Contrastive grammar in the Renaissance
The subtle presence of Greek in Jean Pillot’s French grammar (1550/1561)
This paper focuses on how Jean Pillot, author of the most popular French grammar of the sixteenth century in terms of editions, took efforts to contrast his native language with Greek. His Gallicæ linguæ institutio (1550/1561), although written in Latin, contains numerous passages where Pillot subtly confronted French with Greek, surveyed in Section 2, in order to give his audience of educated German speakers a clearer view of the idiosyncrasies of French. In Section 3, I analyze why he preferred Greek to the other languages he knew in quite a number of cases, arguing that this subtle contrastive endeavor bore an indirect pedagogical and ideological load. Section 4 discusses the terminological means Pillot used to confront Greek with French, and their origins. In Section 5, I frame Pillot’s appropriation of Greek grammar in the long history of contrastive language studies, with special reference to the pivotal role of sixteenth-century linguistic analysis.
- 2.French and Greek in contrast: Pillot’s data
- 3.Hellenizing the vernacular: A linguistic backing for imagined socio-cultural ties
- 4.Pillot’s contrastive metalanguage
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