2024 Spring

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Registration begins
Monday, March 4
at noon. 

The Language that Will Not Die:
A History of French in North America

Instructor: Louis Fontaine

Wednesdays • 5 classes • 3/20-4/17 • 1:00-3:00 PM

Class size 5-25 students
25 seats remaining
Location: Jewett 291

The French language has been around in North America since the founding of New France (now Canada) over 400 years ago. Since then, it has struggled to maintain its presence and quality in several regions of the continent. The language is closely tied to the culture and identity of people throughout Canada, Louisiana and New England. This course will examine the pressure that the language has faced, the efforts that are being exerted to preserve it and the reasons that North American French differs from the dialect spoken in Paris. The ability to speak or understand French is not required for the course but would be useful. Translations will be provided for any materials presented in French.

• Week 1: Linguistics for Dummies and A Quick Trip to Old France
• Week 2: Becoming Quebecois
• Week 3: Acadia/Acadie – Dérangement and Renaissance
• Week 4: Laissez les bons temps rouler in Louisiana
• Week 5: Franco-Americans and Other Cousins

Louis Fontaine was raised in the Franco-American neighborhoods of Augusta, Maine. He grew up speaking both French and English and was immersed in the culture that his predecessors brought from
French Canada. Like many Franco-Americans of his generation he lost much of his French language from disuse. In his retirement, he has worked on reviving his French language skills and exploring his family’s history and heritage.

Louis worked for the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for 38 years as an Environmental Specialist. He worked in the air pollution and water pollution fields and represented the department on several national and regional organizations. He is the author of Reveille at 6:15: A Franco-American’s Journey Through World War II, the story of his father’s life during the war. He currently lives in Sidney, Maine with his wife Cheryl. He is the son of Albéric and Julia Fontaine.