Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Presenting at the NAFSA eConnection on “The Diverse U.S. Culture, Heritage Languages, and International Education”

I am delighted to be presenting at the NAFSA eConnection on “The Diverse U.S. Culture, Heritage Languages, and International Education.”

Special thanks to everyone at NAFSA for having developed the eConnection to empower international educators from around the world to continue the conversation and to work together even during the global pandemic.

NAFSA 2020 Poster

What future for the French language in the United States? — A Guest Post from the American Journal of French Studies

I am honored today to have as my guests the members of the American Journal of French Studies (AJFS) team.

AJFS TEAM. 2020

 

A difficult language

Learning the French language demands a lot of motivation. Here, in Louisiana, thousands of students, largely because of their French heritage, immerse themselves in French culture through French immersion programs.  That’s only one of the good reasons to start learning French. The parents play a crucial role at the beginning of this academic journey, and who does not listen to his parents? It came to our attention, though, that the difficulties inherent in the French language (grammar, vocabulary, syntax) make the students more prone to abandon or give up, sometimes switching to what they consider a more employable or easier language: Spanish. French is hard, and French people will not deny that. Even in acclaimed newspapers such as Les Echos, or Valeurs Actuelles, numerous mistakes can be spotted every week. Learning French is also difficult to justify because of the very few employment opportunities which are available in North America: there is only one Québec, and the dream of one day having students study French to improve their employment opportunities can more easily be realized through the enactment of laws making French one of the official languages in the targeted areas.

Another way to improve employment opportunities would be to go beyond academic partnerships between universities and schools, and promote alliances between higher education institutions and French businesses. Who has ever seen on one’s campus employers such as LVMH, Société Générale, BNP Paribas, Véolia, Total, Transdev, Saint Gobain, Sodexo, Alstom, EDF, PSA, Accor, Dassault Systèmes, Pernod Ricard, Ubisoft, Capgemini? Not us, not you.

Another problem with the French language is the ability to practice one’s oral and written skills. French conversation groups exist on Facebook and in real life but there is no free French government sponsored group. French classes at the Alliances Françaises are quite expensive, and it is through the internet that people find ways to practice a foreign language.

There is a need for French companies to better communicate their employment opportunities and to expand their presence throughout the United States across campuses.  When managing directors in these aforementioned companies, who are often French, need to talk to their regional directors or their sales people, American employees able to speak French would definitely help avoid any miscommunication, and make business leaders more comfortable when they need to make business decisions. It is not easy to explain things in English to a Frenchman who lives in France, especially if the situation requires lot of jargon and complex details. Furthermore, cultural barriers fall when two people are able to speak French, and many specific details which would be left out in an English conversation would never be ignored when a Frenchman is spoken to in French. In other words, French in America needs more involvement from French businesses. If every French business in America mentions in their job offers that speaking French is either recommended or required, and communicates such demands to the Career Center of every university in the state where they operate, there is little doubt that French programs would be enhanced. If the French government is really willing to improve the status of the French language in the United States, they need to give more to American students. Creating a “national talent program,” which would give the opportunity to not just a few, but thousands of American, to do a 3-month internship in France, would strengthen not only the language itself, but also the economic ties between the two countries. Business relationships are easier when people have been exposed in a significant way to French culture. Time is money. If French businesses and the French government are able to show that speaking French can help to make a few extra bucks or even a good salary, we will see lots of people waiting in line to study in French classes.

What can the Francophone world offer to American students?

First, being a team player. Why don’t we see more initiatives involving not just France, but also other francophone countries? There is a need to create a G6 of the Francophonie, in which decisions will be easier to make and to implement, with a significant budget: Belgium, Canada, France, Luxembourg, Monaco and Switzerland need to collaborate more when one of them intends to organize cultural events or academic exchanges, and develop business relationships. Who would say no to a Master or a Bachelor that brings you access to 6 different countries? Which business would say no to an agreement which would allow them immediate access to the markets of 6 countries, providing that it meets a required quota of French-speaking employees? Such an alliance would easily convince stellar students to choose a francophone way of life during their academic experience, and to bring a taste and a love for Francophone culture back to the U.S.

