Wendy Ayres-Bennett works on the history of the French language and the history of linguistic thought, particularly in seventeenth-century France. Her major publications include Vaugelas and the Development of the French Language (London, MHRA, 1987), A History of the French Language through Texts (London, Routledge, 1996), Les Remarques de l'Académie Française sur le Quinte-Curce de Vaugelas (Paris, PENS, 1996), for which she was jointly awarded the Prix d'Académie by the French Academy, Problems and Perspectives: Studies in the Modern French Language (London, Longman, 2001) and Sociolinguistic variation in seventeenth-century France (Cambridge, CUP, 2004).
She is currently directing a major research project (funded by the AHRC 2006-2009) on the genre of observations on the French language. The Corpus des remarques sur la langue française (XVIIe siècle), was published by Classiques Garnier Numérique in 2011 and constitutes an important part of theGrand Corpus des grammaires françaises, des remarques et des traités sur la langue (XIVe-XVIIe siècles). This is complemented by a monograph on the history and evolution of the genre, co-authored with Magali Seijido, Remarques et observations sur la langue française, histoire et évolution d'un genre (Paris, Éditions Classiques Garnier, 2011) which was awarded the Prix Georges Dumézil by the French Academy in 2013.
Professor Ayres-Bennett has had six periods as a Visiting Professor in France, at the Universities of Limoges, Montpellier, Poitiers and Paris 7, and at the Écoles Normales Supérieures in Paris and Lyon. In April 2012 she was the Pajus Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. She has been President of the Society for French Studies and is currently President of the Philological Society and of the Société Internationale de Diachronie du Français. She is an Officier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques.
Subject groups/Research projects
I am interested in language policy, particularly in the UK, France and Europe. Much of my research has focussed on the history of language standardisation, purism and policy in France from the seventeenth century to the present day. My current work looks at multilingualism and its protection and promotion in the UK and Europe.
Other Professional Activities