Series | Sequence of more or less complex discursive elements that appear to belong to a similar level, class, or movement—lists, inventories, enumerations—and whose linearity can be used to support rhetorical and aesthetic agendas.

A wide range of social situations display a taste for rankings, groupings, and associating ideas, processes which allow for a variety of worlds to coexist in one series. This collection’s list gives a glimpse into the diversity of this process: what are the different forms of series that exist, and what can be said of the “list effect”?

A series can be built from two elements placed side by side, allowing one to extract shared properties from them such that a third element can be imagined or predicted. A series is often considered to be complete once it has reached three elements (see La vieille antienne). In this sense, the creation of series is so deeply engrained in linguistic practices that one can regularly hear others build them by placing two elements together followed by a generalizing word like “etc.,” or by saying, for example, “Forget about food that’s on sale; it’s all full of pesticides, and it’s real shit” as in Vous ne contrôlez rien, or, in some cases, even the interlocutor can produce and propose a third possible element.

Adhering to convention

The most obvious type of series is a series built by conventionally organized forms of enumeration, like numbering (see Compte, Hana, tul, set, net), the alphabet (see A for Atomic, Aleph, beth, ghimel), or like that found in a textbook. The Chris Burden's Atomic Alphabet is distinct from the four other cases in that it makes an aesthetic use of conventional order: each letter of the alphabet is associated to a word, as in cheerleading traditions (“B for Bomb,” “G for Gorilla”). Through this method, combined with a simple and systematic syntactical form, two lists are made from one.

Why lists?

Aesthetic uses of series can also take less conventional forms while still associating elements side by side to create a whole (see Tout autour, I Come From, A la vie éternelle, and La pontire). This aesthetic dimension can be combined with an argumentative aim, as in this excerpt of a televised face-off between Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Nicolas Sarkozy, or in this press conference on the steps of a courthouse (see also b/node/10207, Le Théâtre-Texte, La discipline n'est pas toujours institutionnelle, and Ça va venir).

Open or closed

A series can be understood to be closed (like alphabets) or open like a list of examples, as in this announcement where Coluche speaks to a panel of possible electors—a case in which a series constitutes something completely open, referring to those we would never usually think of speaking to (see also Petite leçon d’argot, Le crétinisme, Pousse ton derrière, De tout mon amour, Vous ne contrôlez rien, Y’a la chimie, la bureautique, and J’encule les punks).

Series in becoming

Series can also use enumeration to transmit an operation to be followed or in the process of taking place, like this cooking recipe shared on the steps of an apartment building, a body’s movements described by a qi gong master, a genealogical history, the reading of obituary notices, thanks at the end of a concert, searching for a word or idea (see Une théière, une cafetière and Une grosse Bertha, une Black Maria), or this inventory of sensations shared by a child.

  • 06 13 45 14 53

    Anne-James Chaton, excerpt of the performance Le Plasticien, 2008.

  • A for atomic

    Reading of the Atomic Alphabet by Chris Burden, 1982.

  • À la vie éternelle

    Catholic liturgy, excerpt of the show La Messe, France Culture, 2011.

  • Aaa, eee, aaa, yooo

    Excerpt of a satanic ritual, YouTube, 2011.

  • Aleph, beth, ghimel

    Recording of Erik Bullot for the film Glossolalie, 2005.

  • And we will defeat you

    Excerpt of a jihadist speech posted online, 2014.

  • And we won

    Donald Trump, excerpt of the state of emergency speech, 2019.

  • Anonyme Anonyme merci

    Danielle Mérian, YouTube video, 2015.

  • Arrogance

    Roland Barthes, excerpt of Le Neutre, lecture at the Collège de France titled Le Neutre, 1977-1978.

  • Au quatrième top

    Talking clock French vocal server, 2013.

  • Bientôt le Seigneur va venir

    Excerpt of the recording Message du salut de la Mission suisse par disque, 1962.

  • Blessed

    Family conversation, recording by Ese Brume, 2013.

  • Bona nit

    Joan Porras, message of support for political prisoners, 2018.

  • Bullshit to me

    LL Cool J, excerpt of the song “It Gets No Rougher,” 1989.

  • Ça va venir

    Excerpt of a sermon in Kinshasa, recording by Manuel Coursin, 2004.

  • Chicken or beef

    Mic soundcheck before a Five Finger Death Punch Concert, Casper, WY, 2012.

  • Connais pas

    Man reading an obituary, recording by Gauthier Tassart, 2007.

