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2nd Postcard from Gary at L’Institut de Français

Gary at Parc du Sceau 2Chère Melissa,

Je continue à oublier de te dire que j’ai vu Owen Wilson la semaine dernière!  Il était en vélo dans la rue.  C’était un vélo pliable. Je suis sûr que c’était lui, tu sais que personne ne lui ressemble.

Rien n’est meilleur qu’un séjour en France pour améliorer mon français.  Je fais des erreurs sur la pression du moment, mais j’espère que peu à peu je fais mieux.  Par exemple,  je suis allé hier à la poste pour acheter des timbres aux cartes postales.  Je ne comprenais pas les comptoirs différents et je n’ai pas compris celui que je devrais choisir.  Je m’en suis approché à un, et j’ai demandé à l’homme devant, “les timbres se vendent ici?” et il m’a dit “oui” et puis il a dit (presque comme à lui-même dans une voix douce) “Il ne m’a pas dit ‘bonjour’, c’est incroyable!” Tu vois, c’est un grand problème ici en France de commencer à parler avec quelqu’un sans d’abord avoir dit “bonjour”.  Ils le détestent.  Mais maintenant je ne l’oublierai jamais!  En fait, plus tard je lui ai dit “bonjour” et il m’a donne un petit sourire, comme il m’avait pardonné.

Quelque chose d’autre qui m’est arrivé—j’étais dans une boulangerie et je pensais à commencer en disant “bonjour” et j’ai mis le sandwich que j’avais choisi sur le comptoir, et la femme en face de moi a dit–tout inattendu pour moi–“Autre chose?”  Moi: “comment?” Elle : (comme on dirait à un très jeune garçon) “anything else?” Busted.

Un autre exemple:  Lors de ma troisième visite à Starbucks, j’avais appris à dire “Bonjour.  Un café de la semaine, “tall” (il disent “taul”) s’il vous plait”.  La vendeuse m’a dit “à emporter?”  Moi: “huh?”  Elle : (au petit garçon) “to go?”.

La leçon est donc qu’il faut penser à ce qu’ils vont vous dire, après votre première parole, et puis à ce que vous allez leur dire?

1st Postcard from Gary at L’Institut de Français

Gary in Auvers

Bonjour Melissa.

Ca va ici.  il fait très beau depuis mon arrivée, sauf pendant deux matins où il y avait un ciel couvert.  Je viens de t’envoyer une photographie de moi que j’ai prise mardi matin après avoir couru dans les Tuileries.  Comme tu sais, d’habitude j’y visite pendant l’automne ou en hiver.  Bien que j’aime bien le beau temps, d’autre part il y a la foule en ce moment-ci.
J’ai eu de la chance de pouvoir commencer mon séjour dans l’appartement (que j’ai loué) au moment de mon arrivée à 9 h du matin.  Comme tu sais, d’habitude on ne peut pas avoir la clé jusqu’à 2h ou 3h, mais parce que personne n’y était resté le jour d’avant, on m’a accueilli le matin.  Autrement il m’aurait fallu passer plusieurs heures dans les rues, complètement crevé après ma nuit dans l’avion.
Deux jours plus tard, je suis allé à Vaux-le-Vicomte.  J’en ai beaucoup lu.  Les jardins, le parc et le château sont un peu comme Versailles qui s’est construit plusieurs ans après.  En effet, Vaux inspire Versailles.
Tu seras très contente que j’aie enfin appris la difference entre ‘pardon’ et ‘excusez-moi’.  Comme tu sais, on dit ‘pardon’ quand on a frappé où a marché au pied (par hasard, bien sûr) de quelqu’un.  On dit ‘excusez-moi’ pour obtenir l’attention de quelqu’un.  C’est cool, n’est-ce pas?  Aussi je pense que je pourrai rappeler le “bout” et le “but” maintenant.  Hier je suis dans un centre commercial et j’ai demander à quelqu’un où se trouvait le FNAC (une grand librairie ici) et on m’a dit ‘allez au bout du couloir et tourner à droite.

 

Paris and Québec City: Comparison and Contrast by Cynthia Hurst

I first met Cynthia Hurst in 2002.  She came to Speak Abroad, the language school I had founded and was running in Vero Beach, Florida to learn French for her travels.  I had the honor of being her first French teacher ever.  She and her husband Richard have become some of my dearest friends.  When Cynthia and Richard went on a cruise to Québec this September I asked Cynthia to write a comparison of Paris and Québec for my blog.  Cynthia is a fantastic writer with a wonderful eye for detail.  I knew her article would be good, but what she came up with surpassed my expectations.  Merci Cynthia!

“Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety.” —Shakespeare

“…wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” —Ernest Hemingway

“I love living in Quebec City!” —Young woman from France

“In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language.” —Mark Twain

“All we want is an independent Quebec within a strong and united Canada.” —Yvon Deschamps

It is a mild day in May complete with azure skies, blossoming trees, flowering crocus and daffodils, and everywhere the bright spring green of a Paris coming to life once again. I am walking (myth buster for the hotel clerk who gave me directions: Yes, Americans do walk) east on Quai Saint-Bernard, heading for le Jardin des Plantes and the Museum of Natural History with La Grande Galerie de l’Evolution. But today nature beckons and it’s the botanical gardens that draw me. Set on 28 hectares (about 69 acres), the park includes tropical hothouses, rose gardens, rows of traditional flowers, an Alpine garden entered via a damp, cool cave, and an Art Deco-style winter garden where the black stick-like trees form a perfect backdrop en hiver. All this, and a little zoo, too!

