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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 for Literature Henri Bergson became interested and reflected on the teaching of languages.

Henri Bergson's handwritten letter to an unidentified recipient. Two pages. In French. 12.8 cm x 14.8 cm. June 18, 1911, no location information. Excellent condition. Single piece.

June 18, 1911

Dear Sir, It is with the greatest interest that I read the article you sent me on language teaching. The methodology you propose is based on psychological considerations that seem true to me: if we start to privilege spoken language over heard language, it will be the sounds of his own language that the student will articulate, comparing them, more or less well, to pronounce the foreign words.
I particularly liked what you said about a certain « intimacy with the language, which makes it possible 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 that the prior study of the psychological conditions of speech has in relation to language teaching. All my congratulations for this article (…).
Henri Bergson

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

With an English mother and born in France, Henri Bergson (1859 – 1941) was bilingual: he read and corresponded with his mother in English and frequently went to 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. once said « English is the language I have studied since childhood and I know all its nuances. »

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

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