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(from Wikipedia entry)
Michel Jules Alfred Bréal (French: [bʁeal]; 26 March 1832 – 25 November 1915), French philologist, was born at Landau in Rhenish Bavaria. He is often identified as a founder of modern semantics. After studying at Weissenburg, Metz and Paris, he entered the École Normale Supérieure in 1852. In 1857 he went to Berlin, where he studied Sanskrit under Franz Bopp and Albrecht Weber. On his return to France he obtained an appointment in the department of oriental manuscripts at the Bibliothèque Impériale. In 1864 he became professor of comparative grammar at the Collège de France, in 1875 member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-lettres, in 1879 inspecteur général for higher education until the abolition of the office in 1888. In 1890 he was made commander of the Legion of Honour. He died in Paris.
For more information see Wikipedia entry at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Br%C3%A9al .
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Nina Cust describes him as "Proffesor of Comparative Grammar at the College de France. Author of "Essai de Semantique","Pour miseux connaitre Homere". Wrote to VW regarding her work "What is Meaning?"