Occitan regulatory body is launched in Bordeaux

The Permanent Congress of the Occitan Language will be in charge of the linguistic regulation of Occitan · The new body has the support of the regions of Aquitaine, Languedoc-Roussillon, Midi-Pyrénées and Rhône-Alpes · A demonstration in March will call for better policies to foster the public use of the language

A new organization that is set to become the regulatory body of the Occitan language has been officially launched in Bordeaux (region of Aquitaine, western Occitania). The Permanent Congress of the Occitan Language (Congrès Permanent de la Lenga Occitana, CPLO) will be in charge of the linguistic regulation of Occitan. Besides, the production of dictionaries and grammars and applied scientific research will also be some of its major working areas.

The CPLO is born out of the experience of another foreshadowing body, the Aporlòc, that had been established in 2010 in order to set out the basic lines of an independent scientific authority for the Occitan language. Organizations such as the Institute for Occitan Studies, the Calandretas, the Institute for Aranese Studies and the Cirdòc have been involved in the work of Aporlòc.

The new body is supported by the Occitan regions of Aquitaine, Languedoc-Roussillon, Midi-Pyrénées and Rhône-Alpes. Several of those regions have recently passed a Charter for Interregional Cooperation that “defines a general framework for development activities of Occitan in the areas of education, performing arts or heritage”.

Low level of social use of Occitan

According to recent data released by the region of Midi-Pyrénées, the use of Occitan continues to decrease in the fields of parent-to-child transmission and knowledge of the language. The data show that only one out of four Occitan-speaking parents in Midi-Pyrénées transmits the language to the younger generation. In the smaller department of Hautes-Pyrénées, La Dépêchesays that only 7% of the population usually speaks Occitan. In 1995, the figure was 18%.

Experts have been saying for decades that the steady decrease in the use of Occitan highlights the need for active policies favouring the recovery of the language. In this respect, several Occitan associations have launched a call for a demonstration in Toulouse next March 31st in order to demand to the French authorities a better place for the language in the media and the school system.