What is an Occitan sonnet?
An Occitan sonnet is a type of sonnet that first appeared in written form in 13th century Italian poetry. Occitan sonnets are characterized by a rhyming scheme of a/b/a/b, a/b/a/b, c/d/c/d/c/d. Although these sonnets first emerged in Italy, the format is actually named after the now largely dead Occitan dialect of the Languedoc region in southern medieval France, which is probably where the form comes from. Sonnets were probably originally sung by troubadours, perhaps as a form of the chansons de geste. In fact, the word "sonnet" itself is believed to be derived from Occitan, and means, roughly, "little song."