Cercle Benveniste

Cercle Benveniste

The Cercle Benveniste Circle is a research group that is open to all – colleagues as well as students – who are interested in language, in any and all of its aspects.

Upcoming Meetings and Conferences (Fall 2020/Winter 2021)

Zoom Meeting ID: 950 1955 4703 / Passcode 281514)

Fall 2020 - Winter 2021 Poster

Friday, October 2

2 - 3 p.m.  |  Online (via Zoom)

Discussion of Benveniste’sessay “Les relations de temps dansle verbe français / The Correlations of Tense in the French VerbSession led by Jordan K. Skinner (Princeton University)

Not only is the essay one that has drawn interdisciplinary attention—from the film criticism of Christian Metz to the narratology of Gérard Genette—but it also presents two problems of translation that would make for an interesting discussion. The first translation problem can be found with the termhistoire, a central term of the essay, that can be rendered in English either as “story” or “history”. The second translation problem is identified within the essay itself and follows from the fact that English lacks an equivalent to the narrative use of the Frenchpassé composé, making the task of narration a problem proper to the domain linguistics itself.


Friday, October 16

2 - 3 p.m.  |  Online (via Zoom)

Gatekeeping, Censorship and Translation in the Venezuelan Manifesto of Independence Americanos - Presented by Gabriela Iturriza (Université de Montréal)

To date, two important Venezuelan historians have maintained that the revolutions in the Spanish colonies occurred without access to printing presses and without communication among the colonies. Keeping in mind the identification of foreign newspapers as sources of information for the Venezuelan newspaper Gaceta de Caracas, we will examine in detail the translation strategies of the anonymous manifesto “Americanos” (1810), which appeared in the French royalist newspaper L’Ambigú, and then, the
trans-editing of this piece in the Venezuelan Gaceta. Notably, this research helped us identify the real diffusion date of this revolutionary paper along with the identity of its author.


Friday, October 30

2 - 3 p.m.  |  Online (via Zoom)

Discussion of Benveniste’s essay: “La philosophie analytique
et le langage / Analytical Philosophy and Language” - Session led by Jordan K. Skinner

In 1958 a group of British philosophers held a colloquium at Royaumont, France. One of these philosophers, J.L. Austin, presented a paper that soon caught the eye of the linguist Émile Benveniste who glimpsed a shared affinity between their respective projects: both thought about how “language put into action” could perform an act. This “act”, according to both the philosopher and the linguist, is identical with the utterance of the act. Both were interested in this as a linguistic manifestation, since it must be spoken, and a real fact, insofar as it is the performing of an act. While Benveniste continued to insist on a boundary between “philosophy” and “linguistics” throughout his essay “Analytical Philosophy and Language”, in this seminar session as we discuss what the linguist meant by langue and parole, and explore his use of terms like “potential” and “act”, the more he might begin to resemble a philosopher. As we discuss his essay “Analytical Philosophy and Language” together, we will continue to consider how it relates to the other essays he grouped under the heading « L’Homme dans le langage ».


Friday, November 27

2 - 3 p.m.  | Online (Zoom Meeting ID: 950 1955 4703 / Passcode 281514)

One Picture or One Thousand Words? Issues of Language Representation in Manga presented by Ben Whaley

A central question that continues to occupy Comic Studies is whether thematic and narrative analysis alone is an adequate framework for approaching a hybrid medium of text and image. Surely it was a dominant framework in the early 1990s, with such books as Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics (1993). Yet, since the early 2000s, writings from Thierry Groensteen (1999, Système de la bande dessinée, 2007 English) and Ōtsuka Eiji (2012, How Manga Tried to Become Films) have advocated for a combination of a media theory and aesthetic analysis of manga and interpretation. This debate is made all the more visible when deciding how to represent language (spoken words, foreign scripts, song lyrics, etc.) within the visual grammar of Japanese manga (print comics). Drawing on the theories of McCloud, Groensteen, and Ōtsuka, this talk begins by introducing common challenges and techniques manga artists use when representing language on the page. It concludes with a case study of Ōima Yoshitoki’s hit manga A Silent Voice (2013, Koe no katachi, 2015 English) which grapples with these very considerations of formal elements in its story about a young deaf girl who is bullied in school.


Friday, December 11

2 - 3 p.m.  |  Online (via Zoom)

Multilingual Reading Session led by Anna Pletnyova

As per tradition, participants to bring a text of your choice to share. Could be poetry or prose. Read or perform in the language of your choice: natural or artificial. Anything you feel like reading in order to give others a taste of your own language. No translation required, unless you want to. No further comment, unless you have one. No apologies, even if you are Canadian. This language diversity event is the usual Circle’s way of celebrating the end term.


Friday, January 8

2 - 3 p.m.  |  Online (via Zoom)

Friday, January 22

2 - 3 p.m  |  Online (via Zoom)

Friday, February 5

2 - 3 p.m  |  Online (via Zoom)

Friday, March 5

2 - 3 p.m  |  Online (via Zoom)

Friday, March 19

2 - 3 p.m  |  Online (via Zoom)

Friday, April 2

2 - 3 p.m  |  Online (via Zoom)

Come join us for the 9th season!

