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Henri Bergson's handwritten letter (1911)

Henri Bergson's handwritten letter (1911)

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In 1911, the future Nobel Prize winner for literature Henri Bergson became interested and reflected on the teaching of languages.

  • Handwritten letter from Henri Bergson to an as yet unidentified recipient.
  • Two pages.
  • In French.
  • 12.8cm x 14.8cm.
  • June 18, 1911, no information on location.
  • Excellent condition.
  • Unique piece.

June 18, 1911

Dear Sir, It is with great interest that I read the article you sent me about teaching languages. The methodology you propose is based on psychological considerations that seem to me to be the truth: if we start to privilege spoken language over heard language, it will be the sounds of their own language that the student articulates, comparing them, more or less well, to pronounce the foreign words.
I particularly liked what you said about a certain “intimidate with the language, which makes us able to understand the meaning of entire sentences of which we only know a few words.
In general, I believe that his work drew attention to the capital importance of the prior study of the psychological conditions of discourse in relation to language teaching. Congratulations on this article (…).
Henri Bergson

Professor, philosopher and writer of great international renown, Nobel Prize in Literature, he participated in the creation of UNESCO, convinced that education – and the teaching of foreign languages ​​– were fundamental to creating the conditions for lasting international peace.

Of an English mother and born in France, Henri Bergson (1859 – 1941) was bilingual: he read and corresponded with his mother in English and often went to the England to meet your family or give conferences. Bergson also closely followed the translations of his own books and those of his French or English colleagues. Said once « English is a language that I have studied since childhood and I know all the nuances of it. »

In this context, this profound little letter, written at the beginning of an intense period of international travel for Bergson, and a few years before the First World War, is particularly relevant.

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