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The Place of WordsThe Académie Française and Its Dictionary during an Age of Revolution$
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Michael P. Fitzsimmons

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190644536

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190644536.001.0001

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The Académie and Its Dictionary from the Beginning of the Revolution until the End of the Monarchy

The Académie and Its Dictionary from the Beginning of the Revolution until the End of the Monarchy

Chapter:
(p.47) 3 The Académie and Its Dictionary from the Beginning of the Revolution until the End of the Monarchy
Source:
The Place of Words
Author(s):

Michael P. Fitzsimmons

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190644536.003.0003

The French Revolution ushered in a remarkable change in language, with both neologisms and new meanings for existing words. Supporters and critics of the Revolution often utilized a dictionary format for new or existing words to portray it in either a favorable or a pejorative manner. Provisionally funded in 1790, the Académie, rooted in the traditional high French of the court and elite, ignored the linguistic innovations, leading François-Urbain Domergue to attempt to form a body that would codify Revolutionary language, although it never came to fruition. Ultimately, partially because of its closeness with the monarch and in part because of the lateness with which Talleyrand presented a plan on educational reform, the Académie survived the reform agenda of the National Assembly, enabling it to continue work on the fifth edition. However, it disregarded not only linguistic innovations but also the societal transformation brought about by the National Assembly.

Keywords:   Académie Française, dictionaries, François-Urbain Domergue, Société des Amateurs de la Langue Française, National Assembly, Talleyrand, Legislative Assembly, Condorcet

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