I am staying at the Agora St. Germain, perfectly situated in the heart of the Latin Quarter, so named for the students who studied Latin at the nearby Sorbonne. A couple of blocks north and I am at the Seine. Crossing the bridge, I reach Notre Dame. Street artists perform, crowds mingle, gargoyles glare, and ancient, solemn beauty waits within. If I walk west I hit Boulevard Saint-Michel, which leads to the Cluny Museum of the Middle Ages—one of the best and worth seeing. Further down is found the University of Paris, and then the Luxembourg Gardens.

On Saturdays, Blvd. St.-Michel is closed off for a couple of blocks and the market stalls take over the street. Not only fresh, locally grown produce, but chickens and meats, seafood and rabbits, cheeses and breads are on fragrant display. In addition, there are clothing items, leather goods, tablecloths, jewelry, trinkets and more. Buy a perfect pint of raspberries from a farmer, a mini-quiche from the patisserie; indulge in some lacy antique linen or a hand-painted box. There are treasures to be found here!

To the south, up a long hill, is a square surrounded by bistros and cafes. Once, traveling with my husband, Richard, and son Sean, we were sent in the opposite direction by the hotel concierge to a restaurant featuring nouvelle cuisine (translation: small bites of food with interesting sauces drizzled or squiggled on to look artsy). We finished our meal and as we headed back I said, “That was perfect!” My husband and son said simultaneously, “I’m still starving!” Around the next corner we found a place to suit all of us. I had a cup of tea and split an order of profiteroles while the guys feasted on roast chicken and pommes frites!

Paris is divided into arrondissements, making the city more manageable and succinct. But it is more than defined areas and famous sights; to experience Paris you must fill your senses and feel the spirit that surrounds you. Whether it is the purple/pink sunset at Notre Dame, the magic of the I.M. Pei pyramid at the Louvre, the awe of standing beneath the Eiffel Tower (or atop one of the observation landings!), the joy of a tour boat on the Seine, the skill of a street artist, a night at the Moulin Rouge, or the simple pleasure of a café and pastry, the City of Light awaits you.

One more myth buster about Paris: the people are not all rude. Sean’s spirit was crushed in the smaller city of Nancy when the cabbie heard his American accent and refused to speak with him. In Paris, he tried again. The taxi driver wanted to understand, and they chatted non-stop all the way to our destination. With 2.2 million people in Paris and just over 10 million in the surrounding area, some are bound to be nice, n’est-ce pas?

And now, we go to Québec. With just over half a million population, Québec City is the oldest walled city in North America. Divided into Old and New (outside the old town walls of the historic section), the Old City (Vieux-Québec) contains Upper Town (Haute-Ville) and Lower Town (Basse-Ville). Samuel Champlain, recognizing the area’s strategic importance for shipping and fortification, established a trading post there in 1608, and thus the city.

On a warm September day, Richard and I disembark the cruise ship Maasdam, of the Holland America Line, for this magnificent and very French port of call. Québec City is on the Fleuve Saint Laurent, offering deep water access from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. Port Québec is a large harbor, and sailboats and pleasure craft dot the water.

Like Paris there are cobbled streets, boutique shops and art galleries, musicians in the park, cafés and restaurants in abundance, monuments, and the requisite Notre Dame Cathedral. There was a Tour de Québec the day we were there, and bicyclists rode by in waves separated by touring vans and police motorcyclists, all cheered by tourists and thousands of locals who lined the streets. Two more cyclists struggled up the hill a while later, cheered raucously by the crowd.

What’s different? First and foremost is closer access for Americans, a chance to be in a French city where French and English are easily spoken. You can get there by plane or boat or train (or car!), relatively quickly at a fraction of the cost. In France you will find Germanic, British and Italian influences reflected in architecture, food and dialect. In the province of Québec other influences are Scottish, Native American and Inuit. A perfect souvenir is an inukshuk, a traditional sculpture made of unworked stones and used by the Inuit as communication and survival for fellow travelers. And some Québécoise pottery, too, of course!

The upper town of the Old City is reached via the Funicular, a grand elevator that offers a splendid view of the lower town and the St. Laurence as it rises slowly up the hill. After exploring the lower town, we joined the short line for the ride. Later, we took the steps of the Escalier Frontenac to descend—much easier and interesting in its own way.

Upon exiting the Funicular we are greeted by the massive façade of the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. Frontenac is a castle-like hotel of Scottish bricks, copper roofs and stone turrets. It is full of old-time elegance, with uniformed doormen, antique furnishings and high tea. In the vicinity are several squares and plazas where people gather to relax and catch some sun. A massive statue of Champlain dominates the square in front of the Frontenac. Behind the statue is Dufferin Terrace, a wide boardwalk overlooking the old city and the river. If you wish, you can take the 310 steps along Le Promenade des Gouverneurs. This leads to an observation landing and skirts the cliff wall past the Citadel. Or, heading away from the promenade, you will find tree-lines avenues, ancient stone artifices, cathedrals and churches, and another plaza featuring a Native American statue that is striking. (I photographed the Indian and skipped the Bishop.)

