FRENCH LANGUAGE REACQUISITION
Did you know that neurolinguists now believe that a heritage language learned before the age of ten cannot be totally lost?
If you heard French growing up but never really spoke it as an adult, or if you feel you had the language but now have lost it due to lack of use, you may be able to become a French speaker again, given the right tools and a safe and supportive environment. Penobscot School, the Rockland Maine-based nonprofit center for language learning and educational exchange, has a new division: The Center for Heritage Language Reacquisition, which was designed to help you.
Julia Schulz, Co-Founder of Penobscot School and founding director of the Center for Heritage Language Reacquisition, is now offering private tutorials and consulting, small group classes, and community-wide language reacquisition coordination.
With lots of support from your teacher and other Franco-Americans who are working to recover their French, you can . . .
- find out how much French you know and build on it
- reconnect with family history and your extended family
- appreciate yourself and your culture better through reacquaintance with the mother tongue
- overcome shyness about your French and learn enough of the language to communicate with speakers from Québec, France, New England and around the world.
Our approach combines heritage films from Québec, lively and fun informal conversational lessons, individual evaluation and projects, with songs, stories, and foods from the French-Canadian tradition. There are no tests and no grades.
For more information about private consultation or joining or starting a group in your community, please contact Julia Schulz, The Center for Heritage Language Reacquisition at Penobscot School, 28 Gay Street, Rockland, ME 04841 USA; tel.: 207-594-9995 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
"I was most moved by those people making efforts to re-connect with their French language and Franco-American culture."
"The idea of a forgotten "mother tongue" tying up childhood memories and feelings was very meaningful."
"Showed how language is forming in the earliest relationships even before the words are there."
"The film brought up family memories that I had not thought about for years and made me wish I had asked more questions about my heritage than I had and am now no longer able to do."
"It's always hard for me to separate the shame or self-esteem issues around language versus class [which may be] the reason my mother less and less desired to speak with me in French. My efforts to speak with her failed . . ."
"Really captures the pain of people growing up not being able to communicate in the language of their grandparents."
"I'm 41 years old and intelligent and never knew one thing about my language!! What I did know was a sense of shame and loss but never knew why."
"My teacher public ally shamed me and humiliated me that I ran away from school. I was forced to give up my language and learn a totally foreign language."
"I felt such a great sense of belonging by even just being around French people at the movie. The film was fantastic! You opened up a whole new side of myself that I had long forgotten."
"It's powerfully interesting. I gained an appreciation for my first language and want to find it again."
"I was very touched by the film. It truly inspired me to learn the language."
"Seeing the baby hearing words of love in French and to realize the impact of having lost access to those memories is gut wrenching."