Secondly, francophone culture should be heavily promoted: Americans are very fond of French arts, castles, historic sites, food and wines, but also French cities such as Bordeaux, Paris, Lyon or even the French Riviera. French brands are also displayed in numerous online videos and praised by younger generations. In a recent TV Netflix show, Outer Banks, the characters even speak French for a few seconds. Not Spanish, not Chinese, but French. This also shows where French officials should invest their money when it comes to promoting French culture: on the Internet. Our smartphones give us access to numerous applications, which enable us to learn and interact in a new language (HelloTalk, Duolinguo, Babbel). Websites, podcasts, streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Disney+, Apple TV, Twitch, are go-to platforms where Americans should be able to easily find French content.

Once, in Poitiers, our team met a young French couple. They were both working at the local plant.  They had never traveled outside of the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine but they were able to speak perfect English! How was that possible? They responded that they loved to spend hours every day after dinner watching American TV-shows on Netflix. Their English was near-fluent, even though they had never visited a single English-speaking country, and never got a degree beyond high school. They became very good at English by sitting for hours on their couch! Think about it: today, French people are keen on watching American TV shows such as Game of Thrones, Hollywood, Stranger Things, House of Cards and Black Mirror – but why? Because they represent the best of the many TV shows offered in English!

France has always largely subsidized the movie industry. It is now time to spur on a new generation of film-makers, whose movies will be watched on Netflix and other online platforms. Such initiatives should encapsulate cultures of the G6 countries. There are countless things to explore in the Belgian, Canadian, Luxembourgish, Monacan and Swiss cultures. Lots of students at LSU shared with us that they started learning French after watching movies in French featuring classical actors and actresses such as Audrey Hepburn, or Alain Delon, or listening to songs by Jacques Brel. Kid and teenage-friendly movies and music should be encouraged and promoted.

Thirdly, artificial intelligence should not be ignored: its applications encompass a wide range of industries, and the language learning industry would benefit a great deal from public and private investments directed at improving the interactions between a machine and a learner. For instance, it is realistic to expect that one day, a child will learn a language by talking and texting to a software program, which will impersonate a character, and will not only converse with the child, but also correct his or her mistakes in real time. Artificial intelligence companies such as Deep Mind, and its parent company Alphabet, have made tremendous progress in the machine learning process and their work should inspire higher education institutions as well as governments eager to help people learn new languages. If such technology would be accessible through Virtual Reality, there is no doubt that lots of students would enjoy talking or writing for hours to a safe friend who would guide them progressively from a beginner level to a fluent level in French.

The American Journal of French Studies

Where does the American Journal of French Studies stand? Our mission is first to promote the French language in the United States through excellence in written French. We believe that the greatest French writers such as Balzac, Chateaubriand, Hugo, Dumas, Laclos, Flaubert, Maupassant, Stendhal, Verne, Zola, or even Delpit should be read and studied to inspire generations of Americans to write their own poems and novels in French. This mission relies on the willingness of students to compose in literary French. We indeed believe that in order to capture the essence of the French language in all of its nuances – to master it, and feel comfortable with it – there is a path to follow.  It is the same one that French elites have taken: combining the reading of classical texts with the watching of entertaining movies. Students need not only to frequently watch new francophone TV shows, but also to read classic French books, master them, and use the newly acquired vocabulary and grammar tools to become a voice in the Francophone world. Being able to express oneself in an elaborate and nuanced manner is the best way to be listened to and read by leaders and potential employers.

Our audience is wide: high school, undergraduate and graduate students, adults and professors of French studies; all play an integral part in the success of our Academic Journal. Students are invited to submit their poems, shorts novels and academic papers, and professors are invited to discuss their research. We build new bridges every day between the academic world and French learners.

Furthermore, we do believe that videos and arts should also be used in the learning process. That’s why we also publish exclusive interviews of professors of French Studies for our members on a wide variety of topics: from slavery in Louisiana to hip-hop culture in the French suburbs.

