Fashioned by use: Jacques Bellot’s rules and its successors

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The sixteenth-century Huguenot émigré Jacques Bellot played a seminal role in the history of English and French language tuition, and is remembered for composing some of the first descriptive grammars for learners of both languages. His methods remained in use throughout the seventeenth century after being incorporated into the often- reprinted Grammaire angloise (1625). This essay considers a previously undiscussed manuscript copy of Bellot’s Rules containing the Perfect Understanding of the French Tongue (1566?) for evidence of his early attempts to teach French to members of Sir Thomas Wroth’s family. The Rules provides new insights into how Bellot and his printers adapted the content and parallel-text layout in his subsequent printed manuals to create more efficient aids to language learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-664
Number of pages14
JournalHistory of European Ideas
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2016


  • History of French language learning
  • history of TESL
  • Jacques Bellot
  • Claudius Hollyband
  • pronunciation
  • conversational manuals


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