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Sujets des écrits de l'agrégation externe 2019 et de l'agrégation spéciale

Publié par Marion Coste le 03/03/2019
Agrégation externe et spéciale

Les épreuves d'admissibilité de l’agrégation interne d'anglais se sont déroulés les 24 et 25 janvier.  Les sujets des écrits ont été publiés sur le site de la SAES.


La métamorphose dans The Confidence­‐Man.

Commentaire de texte

[…] In short, this Resolution represents the growing general opinion in the Empire from Scotland to New Zealand in favour of disentanglement of all local and national from Imperial affairs. On the eve of a third effort to deal with the case of Ireland in this House we invite the House to resolve that the delegation of powers from this House to subordinate legislatures is essential to the good government of each division of the United Kingdom, as well as to the unity and security of the Empire as a whole. We ask the Government to definitely recognise that in dealing with Ireland, as they are bound to do in this Session, and as we are going to back them in doing, that they are taking the first step in a policy which they have to complete if they can in this Parliament, at least so far as Scotland is concerned, when like provision for England and Wales must automatically follow. No doubt it seems less simple here than it does in the Oversea Dominions to effect a delegation of powers, yet in 1880 Mr. Gladstone struck the keynote of our policy when he said that: We have an over-weighted Parliament, and if in time any part of the United Kingdom was so able to re-arrange its affairs as to withdraw the local part of its transactions from the hands of Parliament, which would liberate and strengthen the Parliament for Imperial concerns, he would zealously support that policy.

Since then we have tried many devices towards that end. In 1884 Scotland combined upon the Scottish Office policy as a possible solution. Its failure through twenty-five years is alone a strong reason in favour of Scottish national self-government. Throughout our heated Irish controversies of that time the need for devolution was recognised by nearly all parties. The right hon. Member for West Birmingham [Mr. J. Chamberlain] urged National Councils all round. Lord Salisbury proposed a Provincial Council for Ireland. Lord Randolph Churchill brought to an end Lord Spencer's Administration in Ireland. Lord Carnarvon conducted his private negotiations there. Men of all parties approved of Imperial Federation. The letters of “Pacificus” have been the most recent contribution from the Unionist party towards the same end. These various proposals were supported by various arguments; yet, looking back over past years, it is apparent that one dominant purpose runs through them all, namely, to relieve the overloaded Parliamentary machine and to disentangle local and national affairs from those which naturally fall within the sphere of an Imperial Parliament. If there was need then, there is tenfold greater need now. I admit that definite proposals, giving legislative effect to a policy so widely received, were limited to a Bill dealing with Ireland alone. But at the Home Rule elections in Scotland in 1886, 1893, and 1895, while Scotland stood firm by Mr. Gladstone and the Irish cause, she insisted steadfastly on the retention of the Irish representation in this House. And why? Because she instinctively felt that it insured federal development, in which she claimed a share. 

Therefore it cannot be said that this revolution is inopportune or that it is an attempt to take advantage of Ireland’s claim to press an inconsequent development. Nationalist Members have expressed their sympathy with us in return for the sympathy which we have given and shall continue to give to them. We as frankly accord their claim for priority as they will accord us our right of succession. […]

Ronald MUNRO FERGUSON (Liberal MP for the constituency of Leith Burghs, Scotland), contribution to the debate on the Resolution “That, in the opinion of this House, any measure providing for the delegation of Parliamentary powers to Ireland should be followed in this Parliament by the granting of similar powers of self-government to Scotland as part of a general scheme of devolution.” Hansard, “House of Commons debates: Scotland (Federal Government)”, vol. 34, cols. 1454-55, 28 February 1912. 


Composition de linguistique

‘One hardly notices the proximity of the glaciers,’ said Edith appreciatively.

‘No,’ agreed Mr Neville. ‘But then they are not all that close.’

They were seated outside a small restaurant under a vine-covered trellis, a bottle of yellow wine on the table between them. Shaded, they were able to look out across a small deserted 5 square made brilliant by the sun of early afternoon. At this height the lake mists were no longer imaginable: half-tones and ambiguous gradations, gentle appreciations of mildness and warmth, were banished, relegated to invalid status, by the uncompromising clarity of this higher air. Up here the weather was both hot and cold, bright and dark: hot in the sun, cold in the shade, bright as they climbed, and dark as they had sat in the small deserted café-bar, resting, until Mr Neville had asked, ‘Could you walk a little more?’ and they had set off again until they reached the top of what seemed to Edith to be a mountain, although the golden fruit on the trees in the terraced orchards they had passed on their way rather gave the lie to this assumption. Now they sat after lunch, becalmed, the only two people contemplating these few square metres of flat cobbled ground, the only sounds the faint whine of a distant car and a mumble of music from a wireless deep in the recesses of the restaurant, perhaps from the kitchen, perhaps from the little sitting room at the back, where the owner might retire to read his newspaper before opening up again for dinner.

