Newsletter Vol. 11

Department of Languages Newsletter    Vol. 11 - Fall 2015

Introduction by the Chair of the Department of Languages

Image of women who is chair of the Department of Languages

It is hard to believe that we are at the end of the first semester as temperatures are closer to those in October than in December. It is once again a great pleasure to present this newsletter which reflects the vitality of our Department.
In September we welcomed two new lab assistants, Cédrick Jeanpierre and Nicolas Lépine to the Department. Our pedagogical team allows the department to maintain a level of excellence in teaching French as a second language. In fact, our program is attracting more students, as numbers have significantly increased this year. It is always a joy to see students from our French program succeed, such as Carly Marton (HBABED, 2015) who won the Zone 1 Edwin Parr Award for outstanding work during the first year of her career in Grande Prairie, Alberta. According to Carol Ann MacDonald, Grande Prairie Public School District superintendent: ‘‘Carly stood out for her integration of technology within her classroom; she had an outstanding relationship with each and every child in the classroom’’. What a pleasure to see the dedication of our graduates pass on their passion of the French language to youngsters who will in turn pass it on to the next generation. Growing up, it was Mademoiselle Meissonnier who shared the beauty of French language and literature with me and my high school classmates.
Last spring, we offered students, teachers and community members the opportunity to write the B2 and C1 DELF level exams. Every year, several of our students take intensive French courses during the summer in Québec (Explore Program) and in France (Ontario Rhônes Alpes Program). I invite you to read about Cole Merrifield’s experience in Quebec in this newsletter. Some decide to spend one semester in France, like Brittany Gillies, who is heading to Grenoble in January, as well as Coralie Delorme and Emily Drouin who will be studying in Lyon. I recently received an enthusiastic email from Valérie Schutte who is enjoying her university year in Grenoble.
As you can see, President Georgette Lemieux and Vice-President Brittany Gillies are very active with Le Club français: Cultural Nights, Wine and Cheese as well as Movie Nights are just some of the events where everybody gathers to share their passion for languages. I wish to remind everyone of the possibility to practice French in a casual atmosphere every Thursday afternoon in the Study. This year for the first time, the department awarded prizes at the November Cultural Night to students who excelled in the language program. This year we have also had a new initiative from our Italian instructor who hosted an Italian movie week in October. The attendance of students, the general public and members of the Italian community made this event a great success. Thank you very much John Zussino!
I cannot conclude this introduction without mentioning the terrible terrorist attacks in Paris last month. For all the Francophones and Francophiles living in Canada this news came as a terrible shock. I personally would like to thank everybody who inquired about my family in Paris. Both my niece and nephew were extremely lucky. My niece was near one of the targeted restaurants and my nephew lives one street away from the shooting near La place de la République. Our thoughts and prayers go to the victims, their friends and their families. Let us keep believing in the good of our fellow beings and ‘‘de croire en notre bonne étoile’’.
I wish you all a warm and happy holiday season.
Dr. Béatrice Vernier, Chair and Associate Professor


New Members join the Language Team

 French lab assistant Cedrick Jean Pierre

Cédrick Jeanpierre

My name is Cédrick Jeanpierre and I am very excited to work with students as one of the new Lab Assistants in the Languages department. It has been a pleasure to support students in their pursuit of mastering “la belle langue.”
I was born and raised in Lyon, France, and have a passion for learning languages, including English, German, Spanish, and Dutch. I graduated with a BTS (College degree) in Trilingual Business Administration (French, German, English).
Before moving to Canada 8 years ago, I lived and worked in Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, and Belgium.
Since arriving in Thunder Bay, I have become involved in the local francophone community as a member of the French-language Toastmasters, President of the Club Canadien Français, board member of Novocentre, and working for the Conseil Scolaire de District Catholique des Aurores Boréales as a finance and communication officer.
In addition to teaching, I enjoy creative writing and have had two short stories published in anthologies by Les Éditions David, a Franco-Ontarian publishing company.
I am currently a student at Lakehead University in the Faculty of Education.

