Occitan ( /ˈɒksɪtən, -tæn, -tɑːn/ in English, [utsiˈta] in Occitan) also known as lenga d'òc is a Romance language spoken in southern France, Monaco, Italy's Occitan valley, as well as Sain's Val d'Aran.
Some include Catalan in Occitan, as the distance between this language and some Occitan dialects (such as the Gascon language) is similar to the distance among different Occitan dialects. Catalan was considered a dialect of Occitan until the end of the 19th century and still today remains its closest relative.
Occitan is fundamentally defined by its dialects, rather than being a unitary language. That point is very conflictual in Southern France, as many people do not recognize Occitan as a real language and think that the next defined "dialects" are languages.
Specialists commonly divide Occitan into six main dialects:
- Gascon: includes the Béarnese and Aranese (spoken in Spain).
- Languedocien (lengadocian)
- Limousin (lemosin)
- Auvergnat (auvernhat)
- Provençal (provençau or prouvençau), including the Niçard subdialect
- Vivaro-Alpine (vivaroaupenc), also known as "Alpine" or "Alpine Provençal", and sometimes considered a subdialect of Provençal
Gascon is the most diverging dialect.