The ACADéMIE FRANçAISE (French pronunciation: ), known in
English as the FRENCH ACADEMY, is the pre-eminent French council for
matters pertaining to the
French language . The Académie was
officially established in 1635 by
Cardinal Richelieu , the chief
minister to King Louis XIII . Suppressed in 1793 during the French
Revolution , it was restored as a division of the Institut de France
in 1803 by
The Académie consists of forty members, known informally as les
immortels (the immortals). New members are elected by the members of
the Académie itself. Academicians hold office for life, but they may
resign or be dismissed for misconduct.
Philippe Pétain , named
* 1 History
* 2 Membership
* 2.1 Uniform
* 3 Role as authority on the French language
* 3.1 Dictionary * 3.2 Anglicisms * 3.3 Alleged conservatism
* 4 Prizes * 5 Opposing regional languages * 6 Current members * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 External links
Cardinal Richelieu , responsible for the establishment of the Académie
The Académie had its origins in an informal literary group deriving
from the salons held at the
Hôtel de Rambouillet during the late
1620s and early 1630s. The group began meeting at
Valentin Conrart 's
house, seeking informality. There were then nine members. Cardinal
Richelieu , the chief minister of France, made himself protector of
the group, and in anticipation of the formal creation of the academy,
new members were appointed in 1634. On 22 February 1635, at
Richelieu's urging, King Louis XIII granted letters patent formally
establishing the council; according to the letters patent registered
Richelieu's model, the first academy devoted to eliminating the
"impurities" of a language, was the
Accademia della Crusca , founded
in Florence in 1582, which formalized the already dominant position of
French Revolution , the
National Convention suppressed all
royal academies, including the Académie française. In 1792, the
election of new members to replace those who died was prohibited; in
1793, the academies were themselves abolished. They were all replaced
in 1795 by a single body called the Institut de
The President of
Members are known as les Immortels (the Immortals) because of the motto , À l'immortalité ("To Immortality"), that is on the official seal of the charter granted by Cardinal Richelieu.
One of the Immortels is chosen by his or her colleagues to be the
Académie's Perpetual Secretary. The Secretary is called "Perpetual"
because the holder serves for life, although he or she may resign, and
may thereafter be styled as Honorary Perpetual Secretary; indeed the
World War II
New members are elected by the Académie itself. (The original
members were appointed.) When a seat becomes vacant, a person may
apply to the Secretary if she or he wishes to become a candidate.
Alternatively, existing members may nominate other candidates. A
candidate is elected by a majority of votes from voting members. A
quorum is twenty members. If no candidate receives an absolute
majority, another election must be performed at a later date. The
election is valid only if the protector of the Académie, the
President of France, grants his approval. The President's approbation,
however, is only a formality. (There was a controversy about the
The new member is then installed at a meeting of the Académie. The new member must deliver a speech to the Académie, which includes a eulogy for the member being replaced. This is followed by a speech made by one of the members. Eight days thereafter, a public reception is held, during which the new member makes a speech thanking his or her colleagues for their election. Once, a member (Georges de Porto-Riche ) was not accorded a reception because the eulogy he made of his predecessor was not considered satisfactory, and he refused to rewrite it. Georges Clemenceau refused to be received because he feared that he might be received by his enemy, Raymond Poincaré .
Members remain in the Académie for life. However, the council may dismiss an academician for grave misconduct. The first dismissal occurred in 1638, when Auger de Moléon de Granier was expelled for theft. The most recent dismissals occurred at the end of World War II : Philippe Pétain , Abel Bonnard , Abel Hermant , and Charles Maurras were all excluded for their association with the Vichy regime . In total, twenty members have been expelled from the Académie.
There have been a total of 726 immortels, of whom eight have been
women (the first woman,
Many notable French writers have not become members of the Académie
française. During 1855, the writer
The official uniform of a member is known as l’habit vert, or green
clothing. The habit vert, worn at the Académie's formal ceremonies,
was first adopted during
ROLE AS AUTHORITY ON THE FRENCH LANGUAGE
Title page of the 6th edition of the Académie's dictionary (1835)
The Académie is France's official authority on the usages, vocabulary, and grammar of the French language.
