The French factory

Since 2009, the Seine-Saint-Denis County Council has been backing “la Culture et l’Art au Collège (CAC)”. This project is based to a large extent on the presence in class for several weeks (40h) of an artist or scientist whose mission is to engage the students in a process of research and creation. 

 

Tutors: Louise Kaiser/ PhD student in linguistics, Nicola Lampitelli, Christina Fonseca/ linguists

Project manager: Stéphane Coulaud

 

Objectives: 
With a little patience and determination, we can find and explain the reasons for changes in the French language in particular periods and places. We can then start a journey back to the origins of the language which will enable the pupils not only to discover the various ancestors of the French language, but also to understand why we talk about a "living language".

Workshop:
The workshop combines analysis of words, the history of languages and exercise of the imagination.

Methodology
To make the pupils think about the origins of French, they were given a general introduction to linguistics and learned about the methods used in that discipline.

Exploring
After an historical and geographical overview of the languages in Europe, the tutor and the pupils explored the origins of the French language. Because some were studying Latin, emphasis was put on words taken from classical Latin. They then studied the spread of Latin through cultural interaction and the process of borrowing words and adapting them to French. Later they worked on the Oaths of Strasbourg and the Song of Roland as examples of language change.

“Kiffer?”
On the basis of these ideas, the last part of the workshop focused on a few words chosen by the pupils. They had to come from various registers. Some of them, such as ministier (trade), kif and kiffer, alarme and cassos (social case) were used as a springboard for an etymological study. A brief definition and received meanings, with various spelling, were then drawn up for the project report.

Outcome:
The three classes worked together to make a set of nine black and white posters in A1 format. The nine posters could be displayed together, or separately, in any order. The posters complied with the codes used in a dictionary. Each word had a short definition and an etymology. Each class was given a set of posters to put up in its school.

 

Outings (selection):
- VISIT TO THE ANTIQUE COLLECTIONS IN THE LOUVRE ON THE THEME OF THE HISTORY OF WRITING.
- WAX TABLET WORKSHOP AND VISITS TO THE MUSÉE DES LETTRES ET MANUSCRITS.

Participating schools:
- Class (5th), Collège Jean-Jaurès, Villepinte
- Class (4th Segpa), Collège René-Descartes, Le Blanc-Mesnil
- Class (3rd), Collège Jacques-Prévert, Noisy-le-Sec

 

Photos: PIERRE ANTOINE

The French factory
The French factory
The French factory
The French factory