Guyome's log [LAD, LAT, MAN, OCC, PER, YID]

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PfifltriggPi
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Re: Occitan, Manchu, Yiddish and Latin

Postby PfifltriggPi » Tue Sep 01, 2020 10:46 am

Thank you for your detailed response. I shall certainly have to get this book as it sounds quite useful. In fact, many of the drawbacks you mentioned would, I think serve as positive things for me. Living in North America, I have very little use for spoken vernacular Occitan, and am interested primarily in the literary language(s) and old Occitan, so I am actually glad it spends so much time with literary texts. I suppose too that the fact that the authors seem to feel confident that the student will be able to get through Mediaeval Occitan by the end of the book says something positive about the rigour of the course as well. Occitan will have to wait a couple years until I leave university, I think, but I will certainly be giving this book a look when I get to it. Thank you.
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"Зброя - слово." - Леся Українка

guyome
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Re: Occitan, Manchu, Yiddish and Latin

Postby guyome » Tue Sep 01, 2020 11:40 am

You're welcome!

True, given your interest in medieval Occitan, the course may be even better suited to you!
And even if I'm slightly disappointed by some of the choices the author made, it is still impressive how much material he managed to fit into one course.
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guyome
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Re: Occitan, Manchu, Yiddish and Latin

Postby guyome » Tue Sep 01, 2020 7:07 pm

Occitan
Finished reading Autan Negre.
As I said in a previous post, it's definitely not a literary masterpiece but there was some nice pages, especially the ones describing the town paralyzed for weeks by a huge snowfall and intense frost. Too bad the dialogues often sounded unnatural and that the author took no pain in making his environmental and antibourgeois pleas more subtle.

I still get plenty of vocab reinforcement from the various things I read. Yesterday, I jotted down the word manhac and I just saw it in lesson 39 of Assimil; this morning I saw cabèstre in a Gascon short story and read it again later in Autan Negre; today I surmised that badalh meant something like 'yawn' when reading Autan Negre and just encountered it in lesson 38 of Assimil.
It's great that it happens so often but it also means I have a long way to go to improve my vocabulary. These things only happens several times a day because I still have so much to learn.

The autan wind, which gave the book its title, also showed up in lesson 38, with a note mentioning that it is said to drive people mad!

Not sure what book I'll read next. I have many that look very interesting, which is both a curse and a blessing :)

Words jotted down while reading Autan Negre: ecir, borrilh, fintar, laguiós, cabèstre, s'eclafar, alandar, se carpinhar, farda, garri

Image
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guyome
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Re: Occitan, Manchu, Yiddish and Latin

Postby guyome » Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:49 am

Occitan
Reached lesson 42 in Assimil l'occitan, which means the next series is the last one dealing with Literary Languedocian. After that it is mostly about the different dialects and the notes are more about highlighting the differences with LL than about teaching new basic grammar points. Because of this, I had made lesson 49 my goal back when I started posting here in January and I still think it would make sense to kind of stop working on Assimil at that point. No doubt lessons 50-100 would still teach me a lot but I think moving from one dialect to the other every 7 lessons or so is not what I need now. I want to try and develop a more active competence in one dialect, and I feel this would be best attained by shifting my focus away from Assimil.
Any advice welcome at this point!

Lesson 41 had a nice exemple of a "to go"-based future tense used in a narrative context. It reminded me of the fact that Catalan has developed such a feature to its fullest extent:
Mas cinquanta quilomètres pus luènh, que ja nos cresiam de n'aver rescapat, gar't'aqui qu'anam véser un parelh de doanièrs en travèrs de la rota.
But fifty kilometers further, as we already thought we were safe, lo! we saw [are going to see] two custom officers blocking the road.

I finished reading L'òme de Magalona, a short (90 p.) collection of 5 short stories by Joan-Maria Pieire (1954-1998). An interesting (if sometimes disturbing) read.

Something I noticed in it, as well as in another book I'm kind of reading at the moment, is the use of of forms like siaguèsse when Literary Languedocian would have foguèsse. Apparently, it is a widespread dialectal feature to have forms of "to be" built on a sia- radical, when LL would have fo-.

