0042 - Newsletter Vol. 7

Department of Languages Newsletter    Vol. 7 - Winter 2003

Dr. Abdool-Hack Mamoojee Retires
    Dr. A. H. Mamoojee, Professor in the Department of Languages and Chair of the Department on several occasions, retired at the end of June, 2003 after teaching at Lakehead for 34 years. Dr. Mamoojee received his Honours B.A. and his M.A. in Literae Humaniores (Classics) from Oxford University, where he was at Merton College, and his Ph.D. in Classics from the University of Ottawa. In his years at Lakehead he has taught Latin; Greek; Greek history; Roman history; Classical mythology; Classical civilization; and various courses on Greek and Latin literature in translation, including tragedy and comedy, and epic and lyric poetry. 

    Dr. Mamoojee's research career has been extensive. His main research interests are in the career and works of the first century B.C. Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero and in the history of the Late Roman Republic in general. He has written articles on Cicero's letters and speeches, and also on various aspects of the career and works of Cicero's brother, Quintus. Most recently, Dr. Mamoojee published a review of two important new editions and translations of Cicero's letters, (This appeared in the latest edition of Mouseion, the journal of the Classical Association of Canada).  


Marcus Tullius Cicero
No one can speak well, unless he thoroughly understands his subject.
    Remarkably, some of Dr. Mamoojee's scholarly articles have been written in English, and some in French. If he is not the only Canadian Classicist of whom this can be said, he is one of very, very few outside French Canada. Canadian Classicists, whether trained in Britain, in the U.S. or in English Canada, were usually taught Classics in English and are now researching and writing in the discipline in English only. But Dr. Mamoojee is truly cosmopolitan. In his native Mauritius, he learned both French and English as well as Arabic and Indian languages side by side with the native Mauritian patois as he was growing up. His multicultural society has given him the ability to understand and bridge several cultures.
    Dr. Mamoojee's teaching career has also been distinguished. His students often comment on his learning, on the organization with which he imparts his learning to them, on his patience, and on his ability to inspire them do their best. They consistently come away with a tremendous respect for him and with an ongoing love of Classics.
    Dr. Mamoojee feels strongly that small classes are really the only useful learning environment for students, especially when taking Latin and Greek. These languages are difficult to learn. This is perhaps because they are no longer spoken, and therefore even at the most elementary level cannot be learned conversationally very easily. Usually, students must still learn these languages through reading and memorization. Thus, small classes and lots of individual attention are essential.
    Dr. Mamoojee argues that Classics is still as relevant in today's universities as it has ever been. Obviously, Latin and Greek have always strengthened students' English grammatical and rhetorical ability as well as their memories, and that has not changed. And studying Classical Mythology is still essential for students taking more modern European literature or Art history so that they can recognize the Classical allusions that inform the later literary or artistic work. Furthermore, the studies of Greek and Roman history or philosophy are the studies of the origins of Western values and are essential to anyone wanting to understand later history or philosophy. But the relevance of Classics goes much further than these things. For instance, the Greek War with the mighty Persian Empire was the first clash between Western values and those of the East and therefore its causes and how it played itself out must receive renewed attention today. In Roman history, furthermore, we see critiques of imperialism and power politics which are sophisticated and detailed, and which have much to say about the world now. And new critical approaches, such as, for instance, Feminist Theory or Queer Theory, are having the same major impact on the discipline of Classics as they are on other disciplines.
    It would be unfortunate if, with Dr. Mamoojee's retirement, neither Greek nor Latin were to be taught any more at Lakehead. However, Greek and Roman history will certainly be taught and from time to time other Classics courses, such as Classical Mythology or Women in Antiquity, will be taught as well.
    In his retirement Dr. Mamoojee will continue his research schedule and will also keep up his professional association with such organizations as The Classical Association of Canada, for which he has served as Vice-President, and The Classical Association of the Canadian West. Although we will miss him very much as a teacher, as a colleague and as a friend, we wish both him and Mrs. Mamoojee much happiness in their retirement.
                                                                               - Lisa Richardson


La Sirène du lac Supérieur...

    Filming of an episode of "Y paraît que ... La Magiedu conte" (The Magical World of Story Telling), a TV series exploring Canadian legends and folktales, took place in October near Thunder Bay, and called on Lakehead's Alain Nabarra as consultant and commentator .
    Alain Nabarra, professor of French Language and Literature and Department of Languages Chair, acted as researcher, consultant, and on-camera commentator for an episode of a television series filmed near Thunder Bay. Quebec Director Jean Bourbonnais was in Thunder Bay in October to film an episode of "Y paraît que ... La Magie du conte" (The Magical World of Story Telling), a TV series which explores Canadian legends and folktale. Jocelyn Bérubé, a well-known "Québécois conteur" adapted and narrated the tales for the series that will be shown on ARTV (Quebec), TFO (Ontario), and TFA (New Brunswick). The episode was shot near Thunder Bay at Squaw Bay on the Fort William First Nation Reserve and at Fort William Heritage Park.
    The story deals with "La Légende de la Sirène du lac Supérieur," an 18th century voyageur folktale developed from a story related by a voyageur of the North West Company, Venant St. Germain. St. Germain swore before the Court of the King Bench in the District of Montreal that on May 3, 1782, travelling from Grand Portage to Mackinac, he had seen near the south end of Pie Island, at the entrance of the Bay of Thunder, a creature shaped in part like a human being. According to the old aboriginal woman to whom he was giving passage, it may have been "Manitou Niba Nibais" (Nebaunaubay), the God of the Waters and of the Lakes who has one of his residences near Pie Island. A sworn testimony that gave credit to a story the voyageur used to tell, at the end of the day, around the campfire, having a pipe and a shot of rum...  the legend of the Lake Superior Mermaid. The show will be televised near the end of December.