Our academic journal is unique because it offers young students a platform to be published. Usually reserved for PhD students, professors and scholars, most Academic Journals – perhaps all – do not accept submissions from students whose ages range from 10 to 20 years old. It is an unfortunate situation as many hidden French gems can be found within this group of students. Our academic journal also offers prize money every year for the winners of our grand concours de litérature, and we actively use social media to connect the general public with this heterogenous group of American students, scholars and French speakers. Our desire in the long term is to be a new type of Academic Journal, one which acts as a merger of Scribd, Youtube, HelloTalk, and Netflix.  We aim to be a hub where learners have access to research papers that explain the most obscure topics of French literature, as well as novels and poems, interviews of francophone leaders, and exchange ideas in French through dedicated forums.

We hope that our enterprise will inspire French enthusiasts to join us and become members of the Journal. The money we receive through subscriptions is used to award monetary prizes to students and cover the maintenance costs of the website. We aspire to operate in every state in the country and help every student to be introduced to the wonderful francophone culture!

Presenting at the ADFL Seminar in Spokane – Thoughts a year later

While I was honored a year ago to present at the ADFL Seminar in Spokane,  the discussion on foreign language advocacy has become exponentially more serious this year due to the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ADFL 05-24-19

 

All our voices are needed!

Read more about my experience at the ADFL seminar @ https://kathleensteinsmith.wordpress.com/2019/05/25/kathy-presenting-at-the-adfl-seminar-in-spokane/

Languages do matter!

Celebrate French Language Awareness — A Guest Post by Juliana L’Heureux

I am honored today to have as my guest today Juliana L’Heureux, a writer on topics related to Franco-Americans and French culture and Chair of the Franco-American Collection archives, overseen by the University of Southern Maine Libraries, in Portland and Lewiston.

Julie cropped

 

Millions of Franco-Americans who live in New England grew up speaking French before they learned English. This was particularly true for second generation French-Canadians who immigrated to New England from French Canada during the middle 19th century, during years when production of textiles and shoes attracted workers to cities where hydropower was abundant. Unfortunately, most of the Francophiles also grew up with the experience of language discrimination. They were stereotyped as “Frenchies” and made to be the subjects of cruel language jokes.  As a matter of fact, I have interviewed Franco-Americans who described to me how they learned arithmetic in French when they attended their parochial schools but had to relearn all of their numbers and math in English when they eventually transferred to English public schools. This experience was very difficult to overcome and caused thousands of children to drop out of school in the 8th grade. Instead of celebrating their French language and heritage, they were embarrassed.

On the other hand, many overcame language discrimination and learned how to become successful, because of their bilingual abilities to speak in French and English. Many of their stories included experiences in their lives where speaking French, in fact, gave them the opportunity to rise above stereotypes, to improve their particular situations and the human condition.

Native French speaker like the Korean War veteran Bert Dutril, of Lewiston Maine, participated in history. He was serving in the U.S. Army in 1953, when the Korea Armistice Agreement to end the fighting between North and South Korea, was being intensely negotiated in high level meetings held in Panmunjom.  He was asked to help with English translation for the French delegations that attended the armistice negotiations. In so doing, Mr. Dutil witnessed the historic cessation of hostilities in Korea, and the beginning of the creations of the Democratic Republic of North Korea and the Republic of Korea.

Also a Lewiston native, Celia Bussiere McGuckian, grew up speaking French. She is an English teacher at Central Maine Community College, in Lewiston. When she lived in Australia she was asked to teach French at the Glenaeon School, located outside of Sydney.

Speaking French as a first language in Maine is common, especially in Northern Maine’s Aroostook County but also in other areas in the state and in New Englad. Nevertheless, most people I meet around the US, as well as when travelling outside our nation, find it unusual that my husband spoke French before he learned English.  We’ve even experienced this response from people we meet in France. In fact, when in France, the locals enjoy playing a guessing game about my husband’s nationality, based on hearing his accent.  Some in France have guessed him to be South African, rather than American.  Simply put, Americans and the international community know very little about Franco-Americans.

Acadians in Louisiana’s Bayou country have created a cultural economy around their Cajun French language and heritage. Nevertheless, this success has been difficult to replicate in Maine.  In fact, it would be difficult for a majority of Americans outside of Maine to identify Franco-American communities, other than Louisiana.