Words jotted down when reading L'òme de Magalona: saquejar, rebalar, flaquejar, esta(la)bordir, trantolar, atur(r)ar, bandat, sorn, sacar, lisar, cadaula.

Image
Probably a contender for the title of 'worst book cover ever designed' despite Bernard Manciet (1923-2005), the great Gascon author, apparently having a hand in it.
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guyome
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Re: Occitan, Manchu, Yiddish and Latin

Postby guyome » Sun Sep 06, 2020 6:55 pm

Occitan
Read two short works over the weekend (around 150 pages in total): R. Lafont's La Vida de Joan Larsinhac and P. Chassary's Pradet de Ganges. Very different types of books. Pradet is basically made of short, facetious stories published in the late 19th c., while I have seen La Vida Joan Larsinhac (published in 1951) described as the first modern work in Occitan literature, that is, the one that took Occitan literature out of the bourgeois, folkloric, passeist ways of Mistral's Félibrige to make it enter modernity. La Vida de Joan Larsinhac takes place during WW2 but is more about a young man finding his way than about the war.

Words jotted down: fosc, de sobra, degalhar, raissa, prètzfach, recapte, dralha, manida, caravirat, s'estavanir, bailejar, pal(a)ficar, acrin, sarcir, rabinar, s'arborar/s'auborar, carquinhejar/carcanhar, estèc, gèrla, caraco, maissa.

Yiddish
I'm still listening to the audiobook version of the first volume of Artapanus kumt tsurik aheym.

The other day, I remembered I got introduced to the book through this interview of Mikhael Ben Avraham (1919-2008), in which he reads an extract of the book. Mikhael Ben-Avraham, then Mikhael Vaynapl, was born in Poland and became a member of the Bund, the Jewish socialist party. After the war, he settled in Israel and worked for the state radio, which means he had to change his Yiddish souding name for a Hebrew one. He first tried to maliciously comply by using the names of the Prime Minister and various politicians but ended up honoring the memory of his father.



Here is a transcription of the segment about him having to change his name (it starts around 2:55 in the video above). I added my own translation of the Yiddish below but the video has English subtitles.
Vi es iz alemen bakant, hot der radio Kol-Israel damolt gehert tsum Miskhat Rosh HaMemshala, dos heyst tsum Premier Amt. S'heyst der faktisher onfirer fun radio iz geven Ben-Gurion aleyn. Un Ben-Gurion hot in yener tsayt detsidirt vi azoy darf oyszen der radio, vos darf men transmitirn un vos tor men nisht transmitirn. Un der iker, hot Ben-Gurion gehat aza min idee, ikh volt gezogt aza min idée fixe, az di menshn vos tretn oyfn radio, bazunders di spikers, darfn endern zeyere nemen. Zey tor nisht oyftretn farn mikrofon mit epes a nomen a terkishn, a poylishn, a daytshn, a yidishn nomen. Epes Vaynapl toyg nisht.
Ven(?) ikh hob ongehoybn arbetn, kh'hob gearbet etlekhe khadoshim, ruft mikh aroys tsu zikh der direktor fun radio un zogt mir "Mikhael Vaynapl, tsarikh laavret et-hashem", dos heyst ikh darf hebraizirn mayn nomen. Zog ikh im "Vos heyst dos?". Zogt er "Vayl a spiker in radio in velkhe shprakh er zol nisht redn, tsi in english, tsi in toterish, tsi in frantsoyzish oder rusish, darf er hobn a hebraishn nomen un Mikhael Vaynapl toyg nisht. Ir kent nisht dershaynen farn mikrofon mit aza min treyfenem nomen". Un ikh, a geshvoyrener yidishist, darf endern dem nomen, veyl keyn ander breyre hob ikh nisht, oyb nisht vet (?) mikh aroysverfn fun der arbet. Zog ikh im "Beseyder, beseyder, ikh bin greyt tsu endern mayn nomen. Un lomir zogn, Mikhael iz gut? Mikhael iz a genug hebraisher?" Zogt er "Yo, yo, avaday, avaday". Zog ikh eynmol(?) "Beseyder, vel ikh heysn Mikhael Ben-Gurion". Zogt er "Ben-Gurion?! Vos, zent ir arop fun zinen? Mir hobn dokh(?) shoyn eynem a Ben-Gurion, mir darfn nisht keyn tsvey". Zog ikh im "Gut, hob ikh a nayem forshlag: kh'vel heysen, hmm, Mikhael Sharett". Zogt er andersh "Past dokh(?) nisht", "Ah, nayn(?)", zogt er "Neyn, es toyg nisht". Zog ikh "Kh'el heysen Mikhael Sneh". Zogt er "Sneh iz a komunist! Vos vilt ir zikh a nomen gebn epes Sney?" Un azoy bin ikh oysgerekhnt ale gedoylim fun land, ale Kneset deputaten, ale ministorn, aza nomen vil ikh hobn a hebraishn. Bin ikh dergangn biz tsu Hershkol(?) oykh. Zogt er "Neyn, dos toyg nisht". Zog ikh im "Adoni direktor, mayn tate hot geheysn Avrom un mayn tatn hobn di daytshn dershosn in 1939, efsher vel ikh fareybikn zayn nomen oyf aza min oyfn vos ikh vel zikh a nomen gebn Mikhael Ben Avraham". Dos hot der direktor gekoyft un fun demolt on bin ikh gevorn Mikhael Ben Avraham.