  • Open to all – colleagues and students – interested in language
  • Discussions alternate indiscriminately between English and French
  • Speak, listen or simply observe
  • Activities include seminars (discussions of a previously assigned text); conferences featuring guest speakers; documentary films; etc.
  • A forum to present and share ideas as well as connect with other researchers

Past Meetings and Conferences

December 6 (Friday
2 - 3 p.m.  |  CHD 420

Multilingual Poetic Session. Participants to bring your own text to share, in the language of your choice.

January 10 (Friday
2 - 3 p.m.  |  CHD 420

Discussion around the work of ethnologist Arnold van Gennep (1873-1957), best known for his inverted ethnology in Les Demi-savants (1911), in which he draws attention to studies that are too narrowly specialized to understand the vitality of social facts. We’ll look at Chapter 6 << Le sujet de recherches, ou le folklore insondable >>

January 24 (Friday)
2 - 3 p.m.  |  CHD 420

Discussion around the work of ethnologist Arnold van Gennep (1873-1957), best known for his inverted ethnology in Les Demi-savants (1911), in which he draws attention to studies that are too narrowly specialized to understand the vitality of social facts. We’ll look at Chapter 5 « Le questionnaire  ou les enquêtes ethnographiques >>

February 07 (Friday)
2 - 3 p.m.  |  CHD 420


February 28 (Friday)
2 - 3 p.m.  |  CHD 420

“Country Club” and Global City in The Widows of Thursday by Claudia Piñeiro presented by Nayibe Bermúdez Barrios

This talk explores Henry Lefebvre’s theory of social space as a mediating force between capitalism and the imagined worlds it offers. According to Lefebvre, a mode of production is only affirmed as such and only merits this name if it has given rise to a space (and a social time) (217). Thus, and in response to discourses and institutional practices tied to global financial capitalism, or neoliberalism, the physical space of the represented city is transformed and compartmentalized. As Buenos Aires vies for the status of global city, able to accommodate and satisfy the needs of national and transnational companies, the very wealthy retreat into ‘country clubs’ or luxury-living housing quarters with golf courses, security guards, and other amenities. In Piñeiro’s novel, these enclaves function as satellites of the global city of neoliberalism, and as imagined worlds, in which affect, aesthetics, and ideology ‘enable collective life to live’ the illusion of transnationality.


March 06 (Friday)
2 - 3 p.m.  |  CHD 420

"Language between the Divine and the Human: Signification in Classical Arabo-Islamic Thought" presented by Rachel Friedman

Discourse about language figures prominently in the classical Arabo-Islamic tradition. Scholars in the 9th and 10th centuries CE developed a robust body of thought on a set of interrelated topics that include the properties of language, the means by which it signifies, and its origins. One of the principal foci of these discussions of language was the Qur’an, with attention to means of understanding its content, its literary form, and its ontological status as a communication from the divine through the medium of language. This talk will engage with the work of three key figures in this tradition—al-Jāḥiẓ (d. 868), Abū Bakr al-Bāqillānī (d. 1013), and ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Jurjānī (d. 1078)—to examine ways in which the classical Arabo-Islamic tradition theorized language, its power to signify, and its power to provoke emotion. It will show how discourse on Qur’anic language was a site of theorizing language and signification more broadly and discuss the ways that the focus on divine speech shaped classical Arabo-Islamic theories of language

March 20 (Friday)
2 - 3 p.m.  |  CHD 420

Pierre Loti – Mustafa Kamel : l’amitié, le nationalisme et la question de l’orient presented by Nadia Sherbini

L’académicien français Pierre Loti, dont l’œuvre d’inspiration autobiographique est connue pour être nourrie de ses voyages, s’est lié d’amitié avec l’écrivain, orateur et personnage politique égyptien, Mustafa Kamel, avec lequel il partage un intérêt pour la défense des causes justes. Cette conférence explore ce lien d’amitié et analyse leur traitement (forme et contenu) de la cause nationaliste égyptienne ainsi que de la question de l’Orient, alors sous la tutelle Ottomane.

April 03 (Friday)
2 - 3 p.m  |  CHD 420

Conference by Aziz Faty (Pearson College, Victoria, BC)

Émile Benveniste

Le Cercle Benveniste

est un groupe de recherche basé à l’Université de Calgary, AB (Canada). Depuis sa création en 2012, le Cercle se consacre à l’œuvre d’Émile Benveniste; à sa contribution aux sciences du langage et disciplines connexes des sciences humaines et sociales; et à l’exploration (interdisciplinaire ) de Problèmes de linguistique générale, à la lumière de ses approches, de sa posture ainsi que de ses intuitions.

Founded in 2012, the Benveniste Circle is a research group located at the University of Calgary, AB (Canada). The Circle is dedicated to the study of Emile Benveniste’ work; to his contribution not only to linguistics but also to other disciplines of humanities and social sciences; and to the (interdisciplinary) investigation of Problems in General Linguistics, using his approaches, his posture as researcher and his intuitions.

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