  • Coquelicot

    Scène de famille, recording by Nicolas Rollet, 2018.

  • De droit et de liberté

    Christiane Taubira, response to a question by Laurent Wauquiez at the National Assembly, 2013.

  • De tout mon amour

    Excerpt of a video blog, YouTube, 2007.

  • Desyat' obez'yan

    Excerpt of a video for learning how to count, Russia, 2013.

  • Dobbiamo immaginare

    Excerpt from a guided tour of the Domus Aurea in Roma, 2019.

  • Eh bien, non !

    Julien Blaine, recitation of the poem I am a poet, 2000's.

  • Enkríthike apó tin pleiopsifía

    Zoé Konstantopoulou and Stelios Virvidakis, vote session at the Greek parliament, 2013.

  • Et la traduction de Philippe

    Excerpt from a speech by La Barbe during a presentation for the Théâtre de L’Odéon’s upcoming productions, 2012.

  • Eu estou ficando louco

    Quarantine message posted on Whatsapp, 2020.

  • Everybody must be loved

    Idi Amin Dada, excerpt from a Council of Ministers, 1970s.

  • Faire baguette magique

    Jean-François Kahn, excerpt of the show Mots croisés, France 2, 2008.

  • Good old-fashioned "cojones"

    Helen Mirren, excerpt of a presentation of Oscar nominees, 2008.

  • Hana, tul, set, net

    Recording by Erik Bullot for the film Glossolalie, 2005.

  • Hands up

    Efrim Menuck, excerpt of A Silver Mt. Zion concert in Finland, 2008.

  • I come from...

    Amy Walker, excerpt of the video “21 Accents” posted on YouTube, 2008.

  • I dupli u stranu

    Renata Sopek, excerpt of a gymnastics lesson on Croatian television, 2012.

  • I hear a sound of victory

    Paula White, excerpt from a preaching in support of the recount during the U.S. presidential election, 2020. 

  • Il était ch'timi

    Speech at a retirement celebration, excerpt of the film Chers camarades by Gérard Vidal, 2004.

  • Inhale exhale

    Excerpt of a yoga class, 2010.

  • J'encule les punks

    Personal recording of Eve Couturier, 1979.

  • J'enrage

    Senator Jack Ralite, excerpt from a speech at a rally, 2014.

  • J'entends

    Young girl describing sounds, excerpt of a personal recording by Kerwin Rolland, 2010.

  • J'espère vraiment qu'ça va s'arrêter

    Jérôme, excerpt from the show Radio Tisto, l’émission des jeunes de l’hôpital de jour d’Antony, Radio Libertaire, 2020.

  • Ja sam magnet za novac

    Video session of Emotional Freedom Technique, YouTube, 2013

  • Je les écarte

    Maître Herzog, excerpt of a statement to the press just outside of the Clearstream trial, 2009.

  • Je suis le train

    Sylvie Noachovitch, excerpt of a YouTube video, 2007.

  • Je vais chez ce cher Serge

    Scene from dinner, personal recording by Valérie Louys, 2013.

  • Kot resilta ankèt la?

    Jean-Claude Bajeux, speech at Yves Volel's funeral, 1987.

  • Kumkumam

    Calculation challenge on a television game show, 2013.

  • La joie !

    Excerpt from an evangelist preaching, 2019. 

  • La pontire

    Louis de Funès and Denise Provence, excerpt of the film Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob by Gérard Oury, 1973.

  • La vieille antienne

    Dominique Strauss-Khan, excerpt of a televised debate, 2005.

  • Le crétinisme

    Excerpt of the film Les Invasions Barbares by Denys Arcand, 2002.

  • Le Théâtre-Texte

    Laurent Terzieff, excerpt of the show La Nuit des Molières, France 2, 1988.

  • Les carottes sont cuites

    Philippe Chaine, François Christophe, recording of a jingle for a radio show, excerpt from the book Rouge Micro de Temps Machine, Diaphane Éditions, 2013.

  • Les crasseux, les drogués

    Coluche, excerpt of a speech presenting his running in the presidential election, 1981.

  • Les oreilles apparentes

    Photomaton's instructions, personal recording, 2017.

  • Les singes écuyers

    Circus advertisement, personal recording, 2014.

  • Les stations

    Announcements in the Paris metro, personal recording, 2018.

  • Loupiote

    Scene from Paris at night, personal recording, 2013.

  • Merci

    Jane Birkin, excerpt of the live album Arabesques, 2002.

