[flag=]hsb[/flag] The smallest language I've studied is Upper Sorbian
. I met a native speaker from Budyšin in an intensive Polish course, and I'm still in contact with her and have seen her a number of times in different cities. For that reason I jumped at the chance to take Upper Sorbian when I was on Erasmus in Poznań, but the teacher's methods were insanely antiquated (he would basically read through the textbook and get us to repeat individual words). I tried to do some self-study online but I came to the conclusion that without some understanding of German there's not much you can do... Patryk from this forum (who I met in person in Poznań) was going to lend me some comprehensive monolingual textbook but we kept forgetting I think.
[flag=]ast[/flag] The second-smallest is Asturian
. However, Asturian has a surprisingly large internet presence (as well as decent online materials) and many dedicated activists. I spend a lot of time in the facebook groups "Friquillingüismu" and "Aldericando", where people talk about subjects that interest me like languages and politics. I don't think you could learn it without knowing Spanish or Portuguese (or Galician), though.
[flag=]oc[/flag] The third-smallest is Occitan
when it comes to native speakers, although it's definitely more endangered than Asturian. I looked through Parli Occitan and a bit of Assimil Occitan sans Peine (although I was turned off by some random dialogue about rooves) a great Occitan grammar (compared the Aranese standard, the "referential" Lengadocian standard and Catalan, with ocasional references to some of the major dialects) and read Jornalet. Because of this self-study I managed to skip the first level taught at the CAOC in Barcelona (after a lot of strife from the secretary; it took several emails to convince them to let me take a placement exam because, and I quote, "it's good to learn the grammar"), going straight to B1.1. Now I don't use the language much, although sometimes I read Jornalet and watch the ocasional program on OcTele.
[flag=]eu[/flag] The fourth largest is Basque
. I audited a semester of Introduction to Basque at the University of Barcelona (funnily enough half of the students were there on exchange and successfuly petitioned to have the language of instruction changed from Catalan to Spanish), then was lucky enough to be able to continue for a semester in Poznań. Since then the only good resource I've found is Ikasten (free online course). It's a bit grammar-heavy for me, although maybe that's just me making excuses. I do have a paper copy of Assimil le Basque sans peine sitting in Serbia, so maybe I should go back to that as it's the most comprehensive audio-based course I know of.
[flag=]nap[/flag] I've also dabbled in Neapolitan
, which is a minority language but actually has many milions of native speakers; IIRC it's almost universal among working-class people in Campania and among everyone over 40 or so. There aren't really many resources, and my Italian was much worse then than it is now so it was kind of tough. There's lots of rap music I enjoy (I first got interested after listening to a La Famiglia album
), and which I understand a bit better now. I think if I ever went back to it I would try to shadow dialogues from the show Gomorra
after watching it with Italian or English subtitles. I might actually go back to it when I'm a bit better at Italian.
Vlürch wrote:IIRC, there are lots of different dialects of Occitan divided into some kind of groupings based on which other language they have more in common with (French, Catalan and "pure" Occitan, I think?) or something, with some dialects being more or less literally Catalan spelled differently while on the other end some are Frenchified to the point of being more French than French. I could be wrong, though.
I'm not sure what you're talking about exactly, but here's what I know about Occitan dialectology and the way it transitions to Catalan and French:
Lengadocian (especially southern Lengadocian) is a bit closer to Catalan than the other varieties are, but not by that much.
Aranese has been heavily influenced by Catalan and Spanish, as the Aran Valley has been a part of Southern Catalonia since 1067.
The referential standard is based primarily on Lengadocian (excised of some of the features that are uncommon in the rest of Occitania) and has been purposefully brought closer to Catalan by Occitan language planners.
The northern varieties of Occitan (Auvernhat, Lemosin and Vivaroalpenc) are a bit closer to French than the others are. There are also the cressent
dialects of northern Occitania where Lemosin and Auvernhat transition towards French, and the Oïl dialects of of Poitou and Saintonge which Sumien claims was historically Occitan speaking
(thus the dialects would have a sort of Occitan substrate).
Gascon is probably the most "unique" of all Occitan dialects, and can be difficult to understand for even other Occitan speakers, but it has some commonalities with Aragonese (especially Benasquese) and is often weirdly reminiscent of Spanish (basically the dipthong /we/ and the aspiration of /f/).
Other than that there is no such thing as "French Occitan", "Catalan Occitan" or "pure Occitan". There is a Western Romance language continuum and varying H-language influences and interferences.