LINGUIST List 25.1755

Wed Apr 16 2014

All: Obituary: Françoise Kerleroux

Editor for this issue: Sarah Fox <>

Date: 23-Feb-2014
From: Fabio Montermini <>
Subject: Obituary: Françoise Kerleroux
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Françoise Kerleroux passed away on February 4. A terrible illness took her away in only a few weeks. She only had the time to discover the papers that her colleagues and friends offered her in the book Foisonnements morphologiques. Etudes en hommage à Françoise Kerleroux (PUPO).

A graduate of the Ecole Normale Supérieure with an agrégation in Classical letters, she taught linguistics at the Université de Paris X - Nanterre until her retirement in 2001, and was a member of the research unit ''Modèles, Dynamiques Corpus''. From the beginning of her academic career, at the end of the 1960s, Françoise contributed greatly to the development of the Department of Linguistics at the University of Nanterre . She was first interested in sociolinguistics, then in the development of generative grammar, and published several papers in syntax, as well as a handbook (in collaboration with Annie Delaveau). From the end of the 1980s she gradually turned to derivational morphology.

She was among the first researchers to adopt the approach developed by Danielle Corbin in Lille for studying the morphology of French and the lexicon. Her teaching and her commitment to doing and supervising research were major contributions to the re-emergence of the study of morphology, neglected by the then dominant generative programme, in France and in Europe. She also played a leading role in the scientific and institutional development of lexeme-based morphology inFrance: she was among the founders of the Forum de Morphologie, which took place three times in Lille and in Toulouse between 1997 and 2002, she contributed to the creation of the GDR CNRS research group (Groupement derecherche) in morphology (1999-2007) and took part in several national and international projects, one of which led to the publication of the book Aperçus de morphologie du français that she co-edited with Bernard Fradin and Marc Plénat in 2009. Until recently, she regularly organised a morphology seminar in Nanterre which attracted many young linguists, in particular morphologists and semanticists.

Françoise Kerleroux's work covered a diversity of topics: from clipping to the polymorphism of lexemes, from conversion to the semantics of deverbal nouns, from the inflection / derivation interface to what she called ''categorial distortion'' in word use. And let us not forget more epistemological questions and the articulation between syntax and morphology. All these facets of Françoise's activity are tied together by several threads: thorough attention to the data, even the strangest and the most recalcitrant, an interest for non-conventional uses of words, scientific rigour, the desire to question established truths, even in linguistics, her curiosity and her great open-mindedness, both intellectual and personal. She actively adopted this open-mindedness in her writing, where a quotation from Frege could be used to explain the semantics of French clippings and a picture of Estonian fishermen might illustrate the argument structure of deverbal nouns.

Among all the lessons we received from Françoise, we want to retain this one in particular: that the art of ''demythologisation […] is inherent to all research'', as she wrote in her most important book, La coupure invisible, published in 1996. We will remember Françoise's enthusiasm and dynamism, her eagerness to share with others intellectually and personally, her fondness for open-minded debate, her great kindness and generosity.

Linguistic Field(s): Not Applicable

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