A propos des règles dans les grammaires françaises de l’âge classique

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This article offers some reflections about rules in grammars as complex dis­cursive objects, more precisely about their function and their status in the history of the description and institution of vernacular languages. Our analysis traces an example of exceptional longevity within the corpus of French grammars during the 17th and 18th centuries: the rule concerning the agree­ment of past participle used with the auxiliary verb ‘avoir’. Our atten­tion focuses on the historicity of discourse constructions through which this rule is empirically written in grammars through­out this period: Different grammarians do not express it in the same terms and do not conceive its content in the same way, using the same conceptual material. The rule raises different issues at different times within the history of the French lan­guage itself, and within the history of linguistics. We intend here to restore a part of this complexity.


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