Where are they now?
Bonjour à tous!
    On a énormément de plaisir ici. Les cours ont débuté, puis c'est très intéressant! La température, un peu chaud, mais c'est très bien. Le vin... on ne garde pas les bouteilles vides, car ça serait trop lourd pour rapporter. Bon bien un gros Bonjour à tout le monde.
                                                                                            - Christian et la gang!

    Christian Caron, Denis Brusset, Oye-Sem Won & Julia Mullins are spending their third year studying in France at the University of Perpignan.

    A summer course in Normandy, may have been the deciding factor in Alan Moorhead's career. In 1971, Lakehead University launched a Summer Language Extension Program in collaboration with the University of Caen, France. Alan, who had just finished grade 13 at Fort William Collegiate, decided to enroll. This unforgettable experience lead him to enter an H.B.A. French and Spanish program at Lakehead University. He was then contemplating a career as a Language Teacher, but his summer experience, sightseeing trip in Paris, the Loire Valley, London or Madrid, and a year in France as an English Teaching-Assistant at the University of Poitiers in 1975-1976, stirred his wandering side. He spent the next six years in Paris making friends and taking Comparative Literature courses at the Sorbonne, studying at the prestigious École Supérieure d'Interprètes et de Traducteurs, travelling in Europe, teaching French as a second language, living the joyous "dilettante" life of a Balzac character.

    Thinking that it was time to settle, Alan came back to Canada, got a B.Ed. at Lakehead, an M.A. in French at McMaster University and started a teaching career. He taught French for six years at the primary and secondary level in Thunder Bay, Scarborough, Hamilton, and was also a lecturer in the Department of Languages at Lakehead University for two years.But something was missing. To reconcile his love of Languages and his taste for travel, he decided to switch careers and become a free-lance interpreter and translator. Alan is accredited by the Canadian Government, the United Nations, NATO, and several other organizations like the Organisation de l'Aviation Civile Internationale, a member of the AIIC (Association Internationale des Interprètes de Conférence). He is now living in Toronto, home for at least part of the year when he is not on assignment in New York, Geneva, Brussels or Ottawa.

    His words of wisdom and advice: Languages are not only useful tools for communication but also precious instruments for the discovery of ourselves and the world around us. Courses are necessary to build a solid foundation, but you have to live a language in order to acquire it. It is never too late to pursue your dream or to realize your potential in languages.

    Bonjour M.Nabarra, M. Schonberger, Mme. Rinne, M. Seyffert, Señor González!!!
      Je suis en voyage avec ma mère pendant 9 jours. Partie d'Arras (et le travail!) le 22. Dinan, Dol et Mt. Saint-Michel. Ensuite, Sarlat et maintenant dans le train pour Chamonix. J'aime l'emploi à Vimy beaucoup - je resterai là jusqu' au début décembre!! Je n'ai pas envie de retourner! Les Bretons ont été tellement sympa et Sarlat très belle. J'espère vous envoyer des nouvelles bientôt. Bisous,
                                                                                                                 - Camille.

    Camille Martin is presently in Franceworking as a bilingual guide for the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

    A warm hello to everyone in the Department of Languages! I have been very busy since I graduated in 1998. After two years doing volunteer missionary work in the Dominican Republic, I returned to Lakehead and got my B.Ed. in the spring of 2001.
    I supply taught in England, saving enough money for a fantastic two week trip to Spain. I returned to the Dominican Republic just after 9-11 and taught English in addition to my volunteer work. I'm back home briefly but making plans to go back soon.
    Obviously I have never regretted majoring in Languages and recommend it to all my students! It's nice hearing news from former professors and classmates via the newsletter. Take care, everyone!
                                                                                                     - Sameena Black

Janine Baker (Poulin) H.B.A. French 1994
    After graduation I worked some odd jobs, mostly part-time until I was able to obtain a job at Contact North/Contact Nord. I started with a lower entry level position and ultimately ended up with my current position of Manager, Client Services for the Regional Coordinating Centre in Thunder Bay. I've been with CN/CN for the last 7 years. Three and a half years ago I married my husband Kelly. Our daughter Duana will be three this May. My, how time flies! A special  "bonjour" to M. Nabarra! I love getting the newsletter! Keep up the great work!
Jennifer Pino B.A., B.Ed. French. 1998
    Jennifer is now teaching French to Grade 9 and 10 in Barrie, Ontario. She planned on travelling to Spain and France with some of her students in March, hoping to expose them to some of the everyday language and culture. She also planned to take her Grade 10 class to Quebec...
    Thanks Jennifer, and hope you enjoyed  your trips!

"It's gone the way of the Dodo..."
In what former French Colony did the famous Dodo Bird live?
You know...  the bird that had no natural enemies, couldn't fly and was very easy to catch. (Probably tasty too!) Less than eight years after it was first discovered it became extinct.
(Answer: Mauritius) 

    This newsletter was prepared by:Al Ketonen (Al.Ketonen@lakeheadu.ca), Lisa Richardson
(Lisa.richardson@lakeheadu.ca), Vincent Schonberger (Vincent.Schonberger@lakeheadu.ca), Marie Noëlle Rinne (mnrinne@.lakeheadu.ca) Alain Nabarra (Alain.Nabarra@lakeheadu.ca),  & Cindy Lamontagne  (Cindy.Lamontagne@lakeheadu.ca)