Newsletter Vol. 9.1

Department of Languages Newsletter    Vol. 9.1 - Fall 2013

Introduction by the Chair of the Department of Languages

Image of Beatrice Vernier the Chair of the Department of Languages

As a new academic year starts, I am pleased to present our Newsletter which reflects the dynamism of our Departement but also significant changes in our team. 
This  past  year  saw the  departure  of  Professor  Alain  Nabarra,  Dr. Vincent Schonberger and Mr. Al Ketonen who have been part of our Department for many years. We owe them many thanks for their dedication towards our Department and the University at large.
The  Department  has  recruited  two new  faculty  members  and  one new lab technician: Dr. Nathalie Dumas, Ms. Aimie Shaw and Mrs Jeannette Mundinger Hardy. Dr. Dumas, originally  from  Québec,  comes  from  the University  of  Ottawa  where  she  obtained  her  PhD  on  the representation of sexuality in contemporary French Literature. She brings a strong experience teaching at the university level and as coordinator for “Destination Clic”, a summer camp for Francophone youth living outside Quebec. Ms. Shaw, originally from Newfoundland and Labrador, is in the final stages of completing  her  PhD  thesis at  McGill University.  Her research  focuses  on  the  writings  of  a  French contemporary writer, Eric Chevillard. Ms. Shaw has acquired solid experience in teaching French at Mc  Gill,  at  the  University of  Washington,  and  at  the  Alliance Française  of  Seattle.  Mrs.  Jeannette Mundinger Hardy, originally from France, holds a Masters degree in FSL and has various professional experiences as social worker and French teacher for young immigrants teenagers in France. She is in charge of the language lab and teaches all French labs.
Le Club français starts again the season on October 9th with the movie « Les Poupées Russes ». The  Department  will  also  continue  offering  its Lecture  Series during  lunch  break  consisting of presentations  by members  of  the  Department  as  well  as  out-of-town  speakers.  Last  year  was a good start as Dr. Isabelle Lemée, Dr. Béatrice Vernier-Larochette and Mr. Ismel Gonzáles shared their current research. The Thunder Bay community is always welcome.
The enrolment of  students  majoring  in  French  continues  to  be  healthy.  In  order  to  reinforce our program, new  oral  French  courses  are  offered:  “Oral  French  in  first  year,”  “Phonetics and Pronunciation” in second year, and “Perfecting Oral Skills” in 3rd year. 
Last summer, several of our students took intensive French courses in Québec (Explore Program) and in France(Ontario Rhônes Alpes Program). You can read about their wonderful experiences below. German,  Finnish, Spanish,  Italian,  Latin,  Ojibwe,  Classics  are  offered  on  a  regular basis and continue to be very successful at the beginner’s level. 
I  cannot  finish  this  introduction  without  mentioning  news  that  affected  our  Department.  It  was with great sadness that we have learned of the passing of Natasha Martinie Ruberto in December 2012, one of our former students (BA, 2004). She will be remembered as a diligent student, dynamic, generous and adventurous. Our thoughts go to her family and particularly to her young children.
I trust that this coming year will be very active and that our Department will continue to establish partnerships with the Thunder Bay community.
Béatrice Vernier-Larochette, PhD
Chair and Associate Professor
New members join the Language team
Dr. Nathalie Dumas standing beside the Stanley cup.
Dr Nathalie Dumas

My  name  is  Nathalie  Dumas  and  I  am  the newly  appointed  French-Canadian  Literature assistant professor. I have taught for 10 years at the University of Ottawa where I completed a PhD  on  the representations  of  sexuality  in francophone  literature.  I  enjoyed  the  sun  and the Mediterranean Sea while doing a Masters at Université de Provence (Aix-Marseille I). I am a  “pure  laine”  Quebecer,  raised  in a  beautiful area known as “The Maple Country”.
In Thunder Bay, I have found the same sceneries, joie de vivre and love for hockey. I have been cheering for the Chicago Blackhawks since the day I was born – literally! – so it already feels like home! This year I am looking forward to sharing my culture with Lakehead students as well as my  passion  for  Quebec  and Franco-Ontarian  literature.  I  also  love  movies  from  Quebec  and France and I hope to see many students at our “Soirée cinéma”!

