25 May, 2009

La lenga nostra.

I usually have the rather tinny radio in my Renault Kangoo tuned to Lengadòc.
Radio lenga d'oc, una ràdio del Nord...de la Miegterrana que difusa son programe sus lo 95.4 Mhz de Montpelhièr, Besièrs, Seta e Alès.

This choice is partly practical, partly romantic. It is one of the only stations that usually remains clear on the winding mountain roadways, where I can't even hope to hold on to a mobile phone signal, but it is also the only station where most of the time the announcers speak in Occitan, the Langue d'Oc (and they stay away from the more usual musical fare--you can sample their broadcast from the site "en dirècte"). Languedoc is also the name of the province I call home.

The old, old sound of the Occitan language is warm and rolling, and reminds me very much of Catalan, to which it is closely related. It gives hints of the cosmopolitan past of this Mediterranean region in the range of latinate sounds, relatively free from the comparatively harsher Northern tongues. (By this I mean German, Celtic, etc.) It gives a small sense of the separate history and culture of this particular, southern region of France. It is the language many call Provençal, and is a tongue that can make you dream, with its redolent suggestions and scent of Italy and Spain. Those similarities continue into culinary territory, I might add. In Languedoc as in those other two countries, there is a long tradition of olives, sausages, and herbs du terroir.

Therefore it wasn't too startling to be discussing bulls with our neighbors, over glasses of a Banyuls rosé and slices of richly flavored saucisson maigre. While bull-fighting is inextricably linked to Spain, it also has a strong following and surprisingly extensive history in southern France, especially in the Languedoc region. Our neighbors have some 80 purebred Spanish animals living in the wild (on a stretch of about 180 hectares). The best of these animals--they hope--will one day (think at least a good decade from now) be fighting in the ancient Roman amphitheaters of Nimes and Arles, considered the top French bullfighting venues. In fact, the Nimes Feria de Pentecote, arguably the best known event in the French bull-fighting calendar, takes place this next weekend.I won't be attending, but we have been invited to join the festivities in August, when our neighbors select which animals they'll keep. I promise to take photos. (I just wish I could say that in Lengadòc).

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    My name is Jamie Sandford and I run a regional website about the Languedoc Roussillon - www.frenchentree.com/languedoc

    My wife and I, Greca, do our best to create as comprehensive a site about the region as we can. Having recently started reading a few blogs I thought it would be great for our readers to have a resource of the best blogs in the region and France. We would like to add your blog to the list if you are happy for us to do so.

    If you like what we are trying to achieve with our site, we would be very grateful if you could add a link to us somewhere on your blog.

    Please let me know if you would like your blog to be included.

    Kind regards,



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