 French lab assistant Nicolas Lepine

Dr. Nicolas Lepine

My passion for languages and history brought me to complete an undergrad diploma in those fields at Université de Sherbrooke. Then followed a MA on Argentine politics and, finally, a PhD at Université Laval on the Spanish Civil War.
I first started teaching in 2003 at Siyuan University in Xi’an, China, where I lectured in languages and World history. I spent the other half of the decade working in research and teaching languages in Québec, France and Spain.
At the beginning of the current decade, I worked as a counselor for Quebec’s Francophone Affairs Bureau. That experience sparked my interest for Francophone communities living outside of Quebec, and brought me to work in Thunder Bay as an instructor in French continuing education. What struck me most when I first got here was the interest for French in a city that proclaimed itself unilingual not so long ago.
More recently, I started working as a lab assistant for LU Languages Department, and am looking forward to lecture in the Department of History this coming winter.


Extra-curricular Activities

This year has been very busy and active with numerous events and activities organized in Chinese, French, Italian and Spanish.

  • Soirées culturelles

In 2015, the Club français organized two Cultural Nights, in March and again in November. This is always a special occasion during which all languages of the Department are represented. It is a great opportunity for students in the Department to interact and share their passion for languages through activities such as Pictionary, Slam, Sharing Recipes and Songs. During the November event, awards were also given to the best students for academic excellence in Chinese, Italian, Finnish, French and Spanish. This was a moment enjoyed by all!

People sitting and standing around The Study room. 

  • Awards for Excellence in Languages

For the first time this year, an award ceremony was held in order to celebrate students who have performed well in a foreign language. The recipients of this year’s awards are:

Peter Walsh (Classics), Katja Rintala (Finnish), Cédrick Jeanpierre (French Literature), Michele McAuley (French language and linguistics), Teana Sacchetti (Italian), Blake Evans (Mandarin), Valérie Schutte (Spanish)

 3 images of people receiving their awards from the chair of the Department of Languages.

3 images of people receiving their awards from the chair of the Department of Languages. 


  • Chinese Film

In February 2015, Mountain Patrol was presented at LU. This is the first Chinese film presented since the introduction of this language in the Department. The film was well received.

  • Italian Film Festival (October 5-8, 2015)

From October 5th until October 8th, 2015, there was a certain Italian glow at PACI. For an entire week Italian films were shown to Lakehead University students and to the entire community of Thunder Bay. The following four films were introduced by Dr Enrico Masso, an invited speaker, Professor at Udine,  and Mr John Zussino, Italian Professor in the Department of Languages at LU: La Mossa del Ppinguino (The Penguin’s Move); Si Può Fare (We Can Do It); Magnifica presenza (A Magnificent Haunting) and finally Pranzo di Ferragosto (Mid-August Lunch). This was made possible with the generous support of the Institute of Italian Studies and the Department of Languages. We would like to thank them for making the 1st Annual Italian Film Festival a success. Here is what Mr Zussino had to say about the event: “With over 200 spectators attending over the four days, and plenty of positive feedback throughout the week, we are already hoping to run similar cultural events for our students and the community. We feel this event served two purposes; firstly to motivate and bring enthusiasm to Italian studies at Lakehead University, and secondly to involve our local population into our rich heritage.  Although it was somewhat challenging to ensure that each and every evening our crowd would be satisfied, based on our feedback and the number of returning faces in the crowd we feel that we completed our objective. See you all next year!

Subsequent to the festival, Mr Zussino has also presented two other films to his class, on November 10th, 2015:  Ti Ricordi di Me? (Remember Me?) and November 24th, 2015: Ma che bella sorpresa! (What a Beautiful Surprise)

  • Hispanic Film

On October 8th, The Orphanage, a Spanish film by Guillermo del Toro was presented to LU students and the community of Thunder Bay in ATAC 1010.

  • Club français

This year’s committee is Georgette Lemieux (President), Brittney Gillies (Vice-President), Melody Zeagman (Treasurer).


