Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales
Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (English: National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations) is a French research institution teaching languages that span Central Europe, Africa, Asia, America, and Oceania. It is often informally called Langues O’ (pronounced [lɑ̃ɡ.z‿o], an abbreviation for langues orientales) or more recently by the acronym Inalco.
|Motto||Reach out the world|
- 1669 Jean-Baptiste Colbert founds the École des jeunes de langues language school
- 1795 The École spéciale des langues orientales (Special School for Oriental Languages) is established
- 1873 The two schools merge
- 1914 The school is renamed the École nationale des langues orientales vivantes (ENLOV)
- 1971 The school is renamed the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales or Inalco (National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations)
- 1982 Études Océan Indien (Indian Ocean Studies) journal begins publication; ISSN 0246-0092
- 1985 Inalco is recognized as a grand établissement, the mark of France’s most prestigious research and higher education institutions
- 2010 Inalco becomes a founding member of Sorbonne Paris Cité
- 2011 Inalco centralizes all of its taught courses under one roof at 65 rue des Grands Moulins in Paris
The undergraduate, graduate and continuing education courses offered at Inalco allow students to gain
- mastery of a language and a thorough knowledge of the corresponding civilization over a degree program;
- specific expertise to complement other qualifications.
These courses lead to career paths in international business, international relations, communication and intercultural training, language teaching and multilingual computing.
- Bachelor’s degrees: courses by language and region that can include a professional specialization.
- Master’s degrees: regional programs targeting a research discipline or professional direction.
- Doctorate: PhD research at Inalco’s Doctoral School.
- Diplomas: certificates, introductory diplomas, language and civilization diplomas, professional master's degrees.
Difficulty of programs
INALCO is considered as being the most difficult institution in which to learn oriental languages in France. Although the Institute does not make any selection by exam, endemic failure rates every year show the difficulty of most programs. Failure rates are particularly significant among students studying Japanese, Chinese, Russian and Arabic, historically the largest departments.
Below is a table with approximate students numbers, successful students numbers and failure rates in the first, second and third year of the Department of Japanese Studies.
|Level||Total number||Successful students||Failure rates|
Research at Inalco combines area studies and academic fields. Researchers study languages and civilizations that are increasingly in the spotlight — Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and as far as the Arctic — and are central to the major issues of the 21st century. Fourteen research teams, often partnered with other research organizations, PhD programs, and a publishing service form the backbone of research at Inalco. Inalco also has a project management and knowledge transfer service.
The research teams, administration offices and doctoral school are housed in a building dedicated entirely to research, with access to a full range of support functions: assistance in preparing research proposals and grant applications, organizing scientific events, looking for partnerships and funding, publication support, internal funding, and communication.
- 270 faculty members
- 300 PhD students
- 14 research teams
- 100 scientific events per year
Presidents (from 1914 to 1969, Administrators)
|1796–1824||Louis-Mathieu Langlès||Persian language||Died in 1824|
|1824–1838||Antoine-Isaac Silvestre de Sacy||Arabic||Died in 1838|
|1838–1847||Pierre Amédée Jaubert||Turkish language||military interpreter during the Egyptian campaign 1798|
|1847–1864||Carl Benedict Hase||modern Greek||Died in 1864|
|1864–1867||Joseph Toussaint Reinaud||Arabic||Died in 1867|
|1867–1898||Charles Schefer||Persian||Died in 1898|
|1898–1908||Charles Barbier de Meynard||Turkish, Persian||Died in 1908|
|1908–1936||Paul Boyer||Russian language||Died in 1949|
|1936–1937||Mario Roques||Romanian language||Died in 1961|
|1937–1948||Jean Deny||Turkish||Died in 1963|
|1948–1958||Henri Massé||Persian||Died in 1969|
|1958–1969||André Mirambel||modern Greek||Died in 1970|
|1971–1976||René Sieffert||Japanese language||Died in 2004|
|1976–1986||Henri Martin de La Bastide d’Hust||Middle East civilisation||Died in 1986|
|1986–1993||François Champagne de Labriolle||Russian||Vice-president from 1971 to 1986|
|1993–2001||André Bourgey||Middle East civilisation|
|2001–2005||Gilles Delouche||Thai language (Siamese)|
|2005–2013||Jacques Legrand||Mongolian language|
|2013-2019||Manuelle Franck||Geography of Southeast Asia||Vice-president from 2007 to 2013|
|Since 2019||Jean-François Huchet||Economy of Eastern Asia||Vice-president from 2013 to 2019|
Inalco conducts research projects in over one hundred countries and offers joint programs with foreign universities. This allows Inalco students and the students of international partners to complement their studies with an immersion experience. Inalco offers distance courses via videoconferencing and online learning content: Inuktitut (Inuit language), Estonian, and soon Swahili (African language).
Inalco is an active member of Sorbonne Paris Cité, with 120,000 students, 8,500 faculty members, and 6,000 technical and administrative staff. Branches have been opened in Singapore, Buenos Aires and São Paulo.
The foundation strives to develop the preservation, study, transmission, development and interaction of languages and cultures in France and around the world with projects involving the Institute’s expertise: education, research, advancing knowledge and skills in a globalized world.
More than 120 nationalities are represented by Inalco faculty and students. The Institute, along with its teachers, students and partners, organizes over a hundred cultural events a year. Inalco also participates in several international film festivals and makes every effort to share its knowledge and expertise with society.
Notable professors and alumni
- Doris Bensimon
- Luce Boulnois
- Louis-Jacques Bresnier
- Marianne Bastid-Bruguière
- Auguste Carrière
- Léon Damas
- Luc-Willy Deheuvels
- Edgar Faure
- François Godement
- Heinrich Leberecht Fleischer
- Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark
- Princess Maria Laura of Belgium, Archduchess of Austria-Este
- Iaroslav Lebedynsky
- Pierre Messmer
- Jean-Jacques Origas
- Trinidad Pardo de Tavera
- Patrick Poivre d'Arvor
- Dagpo Rinpoche
- Olivier Roy
- Léopold de Saussure
- Aurélien Sauvageot
- Johann Gustav Stickel
- Princess Fawzia-Latifa of Egypt
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