We enjoyed a delicious lunch at La Cache, right off the stairway between the old and new town, a few steps below rue Petit-Champlain where the bike race was being held. I ordered Salade Niçoise, my husband had a yummy autumn soup and we shared a demi-bottle of white Burgundy Bourgogne. Go ahead and get an ice cream or some chocolate afterwards and sit in the park. Parfait!

I found Quebec City to be smaller and more provincial, yet modern and worldly too. They are, after all, struggling with the separatist movement in Quebec while demanding a strong and unified Canada. New Prime Minister Pauline Marois has offered a referendum to determine Quebec’s fate. Political tempers have cooled for the moment and locals I talked with seemed ambivalent about the issue.

Meanwhile, a man plays classical guitar on a cobbled street, shops like Fusion & couleurs and Pot en Ciel are ready for business, and Le Lapin Sauté is open for lunch. Dancing iron figures hang from wires in Old Town, and a maid opens a white sheet like angel wings in a bedroom window of Le Priori Hotel. But there’s more: a quiet archway behind Frontenac with a woolen shop tucked away in a corner, a burly man walking three, large, impeccably trained dogs who stops to give me directions, noon mass being said at the basilica, a group of teens teasing each other in French, and a child carrying a miniature hockey stick.

With a trip to Paris, you naturally have the added bonus of the entire country of France to explore. But Québec is a fantastic place to venture, a fairly close Canadian neighbor with a unique history and charm of its own. And a great opportunity to practice your French!

“La Vie Douce: A Year in Brussels” by my Cool Student Susanne M.

La Vie Douce

A year in Brussels by Susanne Mirabello

It started with a nap, a very long nap, to overcome the jet lag, the shipment details, the visa and work permit papers and the tricky “first timer” transportation mistakes.  Upon opening my eyes, I realized that I was living in Europe, the capital of Belgium and the diverse center of the European Union.

Through my private lessons with Melissa in FrenchinDC, I was able to more confidently stroll down my street for a first glimpse of my neighborhood.  For this was a dangerous part of town, one known my many and all for the vendors on each corner and its worldly reputation. This….was the chocolate district.  My apartment was only a small walk away from 12 different chocolatiers.  Ones that would know me by name by the end of the week and save free samples of pralines, not decorated up to their artistic standards but certainly still holding such a rich flavor.

Chocolates were not the only noticeable tastes of Belgium to reel me in.  Waffle trucks at every corner entice the crowds with warm and fresh waffles crystallized with a simple sugar coating or chocolate drizzle (do not be fooled by the fancy decorative ones that are overflowing with strawberries and whipped cream) The ones in the vans are simple, traditionally from Liege, a smaller town 40 minutes outside the capital, and have earned their way to becoming one of, what I like to call,  Belgium’s major food groups.  The other groups being Pomme Frites and Beer.

This leads me to my challenge to find the best “friterie” in the city.  These shacks are set up in strategic places, usually near some nightlife or in a central area, park or plaza.   My favorite only has two men working behind a menu of really only one ordered item. Frites…and of course the 40 types of different sauces you can order to go along with it. Mayonnaise, is a traditional topping, piled high, in a mound above a paper cone filled with the double fried treats. “Andalouise” is a popular sauce and my personal recommendation.

It is easy to get lost in the flavors but also the unique setting of Brussels itself.  I constantly get lost in the winding steets that mix the classical iron balconies of other European cities with the stylized Art Nouveau architecture that was popular in the early 1920s.  Every street has character, whether it be in a stained glass mural above a door way or a mosaic scene with intricate details and gilded outline that gives the façade a golden luster whenever the sun hits just right.

Oh, the sun.  When the sun comes out in Belgium, it invigorates the city. People take strolls until it sets, sometimes 10:30 or 11 in the deepest days of summer.  Groups park blankets, croquette, and wine in the parks.  Sometimes others will have the guitars strumming for the rest of the world to just enjoy.  Sadly, this only happens sporadically and Belgium is known more so for it’s puddled cobblestone streets and waves that splash up from the hustle and bustle of trams, taxis, buses and even bikes trying to race through another week-long rain shower.

Brussels seems like a small city, easy to get around, so much to see, plenty of festivals in the summer and variety of tastes to enjoy.  I feel like it is often overlooked and even on my first stroll, I knew this would be more than just “one year” city.  I have not been in too many other places where so many cultures are represented in one little European pocket and yet a bit of Belgian traditions still shine through to make it unique and impressionable. If anything, I hope this little blurb lends you to consider Belgium as a future destination, not for site seeing, landmarks and a rushed itinerary but for a stroll through the beautiful streets, a beer with some friendly locals and of course a chance to enjoy a bit of the “sweet life.”

“Tête, Épaules, Genoux, Pieds”

I have posted earlier about using songs to teach children French.  Kids are natural hams and absolutely love to express themselves in song.  Since the vocabulary is set to music children learn it quickly and remember it well.

Adding accompanying motions, or creating and holding up drawings that represent the words of the song as you initially sing it to and with the children will allow you to teach them songs without having to resort to English.  If motions are created to accompany the vocabulary children have an easier time remembering and recreating the target vocabulary outside the context of the song.