In Louisiana, the Cajuns originally settled in Louisiana after experiencing the brutal 1755, Diaspora called “le grand derangement”. They successfully built a vibrant economy around their French heritage by collectively creating distinctive music and cuisine, using their language as somewhat of an informal logo, to affirm cultural authenticity. “Laissez les bons temps rouler” is a metaphor for “have a good time!”

Cultural awareness organizations have supported preservation programs for the French language, wherever in the world where it is spoken.  It is important to support these efforts in the United States, because the French language is embroidered into North American history.  Speaking French must be celebrated, because the language is integral to the heritage of a large group of immigrants who transcended social challenges and participated in building the United States of America.

Juliana L’Heureux began writing about Franco-Americans as weekly columnist in the Portland Maine newspapers when she and her family moved to her husband’s home town, after he retired from the Navy.  She is a Marylander who learned in her academic studies about the French and the history of how France supported the army of George Washington during the American Revolution.  Encouraged by her husband, Richard, and energized by the enthusiasm she felt about all things French, led to 30 years of reporting, speaking to civic, religious and genealogy groups, as a guest on several podcasts, and leading cultural projects to support awareness about the Franco-American heritage in Maine and in other places throughout the Francophone world.  Her popular Franco-American News and Culture blog is available to the public on the Bangor Daily News bloggers page and is accessible without a subscription.  She is the Chair of the Franco-American Collection archives, overseen by the University of Southern Maine Libraries, in Portland and Lewiston.  During her professional nursing career, she achieved a Bachelor of Science Degree with a Major in Nursing from the University of Southern Maine in Portland and a Masters Degree in Health Care Administration from St. Joseph’s College, in Standish, Maine. Her website is www.mainewriter.com and her email is Juliana@mainewriter.com

Planning, attending, or presenting at a virtual conference @ home? Tips for making it worth the time, effort, and expense.

As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues, more conferences are being cancelled, postponed — or held virtually well into the Fall, and perhaps beyond.

Fortunately, there are many rewarding opportunities for virtual learning, communication, and discussion.

virtual conferences

 

The dilemma facing organizers, presenters, and participants is how to make the virtual conference experience comparable to that of a traditional conference, with its opportunities to re-connect with old friends, to meet new like-minded professionals, to attend and present sessions, and to visit exhibits.

These are all important factors to consider, as conference organizers make every effort to live up to the expectations of their attendees, presenters have dedicated time and effort into developing their workshops and sessions. Most participants are taking time away from work to attend, will need to request funding from their institution to attend, and may even need to report on their conference learning and activities.

Conference organizers have been including webinars and online sessions, as well as more informal opportunities for networking and even socializing — including virtual coffee hours, etc.

Conference presenters need to consider the differences between an in-person and a virtual session when preparing their presentation.

Conference participants need to treat the virtual conference with the same level of engagement that they would bring to an on-site event, not only making sure they have the necessary technology available in their home office, but also ensuring an environment that is relatively distraction-free and keeping unrelated multi-tasking to a minimum during conference hours.

While there are many, many virtual presentation options available, the use of virtual reality in conferences, as well as in our classrooms, is perhaps the trend to watch.

The following are just a few of the many resources available for organizations and individuals planning, attending, or presenting at a conference post-COVID.

Best Practices for Virtual Presentations: 15 Expert Tips That Work for Everyone

The Best Presentation Software

Can Virtual Reality Revolutionize Education?

Forget Video Conferencing — Host Your Next Meeting in VR

How to Give the Best Virtual Presentation

7 Ways To Make Your Online Virtual Conference Successful

Six Tips for Running a Virtual Meeting

VR Takes the Stage as Conferences Cancel

What It Takes to Run a Great Virtual Meeting

 

 

Image source – https://medium.com/@Mentallyawareng/discover-more-about-your-mental-health-at-manis-virtual-conference-f923295cd407

Taking a gap year? Learn another language @ home!