  • Messieurs et madame

    Excerpt of a speech by the mayor of Essakane, Mali, 2007.

  • Miel de mimosa

    Conversation, excerpt of a personal recording by Nicolas Rollet, 2010.

  • Milion

    Roman Opalka, excerpt of the recording 1965/1-∞, 1977.

  • Million Staline

    Excerpt of the ASSIMIL method for learning Russian, unknown date.

  • Moi, président de la République

    François Hollande, excerpt of the presidential debate held between the two rounds of France’s presidential elections, France 2, 2012.

  • Mots norvégiens

    Ingrid Berg, exercises for practicing Norwegian pronunciation, Les Archives de la parole, 1912.

  • Mustapha Bakri

    Speech to the Egyptian Parliament, 2013.

  • Om de halve finale af te ronden

    Announcement of the program at the Queen-Elisabeth-de-Belgique International Music Competition, 2018.

  • On joue tous les ballons

    A rugby coach showing support before a game, 2008.

  • On les trouve partout

    Serge Aron, excerpt of a conference held at Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie, 2011.

  • On ne peut pas fuir

    Jeanne Moreau, excerpt of an interview with Marguerite Duras, ORTF, 1965.

  • On va faire le tô

    Excerpt from a cooking recipe, video posted on Youtube, 2019. 

  • Petit lexique de première urgence

    Marina Lubouchkine and Alexis Strycek, excerpt of Pratique du russe parlé, Hachette Éducation, 1992.

  • Petite leçon d'argot

    Excerpt of the show Champ libre, Télévision Suisse Romande, 1966.

  • Pied flex

    Excerpt from a Pilates class, 2019

  • Piiiraaate

    Reading practice, recording by Emmanuelle Lafon, 2017.

  • Plus grand, plus conquérant

    Gabriel, Louise, Sarah and Marc Tchalik, excerpt from Métaclassique #101, 2021.

  • Pousse ton derrière

    Marlène Jobert, Chantal Goya, Jean-Pierre Léaud, excerpt of the film Masculin, féminin by Jean-Luc Godard, 1966.

  • Robert Peugeot c'est

    Excerpt of the film Avec le sang des autres by Bruno Muel (Groupe Medvedkine), 1974.

  • S dnom tebya rozhdeniya

    Reprimands to a dog, video posted on YouTube, 2018

  • Sehr geehrte

    Steffen Königer, speech to the German parliament, 2016. 

  • Sodomisation perverse et mystique

    Juliet Berto and Philippe Clévenot, excerpt of the film Céline et Julie vont en bateau by Jacques Rivette, 1974.

  • Tak vot

    Andrei Lado, excerpt from an articulatory gymnastics class, YouTube, 2012.

  • The audacity of hope

    Barack Obama, excerpt of a speech at the National Democratic Convention, 2004.

  • The neck don't move

    Master Mantak Chia, excerpt of the Exercises for Revitalization, Health and Longevity DVD, 2007.

  • This is not a pop album

    Ice-T, excerpt of the album Home Invasion, 1993.

  • Too many names

    Audrey Hepburn, excerpt of a speech made after receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award, 1990.

  • Tout autour

    Bernard Heidsieck, excerpt of the poem “Vaduz,” 1974.

  • Trois ans c'est trop

    Gouy Gui, excerpt of a YouTube video, 2012.

  • Tune up together

    Marilyn Horne, excerpt of the documentary film Marilyn Horne, A Portrait, 1994.

  • Une grosse Bertha, une Black Maria

    Pierre-Yves Macé, Grégory Castéra, Joris Lacoste, Frédéric Danos, Nicolas Rollet, excerpt of a meeting held by the Encyclopédie de la parole, 2009.

  • Une théière, une cafetière

    Excerpt of the show Pictionary featured on Une case en moins, NoLife, 2010.

  • Vous ne contrôlez rien

    Speech by a small shareholder in a general meeting for Carrefour, excerpt of a video posted on Dailymotion, 2009.

  • We have the program

    Excerpt of a marketing class, personal recording, 2014.

  • What is the setting ?

    Alfred Hitchcock, excerpt from the show Cinéastes de notre temps by André S. Labarthe, ORTF, 1965.

  • Would you welcome please

    Dick Cavett, excerpt of The Dick Cavett Show, 1971.

I hear a sound of victory

Paula White, excerpt from a preaching in support of the recount during the U.S. presidential election, 2020. 


Scène de famille, recording by Nicolas Rollet, 2018.