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Reviewed by:
  • Enseignement du français: les apports de la recherche en linguistique. Réflexions en l’honneur de Marie-José Béguelinéd. par Mathieu Avanzi et al.
  • Michaël Abecassis
Enseignement du français: les apports de la recherche en linguistique. Réflexions en l’honneur de Marie-José Béguelin. Sous la direction de M athieuA vanzi, V irginieC onti, G illesC orminboeuf, F redericG achet, L aureA nneJ ohnsenet P ascalM ontchaud. ( GRAMM-R. Etudes de linguistique française, 21.) Bruxelles: Peter Lang, 2014. 374 pp., ill.

A great deal of research is currently being conducted on French language teaching. But what can we glean from the mass of information available to us, and what do new findings in linguistics bring to the language-learning experience? This volume gathers articles by internationally renowned professors of French and other scholars, including doctoral students, following a study day that took place at the Université de Neuchâtel in May 2013, organized in honour of Marie-José Béguelin in recognition of her extensive publications in general linguistics. It is understandable, therefore, that there should be frequent references to her work in the selected papers. This book offers a comprehensive and erudite overview of how the teaching of French in the twenty-first century can benefit from research conducted in linguistics. Various theoretical and practical questions are addressed: whether linguistic research responds to the learner’s needs and whether it can be used for teaching syllabi and textbooks; whether grammar books are appropriate; whether a normative discourse is apposite in the classroom; what terminology should be used; what linguistic training is required for trainee teachers; and what today’s actual needs are. These are just some of the many crucial questions raised by the contributors to this collection, which sets out the relationship between linguistics and language-teaching in four clearly balanced categories: (i) linguistic theories in language pedagogy; (ii) the teaching of French as a foreign language; (iii) the teaching of grammar; and (iv) learner competencies. The book is at times technical and specialized, and suffers from a degree of disjointedness between the sections. The student of French might find it difficult to draw practical lessons from such a diverse and dense collection of texts: a more detailed introduction and, above all, a keyword index would certainly have proved useful. However, this research covering a range of subjects, with copious bibliographical references, is a mine of information that will be of use to teachers at all levels, as well as researchers in the field of linguistics and French language teaching. While teaching methods are in a state of constant flux owing in part to changes in curricula and in the format of examinations, and while technology and the internet are adding further complexity to the language-learning experience, this volume will not only provide new understandings of language acquisition; it will also offer insights into the place of linguistics in modern language-teaching and teacher-training. [End Page 287]

Michaël Abecassis
University of Oxford


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