French instructor Aimie Shaw

Aimie Shaw

My  name  is  Aimie  Shaw  and  I  joined  the Department  of  Languages  at  Lakehead University in August. I arrived in Thunder Bay from  Seattle,  where  I’d  been  teaching  for  the last  three  years while completing my  doctoral research  at  McGill  University  in  Montréal. Thunder Bay is not entirely new to me as some years ago I completed my B.Ed. in FSL in LU’s Faculty of Education.
My area of specialization is 20th and 21st Century French literature and I am teaching 20th Century French Novels  (FREN  3834)  this  fall  and  20th Century  Plays  and  Poetry  (FREN 3835)  in  the winter semester. In addition to teaching two literature courses, I am also pleased to be teaching a first year oral skills course (1510/1511) and a second year grammar course (2201). I am excited to be back in North-western Ontario and to be part of LU’s dynamic community. I look forward to getting to know the faculty and students in the Department of Languages over the coming months and reacquainting myself with the city of Thunder Bay.
French lab technician Jeannette Mundinger Hardy
Jeannette Mundinger Hardy
My name is Jeannette Mundinger Hardy and I am the new Lab Technician at the Language department. This position is giving me the opportunity to teach conversational French classes. 
I come from Alsace which is a region in the North East of France near Germany and Switzerland.
I enjoy travelling and therefore I decided to study languages. After getting my bachelor in English 
I went to Wales as a French assistant. Enjoying teaching French as a Second Language I came 
back to France and I got graduated in French as a Second Language which I taught for 5 years to 
various people. Alongside, I decided to specialize in social working and I got my certification two 
years ago which allowed me to work part time with handicapped people and part time with people 
learning French.
Extra-curricular activities
Wednesday,  September  25th was  Franco-Ontarian  Day.  To  celebrate  the  culture  and  heritage of Francophones throughout Ontario, students in Chloé Arrault and Aimie Shaw’s oral French 1510 classes came together to sing “Omniprésent”, a song by well-known Franco-Ontarian musician, Damien  Robitaille  of Lafontaine,  Ontario.  The  song  was  recorded  and  sent  to AFNOO, l’Association des francophones du Nord-Ouest de l’Ontario in  celebration  of  the Francophone community of this region and in support of the on-going work by AFNOO. Thank you to all who participated in this fantastic event!
Students from French 1510 and French 1511 classes.FREN 1510/FREN 1511
The other colleagues in the Department talked in class about the importance of celebrating La Journée franco-ontarienne.
The Department of Language started its Soirée Cinéma again at the beginning of October with the 
first film of the academic year: “Les Poupées russes”. It was well attended and everyone enjoyed 
both film and popcorn.
The French Club held their first annual Wine and Cheese event in the evening on Tuesday 29th of October 2013 in  the  Study  Coffeehouse.  President  Ashley  Agostino  said:  “Many French speaking students, professors  and  friends took  part  in  celebrating  the  club's  re-opening. Thank you for those who brought a dish for the pot-luck. Your support was greatly appreciated. Our next event is being planned for the middle of November”. For those of you interested in learning to speak  French,  or  enjoy  the  French  culture,  please contact Ashley  ( for more details!
Study in a francophone context
Several students wished to share with us their experience in a francophone environment.
Lauren  Baryluk : "When  I  was  17,  I  spent  10  months  living  in  a  small  town (RomorantinLanthenay) about 2.5 hours south of Paris. Because I was abroad on a Rotary Youth Exchange, I stayed  with  host families,  and  went  to  a  French  secondary  school.  I  think  I experienced  the biggest culture shock in lycée because there is such an enormous difference between the French and Canadian school systems. I was fortunate to have extremely generous and accommodating host families who immersed me in their family and culture, and took me to various parts of the country: I saw the ocean for the first time in Lacanau, I went to the Christmas markets in Alsace. 
Plus, I also got to see more of the country through Rotary excursions. As a Canadian, it’s ironic 
that gym class in France was the first time I had ever played hockey! All of my classmates looked 
at me like, “are you sure you’re Canadian?” This past summer, I returned to France, living in the 
city  of  Tours.  It  is  somewhat  comparable  to  Thunder  Bay,  and  is  in  the  same  region  as 
Romorantin; so I got to reunite with some friends!"
Linda McCutcheon: I spent the third year of my undergraduate degree in Grenoble, France. I 
participated in a variety of classes, and extracurricular activities through Stendhal University. I 
went to France with a good level of French but looking to improve my fluency and day to day 
vocabulary. I improved significantly throughout the year, largely due to my becoming a Scout 
