Mélanges de mythologie et de linguistique
The eminent French philologist Michel Bréal (1832–1915) made significant contributions to the fields of comparative linguistics, pedagogy and etymology. He became a member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres in 1875 and a commander of the Légion d'honneur in 1890. This work, first published in 1877, gathers together articles that Bréal mostly wrote before 1869, when he was appointed secretary of the new and prestigious Société de Linguistique de Paris. He argues that language and mythology have a common origin, which accounts for why most abstract nouns are feminine, in remembrance of ancient deities. Bréal also exposes new ways to study languages and their impact in primary and secondary education. Lastly, he lays the foundations of modern semantics, a discipline he intended would reconcile historical linguistics with the philosophy of the Enlightenment.