But who came here? In Edith’s mind, Mrs Pusey and Monica and Mme de Bonneuil, the hotel itself with its elderly pianist and its dependable meals, seemed to be at the other end of the universe. The mild and careful creature that she had been on the lake shore had also disappeared, had dematerialized in the ascent to this upper air, and by a remote and almost crystalline process new components had formed, resulting in something harder, brighter, more decisive, realistic, able to savour enjoyment, even to expect it.

‘Who comes here?’ she asked.

‘People like us,’ he replied.

He was a man of few words, but those few words were judiciously selected, weighed for quality, and delivered with expertise. Edith, used to the ruminative monologues that most people consider to be adequate for the purposes of rational discourse, used, moreover, to concocting the cunning and even learned periods which the characters in her books so spontaneously uttered, leaned back in her chair and smiled. The sensation of being entertained by words was one which she encountered all too rarely. People expect writers to entertain them, she reflected. They consider that writers should be gratified simply by performing their task to the audience’s satisfaction. Like sycophants at court in the Middle Ages, dwarves, jongleurs. And what about us? Nobody thinks about entertaining us.

Mr Neville noticed the brief spasm of feeling that passed over Edith’s face, and observed, ‘You may feel better if you tell me about it.’

‘Oh, do you think that is true?’ she enquired, breathing rather hard. ‘And even if it is, do you guarantee that the results will be immediately felt? Like those obscure advertisements for ointment that help you to “obtain relief”. One is never quite sure from what,’ she went on. ‘Although there is sometimes a tiny drawing of a man, rather correctly dressed, with a hand pressed to the small of his back.’

Mr Neville smiled.

‘I suppose it is the promise that counts,’ Edith went on, a little wildly. ‘Or perhaps just the offer. Anyway, I forget what I was talking about. You mustn’t take any notice,’ she added. ‘Most of my life seems to go on at a subterranean level. And it is too nice a day to bother about all that.’ Her face cleared. ‘And I am having such a good time,’ she said.

She did indeed look as if she might be, he thought. Her face had lost its habitual faintly sheep-like expression, its quest for approval or understanding, and had become amused, patrician. What on earth was she doing here, he wondered.

‘What on earth are you doing here?’ asked Edith.

He smiled again. ‘Why shouldn’t I be here?’

She gestured with upturned hands. ‘Well, that hotel is hardly the place for you. It seems to be permanently reserved for women. And for a certain kind of woman. Cast-off or abandoned, paid to stay away, or to do harmless womanly things, like spending money on clothes. The very tenor of the conversation excludes men. You must be bored stiff.’

‘You, I expect, have come here to finish a book,’ he said pleasantly.

Her face clouded. ‘That is quite right,’ she said. And poured herself another glass of wine.

He affected not to notice this. ‘Well, I am rather fond of the place. I came here once with my wife. And as I was at the conference in Geneva, and in no rush to get back, I thought I’d see if it were still the same. The weather was good, so I stayed on a little.’

‘This conference,’ she said. ‘Forgive me, but I don’t know what it was about.’

‘Electronics. I have a rather sizeable electronics firm which is doing surprisingly well. In fact, it almost runs itself, thanks to my excellent second in command. I spend less and less time there, although I remain responsible for everything that goes on. But this way I can spend a good deal of time on my farm, and that is what I really prefer to do.’

‘Where …?’

‘Near Marlborough.’

‘And your wife,’ she ventured. ‘Did she not come with you?’

He adjusted the cuffs of his shirt. ‘My wife left me three years ago,’ he said. ‘She ran away with a man ten years her junior, and despite everyone’s predictions she is still radiantly happy.’

‘Happy,’ said Edith lingeringly. ‘How marvellous! Oh, I’m so sorry. That was a tactless thing to say. You must think me very stupid.’

Anita Brookner, Hotel du Lac. London: Triad Grafton Books, 1985 [1984], p. 90-93.