leader with a group in Grenoble. I spent several weekends camping with the scouts and attending 
meetings weekly. I can tell you that there is no better way to improve than to have your every 
mistake pointed out and corrected by 8 to 12 year olds! I had a great year and I would recommend 
an  exchange  to  every  student  in  a  language  program  because  it  really  helps  develop language skills and provides a great cultural experience. I will never forget my year in France!
Elena Soulias: During the summer 2012 a fellow colleague and I jumped on the opportunity to 
take  a  class  overseas.   We  were  introduced  to  the  ORA  PROGRAM,  Ontario  Rhône’s  Alpes 
Program, through the International Students department at Lakehead University. 
We  applied  for  a  4  week  French  program in St. Etienne, France. Our residence was about a 15 
minute walk away from the school and about 10 minute walk away from the mall/grocery store 
which was very convenient for us. 
We were told to complete a small test before our arrival which would indicate what level we were 
at.   The  school  devised  the  students  into  6  levels.   There  were  about  100  students,  some who 
barely knew how to read and write in French to some that were very fluent in multiple languages. 
It was a great way to learn as we were fully immersed in their culture. Our oral skills in French 
had significantly improved and our vocabulary was also enhanced tremendously.
The class structure was based on oral presentations and group work. We also took the time to 
discover monuments outside the classroom. It was very engaging and a great way to improve our 
French skills. Every day there was also an activity that we were able to participate in which were 
always very fun. For example, sailing, zumba classes, paintball, concerts, and many more that 
kept everyone very busy. I would strongly encourage every student to travel overseas at least 
once in their lifetime and in this case it is perfect because you get the chance to improve your 
education, learn about a new culture, and meet great people.
Alexandra Naroski: This summer I embarked on an educational learning curve with the ORA 
Summer Language Program in France. I began the curve while researching for my trip. I wasn’t 
only  learning  about  France  for  classes  and  the  credit,  I  was  learning  in  anticipation  of 
experiencing France myself. Once I arrived in France I took time to travel before the program 
started. I went on a tour in Paris where I got to see le Pont Neuf, the statue of Henri IV, l’Arc de 
Triomphe,  and  the  Notre  Dame  cathedral  for  example.   Learning  about  the  history  of  France 
brought me back to my classes in Canada, as everything I was learning at Lakehead was now a 
part  of  my  own  experience.   The  next  learning  adventure  began  as  I  started  travelling  around 
France and other countries close by. Through travelling I was able to create my own references 
and  experiences.   Finally,  I  started  my  course  where  I  learned  so  much  about  French  culture, 
language, and way of life. Not only did I learn about France but I also got the chance to learn 
about Brazil, Russia, Italy, and Ireland, etc as all my classmates were international as well. All 
things  considered,  I  can  now  appreciate  what  I  learn  in  my  classes  this  year  because  it  is  all 
relevant to my own experiences. I can now make connections between what I have learned in 
French class and what I am learning now.
Stephanie  Chornoboy: J’ai  passé  cinq  semaines  à  l’école  internationale  de  français  à TroisRivières, au Québec, cet  été  et  c’était  une  expérience  indispensable.  J’ai  reçu  une  bourse du gouvernement pour participer au programme Explore. C’est un programme ouvert aux étudiants 
de  l’université  et  je  le  recommanderais  fortement.  Les  repas,  l’hébergement,  les  cours,  et les 
excursions culturelles étaient tous inclus. C’était un programme d’immersion et il était obligatoire 
de parler français tous les jours et les soirs. Sinon, il y avait des conséquences. Les animateurs du 
programme  avaient  beaucoup  d’enthousiasme  et  des  esprits  amusants.  J’étais  heureuse  d’avoir 
choisi  Trois-Rivières  parce  que  c’est  vraiment  une  ville  francophone  et  les  gens  étaient  très 
sympathiques. C’était une belle ville à côté du fleuve Saint Laurent qui se situe entre la ville de 
Québec  et  Montréal,  alors  on  a  eu  l’occasion  de  visiter  ces  deux  villes  magnifiques,  riches  en 
histoire. J’ai appris beaucoup dans mes cours et aussi en parlant dans la communauté avec les 
Fleuviens.  L’avantage  le  plus  important  est  que  c’est  seulement  quelques  semaines  avant  la 
rentrée à l’université au lieu de quatre mois entre le moment d’étudier et pratiquer mon français. 
Je  suis  sûre  que  cela m’aidera  avec  mes  cours en septembre.  Avoir  une  expérience  culturelle 
française, je sais que je suis une étudiante très chanceuse.
Nous en profitons pour vous souhaiter un bon premier semestre !