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Photo Alain Peyraube
Directeur d'études
Directeur de recherche émérite
Institution(s) de rattachement : EHESS, CNRS


  • Adresse professionnelle :
    Centre de Recherches Linguistiques sur l’Asie Orientale
    EHESS - Bureau 60 (4e étage)
    105 Bd Raspail, 75006 Paris, France
  • Courriel :

Membre de l'équipe de recherche I  Typologie et diachronie des langues sino-tibétaines en Asie orientale


Alain Peyraube was born in November 1944 in Bordeaux where he received his schooling and his university degrees (BA in Linguistics, BA in Chinese, MA in Chinese Linguistics). From 1973 to 1975 he was a foreign student at the Beijing Language Institute and Beijing University (Department of Chinese). He completed his PhD dissertation "Les constructions locatives en chinois moderne" in 1976 (University of Paris 8) and his Doctorat d’Etat "Syntaxe diachronique du chinois - Evolution des constructions datives du 14eme siècle avant J.-C au 18eme siecle" in 1984 (University of Paris 7).

He is currently Directeur de Recherche at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS, Paris, France) and Chair Professor of Chinese Linguistics at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS).

He has been Director from 1984 to 1998 of the Institute of East Asian Linguistics (CNRS and EHESS), Deputy Director of the "Division of Humanities and Social Sciences" of the CNRS from 1997 to 2001, Director of the “Division of Humanities and Social Sciences” at the Ministry of Higher Education and Research (2001-2007), and he is now Scientific Director for the region “Ile-de-France” at the CNRS.

He has been a corresponding member of the Academia Sinica of Taiwan since 2002, Adjunct Professor at the University of Science and Technology of Hong Kong since 2005, Honorary Professor at the University of Beijing since 2007, Founding Member of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council (ERC) (2006-2010), and member of the Academia Europae (European Academy of Arts and Sciences) since 2006.

Alain Peyraube has been Visiting Professor and Visiting Scholar at Cornell University (Hu Shih Chair in 1995), at the University of California at Santa Barbara (1990-1991, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001), at the Hong Kong Baptist University (from 1993 to 1995), at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (1986), at Academia Sinica of Taiwan (1988), at La Trobe University in Australia (1994, 1999).

He was elected and served as President of the International Association of Chinese Linguistics from 1998 to 1999, and President of the European Association of Chinese Studies from 2002 to 2004.

He is director of the Collection "China" at Flammarion Publishing House, co-director of the Collection "Monographs of the Cahiers de Linguistique - Asie Orientale", associate editor of the Journal of Chinese Linguistics, member of the editorial boards of the Cahiers de linguistique - Asie Orientale, of Etudes chinoises, of Faits de langue, of Zhongguo yuwen, of Yuyanxue luncong, of Languages and Linguistics, of Hanyu xuebao, of Lishi yuyanxue yanjiu, and member of the Advisory Board of Bulletin of Chinese Linguistics



Chinese diachronic syntax and semantics; typology of East-Asian languages; cognitive approaches to the diversity of languages; and the origin and evolution of languages. His latest research has been carried out within a broadly functional framework from a cross-linguistic perspective. It has been mostly concerned with the mechanisms of syntactic and semantic change in Chinese from the period of the first recorded inscriptions (14th century BC) to the modern period (18th century): this includes problems of analogy, of reanalysis (grammaticalization) and of external borrowing.


  • Changement diachronique en min méridional, langue sinitique / Diachronic change in Southern Min, a Sinitic language
    (Project funded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche and Taiwan National Science Council)
    Chairs of the project: Hilary Chappell & Alain Peyraube
    Duration: 36 months from 01/11/08
    Funding : 250.000 €

    Project (English version)


  •  Les constructions locatives en chinois moderne. Paris: Editions Langages croises, 1980. 320 p.

  •  Shuang binyu jiegou cong Han dai zhi Tang dai de lishi fazhan (Double-object constructions from Han to Tang). Zhongguo yuwen 3, 1986. 204-216.

  •  Syntaxe diachronique du chinois – evolution des constructions datives. Paris: College de France, 1988. 351 p. (French Academy Stanislas Julien Prize).