The Académie publishes a dictionary of the French language, known as
the Dictionnaire de l\'
The Académie has published thirteen editions of the dictionary, of which three were preliminary, eight were complete, and two were supplements for specialised words. These are: Preliminary editions
Dictionnaire de l'Académie française (from A to Aversion),
Frankfurt am Main
Dictionnaire de l'Académie française dedié au Roy ("1st
edition"), Paris, 1694
* Nouveau Dictionnaire de l’
Supplementary editions for the sciences, arts, and technology
* Corneille, Thomas, Le Dictionnaire des Arts et des Sciences, Paris, 1694 * Barré, Louis, Complément du Dictionnaire de l’Académie française, Paris, 1842
The Académie is continuing work on the ninth edition, of which the first volume (A to Enzyme) appeared in 1992, Éocène to Mappemonde was published in 2000, and Maquereau to Quotité in 2011. In 1778, the Académie attempted to compile a "historical dictionary" of the French language; this idea, however, was later abandoned, the work never progressing past the letter A.
As the use of English terms by media increased over the years, the Académie has tried to prevent the Anglicization of the French language. For example, the Académie has recommended to avoid loanwords from modern English (such as walkman, computer, software and e-mail), in favour of neologisms, i.e. newly coined French words derived from existing ones (baladeur, ordinateur, logiciel, and courriel respectively, the first three being at present well-established words of the French language).
The Academy, despite working on the modernization of the French orthography , has sometimes been criticized for allegedly behaving in an overly conservative manner. A recent controversy involved the officialization of feminine equivalents for the names of several professions. For instance, in 1997, Lionel Jospin 's government began using the feminine noun "la ministre" to refer to a female minister, following the official practice of Canada, Belgium and Switzerland and a frequent, though until then unofficial, practice in France. The Académie, however, insisted in accordance with French grammar rules on the traditional use of the masculine noun, "le ministre", for a minister of either gender. Use of either form remains highly controversial.
See also: Grand prix du roman de l\'
The most important prize is the Grand prix de la francophonie , which was instituted in 1986, and is funded by the governments of France, Canada, Monaco, and Morocco. Other important prizes include the grand prix de littérature (for a literary work), the grand prix du roman (for a novel), the grand prix de poésie (for poetry), the grand prix de philosophie (for a philosophical work), the grand prix du cinéma (for film), and the grand prix Gobert (for a work on French history).
OPPOSING REGIONAL LANGUAGES
Further information: List of members of the Académie française
The current members of the
SEAT NUMBER NAME YEAR ELECTED
1 Claude Dagens 2008
2 Dany Laferrière 2013
3 Jean-Denis Bredin 1989
5 Andreï Makine 2016
6 Marc Fumaroli 1995
7 Jules Hoffmann 2012
10 Florence Delay 2000
11 Gabriel de Broglie 2001
12 Jean d\'Ormesson (Dean) 1973
14 Hélène Carrère d\'Encausse (Perpetual Secretary) 1990
15 Frédéric Vitoux 2001
16 Valéry Giscard d\'Estaing 2003
18 Michel Serres 1990
19 Jean-Loup Dabadie 2008
20 Angelo Rinaldi 2001
21 Alain Finkielkraut 2014
22 René de Obaldia 1999
23 Pierre Rosenberg 1995
25 Dominique Fernandez 2007
26 Jean-Marie Rouart 1997
27 Pierre Nora 2001
28 Jean-Christophe Rufin 2008
30 Danièle Sallenave 2011
31 Michael Edwards 2013
32 François Weyergans 2009
33 Dominique Bona 2013
34 François Cheng 2002
35 Yves Pouliquen 2001
38 Marc Lambron 2014
39 Jean Clair 2008
* ^ A B C D E "L’histoire". Academie Française official website. Retrieved 2010-01-13. * ^ A B C D E F "Les immortels". Academie Française official website. Retrieved 2014-01-07. * ^ Sanche de Gramont , The French: Portrait of a People, G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1969, p. 270 * ^ Einar Ingvald Haugen and Anwar S. Dil, The Ecology of Language, (Stanford University Press) p. 169. * ^ "Message from Mister Leopold Sedar Senghor, President of the Republic, to the Senegalese People". World Digital Library. Retrieved 28 April 2013. * ^ Classiques Garnier numérique, Corpus of Dictionaries of the French Academy (from the 17th to the 20th Century), Retrieved 2011-03-17 * ^ Allen, Peter (16 August 2008). "France\'s L\'Académie française upset by rule to recognise regional tongues". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
* Vincent, Leon H. (1901). The French Academy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
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