Young children, particularly children under eight, learn best through immersion.  In order to teach through total immersion, however, lessons must be active, engaging and the material must be presented in an extremely concrete way.

“Tête, Épaules, Genoux, Pieds” is a kindergarten classic both in the U.S. and France.  As such it is a perfect song to use in introducing children to parts of the body. The fact that children already know this song in English makes it easier for them to master it in French.  You can introduce it fully in French and children will immediately know exactly what they are singing.

When you teach children any song in French, or in any foreign language, be sure to vary the ways you perform it; sing the song at normal speed, then very slowly, quickly, while whispering, in a loud voice…Finally, direct the children using the motions or holding up the drawings you have associated with the song but do not sing it yourself.  See how much the children can remember on their own.  Fill in the words they are missing as necessary, but only if they do not find them on their own.

By the way, my adult students also enjoy learning this song, as well as others they remember (in English) from their youth.  And like my young students they master the vocabulary quickly while having a great time.

I found this terrific video clip of “Tête, Épaules, Genoux, Pieds” on youtube.  It was created by Madoiselle Torbert in March of 2011.  She sings clearly and presents the song both with and without the words presented onscreen, respectively.

“Facts For French Teachers” by Dr. Madeline Turan

Dr. Turan is a lecturer and the pedagogy supervisor at SUNY at Stony Brook.

Americans don’t need to learn another language – Everyone speaks English!

In today’s global marketplace, this attitude is “très démodé”.

  • After 9/11, President Bush allocated substantial funding to the study of foreign languages, study abroad programs, and the training of foreign language teachers.
  • President Obama has spoken publicly about the importance of speaking foreign languages.
  • Familiarity with the diversity of culture in other countries is a major advantage for careers in today’s global economy.
  • Candidates with proficiency in a language other than English earn higher salaries.
  • In a listing of international jobs distributed by the U.S. State Department on August 25, 2008: 78 required or preferred French, 27 a UN language (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish), 17 Spanish, 10 Arabic, 5 Russian, 3 German, and 1 Chinese.

French is difficult

Sometimes only French can provide the “mot juste”!

The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center has established the following classification of languages according to their level of difficulty for English-speaking learners to reach a high level of speaking proficiency; the lower the category, the easier for English-speakers to master:

Category I level of difficulty: French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Category II level of difficulty: German.
Category III level of difficulty: Greek, Hebrew, Moro, Persian-Farsi, Persian-Afghan, Pushtu-Afghan, Russian, Serbian/Croatian, Tagalog, Thai, Turkish, Uzbek, and Vietnamese.
Category IV level of difficulty: Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

FRENCH (and the other Romance languages) requires approximately 720 hours of instruction to enable a learner
to reach an advanced level of speaking proficiency. By contrast, it requires approximately 1000 hours of
instruction to reach a low level of speaking proficiency in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, or Korean.

Therefore, it is more likely that American students will reach communicative, linguistic proficiency in Category
l or II languages within the academic time period of grades 7-12 (approximately 857 hours of 40-minute instruction over
180 days for 5 years of study). The study of Category lll or lV languages for the same time period would lead to
minimal linguistic proficiency at best.

  • It is estimated that someone who has never studied French already knows approximately 15,000 words and expressions in the language. This is due to the fact that the Duke of Normandy, William the Conquerer, landed in England in 1066 and became king after defeating the Saxons. The Anglo-Norman dynasty, followed by the French House of Plantagenets (Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lion-Hearted), reigned over England for centuries and approximately 10,000 French words were incorporated into English. French provides the base for more than 35% of modern English vocabulary.
  • French is the second foreign language taught in the U.S., behind Spanish, and the only language other than English taught in all countries.
  • Students who have studied French earn higher scores on standardized tests (SAT/ACT/GRE/LSAT).
  • A recent survey conducted by the Modern Language Association of America (MLA) showed that French enrollment at U.S. institutions of higher education had increased by 2.3% between 2002 and 2006. According to another national survey conducted in 2007-2008 by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), French was listed as the favorite language by high school students nationwide, followed by Italian and then Spanish.
  • Peterson’s Guide to Four-Year Colleges lists some 1,100 U.S. institutions which offer programs in French or related to French. These figures clearly show that French is considered not only as an important language, but also as an important discipline in college curricula nationwide.
  • Since studies have shown that students tend to continue study of the language begun in high school in college, the elimination of French study in secondary schools deprives students of exposure to a language of global status, and one that is integral for initial training in international careers.

French is a “dead” language

  • The study of French is “de rigueur” on 5 continents!
  • French is the official language of 32 countries.
  • French is the only other language, besides English, to be spoken on 5 of the world’s continents.
  • With French, students will be understood in more than 56 countries by more than 200 million people who use French in their daily lives.
  • French, along with English, is an official working language of the United Nations, UNESCO, NATO, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Labor Bureau, the International Olympic Committee, the 31-member Council of Europe, the European Community, the Universal Postal Union, the International Red Cross, and the Union of International Associations (UIA).
  • French is an official or shared language of the 56 countries that comprise the International Organization of French-Speaking Countries (la Francophonie).
  • French is the dominant working language at the European Court of Justice, the European Tribunal of First Instance, and the Press Room at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium.
  • A list of languages deemed as critical was developed by the U.S. Department of Defense, and French was among them because it is spoken in countries which have a strategic importance.
  • French is among the top five languages in terms of web pages used on the Internet.
  • Montreal is the second largest city of native French-speakers in the world (after Paris) and is located only 1 hour from New York City by plane.
  • In the 2000 U.S. Federal census 10,659,350 people claimed French (8,309,666) or French Canadian (2,349,684) ancestry. According to the same census 628,810 New Yorkers reported either first or second generation French or French Canadian ancestry.

