Born Feb. 6, 1884, in Paris. French linguist. Member of the Communist Party of France.
Cohen graduated from the University of Paris (Sorbonne, 1911). He became a professor at the School of Living Oriental Languages in 1926. Cohen’s chief works were devoted to the Hamito-Semitic languages (The Arabic Language of the Algerian Jews, 1912; The Semitic Verbal System and the Expression of Time, 1924). Cohen was also concerned with sociolinguistic problems (On Questions of the Sociology of Language, 1956; Modern Linguistics and Idealism, 1958), the theory and history of the writing and culture of French speech, and the history of the French literary language. Cohen was coeditor (with A. Meillet) of the reference work Languages of the World (1924; 2nd ed, 1952).
WORKSTraité de langue amharique. Paris, 1936.
Essai comparatifsur le vocabulaire et laphonétique du chamito-sémitique. Paris, 1947.
Le Langage, structure et évolution. Paris, 1950.
Pour une Sociologie du langage. Paris, 1956.
La Grande Invention de l’écriture et son évolution [vols. 1–3]. Paris, 1958. Histoire d’une langue: le français, 3rd ed. Paris, 1967.