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Professor Wendy Ayres - Bennett

Professor Wendy Ayres - Bennett

Professor of French Philology and Linguistics

History of linguistic thought in France

History of the French language

Socio-historical linguistics

Building a corpus of French metalinguistic texts

Office Phone: (+44) (0)1223 760800

Research Interests

I work on the history of the French language and the history of linguistic thought, particularly in seventeenth-century France. I am especially interested in considering what effect, if any, metalinguistic texts have on language change in France and the extent to which the seventeenth-century so-called prescriptive texts reflect or shape the evolution of the language. I have also published on socio-historical linguistics and have worked extensively on possible sources of non-standard usages in seventeenth-century France. I am currently the PI on a major international research project on Observations and Remarks on the French Language: this is producing both electronic and paper editions of the principal texts of this important genre.


  • Historical linguistics
  • French

Key Publications

Ayres-Bennett, W. (1987) Vaugelas and the Development of the French Language.  London, MHRA

Ayres-Bennett, W. (1996) A History of the French Language through Texts. London, Routledge

Ayres-Bennett, W. (2004) Sociolinguistic Variation in Seventeenth-Century France. Cambridge, CUP

Ayres-Bennett, W. and Seijido, M. (2011) Remarques et observations sur la langue française: histoire et évolution d'un genre. Paris, Classiques Garnier.

Ayres-Bennett, W. (2011) Corpus des remarques sur la langue française (XVIIe siècle). Paris, Classiques Garnier Numérique.