France is a country whose time has passed; she is without importance in today’s world

Au contraire!

  • France is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council with veto power
  • France has the 6th largest economy in the world
  • France is the leading nation in clean, safe, and efficient nuclear power. Nuclear energy “provides more than three
  • quarters of the nation’s electricity”. U.S.News and World Report quotes Luis E. Echavarri as saying: “France has
  • become one of the leading countries capable of exporting technology around the world”.
  • According to a 2009 poll conducted by Gallup, France is viewed favorably by 64% of Americans and Canada is
  • viewed favorably by 94% of Americans.
  • Électricité de France (EDF) bought British Energy Group (operator of 8 nuclear power stations) and
  • invested in the United States acquiring just under 50% of the shares in Constellation Energy
  • Nuclear Group.
  • The President of the European Central Bank was born, raised, and educated in France.
  • France is a European leader in aerospace (Aérospatiale, Arianespace, Airbus)
  • Most commercial satellites are put into space on French Ariane rockets
  • The fastest train in the world (the TGV) is French
  • France has the world’s third military power (after the U.S. and Russia), and has the world’s second largest defense
  • industry.
  • France is the site chosen by an international consortium for the building of the world’s first nuclear fusion reactor,
  • the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor.
  • France is also a world leader in medical research and genetics; the Pasteur Institute in Paris is world renowned.
  • Fiber optics and the microchip were invented by French scientists
  • The AIDS virus was discovered by a team of French researchers.
  • The tickets that each spectator had to carry with him or her to enter any of the events at the Beijing Olympic
  • Games in 2008 were designed by ASK, a business based in the south of France. ASK has become the world
  • leader in contactless smart cards, contactless paper tickets and RFID labels with over 70 million products in
  • circulation worldwide.(Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) is used in enterprise supply chain management to
  • improve the efficiency of inventory tracking and management.)

French is important in France, but of no use in the United States

“Voilà” some of the ways that French touches our lives in the USA:

  • The list of French schools in the United States published every year by France-Amérique, is eight pages long.
  • French companies alone have created more then 550,000 jobs for Americans while U.S. companies employ 750,000 people in France.
  • On September 10, 2006, a statue of The Little Prince, the first of its kind in the United States, was inaugurated in the courtyard of The Northport Public Library, commemorating the world famous story written by Antoine de Saint Exupéry while residing in Northport, New York.
  • Louisiana lists French as an official language.
  • Cajun culture is Francophone and an integral part of American culture.
  • The judicial system of Louisiana uses the Napoleonic Code.
  • New York City, among others, has several highly successful bilingual French schools .
  • Canada is an officially bilingual country.
  • The number one trading partner of the United States is Canada.
  • The number one trading partner of many states, including New York, is Quebec. Here are the 2008 trade figures (listed in millions) for New York and major Francophone countries:  Canada: $26,149,800 France: $29,665,300 Switzerland: $22,023,600 Belgium: $28,903,500
  • Total trade with 4 Francophone countries: $341,742,200,000
  • In contrast, total trade with China: $69,732,000,000
  • Quebec, the largest province in Canada, and across the border from New York State, is French-speaking and a rich source of Francophone culture.
  • Hydro-Quebec’s power helps to provide electricity to New York State and parts of New England.
  • New York State is the primary international market for Quebec, which ships over $7.6 billion worth of goods yearly to the state — 14.1% of its total exports to the United States.
  • The Quebec — New York Trade Corridor has been the chief commercial and industrial region of North America for four centuries.
  • One-third of New York City’s subway cars were built in Québec and in Plattsburgh, New York, by Bombardier.
  • Bombardier is also the main constructor of Amtrak’s new Acela high speed trains that serve the Washington-New
  • York City-Boston corridor.
  • The first New York – Québec Summit was organized in May 2002 to develop bi-national links in transportation, tourism, science and technology. The Summit’s first Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by Robert L. King, Chancellor of the State University of New York, and Michel Pigeon, Rector of the Université Laval in Québec City, to increase academic and research cooperation in such fields as security, photonics, and bioterrorism.

QUICK REFERENCES!!!

http://www.frenchteachers.org /
http://www.theworldspeaksfrench.org /
http://www.utm.edu/departments/french/french.html
http://www.utm.edu/staff/globeg/nyadvocat.html
http://www.actfl.org
http://save-french.webs.com /
www.frenchculture.org /
http://miquelon.org
The Alliance Francaise www.fiaf.org/
New York in French: nycfrench.ning.com
http://www.corridors.ca/QueNew_en.html
http://www.census.gov/
http://www.invest-in-france.org/uploads/files-en/09-04-27_143056_090424_Rapport_annuel_UK_web.pdf
http://www.gallup.com/poll/115258/canada-remains-americans-favored-nation.aspx/
http://superfrenchie.com

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bullock, Barbara, “The French Language Initiative: French Language Advocacy Kit” Carbondale, IL: American
Association of Teachers of French (AATF), 2009.

