Modern Provençal: Part 3

Small Talk

This is part three in a series on the modern Provençal language. See part one to start at the beginning.

So far, we've been introduced to the basics of the language and the conjugation of verbs in present tense. The next few articles will be shorter than the first two and focus on expanding on those basics. In this article we will introduce a few words and phrases for small talk and other pleasantries.

Black-and-white drawing of a trobador playing a lute.
Trobador by Hubert von Herkomer, 1924 Cleveland Museum of Art.

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Modern Provençal: Part 2

Regular Verbs

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This is part two in a series on the modern Provençal language. See part one to start at the beginning.

Now that we've been introduced to the language, it's time for some action.

A flock of wild horses swimming across a river.
Wild horses in the Camargue. Source

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Modern Provençal: Part 1

Introduction

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Provençal is a language spoken by a minority of people in the Provence region of south-east France. It has its roots in Old Occitan, the language of the trobadors and trobairitz:[1] composers and performers of lyric poetry in medieval Occitania.

Black-and-white painting showing a group of men, women, and children gathered in a forest along with two dogs. The people are wearing medieval clothing. Two of them are singing from a scroll they are holding while a third plays the harp. The rest are gathered around them, some sitting or lying in the grass, others standing.
Trobadors Singing the Glories of the Crusades by Gustave Doré (1832–1883).

Due to a history of policies by the French government meant to suppress regional minority languages (see vergonha, meaning "shame"), it is now only spoken by a few hundred thousand people, mainly among the older generations, and could be in danger of dying out.

I first became interested in the language when I started studying the south of France for a novel I am writing, but I found resources scarce and of limited use or clarity—a profusion of dialects in particular muddies the water—so I decided to research and compile my own notes to help me learn, and maybe help others as well.

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French Names Statistics

Ever wondered how many girls with the name Jeanne were born in the Vosges department of France in 1925, or in which departments the name Chantal was popular in 1980? Or perhaps you need the all-time most popular boys' names in the Dordogne department. Voilà.

While working on my novel, I realized that many of the names I'd chosen for my characters were horribly old-fashioned, rare, or outright non-existent for the time and place where they were born. While doing research to fix this, I realized there were large differences between departments of France, and simply knowing which names are popular in France as a whole is close to useless.

Working with the raw data quickly got tedious, so I developed this tool to help me sort through it for the answers I needed. I hope others will find it useful as well.

This tool is currently in early stages of development but should already be functional. Additional features and improvements will be added as I find the time.

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Hello, World!

… or what on Earth possessed me to start a blog?

Aren't blogs and personal websites kinda doomed to irrelevance in an age of social media? Will we even have websites in another five years, or will everything migrate to apps on our phones?

Perhaps, but who can really say what the future holds? There are still benefits to a website, and I for one hope they see some kind of renaissance.

Social media is great for conversation, discovery, and sharing; not so great for permanence or control. With social media, you don't own or control the platform. In some ways you may not even own or control your content. With a personal website you own and control both the platform and content, at least as far as that is possible.

This site is a place for all the things I want to ensure have a permanent home: somewhere it can always easily be found regardless of what happens in the social media landscape of the future.

You may also notice that my blog doesn't have comments. That's because I don't see it as my responsibility to provide a platform for others. That's what social media or your own personal website is for. If social media has done one good thing, it's to relieve individual website owners of that particular can of worms.

Finally, it's a playground for me as someone who has been programming and developing websites as a hobby since I was a child, a place to do things that no social media platform could ever allow. For this reason, rather than using WordPress or other common Content Management Systems, I decided to develop my own from scratch. There are normally a lot of good reasons not to reinvent the wheel like that, but I wanted to do things that these products couldn't easily accommodate, despite their incredible versatility and extensibility.

As of this writing, this is the first version of the site, which means it is still very bare-bones not to mention low on content, but you have to start somewhere. Hopefully time will put some digital meat on its bones.