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Languages and linguistics

From Occitan to French, from Basque to Alsatian, from Catalan to Spanish...


BnF’s collections cover the full range of fields related to general and applied linguistics.
Allégorie de l´Eloquence. <em>Les Douze Dames de Rhétorique</em>, 1464-1468

Allégorie de l'Eloquence. Les Douze Dames de Rhétorique, 1464-1468

The Reference library at the François Mitterrand Library (Site François-Mitterrand) holds materials on general linguistics, phonetics, morphology, syntax, and lexicology, together with most French language journals within the discipline.

Within the Research library, the Art and Literature Department also offers a large number of reference works, major collections, and the leading French and foreign academic journals of French linguistics.

It also holds a very extensive collection of books from the 16th century to the present day: dictionaries, grammars, vocabularies, syntaxes, and theoretical and didactic books on the French language and classical (Latin and Ancient Greek) and modern languages (German, English, Italian, Spanish, etc.). This collection includes, for example, a large collection of spelling books, as well as large format syllabic tables used to teach reading in schools.

At the Richelieu Library (Site Richelieu), the Manuscripts Department holds the papers of a few eminent linguists, such as Emile Benveniste, professor at the Collège de France from 1937 to 1969, who became famous in the field of Indo-European comparative grammar. It also holds a very large number of oriental language grammars and a considerable collection of medieval manuscripts recounting the history of the French language.

Oral linguistics

With the Archives de la Parole, founded in 1911 by Ferdinand Brunot, the Audiovisual Department offers France’s oldest collection of sound recordings dedicated to spoken language. The collection includes famous voices from the period (Guillaume Apollinaire, Alfred Dreyfus, Cécile Sorel, etc.), some of the earliest French field surveys (e.g. in the Ardennes, Berry and Limousin regions), and foreign speakers visiting Paris (speaking Norwegian, Romanian, Arabic, etc.).
In constant expansion since it was first created, this “corpus of the spoken word” consists of 5,000 hours covering French and the languages of France as well as foreign languages. It includes dialectological surveys, life stories, interviews, personal accounts, political speeches, etc. This wide variety of materials provides numerous possibilities for linguists to put together corpora and carry out analysis: phonostylistic studies of diction in the early 20th century, changes in pronunciation, etc.

Language learning and multimedia

Language learning is a field in which multimedia materials excel, since they can be used to teach phonetics and pronunciation through a wide variety of published output. The collection includes 10,000 pieces of material, ranging from the teaching kit to the 1970s briefcase, not forgetting the Assimil self-study method and conversation guides accessible via personal digital assistant. Materials include not only foreign language methods for young people (Adi, Adibou, Hachette, and Nathan), but also methods for learning French (CLE International) and rare or regional languages (Euro Talk Interactive). Also worthy of mention are specialized methods (e.g. Agroland’s specialized agricultural English), classical language methods (Latin and Ancient Greek), methods using voice recognition systems (Auralog), and French sign language methods (books and DVDs by Emme).

Friday, December 16, 2016

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