Marie-Madeleine Jocelyne FERNANDEZ-VEST

Research Professor of Language Sciences at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) – and the University Paris 3 - Sorbonne Nouvelle

e-mail: rf.srnc.fjv|tsev-zednanref.enylecoj.m.m#rf.srnc.fjv|tsev-zednanref.enylecoj.m.m

My career has been alternately shared between University teaching and full time Research positions since 1969. My research interests cover Typology, field linguistics (Finnish and Norwegian Sami, Finnish immigrants of California), discourse semantics and cognition, multilingualism and translation theories. My language specialities include English, Estonian, French, Finnish, Northern Sami, Swedish.

Academic degrees

I received my 2 PhDs in 1971 (Scandinavian Languages and Literatures, University Paris-Sorbonne, Paris 4) and 1977 (Finno-Ugric Linguistics, University Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3), and my Habilitation (Doctorat d’Etat, Language Sciences, University René Descartes, Paris 5 – Thesis jury: Claude Hagège, Jacqueline M. C. Thomas, Bernard Pottier and Robert Austerlitz (Columbia University, NY) in 1984. I also studied in Sweden (Theater and cinema at Stockholm University, Finnish and Estonian at Uppsala University), Finland (Finno-Ugric languages at Helsinki University) and the US (Columbia University, Uralic Department) in the 1970s.

Teaching activities

My first appointment as a teacher was at the University of Haute-Bretagne (Rennes 2), Maître de conférence and Head of the Finnish and Scandinavian Department, 1969-84. I was a part-time Visiting Professor of French Linguistics at the Universities of Finland ((Helsinki, Jyväskylä, Tampere, Turku), 1982-1993. I was Chargée de Conférences at the EPHE-Sorbonne (Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes) between 1994 and 2008. I was hired as a Professor of Finno-Ugric Linguistics by the University Paris 3 (Administrator of the Finno-Ugric Study Coordination Paris 3 – Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO)) from 1998 to 2002. I have conducted Linguistic Doctoral Studies in several universities, at E.P.H.E.-Sorbonne until 2008, Paris 3 until today (Seminars « Plurilinguisme : typologie et universaux des langues », « La Structure Informationnelle entre typologie et universaux »), and taught weekly lectures on « The structures of Finno-Ugric languages » to linguists at University Paris 4 (2008-10).

Research positions

As a researcher, I was first recruited temporarily at CNRS as a Chargée de Recherche (Level 1), 1978-84, then got a tenure as a Research Professor in 1989 (Class 1 since 2003). I was a member of the CNRS Laboratory LACITO (« Langues et Civilisations à Tradition Orale », successively Director of the European Section, the Eurasian Department and the Orality&Cognition Department; coordinator of the « Semantics of Field Discourse » team of the Paris Cognitive Science Research Network), 1981-98, then co-founder and Director of the Laboratory OSTERLITS (4 main topics – Orality, Uralic linguistics, bilingualism and translation) 1998-2002. Attached to an interdisciplinary research team (« Interculturalité en Europe») at EPHE 2005-2008, I have been reintegrated as a member of LACITO in 2009.
I was an elected member of C.N.R.S. National Committee (Language Sciences and Cognitive Science sections) 3 times between 1984-2004, of the militant Association « Sauvons La Recherche ! » (SLR, Administration Council and coordinator of the SLR-Europe committee), 2005-09.

International collaborations

My international collaborations have included joint projects with universities of Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Russia, Sweden, US, the co-organization of over 50 Conferences (7th Biennal Conference of the Association for Linguistic Typology, ALT 7, Paris, 2009), and the joint edition of research papers (co-founder and -director with Claude Hagège, Collège de France, of the Series Grammaire & Cognition, Paris, Ed. L’Harmattan). Secretary of the International Society for Functional Linguistics (SILF), 1983-86, I am an elected member of the International Committee of Finno-Ugric Congresses, 2005-15, a member of the Advisory Board of the EUropean-FP7-project ELDIA (European Language Diversity for All), 2010-13; the scientific coordinator of ISTY (Information Structuring and TYpology of Languages), program of CNRS Federation for Linguistic Typology and Universals, 2010-13.
I have been invited by Californian universities (Berkeley, Fresno, UCLA) as a Visiting scholar 5 times between 1996 and 2009; I was an Affiliate at the Summer Institute of the Linguistic Society of America twice (Santa Barbara 2001, Berkeley 2009).


