The Occitan language includes a number of linguistic varieties that have their own characteristics, recognisable in an area that includes all the South of France, "overflowing” also to the eastern valleys of Piedmont. A linguistic heritage that can be traced back to a single original matrix consisting of one Romance language: the “Lingua d’Oc.” This language reached the zenith of its circulation during the medieval period of troubadour.
Named for the use of the particle “oc” instead of the French “oil” to say “yes,” Occitan plays a central role in the relationship between all the Latin languages spoken in Europe. Once used not only as the official language, but also in legal and juridical matters, the Occitan language had to face a massive resizing and confinement after French was imposed as the official language in the transalpine territory. A language and culture that has overcome many difficulties: a heritage handed down from father to son, especially orally. This language is of neo-Latin origin: it is a Romance language belonging to the sub-group of Gallo- Romance languages, which also includes French, Franco-Provencal and Catalan.
In the Piedmont region today, there are 120 municipalities and 180 thousand inhabitants who speak the Occitan language. A linguistic island spanning from the Susa Valley to the Monregalese Valleys, with a small appendage in Liguria and a town in Calabria called Guardia Piedmontese, of Waldensian origin, where the “d’oc” language is still spoken.
Occitan spoken in the Pinerolo valleys is commonly known by the term "Patua" and has different characteristics depending on the area, giving rise to many local varieties with different phonetic, semantic and syntactic features depending on the historical and cultural influences and evolution of the area.