French linguistic Atlas

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Aug 24 14:37:36 UTC 2005

forwarded from Linguist-List

Title: Lectures de l'Atlas Linguistique de la France de Gilliron et Edmont
Subtitle: Du temps dans l'espace
Publication Year: 2005
Publisher: Comite des Travaux Historiques et Scientifiques

Author: Jean Le Du, CRBC, Univ Brest
Author: Yves Le Berre, CRBC, Univ Brest
Author: Guylaine Brun-Trigaud, CNRS, Nice


The Atlas Linguistique de la France was first published between 1902 and
1910 and includes 1,421 maps as well as 499 partially completed ones, all
in large format. They were compiled by the great French linguist Jules
Gilliron, and were based on dialectological surveys conducted during the
last years of the 19th century by Edmond Edmont in 639 parishes of
Romance-speaking regions of France "and heir contiguous linguistic
colonies" in Belgium, Switzerland and Italy.

Each map of the linguistic atlas includes specific words which are
transcribed in the phonetic alphabet. Although it might be a potentially
disorienting experience for the non specialist, this work is an
irreplaceable linguistic monument in the sense that it reflects the last
links with an orally transmitted rural culture having its origins
thousands of years ago. Furthermore, the authors interpret a potentially
chaotic array of variant linguistic forms by presenting the reader with a
coherent analysis of phonetic, morphological and lexical zones in the form
of 500 colour maps.

The book is divided into three parts, each of which has been written on
the basis of cartographic analyses: 1) Time : diachronic investigation of
long-term linguistic situations; 2) Space : the influence of geography on
the formation of dialect zones; 3) Movement : the paths that linguistic
forms have followed over the centuries on account of variable political
and economic conditions.

Several maps include data extracted from Pierre Le Roux's Atlas
Linguistique de la Basse-Bretagne whose fieldwork was undertaken around
the First World War.

The authors are Jean Le Du and Yves Le Berre, both professors at the
University of Western Brittany, Brest, and Guylaine Brun-Trigaud, an
engineer for the CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research) in
Nice,where she is currently collaborating on the Thesaurus occitan.

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