upcoming lectures and presentations

I am very excited to be giving a paper at the CHINED VI conference in Sheffield in June 2017. The paper is called Style and Genre in the Early French Press and the abstract is below.


The aim of this paper is to reflect on style and genre in the early French press. The research is part of a larger project called The Origins and Evolution of Journalistic French: The History of a Genre and the History of the Language. Until this project, there had been only isolated analyses of historical periodicals by historians of the French language (e.g. Ayres-Bennett 1996: 207-11, 2004: 82-108, Lodge 2004: 171-90). This project was therefore designed as the first large-scale systematic linguistic study of historical French news discourse. It is based on quantitative and qualitative analyses of a 500,000-word corpus that was compiled specifically for this study. The corpus covers the period from the publication of the first French-language periodical to have had long-term success (the Gazette de France founded in 1631) to the French Revolution (1789). It consists of five publications, all of which can be considered generalist: two gazettes (the Gazette de France and the Gazette d’Amsterdam), the first learned periodical (the Journal des savans), a lighter review (the Mercure galant) and the first daily newspaper (the Journal de Paris). This project makes contributions to two different fields: historical genre studies and historical (French) linguistics.


The paper that I will present starts with an overview of the larger project, outlining both its aims and its methodology. I then present summaries of the results of a series of case studies that I have carried out concerning the use of different linguistic features in the corpus. The features concerned come from a variety of different linguistic levels. Strikingly, however, the results of all of the case studies point to what have emerged as two important features of historical French newswriting as represented by my corpus. The first is that at the very outset, with the appearance of the first periodical publications, there was great stylistic uniformity in the journalistic genre. The second is that the middle of the eighteenth century saw a notable diversification of both journalistic style and the journalistic genre. I therefore use the final section of the paper to expand the perspective from the linguistic data to include the socio-cultural context in order to attempt to explain both of these crucial observations.


 Ayres-Bennett, W. (1996) A History of the French Language Through Texts, London, New York: Routledge.

—(2004) Sociolinguistic Variation in Seventeenth-Century France: Methodology and Case Studies, Cambridge: CUP.

Lodge, R. A. (2004) A Sociolinguistic History of Parisian French, Cambridge: CUP.





Ph.D. program!

The University of California, Berkeley is now accepting applications for each of two updated Ph.D. programs: Romance Linguistics (RLL) and Hispanic Linguistics (HLL). Program coursework, requirements, and application deadlines differ, so kindly refer to each program's website for further information. 

Romance Linguistics (RLL)

Hispanic Linguistics (HLL)


upcoming lectures and presentations

An update on future lectures and presentations.

Diachro VII

I'll be giving a paper at the Diachro VII conference in Paris which takes place on 5-7 February 2015. The title of the paper is Marquer le discours rapporté dans la presse française aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles. For information about the conference, click on the link above.

I'm also giving two papers in the United States this semester. On the 17th of April, I'll be speaking at the University of Texas, Austin and I'll also be taking part in the conference Translation in Transition at Barnard College in New York on the 1st and 2nd of May 2015.


just published!


The volume L'histoire du français: état des lieux et perspectives has just been published by Garnier (edited by Wendy Ayres-Bennett and Thomas Rainsford). I have a chapter in the book called "La traduction comme source de changements linguistiques dans l’histoire de la langue française".



my état présent on translation studies, just published

"Etat présent: Translation Studies", French Studies, doi, 10.1093/fs/knu082 (April 29 2014). 

Download the pdf here