Who are the first Langues O' graduates and teachers?

15 May 2023
  • History

  • Institute

It was in 1888 that the first female students graduated from the École des Langues Orientales: Florence Groff in Persian and Marie Talbotier in Literal Arabic and Vulgar Arabic, which she completed with Persian in 1890. Not surprisingly, these were among the first languages taught at the École. It was in the late 1860s that a few women gained access to universities and degrees. The Langues O' were therefore attractive and opened up quickly. A scholarship was awarded to a female student for the first time in 1919.
Etudiantes du cours de chinois, année 1926-1927
Etudiantes du cours de chinois, année 1926-1927 © Collections Inalco‎
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In 1930, women accounted for 23% of students but 25% of graduates. This was also the year when, for the first time, a woman (a former student of the school) won the competitive examination for diplomat (Chinese).

The first repetitrice to appear in the archives was Miss Kantchoclovski, appointed for Russian in 1910. As for Madame Remizov-Douguello, she became the first professor to give lectures in the free course of Russian and Slavonic paleography in 1926. In 1913, the School published the first book written by one of its former students.

Lilias Homburger was the first woman to be nominated for a chair (Sudanese dialects, i.e. Fulani and Mandingo) in 1927. The idea was undoubtedly avant-garde, as it was not approved by the Ministry. Between several expeditions to Cameroon and Guinea, she taught courses in Bantu languages for several years (1923-1928). Director of studies in African linguistics at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, she returned to Langues O' from 1945 to 1958, where she was in charge of teaching African languages.