As everyone knows, back then the radio Kol-Israel belonged to the Miskhat Rosh HaMemshala, the Prime minister Office. This means that the person in charge of the radio was actually Ben-Gurion himself. And in those days Ben-Gurion decided what the radio should look like, what should be broadcasted, what shouldn't be broadcasted. And, most important, Ben-Gurion had this idea – I'd say this idée fixe – that the people who appeared on the radio, especially the announcers, should change their names. They should not appear in front of a microphone with some Turkish, Polish, German, Yiddish name. Something like Vaynapl wasn't suitable.
When(?) I started working, I worked for a few months and then the director called me and said: "Mikhael Vaynapl, tsarikh laavret et-hashem", meaning I should hebraicize my name. I say to him, "Why is that so?
— Because an announcer on the radio, no matter what language he is speaking in – be it English, Tatar, French or Russian – should have a Hebrew name, and Mikhael Vaynapl is not suitable. You cannot appear in front of a microphone with such a non-kosher name".
And I, a sworn Yiddishist, had to change my name because I had no other choice. If I didn't, I would be kicked out of the job. I tell him, "No problem, no problem, I am willing to change my name. So, let's say, Mikhael is ok? Mikhael is Hebrew enough?
— Yes, yes, of course, of course.
— Great, my name will be Mikhael Ben-Gurion.
— Ben-Gurion?! What, are you crazy? We already have one Ben-Gurion, we don't need a second one.
— Good, I have a new proposal: my name will be, hmmm, Mikhael Sharett.
— That can't be, he says again.
— Ah, no(?).
— No, it is not suitable.
— My name will be Mikhael Sneh, I say.
— Sneh is a communist! Why do you want to take such a name as Sneh?, says he.
And, in the same way, I went through all the bigwigs in the country, all the Members of Parliament, all the ministers, to find a Hebrew name. I even went as far as Hershkol(?). He says, "No, it is not suitable.
— Mr. Director, my father's name was Avrom [=Abraham/Avraham], and the Germans shot my father in 1939. Maybe I will make his name everlasting by taking the name Mikhael Ben Avraham [Mikhael son of Avraham]".
That was fine with the director and from then on I became Mikhael Ben Avraham.
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guyome
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Re: Occitan, Manchu, Yiddish and Latin

