Albert Valdman

Albert Valdman

Rudy Professor Emeritus, French

Director Emeritus, Creole Institute


  • Ph.D., French Linguistics, Cornell University, 1960
  • A.B., Romance Languages, University of Pennsylvania, 1953

About Albert Valdman

He taught at the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State and at Pennsylvania State University before joining Indiana University in 1960, where he holds the title of Rudy Professor Emeritus of French & Italian and Linguistics. He served as first chair of the Department of Linguistics, founded the Creole Institute and was Director of French Language Instruction in the Department of French and Italian. He has held visiting appointments at the University of the West Indies (Jamaica), the University of Nice, Harvard University, and the University of Oregon.

His research and teaching span a broad range of areas in applied and descriptive linguistics, including second language acquisition research, foreign language teaching, creole studies, and French linguistics. He is one of the pioneer researchers in the study of French language outside of France, especially in Louisiana (Le Français hors de France (ed., 1979); Le Français en Amérique du Nord: Etat présent (2005); Dictionary of Louisiana French: As Spoken in Cajun, Creole, and American Indian Communities (collab., 2010).

Selected publications

In the field of creole studies he has published:

  • Saint-Lucia Creole Basic Course (collab., 1969)
  • Basic Course in Haitian Creole (1970)
  • Le créole: structure, statut et origine (1978)
  • Haitian Creole-English-French Dictionary (1981)
  • Ann pale kreyòl (1988)
  • A Learner’s Dictionary of Haitian Creole (1996)
  • A Dictionary of Louisiana Creole (collab., 1998)
  • Haitian Creole-English Bilingual Dictionary (collab., 2007)
  • Haitian Creole: Structure, Variation, Status, Origin (2015)
  • English-Haitian Creole Bilingual Dictionary (collab., 2017)
  • He has edited or co-edited: Pidgin and Creole Linguistics (1977)
  • Theoretical Orientations in Creole Studies (1980)
  • Créole et enseignement primaire en Haïti (1980)
  • Historicity and Variation in Creole Studies (1981)
  • Haiti –Today and Tomorrow (1984)
  • French and Creole in Louisiana (1997)

Dr. Valdman has been involved in the preparation of foreign language materials, including a major high school French series (Scott, Foresman, 1972-2000), and beginning French college textbooks, the most recent of which is Chez Nous: branché sur le monde francophone, 4th edition (co-author, 2009).

In the area of French linguistics he has published Introduction to French Phonology and Morphology (1976) and Bien entendu! Introduction à la prononciation française (1993).

He is founder of the journal, Studies in Second Language Acquisition, published by Cambridge University Press, and served as its editor-in-chief for 37 years. He served as secretary-treasurer of the American Association for Applied Linguistics, secretary general and president of the International Association of Applied Linguistics, vice-president and president of the American Association of Teachers of French, and vice-president of the Comité International des Etudes Créoles.

Valdman has held Guggenheim, NATO-NSF, Senior Fulbright Research and Mellon Emeritus fellowships; he was named Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques of France (1997) and to the Ordre des Francophones d’Amérique of the government of Quebec Province (2008). In 2012 he received the Médaille d’Or du Mérite Francophone (Renaissance Française). He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence by the Haitian Studies Association (2009) and the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award by the Society for Pidgin and Creole Linguistics (2012). He holds a doctorate honoris causa from the University of Neuchâtel (1991).

Publication highlights


  • English-Haitian Creole Bilingual Dictionary. With M. Moody and T. E. Davies. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse, 2017.
  • Haitian Creole: Structure, Variation, Status, Origin. Sheffield: Equinox Publishing, 2015.
  • Points de départ, 2nd ed. With C. Pons and M. Scullen. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2012.
  • Chez nous: Branché sur le monde francophone, 4th ed. With C. Pons & M. Scullen. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2010.
  • Dictionary of Louisiana French: As Spoken in Cajun, Creole, and American Indian Communities. With K. Rottet et al. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2009.
  • Points de départ. With C. Pons and M. Scullen. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2009.
  • Haitian Creole-English Bilingual Dictionary. With various collaborators. Bloomington: Indiana University Creole Institute, 2007.

Articles and book chapters

  • Vers l’identification des néologismes lexicaux du français de Louisiane. In I. Neumann-Holtzschuh & B. Bagola (eds.), L’Amérique francophone – Carrefour culturel et linguistique. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2016. PP. 281-304.
  • L’Akademi Kreyòl Ayisyen et la standardisation du créole haïtien. Etudes Créoles, 33:1, 2015 [en ligne]. PP. 40-63.
  • L’élaboration d’une norme endogène dans la valorisation du français vernaculaire en Louisiane. In Marie-Madeleine Bertucci (ed.), Les français régionaux dans l’espace francophone. Langue, multilinguisme et changement social, Vol. 25. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2016. PP. 75-87.
  • Du français colonial aux parlers créoles. In A. Thibault, (ed.) Du français aux créoles: phonétique, lexicologie et dialectologie antillaises. Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2015. PP. 425-460.
  • On the influence of the standard norm of Haitian Creole on the Cap Haïtien dialect. With A.-J. Villeneuve & J. Siegel. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 30:1, 2015. PP. 1-43.
  • Vers la reconstitution du français colonial, cible de la colonisation. In France Martineau & Terry Nadasdi (eds.), Le français en contact. Hommages à Raymond Mougeon. Quebec: Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 2011. PP. 393-414.
  • French in the USA. In Kim Potowski (ed.), Language Diversity in the United States. Cambridge University Press, 2010. PP. 110-127.
  • Sur la diffusion du créole haïtien standard. In Etudes Créoles: Cultures et Developpement, 2008. PP. 165-193.

Honors, fellowships, & awards

  • NEH Grant for the Differential, Historical, and Etymological Dictionary of Louisiana French, 2016-18
  • Médaille d’Or du Mérite Francophone, 2012
  • Ordre des Francophones d’Amériques (Québec), 2008
  • Mellon Emeritus Fellowship, 2007
  • Honorary Member of AATF (American Association of Teachers of French), 1999
  • Ordre des Palmes Académiques (France), Chevalier 1986; Officier 1993; Commandeur 1997
  • Florence Steiner Prize, awarded by ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) for distinguished service for foreign language education (post-secondary), 1998
  • John Ryan Award for Distinguished Contributions to International Programs and Studies, Indiana University, 1998
  • Honorary Member of AILA (International Association of Applied Linguistics), 1995
  • Indiana Association of Teachers of French - Teacher of the Year, 1995
  • Doctorate honoris causa, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, 1991
  • Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship, 1985
  • NATO-NSF Summer Fellowship, 1974
  • Guggenheim Fellowship, 1968

The Albert Valdman Fund

In August 2008, the department announced the creation of the Albert Valdman Graduate Student Research and Travel Fund in honor of Rudy Professor Emeritus Albert Valdman, to foster graduate student development as Professor Valdman has throughout his career.

Read more about the fund or make a contribution to it