As the COVID crisis is impacting the college plans of graduating high school seniors, current college students, and learners of all ages contemplating a return to the classroom, the idea of taking a gap year — always popular — is being transformed into a virtual experience for many, and an unexpected opportunity to be intentional and to make real, significant progress in learning another language without all the distractions and expenses of college life.

language learning clipart

If you’ve always wanted to learn French, Spanish, or any other language, but have never had the time, this is the moment — but how to get started?

Certainly, ask a language teacher you may know, a librarian, or a colleague, friend, or family member who speaks the language for advice.

Depending on your budget, check online classes available through colleges and universities, and through language and cultural centers like the Alliance Francaise, which has locations throughout the US, including FIAF in NYC, or local cultural centers like the Franco-American Centre in Manchester NH, for online courses.

Foreign language and cultural learning materials can be purchased, and many are available online through local public libraries (free with a library card).

There are also many free and low-cost print, media, and online resources available. In the early weeks of the crisis, I had developed lists of resources for language and cultural learning, including The @home language learner’s tool kit.

Apprendre le français

Destinos: An Introduction to Spanish

French in Action

However, a year-long self-directed learning project on any subject is a much larger project requiring more planning and more materials.

Open educational resources, often referred to as OERs, can also be of great value to any learner, and the following are just a few of the many that are available.

COERLL — The Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning

Español Abierto

French

French Open Educational Resources Portal (known as Merlot)

OER Commons – Language Textbooks

World Languages and Cultures

 

More than 50,000 views of my articles in “The Conversation” – Thank you all!

I am delighted that more than 50,000 of you have read my two articles, “Foreign language classes becoming more scarce,” and “7 reasons to learn another language” in The Conversation.

Many thanks to all!

7 reasons

Conversation article

Thank you all!

Languages do matter!

“The French-Canadian Legacy” — A Guest Post by Jesse Martineau

I am honored to have today as my guest, Jesse Martineau, host of the French-Canadian Legacy podcast and a member of the the board of trustees of the Franco-American Centre, Manchester, NH.

 

pic

My name is Jesse Martineau and I host a podcast called the French-Canadian Legacy.

For me, it all started with a fortuitous encounter at the office watercooler five years ago.  I had run into my coworker Dan Beaulieu and somehow the topic of conversation turned to a series of upcoming events in Manchester, New Hampshire that promoted Irish heritage.  I remember telling Dan that I thought it was great my hometown was having all these events, but I believed the Franco-Americans really needed to do more to tell our story.  Dan put me in touch with his brother Tim, the insanely smart creator of New Hampshire PoutineFest, and soon I was volunteering at the first of these super successful events.  A couple years after this event, I was a member of the board of trustees of the Franco-American Centre.

Like many in Manchester, I was always well aware of my French-Canadian heritage.  My grandparents were Mémère and Pépère, and my Godmother is Ma Tante Monique.  We never had a Thanksgiving without a pork pie.  Both my parents grew up in Manchester speaking French in the house, and they attended a school where half the day was taught in English and the other half in French.  They can still sing the Canadian national anthem in French because they had to sing it to start each school day.  Despite this, we did not speak French in the house when I was growing up, and my sister Monique and I were never taught the language.  I think there are probably a number of super complicated reasons why the vast majority of my generation was not taught French, and I enjoy exploring these issues and many others on my podcast.

The idea for the podcast really all started with me trying to figure out how I could best tell the Franco-American story.  I had done some college radio as an undergraduate, so I decided to take a shot at starting a podcast.  I was incredibly fortunate that I was able to partner with my good friend Mike Campbell, himself a Franco-American.  Mike handles all the production and social media, and the podcast would not happen without him.  I am frequently asked why the podcast is called the French-Canadian Legacy and not the Franco-American Legacy.  The simple answer is that, growing up, I was not familiar with the term Franco-American.  I always knew my family as French-Canadian.  My best friend was Greek, there were Irish and Polish kids in my neighborhood, and I was French-Canadian.  I am not at all making a statement against the term Franco-American, it is just not something that was on my radar growing up.

