Modern Provençal: Part 3

Small Talk

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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.

Table of Contents

  1. First article in the series
  2. Previous article in the series
  3. Next article in the series
  4. All articles in the series
  5. Disclaimer
  6. Small Talk
    1. Greetings
    2. Responses
    3. Farewells

Disclaimer

I am not a native speaker, nor any kind of authority on Provence or the Provençal language. I'm compiling these notes from limited and fragmented resources as a way to teach myself, and while I've made every effort to be as accurate and in-depth as possible, mistakes are bound to happen.

I try to verify and weigh information against multiple sources, but something may ultimately come down to a difference between dialects or individual speakers. If you have any comments or corrections, please contact me, including your source(s) and/or credentials.

For now, consider this a work-in-progress.

Small talk

Greetings

Bonjorn is a common greeting during the day. In the evening and at night, change to bòn vèspre. If you're being informal or familiar, you can use adieu at any time.

Bonjorn
Good morning
Greetings
Hello (formal)
Bòn vèspre
Good evening
Hello (formal)
Adieu
Hi (informal)

When greeting someone formally, it's customary to say sénher ("Mr." or "Sir") for a man or a boy, dòna ("Ms." or "Ma'am") for a woman, and Madamisèla ("Miss") for a girl, followed by their last name or their title if either is known.

A definite article (lo, la, or lei) is required before the honorific when refering to (but not addressing) someone by their last name or title.

Bonjorn, sénher.
Hello, sir.
Bonjorn, dòna.
Good morning, ma'am.
Bonjorn, sénher Vidal.
Greetings, Mr. Vidal.
Bòn vèspre, dòna Dumont.
Good evening, Ms. Dumont.
Bonjorn, Madamisèla Sánchez.
Good morning, Miss Sánchez.
Bonjorn, sénhers Beaufort.
Greetings, Messrs. Beaufort.
Bonjorn, dònas.
Hello, ladies.
Bonjorn, dòna Presidenta.
Greetings, Ms. President.
La dòna Larue ditz bonjorn.
Ms. Larue says hello.
Lei dònas Matieu son sòrres.
The Matthews are sisters.
Lo sénher director es ocupat.
The director is busy.
Dònas e sénhers!
Ladies and Gentlemen!

There are also two levels of formality when asking how someone is.

Coma siatz?
Coma anatz?
How are you? (formal)
Coma vai?
Coma anam?
How are you? (informal)

Welcoming someone depends on their gender:

Benvengut
Welcome (said in general)
Benvenguda
Welcome (said to a woman or a girl)
Benvenguts
Welcome (said to an all-male or mixed group)
Benvengudas
Welcome (said to an all-female group)

Responses

We've seen how to say yes and no, but there's another way to say yes:

Òc e non
Yes and no
Si!
Yes!

As with welcoming someone, saying 'pleased to meet you' depends on the gender:

Encantat
Pleased to meet you (said in general)
Encantada
Pleased to meet you (said to a woman or a girl)
Encantats
Pleased to meet you (said to an all-male or mixed group)
Encantadas
Pleased to meet you (said to an all-female group)

To respond to 'how are you doing?' you might say:

Vai plan
I'm doing well
Pòu anar
I'm doing okay

Here are a few more responses to spice up your conversations:

Mercé
Thank you
Grandmercé
Gramací
Thank you very much
D'acòrd
Okay
Agreed
De segur
De tot segur
Plan segur
Of course
Belèu
Bessai
Perhaps
Maybe
Mai o mens
Pauc o pron
More or less
Basta!
Enough!

Farewells

For when it's time to say farewell:

Bòna nuech
Good night
Adieu
Goodbye (informal)
Adieu-siatz
Goodbye (formal)
A reveire
A la revista
See you again
A lèu
A ben lèu
See you soon