I have authored, co-authored or edited 23 books, and have written about 200 chapters and articles. I have also translated several scientific articles and literary books from English, Estonian, Finnish, Northern Sami and Swedish into French.

My recent publications include (in English) :

– 2001, (dir.) Grammaticalisation aréale et sémantique cognitive: les langues fenniques et sames - Areal Grammaticalization and Cognitive Semantics: the Finnic and Sami Languages, Actes du Colloque International du C.N.R.S. tenu les 9 et 10 avril 1999 en Sorbonne, Tallinn, Ed. Foundation of the Estonian Language, coll. Oural-Ural, 1, 231 p.
– 2002, “ Typology, pragmatics, standardization : will Northern Sami survive as Finno-Ugric ? ”, in Finno-Ugrians and Indo-Europeans : Linguistic and literary contacts, Proceedings of the Symposium at the University of Groningen, November 22-24, 2001, R. Blokland & C. Hasselblatt (eds.), Studia Fenno-Ugrica Groningana, 2, p. 64-71.
– 2004, Chapter 4. “ The information structure of bilingual meaning : a constructivist approach to Californian Finnish conversation ”, in Tuija Virtanen (ed.), Approaches to cognition through text and discourse, Mouton de Gruyter, p. 49-78.
– 2004, & Karl Pajusalu (eds.), Grammar and interaction – Grammaire et interaction ; Linguistica Uralica, Tallinn, 4.
– 2005, (dir.) Les langues ouraliennes aujourd’hui : approche linguistique et cognitive – The Uralic languages today. A linguistic and cognitive approach, Préface de Claude Hagège, Paris, Ed. Honoré Champion, Bibl. de l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes, 340, 689 p.
– 2005, “ Finnish cognitive substrate in Californian science fiction : Emil Petaja’s Kalevalan Sisu ”, in M.M.J. Fernandez-Vest (dir.), Les langues ouraliennes…, p. 495-513.
– 2005, “ Information structure and typological change : Northern Sami challenged by Indo-European models ”, in M.M.J. Fernandez-Vest (dir.), Les langues ouraliennes…, p. 563-576.
– 2005, (dir.), Oralité et cognition – incarnée ou située ? Orality and cognition – embodied or situated ?, Paris, L’Harmattan, coll. Grammaire & cognition, 3, 137 p.
– 2006, (with Jim Miller), “ Spoken and written language ”, in G. Bernini and M.L. Schwartz (eds.), Pragmatic organization of discourse, Berlin-New York, Mouton de Gruyter, Empirical approaches to language typology, Eurotyp 20-8, p. 9-64.
– 2007, (dir.), Combat pour les langues du monde – Fighting for the world’s languages. Hommage à Claude Hagège, Paris, Ed. L’Harmattan, coll. Grammaire & cognition, 4-5, 523 p.
– 2007, “ Word Order in context : Information Structure, a revolutionary approach to Uralic typology ? ”, in Csepregi M. & V. Masonen (sz.), Grammatika és kontextus új szempontok az uráli nyelvek kutatásábán. Grammar and context – new approaches to the Uralic languages, Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem, Finnugor Tanszék, Budapest, 2004, április 4-7, Budapest, Urálisztikai tanulmányok, 17, p. 88-100.
– 2009, “ Bilingual knowledge in a perspective of cognitive semantics : evidence from Northern Sami and Californian Finnish ”, in M.M.J. Fernandez-Vest & D.T. Do-Hurinville (dir.) Plurilinguisme et traduction, des enjeux pour l’Europe – Multilingualism and translation, challenges for Europe, Paris, Ed. L’Harmattan, coll. Grammaire & Cognition, 6, p. 65-78.
– 2009, “ Typological evolution of Northern Sami : spatial cognition and Information Structuring ”, The Quasquicentennial of the Finno-Ugrian Society, J. Ylikoski (ed.), Helsinki, Mémoires de la Société Finno-Ougrienne – Suomalais-Ugrilaisen Seuran Toimituksia, 258, p. 33-55.
– 2011 in press, “ Typological evolution of information grammar in Uralic ”, in Cs. Sándor (ed.), Papers from the XIth International Congress of Finno-Ugric studies. 08-15 August 2010, Piliscsaba, Budapest, Reguly Társaság , 6 p.
– 2011 in press, Sami. An introduction to the language and culture, with a Sami-English-Sami lexicon, Helsinki, Finn Lectura, 320 p.
– 2011, Detachments for cohesion : Toward an Information Grammar of oral languages, approx. 280 p., Ms.