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Voice LessonsFrench Mélodie in the Belle Epoque$
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Katherine Bergeron

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195337051

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195337051.001.0001

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The Mother Tongue

The Mother Tongue

(p.69) Chapter Two The Mother Tongue
Voice Lessons

Katherine Bergeron

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores what it meant to speak French in late 19th-century France, and considers the ways in which the mother tongue itself was transformed by political and scientific developments in the Third Republic. Beginning with education reforms proposed by Michel Bréal, Ferdinand Buisson, and Jules Ferry, the argument converges on the legislation that established a free, compulsory, and secular curriculum in France. It then considers the advances in phonology that made it possible to document the material content of the French tongue to an unprecedented degree. Through the work of scholars such as Paul Passy, Abbé Rousselot, Ferdinand Brunot, and others, the chapter chronicles the growing interest in the sounds of French speech, at the very moment the state was requiring all its citizens to speak the language well.

Keywords:   Paul Passy, Abbé Rousselot, Ferdinand Brunot, Michel Bréal, Ferdinand Buisson, Jules Ferry, phonology, language reform, education reform

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