Reviving the Occitan Language with Reggae

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Thu Sep 2 14:21:15 UTC 2004

This article appeared on NPR

Reviving the Occitan Language with Reggae
Musical Groups Perform in the Patois of Southern France

The audio can be heard by going to
to hear the All Things Considered audio

More from the 'Worlds of Difference' Series

Aug. 21, 2004 -- If Napoleon hadn't come along, half of France might still
speak the Occitan language. But Napoleon did come along, and he forged a
highly centralized state. Paris became its capital and the language of the
north became what we now know as French.

Two hundred years later, some natives of the southern region of France are
challenging the one-language decree, using a blend of reggae, folk, and
the music of the medieval troubadours. As part of Worlds of Difference, a
series on global cultural change created by Homelands Productions,
producer Julian Crandall Hollick visited Occitanie. He speaks with
Massilia Sound System and The Fabulous Trobadors (the Occitan spelling) --
groups that have preserved their regional tongue through music.

Does anyone care to challenge NPR on the notion that it was  Napoleon who
made (northern) French standard?  Or that Occitan is spoken in all of
southern France?   This article seems to use Occitan and Provencal
interchangeably.  [HS]

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