Occitan, Catalan, and Francoprovençal – vitality and legal status in four European countries (France, Spain, Italy, and Switzerland)

Marc-Olivier Hinzelin (Universität Hamburg)

This contribution addresses the language situation in four European countries, i.e. France, Spain, Italy, and Switzerland, as well as the relationship between the official state language and the dominated languages. Whereas Occitan and Catalan in Catalonia and Francoprovençal in the Italian autonomous region Aosta Valley are still very vibrant nowadays, Catalan, Occitan, and Francoprovençal dialects in France and Francoprovençal dialects in Romandy (French-speaking Switzerland) are nearing extinction in the next decades (with the exception of some localities). This striking difference is attributed to divergent language policies, legal statuses, and attitudes with respect to the dominated languages.