The language family transmission has been decreasing in rural Limousin since the 1940’s. The decline in town has been even more dramatic but the language was still in use in fairs and markets until the beginning of the 21st century (adverts in local papers for Limoges shopkeepers were still bilingual in the 1960’s).
In spite of a strong decline in the last thirty years, Occitan remains in daily use for numerous inhabitants of Limousin. The Occitan culture, so preponderant in the countryside until the 60’s-70’s, has been dwindling and in some parts (Montagne Limousine), is nearing extinction. The language has retreated to the village sphere, to neighbour or family relationships, most of the speakers being over seventy years of age.
In view of such an alarming record, we felt compelled to set about collecting the Limousin Occitan heritage.
Our first collecting was carried out without real field survey methods and the results weren’t satisfying. So we learned about ethnological survey with Christian Bedel – author of the remarcable collection « Al Canton » -, from the Aveyron Occitan Institute and Yves Lavalade, a researcher in Occitan toponymy.
There are three types :
The aim of the Limousin I.E.O. is of course to restore as much of this immaterial heritage to the largest number of people possible, so that this part of our identity doesn’t sink into oblivion and on the contrary can be an asset to future generations.
Most of our surveys aimed at printed publication.
Yves Lavalade, Noms de lieux du canton d’Ayen, Lucien Souny Ed., 2003.
Out of print edition.
Jan-Francés Vinhau, Michel Manville, Langue & mémoire du pays de Guéret, Creuse General Council Ed., 2007.
Pascal Boudy, Jan-Màri Caunet, Jan-Francés Vinhau, Memòria de l’aiga : Enquête ethnolinguistique sur l’eau en Montagne Limousine, Doublevébé Récup Ed., 2009.
→ Item details
A book about place names in the Limousin « Parc Naturel Régional de Millevaches » is in preparation.
Various contributions to other works :
Comptinas, CRDP Aquitaine Ed., 2010
About a hundred hours of audio recordings and films, numerous photographic documents and texts are being digitised and put on line at the moment.
→ Go and visit « La biaça » (the haversack in Occitan), you’ll find what is available on line to date.
We have been producing and directing documentary films in Limousin Occitan (with French subtitles) since 2011. A few of them are online in the section « Filmes / Vidéothèque » from « La biaça ».
Since the end of the year 2012 and in partnership with « 7ALimoges », we have been producing a series called « En Lemosin » (in Limousin). You can watch back its episodes on the channel website.
You know people likely to be « investigated » :
Don’t hesitate to let us know.
You own documents relating to the Occitan language or culture :
You can lend them to us to be duplicated or donate them if you like.