Postby guyome » Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:37 pm

Occitan

Fa bèl brieu qu'ai pas res escrich aquí.
Ara soi a legir lo libre d'Enric Mouly, En Tutant lo grelh (1963). En aqueste libre, Mouly (1896-1981) conta coma rescontrèt son amic Seguret pendent la guèrra de 14-18 e coma, après la guèrra, los dos joves comencèron a trabalhar per la lenga d'òc en Roergue. Fondèron, eles e qualques autres, Lo Grelh Roergat, una societat d'escrivans, per ajudar a la lenga e desrevelhar los òmes del païs, qu'a-n-aquel'epoca lo francés èra de mai en mai emplegat per totes. I a fòrça causas interessantas en aqueste libre e m'agrada plan d'o legir. Mouly foguèt soldat pendent la batalha de Verdun (e mai endacòm mai) e escriu sobre las causas òrres que visquèt en aquel endrech.

Reading En Tutant lo grelh (1963) by Henri Mouly. Mouly was a (the?) driving force behind efforts to maintain and expand the use of Occitan in the Rouergue region during the years 1920-1970. The book starts with his encounter, during the war, with his fellow soldier Eugène Seguret and then moves on to how they created the Grelh Roergat, an association of writers, with the purpose of fostering the use of Occitan around them. An interesting book, especially the pages about his wartime experience and his early days as an inspiring Occitan writer.


Going back a few pages in this log, I see that I started reading intensively a month ago approximately. During this period, I have read, give or take, 1300 printed pages and a lot of blog/newspaper articles online. I really feel that my reading comprehension and speed have increased a lot. Still a lot to do though!


Studying Assimil lesson 46, only a couple left before the end of the first part of the book. Still thinking about what to do after, especially in terms of choosing a (sub)dialect to focus on for active practice.
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iguanamon
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Re: Occitan, Manchu, Yiddish and Latin

Postby iguanamon » Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:07 pm

I follow the Occitan aranés (Direccion Generau dera Politica Lingüistica. Departament de Cultura. Generalitat de Catalonha) account on twitter. They were bragging today about a recent linguistic survey showing Aranés (the Gascon dialect of Val d'Aran in Spain) as an example to follow in language recovery. Val d'Aran has the highest percentage of speakers (~22%) who can speak Aranés easily or carry on a simple conversation- whatever this means. Résultats de l’enquête sociolinguistique relative à la pratique et aux représentations de la langue occitane en Nouvelle-Aquitaine, en Occitanie et au Val d’Aran
@OccitanAranes wrote:Eth resultat dera enquèsta sociolingüistica der Ofici Public dera Lengua Occitana mòstre era Val d'Aran coma exemple a seguir entara arrecuperacion dera lengua

I can say that Aranés is well supported by the Catalan government. There are many resources available. I don't know how similar it is to Gascon or other varieties of Occitan, but I can read most of what you wrote in your previous post. Catalan help mes a great deal with reading Occitan. It's on my list after Catalan.
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guyome
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Re: Occitan, Manchu, Yiddish and Latin

Postby guyome » Fri Sep 11, 2020 8:31 am

Thanks, Iguanamon!

Gascon (in its Bearnese rather than Aranese form, but the two are quite close) is actually one of the two contenders for my "let's focus on actively using one dialect" plan. I had started writing about the pros and cons of choosing a dialect, and which one, in yesterday's post but it made for too long a post and I ended up removing that part. I will post about it later though, maybe today.
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guyome
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Re: Occitan, Manchu, Yiddish and Latin

Postby guyome » Fri Sep 11, 2020 5:17 pm

Occitan or My semi-organised thoughts on what to do after Assimil lesson 49.

In the very near future, I want to focus more on active skills and I think this would be better achieved by picking and working on one brand of Occitan. The Assimil course is great but lessons 50-98 shift from one dialect to another in quick succession and I don't think that would be ideal for my purpose. That leaves me with three options:
1) keep working on the Literary Languedocian used in lessons 1-49
2) shift my focus to a variety of Languedocian
3) pick another variety entirely.

Option 1 is not really something I want to do right now. Literary Languedocian is a very widespread form of the language (in print at least), but I'd like to focus on a 'real' (sub)dialect. I agree that this may sound futile in this age of fast vanishing spoken Occitan but to me it is important to try and get somewhat closer to what people actually speak (spoke?) somewhere. Of course, given the situation of Occitan today, it won't be possible for me to go "full local" by learning the variety of such or such town. My approach would more or less be on the scale of a subdialect (see here for Languedocian or Gascon subdialects for instance).

