0049 - Newsletter Vol. 9

Department of Languages Newsletter    Vol. 9 - Winter 2013

Introduction by the Chair of the Department of Languages

Béatrice Vernier-Larochette
As Chair of the Department of Languages, I am pleased to present our Newsletter after an interruption of nearly 6 years! Meanwhile the Department, its faculty members, lecturers and employees have never stopped being dynamic with many students interested in languages and new courses offered despite a fire in July 2008 that completely destroyed three offices of Faculty members and of our secretary Cindy Lamontagne. After a period of recovery while the Department was relocated into the Bartley Residence, we are back in our previous location (Braun Building 2nd floor) in new and modern facilities.

This year we welcomed new instructors in our team. In October, Dr Isabelle Lemée, specialized in Applied Linguistics, came from Dublin, Ireland, with extensive teaching experience and many research publications to her credit. Her enthusiasm and energy have already inspired faculty members and students. Chloé Arrault, who joined us last year as an assistant, is now teaching two first-year French courses.  This year, with Virginie Vignas and Cynthia Cravo, our assistants from France, we are able to offer more lab hours as weekly conversation sessions every Friday. Le Club français has been very active since September with screenings of French films (the Thunder Bay community is always welcome), evening games, and a continental breakfast.

New this year, the Department has established a lecture series during lunch break that consists of presentations by members of the Department as well as out-of-town speakers. On November 15, the first talk was presented by Dr. Lemée on "Sociolinguistic competence and identity construction in the speech of French L2 learners ". In January, Dr. Béatrice Vernier-Larochette will do a presentation entitled "le récit de filiation; a disguised autobiography".

The enrolment of students majoring in French continues to be healthy. To adapt to students interests we added new courses : "Women's writings in France",  "African and Caribbean literature"; we also reintroduced "French for Beginners" and  "Elementary French" (grade 9 French required) to allow students with little or no background in French to major in this topic. In the spring, an etymology course is going to be offered by Distance Education, and "Elementary French" will be offered on campus.

Last summer, several of our students took intensive French courses in Québec (program Explore) and in France (Program Ontario Rhônes Alpes) and their feedback on this experience was excellent. We always encourage students to immerse themselves in French surroundings as this is the best way to master French as a second language.

German, Finnish, Spanish, Italian, Latin, Ojibwe, Classics  are offered on a regular basis and these past two years Finnish and Spanish have been offered every year at three levels to allow students to minor faster in these two languages.

Let me now conclude this message with a Spanish proverb: "El que sabe dos idiomas vale por dos"/"One who knows two languages is worth two".

Béatrice Vernier-Larochette, PhD

Chair and Associate Professor

New members join the Language team

Isabelle Lemée
I am Isabelle Lemée, and despite being born in France, I arrived in Thunder Bay in September from Ireland where I lived and lectured at University level for 19 years.
I have enjoyed the Canadian way of living and have really appreciated all the outdoor and indoor activities provided here. Hiking, cycling, running, plenty of swimming, bowling, you name it. I have even enjoyed snowshoeing in this fabulous part of the world.  My time in Lakehead University and Thunder Bay so far has been absolutely fantastic. I have enjoyed the challenges presented by my classes in Lakehead University and I am really looking forward to the future here!
Isabelle Lemée

Virginie Vignas

I am Virginie Vignas, a post graduate student of the University of Angers located in the West of France, where I earned a degree in English. Before coming to Thunder Bay to be a Teaching Assistant, I was doing a master's degree in teaching English in secondary school to get the French post graduate teaching diploma. Until now, my experience in Canada is really amazing and the idea about staying in this amazing country is actually crossing my mind. 


Cynthia Cravo

My name is Cynthia Cravo. I had the pleasure to be hired by the University of Lakehead, with the help of a French Institution called the CIEP, to be a French assistant for this year 2012-2013. I arrived with Virginie, the other French assistant, September the 6th in Thunder Bay, after a very long trip, and were picked up by Béatrice at the airport. Since we arrived, everyone was very welcoming and supportive. We still found ourselves being very lucky to be part of this experience, and everything is going well so far.


Chloé Arrault
My name is Chloé Arrault. I was a language assistant in the Department of Languages at LU last year. This year, I lecture 2 courses in French : "Elementary French" and "French civilisation". "J'ai décidé d'enseigner de façon interactive pour permettre aux étudiants de réfléchir par eux-mêmes et de les amener à découvrir les notions. A partir de documents (textes, vidéos, images, fiches d'activités ...), ils répondent à des questions que j'ai sélectionnées sur des thèmes géographiques, historiques et culturels. Ce contenu élaboré en commun pendant la classe compose leurs cours. Ils sont régulièrement placés en atelier de productions collectives". Chloé has enjoyed her first year as a lecturer in the Department.


Extra-curricular activities

During this fall, the French team of the Department of Languages have organized several events, which have been enjoyed by a large number of students.


This year the Department of Languages decided to celebrate Halloween. Students were also encouraged to do so. Professors and languages assistants were seen heading to classes dressed up in various characters. Students were seen in various outfits too! The office was also decorated hence creating a nice and creepy spirit! Well done everyone on this Halloween celebration.

Dr. Vernier-Larochette, C. Cravo, V. Vignas, Dr Lemée
Dr Vernier-Larochette, C. Cravo, V. Vignas, Dr Lemée

Le Club français 

French Films

We had scheduled French movie nights making the students discover 2 days in Paris, Intouchables et La Môme. These movies were watched with English subtitles because we wanted our students and especially the beginners to manage to understand and the most important to get used to listen to French.

Game Night

Besides, we have organized a board game night, which was a real success. Students enjoyed it. Two games were offered: Time's up, during which students had to guess the name of French actors or singers, as well as French monuments or touristic places in France. Participants had to use simple words and mimes in order to get their group to win !

The second game was Taboo. During this game you have to make your team guess the word on the card but without using the list of words forbidden. The winner of the night received a $30 worth voucher for a dinner organised on the 8th of December by the Club des Francophones de Thunder Bay.

European Breakfast

We ended this semester with a European breakfast, which gathered French and Finnish culture and food specialties. This event was well attended by students who experienced a Finnish cereal breakfast and pancakes as well as croissants, crêpes, brioche and marbré cake. We thank students and members of the Department of Languages for the food and for sharing this nice moment together.


Hispanic film night:

On October 19th, the Spanish language section of our department screened the film La Misma Luna (Under The Same Moon) from Mexican-American director Patricia Riggen. The screening was well attended  by students from the three Spanish language courses presently being taught at the university, as well as other people from the university community.

Other films planned for future screening are Guillermo del Toro's El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan's Labyrinth)  and Juan José Campanella's El Secreto de sus Ojos (The Secret in their Eyes).


Nous en profitons pour vous souhaiter une bonne année 2013!