(Les réponses seront rédigées en anglais)

In this section, candidates are asked to provide phonemic transcriptions (also known as “broad phonetic transcriptions”) of isolated word units or larger extracts from the text attached. Regardless of the origin of the text, they are free to base their transcriptions either on Southern British English or on General American, to the exclusion of any other variety of English. The chosen standard should be explicitly stated from the start, and deviations clearly justified with reference to the text.

Transcriptions are expected to conform to the standards set out in either of the following reference works: J.C. Wells, Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd edition), Harlow: Pearson Education Limited, 2008; or D. Jones (eds. P. Roach, J. Setter & J. Esling), Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary (18th edition), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Please note that, when applicable, stress is to be indicated in all transcriptions. Unless explicitly required, no mention of intonation patterns is expected in the transcriptions.

Candidates must organise and structure their answers so as to avoid unnecessary repetition.


1. Give a phonemic transcription of the following passage: Shaded, they were able to look out across a small deserted square made brilliant by the sun of early afternoon. At this height the lake mists were no longer imaginable: […]. (ll. 4-6). Use weak forms where appropriate. 

2. Transcribe the following words phonemically: invalid (l. 7), expertise (l. 27), adequate (l. 28), womanly (l. 54).

3. Answer the following questions on word stress patterns. Please note that these must be given in numeric form (using /1/ for primary stress, /2/ for secondary stress, /0/ for unstressed syllables and /3/ for tertiary stress, if relevant. Tertiary stress is optional).

a) Give the stress patterns for the following words: appreciatively (l. 1), appreciations (l. 6), dependable (l. 19).

b) Explain placement of both primary and secondary stress (where relevant) in all of the above words.

c) Give the word stress pattern for each of the following compounds / word units. Do not justify your answer: electronics firm (l. 62), second in command (l. 63).

4. a) How is that (underlined) pronounced in the following contexts? Justify.

(l. 32) They consider that writers should be gratified […].

(ll. 45-46) And it is too nice a day to bother about all that.

b) For each of the following words, indicate the pronunciation of the letter <a> (underlined) and justify your answer: warmth (l. 7), orchards (l. 12), satisfaction (l. 33), conversation (l. 55). 

c) For each of the following words, indicate the pronunciation of <ed> (underlined) and justify your answer: terraced (l. 12), learned (l. 29), leaned (l. 30).

5. a) What connected speech processes might occur in the following phrases (one per phrase)? Demonstrate briefly: You must be bored stiff (l. 55), the cuffs of his shirt (l. 69).

b) What phonetic processes may occur within the following words (one per word). Demonstrate briefly how each process works: encountered (l. 31), hands (l. 52).

c) In the following words, indicate 4 differences you would expect to find between General American and Southern British English pronunciations. Refer to both British and American pronunciations: asked (l. 10), cobbled (l. 14), advertisements (l. 38).

6. a) Indicate the tone boundaries, tonic (nucleus) and tone for each of the three tone units in the following extract. Do not justify your answer.

‘This conference,’ she said. ‘Forgive me, but I don’t know what it was about.’ (l. 61)

b) In the following extract, where would the nuclei (tonics) be placed? Why? (The expected tone boundaries have been inserted.)

| ‘It seems to be permanently reserved for women. | And for a certain kind of woman. | (ll. 52-53)

ANALYSE LINGUISTIQUE (Les réponses seront rédigées en français)

1. Le candidat analysera les segments du texte indiqués ci-après par un soulignage :

a) (ll. 8-9) […] hot in the sun, cold in the shade, bright as they climbed, and dark as they had sat in the small deserted café-bar, […].

b) (ll. 45-46) ‘And it is too nice a day to bother about all that.’

c) (ll. 72-73) ‘How marvellous! Oh, I’m so sorry. That was a tactless thing to say.’

2. À partir d’exemples choisis dans l’ensemble du texte, le candidat traitera la question suivante :

Les adjectifs

Aussi bien pour l’analyse des segments soulignés que pour le traitement de la question, le candidat fondera son argumentation sur une étude précise des formes tirées du texte. Il procèdera, à partir de ces formes, à toutes les manipulations et comparaisons jugées utiles, en se référant à leur contexte.

Composition de l'agrégation speciale 

La composition est disponible sur le site de la SAES.


Les textes de la version et du thème sont disponible sur le site de la SAES.