Langues et civilisations
à tradition orale

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  Home > Conferences > From field to theory: 40 years of LACITO, International conference, CNRS, Villejuif, 15-17 November 2016




From field to theory: 40 years of LACITO
International conference
CNRS, Villejuif, 15-17 November 2016


In 2016, the department LACITO "Langues et civilisations à tradition orale" (French National Center for Scientific Research – Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle – INALCO) is celebrating its 40th anniversary. We are marking the occasion with a conference bringing together colleagues from throughout the discipline.

Organizing committee:

  • Anne Behaghel-Dindorf, Isabelle Leblic & Lameeen Souag

Scientific committee :

  • Sandra Bornand (Llacan), Guillaume Jacques (Crlao), Bertrand Masquelier (Lacito), Alexis Michaud (Lacito) & Samia Naïm (Lacito)

Program: see online



programmeA Short presentation of LACITO


LACITO was founded in 1976 by Jacqueline M.C. Thomas, with help from André-Georges Haudricourt.

The documentation and description of unwritten languages within their cultural contexts has always been at the core of our activities. LACITO has played a pioneering role in the gathering, processing, and diffusion of data on previously little-known languages. Our members have published grammars and dictionaries of many dozens of languages, along with a number of oral literature collections.

All together, we have studied more than 200 languages from many different families: Abkhazo-Adyghean, Afroasiatic, Arawakan, Austroasiatic, Austronesian, Basque, Cariban, Dravidian, Eskimo-Aleut, Hmong-Mien, Indo- European, Japonic, Kartvelian, Korean, Nakh-Daghestanian, Niger-Congo, Oto-Manguean, Uralic, Sino-Tibetan, Songhay, Tai-Kadai, Tucanoan, Tupi. Since 1994 our field recordings have been made available through the Pangloss Collection, an online archive of glossed and translated audio recordings.

In both linguistics and anthropology, the comparative dimension (diachronic and synchronic) occupies a key position in LACITO's research. Our comparative studies started out by addressing historical developments and universal laws governing change. In recent decades, the typological perspective has opened up further research domains in phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics, which we have explored and helped to refine.

Finally, French ethnolinguistics at LACITO has developed and oriented itself towards dialogue pragmatics and linguistic anthropology. In this domain, LACITO has distinguished itself by adopting multiple paradigms (discourse practices, speech events and utterance events, speech situations, activity types) and by exploring the cognitive dimension of discourse tropes. Particular attention has been paid to musical forms, lyrics, lexical taxonomies, and ethnoscience.


This international conference will celebrate the world's linguistic and cultural diversity — a topic dear to the heart of LACITO's researchers, and of their colleagues from other horizons.


More links about LaCiTO, on the occasion of our 40th anniversary:

News around the 40 years of LaCiTO (from LaCiTO's blog)

Our online archive, the Pangloss Collection

Publications by LaCITO members (1934–2016)

Exhibitions created by LaCiTO (1983–2003) now available online

"La Revue du Lacito" (1986–99).


Contact: lacitocnrs [at] gmail.com

Registration for the conference (on Azur-colloque) is only necessary for presenters. Attending the conference will be free for the public. Formal registration is not necessary, but we do recommend you write to us at lacitocnrs [at] gmail.com to let us know about your desire to attend. This will make it easier for you (for security reasons) to enter the campus on the day of the conference.


(Grants: CNRS, Labex EFL, Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle, and other pending requests)

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