The French-Canadian Legacy podcast seeks to explore the past, present, and future of French-Canadian cultural identity in the United States, primarily in New England.  We seek to ask a number of questions:  How did we get where we are today?  What organizations are currently out there promoting Franco-American culture?  What will Franco-American identity look like a generation from now?  We hope to tackle these questions, and many others, through discussions with some incredibly smart and interesting guests.  We have talked with historians, novelists, playwrights, musicians, poets, politicians, and many others.    Through this project, Mike and I have had the absolute pleasure to meet some brilliant and talented people.  We have connected with way more listeners, worked way more hours, and had way more fun than Mike or I ever imagined when we started the project a little over a year ago.

We have been very pleasantly surprised by the number of listeners in Québec.  Mike and I get very excited every time someone from Québec reaches out and tells us they are fans of what we do, and I am excited to say we now have friends in Québec thanks to the podcast.  The question we get most often from our friends in Québec is why the podcast isn’t in French.  And the answer is pretty simple – I do not speak French.  I would love to be able to host a podcast in French, but I can’t.  At least, I can’t now.

I want, very much, to be able to speak French.  I have spent a lot of time and money trying to teach myself French.  In fact, I am supposed to be in Québec City right now.  I had everything in place to take a six month leave of absence from my job to move to Vieux-Québec and do nothing but study French full time.  It was definitely going to be a very substantial financial sacrifice, and I am sure much of it, especially early on, would have been very frustrating.  I wouldn’t know anyone in the city, and I wouldn’t be able to speak the language.  However, I was very confident that it would all be worth it when I returned and was able to speak to my parents in their first language for the first time in my life.

Obviously, because of the pandemic, this temporary relocation to Québec City has been put on hold indefinitely.  I have no idea when it will happen, but I am hopeful that it still will at some point.  In the meantime, the podcast continues.  I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to tell the Franco-American story, and Mike and I will continue to tell it as well as we possibly can.

Jesse Martineau is the host of the French-Canadian Legacy podcast.  He lives in his hometown of Manchester, New Hampshire where is on the board of trustees of the Franco-American Centre.  Jesse earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the George Washington University and a Juris Doctor degree from Temple University.  Jesse has served two terms as a State Representative in the New Hampshire General Court and he currently works in academic advising at Southern New Hampshire University.    

The Renaissance of the Francophonie in New England — A Guest Post by Noah Ouellette

I am honored to have as my guest today, Noah Ouellette, the Francophonie and French language officer at the French Consulate in Boston. He previously worked as the assistant to the consul general. He received a degree in international affairs with a specialization in French from the George Washington University.

unnamed

From left to right — Consul General Arnaud Mentré, ACTFL Teacher of the Year Rebecca Blouwolff , and Noah Ouellette

Which American state has the highest proportion of its population that speaks French at home? Most answer Louisiana when I ask this question, but in fact, the answer is Maine, where 5 percent of the population speaks French!

The strong Francophone heritage of Maine, and that of New England more broadly, is experiencing a revival after years of a slow, but steady decline. This past August, the governor of Maine inaugurated alongside the French consul general the very first Alliance Francaise of Maine, two years ago the third French immersion school opened in Massachusetts, and more and more French companies like Servier and Jade Fiducial have opened offices in Boston.

At the Consulate general of France in Boston, we are working to encourage and expand upon this momentum. At the cultural and education branch of the Consulate, we do this through the promotion of new French immersion programs, organizing Francophonie related events, and facilitating teacher and student exchanges. Our priority above all is trying to establish more immersion or bilingual programs. In 2017, French president Emmanuel Macron visited New York to announce the opening of the French Dual Language Fund. This includes funding for start-up costs, French teaching interns, and summer trainings. Never before have schools had access to so many resources, be it financial or otherwise, to support these unique programs.

The studies on the benefits of bilingual education are endless, and those interested in the details can visit the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition. But in my experience, the most powerful way to showcase its power is by visiting an immersion class yourself. This past winter, I visited a 5th grade immersion class in Milton, Massachusetts with a group of French professors. As the teacher began asking her students questions about a recent book they had read, the professors (and I) were stunned at the level of French the students had. One professor said they were better than her college students. It was one small example of the power of an immersive language experience.

