Old Occitan > Phonology and Spelling

When reading the summary below keep in mind that the spelling of Old Occitan was never regularized, so the same word may vary in spelling even in the same line of text.


In accented syllables e and o may have two pronunciations, open or closed. In Troubador texts these differences are not indicated, but they are in modern dictionaries and grammars, where a tail hanging off the vowel means "open" and a dot under the vowel means "closed." HTML isn't convenient for that notation, so I will follow modern Occitan and use è ò to indicate open accented syllables and é ó for closed. If I do not indicate the the quality of an accented vowel, assume closed.

Seemingly at random è and ò may become diphthongs, è becoming and ò becoming either or . So, better may be found as mèlhs or mièlhs.

Diphthongs. Ending in i: ai, éi, èi, ói, òi, ui. Ending in u: au, éu, èu, iu, óu, òu (note: in dipthongs u is like w).

The diphthongs with the open è and ò may undergo the change mentioned above, so that, for example, èu, I may also be found as ièu.

Consonants for the most part are pronounced like English, but note the following.

Word accent. In general, words ending in vowels accent on the penult, next to the last, syllable. Words ending in a consonant often stress the final syllable.

However many words have an inherent accent outside of the rules above, and must be learned as they occur. Old Occitan dictionaries will indicate accents when they aren't predictable. In this HTML I'll indicate accent with accent marks. Keeping in mind that the open and closed o and e difference only occurs in accented syllables you know acò must accented on the last syllable.

The -s of the noun declensions does not cause the accent to move to the end of the word: dómna, dómnas.

Copyright (c) 2006-2021 William S. Annis