Rivard, Adjutor 1868-1945

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RIVARD, Adjutor 1868-1945

PERSONAL: Born January 22, 1868, in Saint-Grégoire de Nicolet, Québec, Canada; died July 17, 1945; son of Louis and Pamela (Harper) Rivard; married Joséphine Hamel, 1896; children: Antoine. Education: Université Laval, law degree, 1891.

CAREER: Author, lawyer, and linguist. Professor, faculty of arts, Université Laval; founder, with Stanislas A. Lortie, Société du Parler Français au Canada and Bulletin du Parler Français au Canada; judge, Québec Court of Appeal, 1921-1941. Batonnier of the provincial bar in 1918.

MEMBER: Royal Society, beginning 1908.

AWARDS, HONORS: Knight of the Order of St. St. Gregory, 1914; Prix Davaine, French Academy, 1920, for fiction writing; Lorne Pierce medal, 1931.


Monseigneur de Laval, Roy (Levis, Québec, Canada), 1891.

L'Art de dire: Traité de lecture et de récitation (title means "The Art of Speaking: A Treatise on Reading and Reciting"), Chasse (Québec City, Québec, Canada) 1898.

Manuel de la parole, Garneau (Québec City, Québec, Canada), 1901.

(With Stanislas A. Lortie) L'Origine et le parler des Canadiens français, Champion (Paris, France), 1903.

(With James Geddes) Bibliographie du parler français au Canada, Marcotte (Québec City, Québec, Canada), 1906.

Etudes sur les parlers de France au Canada, Garneau (Québec City, Québec, Canada), 1914.

Chez nous, L'Action Sociale Catholique, 1914, translation by W.H. Blake published as Our Old Québec Home, Doran (New York, NY), 1924.

Chez nos gens (title means "Home of Our People"), L'Action Sociale Catholique (Québec City, Québec, Canada), 1918.

De la liberte de la presse, Garneau (Québec City, Québec, Canada), 1923.

(Editor with Louis-Phillipe Geoffrion) Glossaire du parler français au Canada, L'Action Sociale (Québec City, Québec, Canada), 1930.

Manuel de la cour d'appel, Editions Varietes (Montréal, Québec, Canada), 1941.

Contes et propos divers (title means "Stories and Various Remarks"), Garneau (Québec City, Québec, Canada), 1944.

Contributor to publications, including Bulletin du Parler Français au Canada and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Canada.

SIDELIGHTS: Adjutor Rivard, an award-winning linguist, fiction writer, social critic, and lawyer, was influential in Canada's Québec province early in the twentieth century. "His scientific studies of the French-Canadian language, together with his fictional evocation of traditional French-Canadian values, helped foster pride in Quebec's distinctive culture," Margot Northey wrote in Dictionary of Literary Biography. Rivard's best-known fictional works, Chez Nous and Chez nos gens, were popular among young French-Canadian writers. They contain short sketches and stories about provincial life.

Rivard's parents relocated from Saint-Grégoire de Nicolet to Québec City during his youth. In Québec, he received his primary and secondary education, then his law degree at the Université Laval. During Rivard's early years practicing law in Chicoutimi, Québec, the author was inspired to study language as well, and to teach elocution at a nearby seminary. In 1896, when Rivard married Joséphine Hamel, he began teaching full-time on the faculty of arts at Université Laval. Thus began a career dedicated to his culture, language, and values.

L'Art de dire: Traite de lecture et de recitation includes Rivard's thorough explanation of the basic principles of elocution. Northey, a scholar at the University of Western Ontario, wrote, "[L'Art de dire] reveals his characteristic, well-organized approach to language, as does his next work, Manuel de la parole (1901), a textbook on phonetics."

In 1902, Rivard and the Right Reverend Stanislas A. Lortie, a genealogist at Séminaire de Québec, founded the Société du Parler Français au Canada and its signature publication, Bulletin du Parler Français au Canada. Rivard served as general secretary of the organization, contributing articles, reviews and short stories to its bulletin. He and Lortie also collaborated to write L'Origine et le parler des Canadiens français, which outlined the linguistic connections between French-Canadian speech patterns and the regional dialects of France, which early settlers brought to Canada. Northey explained, "Fighting the widespread attitude that the Québec dialect was an inferior form of French, he endorsed many old words and forms of expression that had disappeared in France but survived in Québec."

In 1907, Rivard, who remained a lawyer and social critic throughout his career, founded, with Lortie and Msgr. Paul-Eugene Roy, L'Action Sociale Catholique, an intellectual forum for social and political issues.

In 1914, Rivard again analyzed the French-Canadian language through its grammar rules, history, and literature. Through meticulous scientific research, he demonstrated how the French-Canadian language had evolved. He applauded change to some extent, suggesting that the language was thriving and vital, but disproved of increasing anglicisms. His goal was to support the language he loved, through from a purist's perspective.

Rivard was influential early in the twentieth century, with a new school of literature devoted to le terroir ("native soil") becoming more popular. His linguistic interests, and his love of French-Canadian history and culture, inspired his fiction during this era. Because of Chez Nous and Chez nos gens, Rivard was popular among young French-Canadian writers. Both books, Northey said, emphasize rural values and a devotion to the land at a time of increasing urbanization.

Rivard published a legal study, De la liberte de la presse, and co-edited Glossaire du parler français au Canada, a linguistic text, with Louis-Phillipe Geoffrion. Inspired by his experience as a judge in the Québec court of appeal, he wrote Manuel de la cour d'appel in 1941. As he continued to study law, linguistics, and history, more short fiction would follow.



Northey, Margot, Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 92: Canadian Writers, 1890-1920, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1990, pp. 298-300.


Canada Français, September, 1945, Arthur Maheux, "Un grand Canadien: Adjutor Rivard," pp. 39-42.

Enseignement Secondaire au Canada, January, 1927, Emile Chartier, "Hommage au parler des aïeux," pp. 505-521.

Journal de L'Instruction Publique, January, 1959, Maurice Lebel, "Adjutor Rivard (1868-1945)," pp. 441-445.


Site for Language Management in Canada,http://www.salic-slmc.ca/langues/ (March 7, 2002).

Université Laval Web site,http://www.bibl.ulaval.ca/ (August 7, 2002) "Archives Nationales du Québec à Québec."*