Clarisse Herrenschmidt

(b.1946, Strasbourg, France) lives near Paris and is a researcher at the CNRS. She began with ancient languages (Greece, Iran), then shifted to history of religions and then general history of writing. She is a member of the Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale, founded by Claude Levi-Strauss, and published, in collaboration with Jean Bottero and Jean-Pierre Vernant: L’Orient ancien et nous. L’écriture, la raison les dieux. Paris Albin Michel, Hachette (1996, 2004) [American translation: Ancestors to the West. reasoning and religion in Mesopotamia, Elam and Greece, University of Chacigo Press, 2000] and recently Les Trois écritures. Langue, nombre, code, Paris Gallimard (2007).


A lingua franca is a means of sidestepping linguistic isolation, yet it limits expression to the mere conveyance of information. Clarisse Herrenschmidt considers the mixed blessings of global English and suggests playing a game to overcome the barriers of language.