The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Catalog, Chapter 2, 2006-2007.
(http://www.dliflc.edu/archive/documents/DLIFLCcatalog2006-07.pdf)

Furman, Nelly, David Goldberg, and Natalia Lusin. “Enrollments in Languages Other Than
English in United States Institutions of Higher Education, Fall 2006,” New York: Modern
Language Association, 2007. (http://www.mla.org/pdf/06enrollmentsurvey_final.pdf)

“J’aime le New York: A Bilingual Guide to the French Heritage of New York State:: Albany:
State University of New York at Albany, 1986.

Munce, Ryan (dir.). “2008 ACTFL Student Survey Report.” Alexandria, VA: American Council
on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, 2008.  http://www.actfl.org/files/public/ACTFL_Final_2008_completeLOW.pdf

Nadeau, Jean-Benoît, Barlow, Julie. Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong, Naperville, IL:
Sourcebooks, Inc, 2003.

Peckham, Robert. “On the Importance of Knowing French,” University of Tennessee at Martin, “New York
Needs French,” AATF Commission on Advocacy. http://www.utm.edu/staff/globeg/nyadvocat.html

Peterson’s Guide to Four-Year Colleges. New York: NelNet, updated every year.
(http://www.peterson.com)

Shryock, Richard. French: The Most Practical Foreign Language,”Virginia Polytechnic Institute
and State University (Virginia Tech). (http://www.fll.vt.edu/French/whyfrench.html)

“Facts For French Teachers” compiled by Dr. Madeline Turan

Dr. Turan is a lecturer and the pedagogy supervisor at SUNY at Stony Brook.

 

Americans don’t need to learn another language – Everyone speaks English!

In today’s global marketplace, this attitude is “très démodé”.

  • After 9/11, President Bush allocated substantial funding to the study of foreign languages, study abroad programs, and the training of foreign language teachers.
  • President Obama has spoken publicly about the importance of speaking foreign languages.
  • Familiarity with the diversity of culture in other countries is a major advantage for careers in today’s global economy.
  • Candidates with proficiency in a language other than English earn higher salaries.
  • In a listing of international jobs distributed by the U.S. State Department on August 25, 2008: 78 required or preferred French, 27 a UN language (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish), 17 Spanish, 10 Arabic, 5 Russian, 3 German, and 1 Chinese.

French is difficult

Sometimes only French can provide the “mot juste”!

The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center has established the following classification of languages according to their level of difficulty for English-speaking learners to reach a high level of speaking proficiency; the lower the category, the easier for English-speakers to master:

Category I level of difficulty: French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Category II level of difficulty: German.
Category III level of difficulty: Greek, Hebrew, Moro, Persian-Farsi, Persian-Afghan, Pushtu-Afghan, Russian, Serbian/Croatian, Tagalog, Thai, Turkish, Uzbek, and Vietnamese.
Category IV level of difficulty: Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

FRENCH (and the other Romance languages) requires approximately 720 hours of instruction to enable a learner
to reach an advanced level of speaking proficiency. By contrast, it requires approximately 1000 hours of
instruction to reach a low level of speaking proficiency in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, or Korean.

Therefore, it is more likely that American students will reach communicative, linguistic proficiency in Category
l or II languages within the academic time period of grades 7-12 (approximately 857 hours of 40-minute instruction over
180 days for 5 years of study). The study of Category lll or lV languages for the same time period would lead to
minimal linguistic proficiency at best.

  • It is estimated that someone who has never studied French already knows approximately 15,000 words and expressions in the language. This is due to the fact that the Duke of Normandy, William the Conquerer, landed in England in 1066 and became king after defeating the Saxons. The Anglo-Norman dynasty, followed by the French House of Plantagenets (Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lion-Hearted), reigned over England for centuries and approximately 10,000 French words were incorporated into English. French provides the base for more than 35% of modern English vocabulary.
  • French is the second foreign language taught in the U.S., behind Spanish, and the only language other than English taught in all countries.
  • Students who have studied French earn higher scores on standardized tests (SAT/ACT/GRE/LSAT).
  • A recent survey conducted by the Modern Language Association of America (MLA) showed that French enrollment at U.S. institutions of higher education had increased by 2.3% between 2002 and 2006. According to another national survey conducted in 2007-2008 by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), French was listed as the favorite language by high school students nationwide, followed by Italian and then Spanish.
  • Peterson’s Guide to Four-Year Colleges lists some 1,100 U.S. institutions which offer programs in French or related to French. These figures clearly show that French is considered not only as an important language, but also as an important discipline in college curricula nationwide.
  • Since studies have shown that students tend to continue study of the language begun in high school in college, the elimination of French study in secondary schools deprives students of exposure to a language of global status, and one that is integral for initial training in international careers.