All year round the Club français offers French films from France and Québec to the students of Lakehead University and to the community. We started in January with Supercondriaque, then in March we presented another comedy Rien à déclarer, and we finished the Winter of 2015 with Incendies.

The 2015-2016 Academic year kick started in October with a Quebecois film entitled Bon Cop Bad Cop, followed by Le petit Nicolas en vacances in November and the Fall semester closed in December with Pourquoi j’ai pas mangé mon père, the perfect animation to prepare for the Christmas exam session.

Soirées vin-fromage

The French Club held its annual Wine and Cheese event on the evening of November 5th, 2015, in the Study Coffee House. President Georgette Lemieux said: “La soirée du vin et fromage était une bonne occasion de partager un peu de gastronomie autour d’un peu de vin”. The Club had another very successful night in March 2015 where students, professors and professionals from the Community gathered and shared some French exchange while enjoying a nice glass of wine. 

People sitting around The Study room enjoying wine and cheese.


For those of you interested in learning to speak French, or enjoy French culture, please join Georgette every Thursday from 2:30pm until 4:00pm for a Pause-Café in the Study Coffee House. You can contact Georgette ( for more details!

Study in a Francophone Context

A second-year student wished to share with us his summer experience in Québec.
Cole Merrifield: It was a dark and stormy Sunday at ten in the morning when I boarded the plane that would be bringing me to a strange city where I would be living for a month. I had applied for the Explore Program, a five-week bursary which took high school and post-secondary students to a francophone part of Canada to learn the French language and culture. I was subsequently chosen to attend Le CÉGEP de Jonquière, in Saguenay Québec. Being ecstatic to go to a completely francophone (over 90%) area of Canada, my inner Francophile burst forth and I wholeheartedly embraced the québécois version of French as well as the colourful and deep culture. Being immersed in a target language is irrefutably overwhelming yet, incredibly helpful for any language learner. I watched as myself and my fellow classmates began to understand the language as if it was a part of us; conjugations seemed natural, grammatical gender became a breeze, obscure rules and exceptions became second nature. I learned a colourful lexicon, full of new and interesting idiomatic expressions. For example, if it was a particularly windy day, one may use “il vente à écorner les bœufs” literally translated as “it is windy enough to take the horns of a bull”. Another quirk of the language are the words relating to getting in and subsequently exiting a car – embarquer and débarquer respectively, which are a result of the maritime history of Québec.
Many people dream of going to Europe to experience a new culture, different food and a different feel. I however encourage all of you to explore your own country. Go to Quebec City, eat on the banks of the Saint-Lawrence River where Samuel de Champlain lived, centuries ago. Go to Tadoussac, one of the oldest villages in all of Canada and feel the history. Don't miss out on an opportunity to learn about Canada and its history or as we say in Quebec – lâche pas!

Reminder of events in the New Year

Lunch Seminar

January 22, 2016        Dr. Richard Matthews (Centre for Health Care Ethic)
Feb. 5, 2016                Dr. Ismel Gonzalès (Department of Languages)
March 2016                 Dr. Clara Sachetti-Dufresne (Department of Philosophy and Anthropology).
                                    Date to be confirmed.

Club français

  • Pause Café – every Thursday, 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm in the Study
  • January
    • 13 – Potluck and Games Night (The Study)
    • 18 – Movie Night
  • February
    • 8 – Pre-Midterm Yoga
    • 11 – Movie Night
    • 24 – Wine and Cheese Night (The Study)
    • 27 – Bowling
  • March
    • 2 – Wine Wednesday
    • 10 – Wing Night
    • 15 – Movie Night
    • 30 – Cultural Night (The Study)

Italian films (PACI)

1) Tuesday, January 12, 2016 - Mia Madre
2)  Tuesday, January 26, 2016 - Youth (La Giovinezza)
3)  Tuesday, February 9, 2016 – Il Racconto dei Racconti
Hope to see you all there! Spero di vedervi tutti lì! Nous espérons vous accueillir nombreux !