Language, culture and crêpes: National French Week 2011

Bonjour, mes amis! National French Week is commemorated from Nov. 7 to Nov. 14 at Geneseo and on college campuses across America.  

Sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French, the event is in its 14th year and has been celebrated for over a decade at Geneseo. Both the French Club – le Cercle francais – and the French department organize activities and programs each year in support of French language and culture.

"National French Week is meant to raise awareness and appreciation for the French language," said professor Beverly Evans, an associate professor in French. "Over 200 million people worldwide speak French, made up of a large francophone cultural world," she said.

The French program at Geneseo is thriving, Evans explained. "Especially when compared with national trends, our program has been very successful," she stated, adding that there about 100 combined majors and minors, and that many among them also study international relations or have an additional major. "Knowing another language is a skill that graduates have consistently said is very important," Evans said.

On Tuesday, there was a trip to Simply Crêpes in Pittsford, followed by a showing of La Tête en Friche at the Little Theatre in Rochester. Wednesday, a cultural evening was held in Welles Hall with presentations by lecturer Geneviève Senechal on French culture in Quebec, Canada and by French TA Clémence Lemoine about her experience in Montpellier, France. Geneseo offers a semester-long program at Université Paul Valéry in Montpellier every year.

"Many people are a little fearful of going abroad to Montpellier, but the university has courses even for those who aren't great at French that are directed toward American and English-speaking students," Lemoine said.

"What I like about the French week in Geneseo is that it makes a culture that is not necessarily familiar to every student more accessible through the great efforts in providing numerous and fun activities," junior French major Gottschalk Kramer said.

For les courageux, there will be a French spelling bee on Thursday Nov. 10 in Sturges Auditorium at 6 p.m. For those not as proficient in French but still looking to enjoy some games and French cuisine, there will be a French snacks and game night Friday Nov. 11 at 4:30-6:00 p.m. in the main lounge of Ontario Hall. En fin, the French film L'Arnacœur will be shown in Welles 123 at 8 p.m. on Monday Nov. 14 to close out La Semaine nationale du francais.