This book makes the perhaps audacious presumption that it is possible to write an accessible, and yet state-of-the art, introduction to the structure of French for a motivated public of non-specialists.
As instructors in the French linguistics program of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, we have long been confronted with the need for teaching graduate students of French and linguistics a highly technical literature about the structure of French, and simultaneously having to make ourselves understood by undergraduate students who, although having a sound knowledge of French, are not specializing in linguistics. Thus, upon an inquiry from Kate Brett from Cambridge University Press about writing such a book, we set out to combine our lectures notes, newspaper clippings, various technical and non-technical readings, and writing into a single book to be used to teach basic concepts of linguistic analysis through a panoramic tour of the defining characteristics of the French language.
As one of the volumes published in the Linguistic Introduction series of Cambridge University Press, this book provides a linguistic, i.e. relatively technical, overview of several fields of French linguistics. Its novelty resides in its pluralistic approach to French and its presentation of domains of linguistic analyses, e.g. pragmatics, that are rarely, if ever, discussed in similar works.