Choosing a subdialect to work on – and trying to develop active skills in it – is kind of a tough choice but (un)fortunately I'm helped there by the dire state in which Occitan finds itself today. No variety of it can be said to be healthy and I'm probably not going to be able to speak the language a lot (still, some dialects/places do better than others in this respect). With native speakers thin on the ground, books, audio material and online presence (blogs, forum, etc.) become all the more important, both to lay the foundation for active use of the language and to improve on this foundation.

That sort of immediately rules out any Vivaro-Alpine and Auvergnat subdialect. As interesting as they may be to me, there is just not enough material to study them in a really meaningful way past the textbook stage.
Limousin has more to offer both in terms of literature/books and audio material (La Biaça and Meitat Chen Meitat Porc) but I like the sound of it less than other dialects and I don't feel especially drawn to the region.
Provençal literature is huge (especially in the Rhodanian subdialect) but from what I've seen there is not much audio online. That's a big no-no.
Languedocian in its Rouergat form is a strong candidate: there are quite a few books written by authors from this region (as always though, they may have standardised their language to some extent when writing) and the wonderful website Occitan Aveyron offers a wealth of recordings with transcriptions. One drawback though: there doesn't seem to be any contemporary media output.
Gascon in its Bearnese form is what I'm drawn to as of today. It's probably further away from Languedocian than any other variety of Occitan so that would mean more work at the start but I like both the sound of it and its linguistic characteristics, and am interested in the region. There are also more practical reasons:
- textbooks and other reference tools are aplenty
- there's a very decent amount of literature and online presence
- quite a few radio shows/podcasts are around (some of them even looking interesting!). Generally speaking, there seems to be more media output in Gascon than for any other dialect, and a lot is in Bearnese
- last but not least, it's quite close to Aranese, which adds to the amount of audio and written material available.
Last edited by guyome on Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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guyome
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Re: Occitan, Manchu, Yiddish and Latin

Postby guyome » Sat Sep 12, 2020 7:32 pm

Occitan or A rant about some disturbing trends in the Occitanist movement

Extracts from an interview with Sèrgi Viaule, Occitan author, published in Anem ! Occitans !, the official organ of the Institut d'Estudis Occitans (one of the main Occitan cultural institutions during the last 70 years). I post it here because I think it highlights very well the position of some people on the Occitanist movement.
AO : Quin sons los vòstes raports dab l'escritura occitana, los autes autors ?
SV : Legissi tot cò que pareis en occitan, fòra – o torni dire – los romans que son publicats en version bilinga dins lo meteis volume e los que son escriches en paleo-occitan (del grèc palaios que vòl dire ancian). Legissi tot desempuèi un mièg sègle. (...)

AO : Sètz lengadocian e escrives en lengadocian. Se dit sovent los lengadocians ne son pas pro curios de cap aus autas variantas de la lenga. Que ne pensatz ?
SV : Soi nascut en Lengadòc, mas soi Occitan e escrivi en occitan referencial. Se l'occitan referencial sembla lo lengadocian, i soi pas per res. D'un biais general soi pas pel paleo-lingüisme, soi per una lenga viva de granda difusion. Se los Araneses e los Gascons de la montanha aquò los amusa d'anar cercar lo biais de parlar lo mai aluenhat de l'occitan referencial, n'an perfachament lo drech. S'aquò lor ditz d'entrevar l'intercompreneson occitana, es un biais de far que lor daissi. Mas lor daissi tanben lors òbras. Ai pas jamai legit cap roman en "aranes". La lectura, coma l'escritura, devon per ieu demorar un plaser. (...) Soi sus un autre registre. Lo de la promocion d'una lenga que per se salvar a besonh d'omogeneïtat. Per prene aqueste cas aranes qu'es lo mai agut, ja que son isolats geograficament an tengut fòrt e mòrt a s'isolar lingüsticament. Aurián pogut causir d'emplegar e d'ensenhar un gascon mejan. Que volètz que faguen los joves Araneses d'una lenga que se compren sonque en Aran, en Comenges e dins lo Ceseran ? (...)