The work of promoting French isn’t always easy. Foreign language is not a priority in many school districts, and French language advocates in particular need to work hard to change the stubborn mentality that French is a language in decline. In fact, it is one of the fastest growing languages in the world, and the consulate is working hard to capitalize on this trend in New England. As someone whose great-grandparents immigrated to Massachusetts from Quebec and spoke French at the household, like thousands of others at the time in Southeastern Massachusetts, I am looking forward to continuing to work with schools, nonprofits and elected officials to further advance the renaissance of the Francophonie in New England.

For those interested in learning more about the French Dual Language Fund, please visit the following link: https://face-foundation.org/french-dual-language-fund/index.html

For information on all the Embassy’s resources to promote French, please visit this link : http://frenchlanguagek12.org/

For information on the revival of French in Maine:

African immigrants drive French-speaking renaissance in Maine

Le retour du français (et de l’Alliance Française) dans le Maine

 

 

French Language and Francophone Culture in the United States — Selected Readings and Resources

As we all know, French is a global language, but many of us — even those of us who speak French and who love French and Francophone culture —  are relatively unaware of the profound influence of France in North America and on the extent of that influence throughout the US.

Although I consider myself as a learner rather than an expert on this topic, it has been a lifelong interest, and I am always more than happy to discuss it.

While we are @ home, this a wonderful opportunity to learn more about a language and culture — whether it is our own personal, family culture, or not — which is undeniably an American language and culture.

Most recently, I has the opportunity to talk about it (via zoom) at a local public library, and — in response to questions in person and online — I would like to offer my recommendations, beginning with books (and there are many, many wonderful books and other resources available, in English and en français.

Please remember — the following are just a starting point; there is so much more to read, to view, to listen to, and to learn!

France and US 04-28-20

Selected Books

Among the many, many wonderful books on this subject, I recommend the following as a starting point and foundation for continued learning.  They are all excellent, covering different aspects, different time periods, from different perspectives.

(in reverse chronological order)

A Distinct Alien Race: The Untold Story of Franco-Americans: Industrialization, Immigration, Religious Strife (2018) by David Vermette

Legacy: How French-Canadians Shaped North America (2016) Andre Pratte & Jonathan Kay, eds.

The History of the Acadians of Louisiana (2013) by Zachary Richard (also available in French (2012))

J’aime New York, 2nd Edition: A Bilingual Guide to the French Heritage of New York State / Guide bilingue de l’héritage français de l’état de New York (2011) by Eloise A. Briere, ed. and David B. Graham, contr.

Franco-American Life & Culture in Manchester, New Hampshire: Vivre La Difference (2010) by Robert B. Perreault

Loyal but French: The Negotiation of Identity by French-Canadian Descendants in the United States (2008) by Mark Paul Richard

The Franco-Americans of New England: Dreams and Realities (2004) by Yves Roby (also available in French (2000))

Steeples and Smokestacks. A Collection of essays on The Franco-American Experience in New England (1996) by Claire Quintal

The French-Canadian Heritage in New England (1986). by Gerard J. Brault

Video

J’ai une chanson dans mon coeur  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09OBsnhV8YA

Selected Online News & Other Articles

(in alphabetical order)

Building Roads through French-Speaking New England                                          

Franco-Responsibility, Louisiana Rises to the Challenge                                      

The Francophonie’s Decision Confirms the Rebirth of French in Louisiana

French Is Back in Maine, and So Is the Alliance Française                                 

In Maine, French Culture Experiences a Revival

Investing in French in Vermont and New Hampshire                                                    /

Lafayette area businesses encouraged to just say ‘oui’ to keeping French language alive

Louisiana joins the Francophonie                                                                                

Missouri-Illinois French will once again be spoken in Peoria Sept. 15 

New York, la capitale méconnue de la francophonie                    

When an Influx of French-Canadian Immigrants Struck Fear Into Americans 

Selected Web Resources

(in alphabetical order)

Franco American Centre of Manchester, NH 

French Canadian Legacy Podcast

The North American Francophone Podcast                                                                                (I am delighted to have been featured on April 5, 2020!  :))

 

Selected Research Resources

(in alphabetical order; generally more readily available after the current COVID-19 closures have ended)

French Institute, Assumption College.

University of Maine, Franco American Centre.