French is a “dead” language

  • The study of French is “de rigueur” on 5 continents!
  • French is the official language of 32 countries.
  • French is the only other language, besides English, to be spoken on 5 of the world’s continents.
  • With French, students will be understood in more than 56 countries by more than 200 million people who use French in their daily lives.
  • French, along with English, is an official working language of the United Nations, UNESCO, NATO, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Labor Bureau, the International Olympic Committee, the 31-member Council of Europe, the European Community, the Universal Postal Union, the International Red Cross, and the Union of International Associations (UIA).
  • French is an official or shared language of the 56 countries that comprise the International Organization of French-Speaking Countries (la Francophonie).
  • French is the dominant working language at the European Court of Justice, the European Tribunal of First Instance, and the Press Room at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium.
  • A list of languages deemed as critical was developed by the U.S. Department of Defense, and French was among them because it is spoken in countries which have a strategic importance.
  • French is among the top five languages in terms of web pages used on the Internet.
  • Montreal is the second largest city of native French-speakers in the world (after Paris) and is located only 1 hour from New York City by plane.
  • In the 2000 U.S. Federal census 10,659,350 people claimed French (8,309,666) or French Canadian (2,349,684) ancestry. According to the same census 628,810 New Yorkers reported either first or second generation French or French Canadian ancestry.

France is a country whose time has passed; she is without importance in today’s world

Au contraire!

  • France is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council with veto power
  • France has the 6th largest economy in the world
  • France is the leading nation in clean, safe, and efficient nuclear power. Nuclear energy “provides more than three
  • quarters of the nation’s electricity”. U.S.News and World Report quotes Luis E. Echavarri as saying: “France has
  • become one of the leading countries capable of exporting technology around the world”.
  • According to a 2009 poll conducted by Gallup, France is viewed favorably by 64% of Americans and Canada is
  • viewed favorably by 94% of Americans.
  • Électricité de France (EDF) bought British Energy Group (operator of 8 nuclear power stations) and
  • invested in the United States acquiring just under 50% of the shares in Constellation Energy
  • Nuclear Group.
  • The President of the European Central Bank was born, raised, and educated in France.
  • France is a European leader in aerospace (Aérospatiale, Arianespace, Airbus)
  • Most commercial satellites are put into space on French Ariane rockets
  • The fastest train in the world (the TGV) is French
  • France has the world’s third military power (after the U.S. and Russia), and has the world’s second largest defense
  • industry.
  • France is the site chosen by an international consortium for the building of the world’s first nuclear fusion reactor,
  • the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor.
  • France is also a world leader in medical research and genetics; the Pasteur Institute in Paris is world renowned.
  • Fiber optics and the microchip were invented by French scientists
  • The AIDS virus was discovered by a team of French researchers.
  • The tickets that each spectator had to carry with him or her to enter any of the events at the Beijing Olympic
  • Games in 2008 were designed by ASK, a business based in the south of France. ASK has become the world
  • leader in contactless smart cards, contactless paper tickets and RFID labels with over 70 million products in
  • circulation worldwide.(Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) is used in enterprise supply chain management to
  • improve the efficiency of inventory tracking and management.)

French is important in France, but of no use in the United States

“Voilà” some of the ways that French touches our lives in the USA:

  • The list of French schools in the United States published every year by France-Amérique, is eight pages long.
  • French companies alone have created more then 550,000 jobs for Americans while U.S. companies employ 750,000 people in France.
  • On September 10, 2006, a statue of The Little Prince, the first of its kind in the United States, was inaugurated in the courtyard of The Northport Public Library, commemorating the world famous story written by Antoine de Saint Exupéry while residing in Northport, New York.
  • Louisiana lists French as an official language.
  • Cajun culture is Francophone and an integral part of American culture.
  • The judicial system of Louisiana uses the Napoleonic Code.
  • New York City, among others, has several highly successful bilingual French schools .
  • Canada is an officially bilingual country.
  • The number one trading partner of the United States is Canada.
  • The number one trading partner of many states, including New York, is Quebec. Here are the 2008 trade figures (listed in millions) for New York and major Francophone countries:  Canada: $26,149,800 France: $29,665,300 Switzerland: $22,023,600 Belgium: $28,903,500
  • Total trade with 4 Francophone countries: $341,742,200,000
  • In contrast, total trade with China: $69,732,000,000
  • Quebec, the largest province in Canada, and across the border from New York State, is French-speaking and a rich source of Francophone culture.
  • Hydro-Quebec’s power helps to provide electricity to New York State and parts of New England.
  • New York State is the primary international market for Quebec, which ships over $7.6 billion worth of goods yearly to the state — 14.1% of its total exports to the United States.
  • The Quebec — New York Trade Corridor has been the chief commercial and industrial region of North America for four centuries.
  • One-third of New York City’s subway cars were built in Québec and in Plattsburgh, New York, by Bombardier.
  • Bombardier is also the main constructor of Amtrak’s new Acela high speed trains that serve the Washington-New
  • York City-Boston corridor.
  • The first New York – Québec Summit was organized in May 2002 to develop bi-national links in transportation, tourism, science and technology. The Summit’s first Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by Robert L. King, Chancellor of the State University of New York, and Michel Pigeon, Rector of the Université Laval in Québec City, to increase academic and research cooperation in such fields as security, photonics, and bioterrorism.