  •  Zaoqi ba ziju de jige wenti (Some problems concerning the early ba forms). Yuwen yanjiu 1, 1989. 1-9.

  •  History of the passive construction in Chinese until the 10th century. Journal of Chinese Linguistics 17-2, 1989. 335-372.

  •  Syntactic change in Chinese: on grammaticalization. Bulletin of the Institute of History and Philology of the Academia Sinica Taiwan 59-3, 1991. 617-652.

  •  Recent Issues in Chinese Historical Syntax. New Horizons in Chinese Linguistics. Huang and Li eds, Dordrecht : Kluwer, 1996. 161-214.

  •  Historical Change in Chinese Grammar. Cahiers de Linguistique – Asie Orientale 28-2, 1999.  177-226.

  •  Ancient Chinese. Encyclopedia of the World’s Ancient Languages. R. Woodard ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. 988-1014

  •  Motion events in Chinese: A diachronic study of directional complements. M. Hickmann and S. Robert eds., Space in languages: linguistic systems and cognitive categories. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2006, pp. 121-138.


  • On the Modal Auxiliaries of Volition in Classical Chinese. H. Chappell ed., Sinitic Grammar: Synchronic and Diachronic Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001, pp. 172-188

  •  L'évolution des structures grammaticales. Langages 146, 2002, pp. 46-58

  • On the History of Place Words and Localizers in Chinese - A Cognitive Approach. A. Y-H. Li & A. Simpson eds., Functional Structure, Form and Interpretation.  London: Routledge-Curzon, 2003, pp. 180-198

  • Grammaire diachronique et cognition: l’exemple du chinois. C. Fuchs ed., La linguistique cognitive. Paris: Orphys, 2004, pp. 135-154

  • Origin and evolution of question-words in Archaic Chinese : A cognitive approach. Cahiers de linguistique – Asie Orientale 34-1, 2005, pp. 3-24 (with Wu Fuxiang)

  • L’homme aux six mille langues. J.-M. Hombert ed., Aux origines des langues et du langage. Paris : Editions Fayard, 2005, pp. 450-461.

  •  On the history of some adverbs of scope and quantity in Chinese. C. Anderl & H. Eifring eds. Studies in Chinese language and culture – Festchrift in honour of Christoph Harbsmeier in the occasion of his 60th birthday. Oslo : Hermes Academic Publishing, 2006, pp. 269-283.

  • The Analytic Causatives of Early Modern Southern Min in Diachronic Perspective. D.-A. Ho, H.S. Cheung, W. Pan, F. Wu eds. Linguistic studies in Chinese and neighboring languages. Taiwan: Academia Sinica, Institute of Linguistics, 2006, pp. 973-1012. (with Hilary Chappell)
    A pre-publication version of this article can be found at the following website:

  • 2007. 早期近代闽南话分析型致使结构的历史探讨 Zaoqi jindai Minnanhua fenxixing zhishi jiegou de lishi tantao [An historical exploration of analytical causatives in Early Southern Min]. Fangyan方言 ( Chinese dialects). (with Hilary Chappell), 1: 52-59.
    A pre-publication version of this article can be found at the following website:

  • 2007. Chinese linguistics and typology: the state of the art. Linguistic Typology 11.1: 187-211.  (with Li Ming and Alain Peyraube)
    A pre-publication version of this article can be found on this website:

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flux rss  Actualités

Prix 2015 du National Institutes for the Humanities (Japon)

Les travaux d'Alexander Vovin, directeur d'études à l'EHESS (CRLAO), récompensés au Japon

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Prix Leonard Bloomfield 2016 de la Linguistic Society of America

Le prix a été décerné à William Baxter et Laurent Sagart pour leur livre Old Chinese: a new reconstruction (OUP, 2014)

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Guillaume Jacques, médaille de bronze CNRS 2015

Les travaux de Guillaume Jacques (CRLAO) récompensés par le CNRS

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28e Journées de Linguistique - Asie Orientale

Organisées par le CRLAO, elles se tiendront du 2 au 3 juillet 2015 à l’INALCO (Paris).

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Nouveaux horizons en linguistique chinoise

Colloque organisé par le CRLAO à l'occasion de la venue à Paris en juin d'une délégation de linguistes de l'Académie des sciences sociales de Chine

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