I'm interested in Occitan so I wanted to start a thread to pool together resoruces as connect with speakers, learners and other people who are interested in the language.
Some basic info:Occitan
is a Romance language spoken since the early middle age in the southern part of Western Europe known historically as Occitania or Lo Pais d'Òc. Nicknamed today as the "language of the troubadours", Occitan has played a significant role in shaping the culture, art, music and literature of the region, and was referenced by important medieval figures like Boethius and Dante. Today, it's spoken mostly in France, but also in Monaco and by a few communities in Spain and Italy. It's most closely related to Catalan, with which it shares a long historical relationship, but is also related to many other minority Romance languages in that part of Europe. UNESCO classifies 4 of the 6 dialects of Occitan as severely endangered, with the other two being definitely endangered. But there are efforts to revive the language. Because of Occitan's multi-nation range and aging native speaker population, accurate up-to-date data of the number of native speakers is hard to come by. I've seen estimates varying from 500,000 to 1,000,000+.
Spoken Occitan sounds to me sometimes like a mix of Italian and Spanish with a French stress and other times, like a mix of French and Spanish with an Italian stress. Here's singer Joanda speaking in both Occitana and French:http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xinw5a ... citanes_tv
Occitan appears to grammatically align fairly closely to French but also with some grammar that looks similar to Italian or Spanish. To me, Occitan seems more closely related to ancient Latin than any other Romance language I've studied or have general knowledge about. Resources:
Occitan resources are pretty scare, especially for anyone with no previous knowledge of French or another modern Romance language. Some resources I've come across for far:
Freelang's Occitan/English-English/Occitan (which is only about 1200 words, so probably pretty limited): http://www.freelang.net/dictionary/occitan.php
Joanda's website: http://www.joanda.fr/
His site lets you read the text in Occitan, French and English, and his album is available for download via several outlets and is available even here in the US via iTunes and Amazon (I got it from Amazon). On his site you can get the lyrics in both Occitan and French: http://www.joanda.fr/album-joanda/register/
Joanda's also on Twitter: @joandaoc
Dailymotion seems to be a better site to look for Occitan videos that You Tube: http://www.dailymotion.com/relevance/search/occitan/1
Twitter accounts of Occitan orgs & journals online (you can get links to their websites via their profiles):@Institutoccitan
And you can find Occitan speakers on Twitter by looking through those account's following lists. i haven't come across people who are learning Occitan on twitter yet, but that doesn't mean they are out there. The most common hashtag seems to simply be #Occitan, but like with Gàidhlig and Brezhoneg speakers on Twitter, many don't tag their Occitan tweets. So i find it better track down speakers by looking through through other accounts'following list.
So that's a start. Still looking for plain old learning online resources like lessons, courses, learners'forum, book sellers, mre *dictionaries*. If you have anything, please post it. Mercé plan!