QUICK REFERENCES!!!

http://www.frenchteachers.org /
http://www.theworldspeaksfrench.org /
http://www.utm.edu/departments/french/french.html
http://www.utm.edu/staff/globeg/nyadvocat.html
http://www.actfl.org
http://save-french.webs.com /
www.frenchculture.org /
http://miquelon.org
The Alliance Francaise www.fiaf.org/
New York in French: nycfrench.ning.com
http://www.corridors.ca/QueNew_en.html
http://www.census.gov/
http://www.invest-in-france.org/uploads/files-en/09-04-27_143056_090424_Rapport_annuel_UK_web.pdf
http://www.gallup.com/poll/115258/canada-remains-americans-favored-nation.aspx/
http://superfrenchie.com

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bullock, Barbara, “The French Language Initiative: French Language Advocacy Kit” Carbondale, IL: American
Association of Teachers of French (AATF), 2009.

The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Catalog, Chapter 2, 2006-2007.
(http://www.dliflc.edu/archive/documents/DLIFLCcatalog2006-07.pdf)

Furman, Nelly, David Goldberg, and Natalia Lusin. “Enrollments in Languages Other Than
English in United States Institutions of Higher Education, Fall 2006,” New York: Modern
Language Association, 2007. (http://www.mla.org/pdf/06enrollmentsurvey_final.pdf)

“J’aime le New York: A Bilingual Guide to the French Heritage of New York State:: Albany:
State University of New York at Albany, 1986.

Munce, Ryan (dir.). “2008 ACTFL Student Survey Report.” Alexandria, VA: American Council
on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, 2008.  http://www.actfl.org/files/public/ACTFL_Final_2008_completeLOW.pdf

Nadeau, Jean-Benoît, Barlow, Julie. Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong, Naperville, IL:
Sourcebooks, Inc, 2003.

Peckham, Robert. “On the Importance of Knowing French,” University of Tennessee at Martin, “New York
Needs French,” AATF Commission on Advocacy. http://www.utm.edu/staff/globeg/nyadvocat.html

Peterson’s Guide to Four-Year Colleges. New York: NelNet, updated every year.
(http://www.peterson.com)

Shryock, Richard. French: The Most Practical Foreign Language,”Virginia Polytechnic Institute
and State University (Virginia Tech). (http://www.fll.vt.edu/French/whyfrench.html)

La Sirène d’Ushuaia

It has been my lifelong dream to write children’s stories.  I am extremely excited about La Sirène d’Ushuaia because it is the first of my stories to be published (although not by far the first I have written).  It will soon be translated into the other languages I speak:  Spanish, German and Italian; all editions will be available for purchase on Kindle and of course in hard cover through createspace and Amazon.

I am currently advancing quickly on my second bi-lingual children’s book for publication, The Singing Teapot.  Like La Sirène d’Ushuaia it will initially be published in English and French (the language most dear to my heart) and later available in Spanish, German and Italian.

I recommend La Sirène d’Ushuaia for children 12 and under to enjoy alone or with their parents.

La Sirène d’Ushuaia is available for purchase at  https://www.createspace.com/3722919

 

“Treize Envies de Toi” by Richard Gotainer

“Treize Envies de Toi” is by Richard Gotainer, a French singer I have posted on before.  This is a love song, but far from sappy or even particularly romantic.  It is  is fun and funky, full of plays on words.

I have inserted a clip of “Treize Envies de Toi” from youtube as well as the lyrics (courtesy of http://musique.ados.fr) and my translation of them.

“Treize Envies de Toi”

Si c’est neuf c’est pas neuf
ça fait 15 ou 69
si c’est 9 c’était toi
quand on aime on ne compte pas
mais les chiffres sont là
J’aime quand tu te fais nombreuse
en horde ravageuse
toi qu’es multiplie moi

REFRAIN
j’ai 13 envies de toi
voire 14 15 ou 16
13 envies de toi
13 envies de toi
13 envies de toi

toi et moi ça fait 2
plus deux fois nous qui font 8
est entre 16 et 28
plus toi et moi 32
un veinard une heureuse
l’addition est savoureuse
il était une fois 2
fois 2 fois 2 fois 2

REFRAIN

j’ai compté sur mes doigts
à toi toute seule tu es 12
toi et moi plus toi et moi
ça fait deux parts partout ze
deux pour des balais roses
on dira c’est pas grand chose
c’est pile poil ce qu’il faut
pour faire deux gros totos

REFRAIN

13 envies de toi
13 envies de toi

“I Want You So Badly”

If it’s 9 it’s not 9 ( a play on words:  6 + 9 isn’t 9)

That makes 15 or 69

If it’s 9 it was you

When people are in love they don’t keep tallies

But the numbers are there

I love when you make yourself more numerous

In a ravishing horde

You who are always multiplying yourself.

REFRAIN

I have 13 desires for you (a play on words:  I want you so badly)

Maybe even 14, 15 or 16

13 desires for you (I want you so badly)

13 desires for you (I want you so badly)

13 desires for you (I want you so badly)

You and I that makes 2

Plus two times us which makes 8

That’s between 16 and 28

Plus you and me is 32

A lucky man, a happy woman

This math is delightful

Once it was 2

Times 2, times 2, times 2.

REFRAIN

I counted on my fingers

You all by yourself are 12

You and me plus you and me

That makes two sums multiplied everywhere

Two to spend happy years together

People could say that’s not a big deal

But it’s exactly what is necessary

To make two happy people

REFRAIN

13 desires for you (I want you so badly)

13 desires for you (I want you so badly)