividacease
ɔmidonscause
uTholozasoup
ynegúsFrench lunette
Diphthongs
IPAExamplesEnglish
approximation
ajesmaitie
ejmezeisbay
ɛjgleiza
ɔjenoyósboy
ɔwmou
awlauzengiersnow
ewDeus
ɛwleu
jachastiaryard
jenienyes
quier
huoillsyawn
jujauzionyou
iwchaitiubeware
ujcuiyou yawned
waaquaticwag
oestwet
ɥɛfuelha
wiLsweed
Triphthongs
IPAExamplesEnglish
approximation
wawsuau
jejfieyral
jɛjfieyra
jewyeu
wɔwbuou
ɥɛjpueys
See also
Notes
  1. ^ Wheeler (1997:248)
  2. ^ a b c Grandgent (1905:4)
  3. ^
    McGee, Timothy James, Rigg, A. G. and Klausner, David N. 1996. Singing Early Music: The Pronunciation of European Languages in the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance, Volume 1, p. 104:
    The confusion of spellings, such as se for ce, voluntat for volontat, indicate the accomplishment of a phonetic evolution (here [t͡s] > [s] and atonic [o] > [u]).
  4. ^
    McGee, Timothy James, Rigg, A. G. and Klausner, David N. 1996. Singing Early Music: The Pronunciation of European Languages in the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance, Volume 1, p. 110:
    Although z originally denoted the voiced affricate [dʒ], it simplified to [z], as [t͡s] simplified to [s], but at an earlier date. The spellings s and z alternate even in the earlier troubadours, indicating the pronunciation [z] in such words as cortesia/cortezia, rosa/roza, gilosa/giloza. In final position -z is pronounced [t͡s], also spelled -tz: toz/totz, maritz, amanz, parlatz, tertz.
  5. ^
    McGee, Timothy James, Rigg, A. G. and Klausner, David N. 1996. Singing Early Music: The Pronunciation of European Languages in the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance, Volume 1, p. 104:
    When we note that tonic -a followed by unstable n does not rhyme with regular tonic -a, we have confirmation of two a-phonemes, the normal [a] (anterior a) and the posterior [ɑ], as well as confirmation that Old Occitan does not nasalize vowels followed by nasal consonants, as Old French does.
  6. ^ Anglade (1921:20)
  7. ^
    Anglade (1921:22):
    Les manuscrits ne distinguaient pas i intervocalique de j: on hésite donc sur la prononciation des mots suivants: veraia, aia, raia, saia, etc. Lienig, se fondant sur le témoignage et sur la graphie des Leys [d'Amor], admet comme vraisemblable une prononciation de i voyelle ou semi-consonne dans le Nord de l'Occitanie, et de j dans le Sud. La prononciation -aja (comme dans fr. âge) serait rare dans les rimes des troubadours.
  8. ^ a b Grandgent (1905:5)
  9. ^
    Société pour l'Étude des Langues Romanes, Revue des langues romanes, 1877, p. 17:
    ...plusieurs dialectes de l'ancienne langue, y compris le limousin, comme le prouvent des textes de Limoges et de Périgueux, changeaient souvent l's dure suivant i, particulièrement i engagé dans une diphthongue, en une consonne probablement identique au ch français, et qu'on figurait sch, sh ou ch. Sur sh, voyez un passage des Leys d'amors, I, 62, qui prouve clairement que cette combinaison n'avait pas la valeur d'une s simple. Les trois notations, ou seulement deux d'entre elles, sont quelquefois employées concurremment dans les mêmes textes, ce qui démontre leur équivalence. Ainsi les Coutumes de Limoges ont ayschí, punischen, mais plus souvent, par ch, laychen, poicha, etc.
  10. ^ Grandgent (1905:8)
  11. ^ Grandgent (1905:7)
  12. ^
    McGee, Timothy James, Rigg, A. G. and Klausner, David N. 1996. Singing Early Music: The Pronunciation of European Languages in the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance, Volume 1, p. 105:
    The Italian notation gl and the Catalanized ll, both indicating [ʎ], give evidence of the palatalized pronunciation of Occitan lh. Likewise, the transcription of Occitan words in non-Latin alphabets such as Hebrew or Greek may confirm their pronunciation with more precision.
References
Further reading
Last edited on 10 May 2021, at 13:13
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