Old Occitan

I've had an interest in the work of the Troubadors for several years now. Most of my time is still devoted to Greek poetry, but from time to time I like go back to the Occitan material to try to move a little bit further in my studies.

While there are plenty of web sites with the texts of Troubador lyrics, vidas and razos, there is little material on the grammar of Old Occitan (often still called Old Provençal). So I've collected some notes on the grammar. Eventually I'll add some vocabulary and grammar notes to a few texts so other people can get a taste of Old Occitan literature without having to purchase often expensive specialist books.

I've consulted two books for the formal grammatical matters and examples but I also pick examples from Occitan texts myself, whether from one of these books or from the web.

Beginners marveling at the flourishing alternate forms for declensions, conjugations and spelling should keep in mind that the term "Old Occitan" covers about 400 years of a language used over a wide area.

I welcome comments, corrections and offers of articles from any Occitan scholars feeling generous with their time, at wm.annis@gmail.com.


Akehurst, F.R.P. and Judith M. Davis editors Handbook of the Troubadors, 1995. This covers many topics but has a short chapter on Old Occitan grammar.

Boutière, Jean and Alexander H. Schutz Biographies des Troubadors, 1949. A critical edition of the vidas and razos. My main source for prose examples, cited as, for example, BdT 312, ll.1-4, which means page 312, lines one through four. (There is a later edition from the 1970s, which is a good thing. This edition is printed on awful paper. I have well-used books printed in the 1820s with less brittle and discolored paper.)

Paden, William D. An Introduction to Old Occitan, 1998. An excellent, if dense, book.

Copyright (c) 2006-2014 William S. Annis