AO: What is your relationship with Occitan writing, with the other authors?
SV: I read everything that is published in Occitan, except – I say it again – the novels that are published in bilingual versions in one volume and the ones that are written in Paleo-Occitan (from the greek palaios, meaning 'ancient'). I've read everything for the past 50 years. (...)

AO: You are Languedocian and you write in Languedocian. It is often said that Languedocians are not curious enough about the other varieties of the language. What do you think?
SV: I was born in Languedoc, but I am Occitan and I write in Referential Occitan. That's not my fault if Referential Occitan looks like Languedocian. As a rule, I'm not in favor of paleo-linguism, I am in favor a widely-spread living language. If Araneses and Mountain Gascons find it entertaining to look for a way to speak that is as far from Referential Occitan as possible, that's their absolute right to do so. If it is their thing to hamper Occitan intercomprehension, I leave that to them. But I leave them their works too. I have never read a book in "Aranese". To me, reading, like writing, should remain enjoyable. (...) I am on another register. That of promoting a tongue that needs homogeneity to be saved. To take this Aranese case, which is the most acute: they are already isolated, geographically speaking, and they obstinately wanted to isolate themselves linguistically speaking. They could have chosen to use and teach a median Gascon. What do you want young Araneses to do with a tongue that is understood only in Aran, Comminges and Couserans? (...)
So, if I read him well, writing in Aranese or Pyrenean Gascon is disparagingly qualified as "paleo-linguism", no matter the fact that these dialects still have native speakers, Aranese even being the healthiest form of Occitan around! Apparently, for SV, only Referential Occitan can be the future of Occitan.
And I wouldn't say that Referential Occitan "looks like" Languedocian, it is a form Languedocian. How convenient for SV that he can write, with minor adaptations, in something very close to his own dialect, while calling for others to abandon theirs.
Earlier in the interview, he mentions how he is unable to like French, and never writes in it, because the language was forced upon him. Fair enough. But then it seems a bit...bold to call for others to let go of their own dialects and start using another. Referential Occitan being itself a form of Occitan isno excuse for wanting it to replace other forms of Occitan.

I found this interview very revealing of a stream of thougts I have already encountered too often when reading in and about Occitan: a varnish of "Occitan is diverse, diversity is great! Occitans are tolerant, so unlike the evil French who killed our language!", but not far behind that thin layer of tolerance there is a deep intolerance, a thirst for creating a Standard/Referential Occitan and replacing, or at least pushing away, the dialects and any regional specificity that might threaten the dogma of "Occitan unity".
How is that different from what French did to Occitan? How can you so blatantly reproduce the exact same actions with the exact same arguments ('patois' too were once described as a thing of the past, a hindrance on the road to future/modernity, too local, not widespread enough, etc.)? That's beyond me.

The more I read about the various dialects/languages and regions that are grouped under the concept of Occitan(y), the weaker some aspects of the whole Occitanist construction seem to me because, to say it too quickly, there never was any politically unified Occitany, culture in all its forms varies a lot over such a wide extant of territory, and if Gascon is seen as an Occitan dialect, how come Catalan is not?
Does it mean the whole concept should be discarded? Maybe, maybe not. At the very least, it provides a framework for sharing resources and common actions.
Is it because they feel the relative weakness of the whole Occitan(y) concept that some Occitanists want to erase diversity? Or maybe they've just become unable to envision anything else than the French model (one country=one and only one way to speak)? Whatever the reason, it seems to me that some Occitanists both want to have their cake and eat it too: spit on France for killing regional languages but do the same to Occitan dialects; claim that intercomprehension between dialects proves Occitan is one language but at the same time reject dialects for making intercomprehension too hard; glorify diversity but do their utmost to level differences and forcefully unify an otherwise very elusive Occitania.
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