Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Land of Oc

I just finished reading Kate Mosse's book Labyrinth (and probably the last person around here to do so), a moreorless time-traveler novel about the crusade against the bon hommes in the 12th and 13th centuries paralleled with a present-day search for the holy grail. It's a good read, and it takes place down in our neck of the woods, with lots of local attractions included. What really intrigued me is the Occitan glossary to aid with the dialogue included during the mideaveal chapters.

When you drive through Provence, the road signs are dual language: French and Provencal. So it is in the Midi-Pyrenees, except it is French and Occitan. We are in the Land of Oc. And when I saw this fiercely proud bumper sticker outside the vide grenier at Moulin Neuf (Moulin Nou in Oc, that is) I knew that here was a person who didn't want their language to die. Translated it says: "Occitan, Speak the Language!"

In one of Doug's recent posts, he referred to his purchase of the Tintin books. When I looked inside the front cover, I discovered that Tintin has been translated into some amazing languages, including Esperanto, Basque, Occitan and Catalan---just some of the local favorites. I wonder how many copies of each?

At the vide grenier today, I picked up a copy of Le Petie Prince (in French, not Oc), which I had never actually read. So now I'm muddling through new words, new tenses, but great illustrations, and up to page 16. Sure wish I had the Cliff Notes version right now to help me along. Ok, so he drew pictures of a boa with an elephant inside, and everybody thought it looked like a hat, and then became a pilot and crashed and met this petit bonhomme who wanted a drawing of a sheep, and..............maybe it would be easier in Oc.


Anonymous said...

I never read The Little Prince" either...and after your explanation of the first 16 pages...Luke must admit that she is totally confused by your synopsis! Perhaps the reading of the book should be accompanied by the drinking of a large bottle of wine? HA!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure my eldest sister can comment on this with more authority as she may actually have read the Little Prince, but as I recall from reading it in highschool (at least according to my book report I read it in French which seems doubtful)that book was written in some crazy tense like the pluparfait or the subjunctif or something like that which makes it virtually impossible to understand. So don't feel bad if you can't understand it. I'm pretty sure I was forced to cheat to get through it.

Anonymous said...

More on Le Petit Prince.... This was the book I had to be able to translate for my language exam for my master's degree in interior design...there were no interior design books in french at the U of Minnesota at the time. I remember having a devil of a time reading it and making sense out of it. Somehow I was able to correctly translate the passage that the examiner selected. I guess that I should try it again. Judy