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Regional Accents: How the French Define(d) the Midwest.

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Presentation on theme: "Regional Accents: How the French Define(d) the Midwest."— Presentation transcript:

1 Regional Accents: How the French Define(d) the Midwest

2 Presenters: Anita Alkhas, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Denise Phillippe, Concordia Language Villages Larry Kuiper, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

3 Where in the world are we, Carmen Saint-Jacques? Middle West (Encyclopædia Britannica. 2004.) also called Midwest, or North Central States, region, northern and central United States, lying midway between the Appalachian and Rocky mountains and north of the Ohio River and the 37th parallel. The Middle West, as defined by the federal government, comprises the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Actually composed of two regions, the Northwest Territory, or the Old Northwest, and the Great Plains, the Middle West has become more an idea than a region: an area of immense diversity but somehow consciously representative of a national average.

4 Where in the world are we, Carmen Saint-Jacques? The Northwest Territory entered the United States in 1783 at the conclusion of the American Revolution and was organized under a series of ordinances that set the precedent for the admission of future territories into the Union. The Great Plains entered the United States in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The Plains were to develop primarily agriculturally, but the Northwest Territory, blessed with both fertile soil and valuable natural resources (coal, oil, iron ore, and limestone), would develop both industrially and agriculturally.

5 I. Introduction: Defining regions

6 What is a region? A historical construct A geographical construct A political construct A cultural construct être “limogé” “plouc” “Cela fait ‘province.’”

7 “Moi j'aime la province évincée par le système, On y trouve le vrai, le beau, les relations humaines.” MC Solaar

8 Et le Midwest? Historical definition: The western boundaries of the Midwest seem to correspond to the westernmost journeys of the French explorers.

9 Geographical definition: The southern, western, and much of the northern and eastern boundaries of the midwest seem to correspond to geographical barriers – bodies of water, and mountains. Political/economic Definition: According to the federal government, these twelve states make up the Midwest. The Midwest is referred to as an economic entity in its own right (for example, as a major trading partner with Canada). le Midwest

10 Et culturellement? Cultural Definition: Is every area of each of these states really “midwestern?” Some would say ‘no,’ so what really does that term (‘midwestern’) mean?

11 “But will it play in Peoria?” What do these expressions mean to you? “We’re not in Kansas anymore.”

12 “L’Amérique profonde” Jean-Claude Guillebaud, “Tous des imbéciles ?” Sud Ouest Dimanche, le 7 novembre 2004 “Après la réélection de George W. Bush, certains commentaires entendus en France me laissent songeur. Après avoir légitimement exprimé l'inquiétude que suscite la reconduction des "faucons" à la Maison-Blanche, on se laisse souvent aller à un autre type de jugement. C'est peu de dire qu'on brocarde cette fameuse "Amérique profonde", celle du Midwest, des campagnes et des Etats du Sud ! On la désigne comme une sorte d'arrière-monde illettré et ultrareligieux. On ironise sur ces "beaufs" portés sur les armes, les gros 4 * 4 et les rodéos. On se moque des ces "ploucs" patriotes, assez bêtes pour avoir réélu un homme que les élites de la côte Est tiennent pour un parfait imbécile. Je n'arrive pas à adhérer à ce dédain...”

13 “L’Amérique profonde”

14 II. The Midwest Needs French! State-Specific French Advocacy Sites (“Tennessee” Bob Peckham’s project): Example: “Wisconsin Needs French”

15 Wisconsin Needs French Evidence of Wisconsin’s rich French heritage can be seen simply by glancing at the map to the left (and the French place names here are just a sampling!). But, the contributions of French to Wisconsin are not limited to our geography nor to our history: French still maintains a strong presence here in Wisconsin and has a great deal to offer us in a number of ways. A key indication of the value we continue to place in our French ties is Milwaukee’s annual Bastille Day festival, a celebration unrivalled in the United States. Wisconsinites who study French can take pride in carrying forward a longstanding tradition while reaping the benefits of language study, so important in our changing world. They increase their cultural awareness, develop stronger cognitive and problem-solving skills, and learn to communicate more effectively. They are also able to connect meaningfully with a broad range of communities of French speakers, here in Wisconsin and abroad, thereby gaining the potential to help strengthen Wisconsin’s ties to its current (and future!) trading partners. [French Organizations in Wisconsin] [French Language Learning in Wisconsin] [French Media in Wisconsin] ['French' moments in Wisconsin History] [Links to Wisconsin French History Sites] [French Restaurants in Wisconsin] [Wisconsinites Who Speak French]


17 III. What’s in a Name? Unit: Place Names From French Explorers of the Midwest

18 Part 1 : Identifying French Place Names Step 1: In small groups, students brainstorm a list of place names (towns and cities, streets, corporations, schools, etc.) that seem to be French in origin. Step 2: Compare lists and write a compilation on board. Discuss any disagreements or questions. Unit: Place Names From French Explorers of the Midwest Targeted Standards: 1.1 Interpersonal Commmunication; 1.3 Presentational Communication, 3.1 Making Connections with Other Disciplines (History)

19 Unit: Place Names From French Explorers of the Midwest Part 1 : Identifying French Place Names (cont.) Step 3: Ask the students if they can identify any of the place names as being the name of someone from French history, and, more specifically, the name of a French explorer of North America and the Midwest. Step 4: Eliminate names and add names as necessary. Cadillac, Cartier, Champlain, Du Lhut (Dulhut, Du Luth, Du Lhud, Du Lud), Hennepin, Jolliet, Marquette, Nicollet (Nicolet), Radisson are possibilities.

20 Part 2: Preparing a Presentation on a French Explorer Unit: Place Names From French Explorers of the Midwest Step 1: Each student selects a French explorer whose name gave rise to a contemporary place name. Each student will prepare a first-person oral monologue to present the explorer. Step 2 : As a group, decide on the type of information to be presented and the basic expectations. (Suggestions : birth and death dates and places, occupation, typical day for this person, family, clothing worn, food eaten, importance of the person to exploration of the midwest) Step 3 : Student research their selected explorer.

21 Part 2: Preparing a Presentation on a French Explorer (cont.) Unit: Place Names From French Explorers of the Midwest Step 4 : Students prepare a first-person oral monologue to present the explorer. Step 5 : Students practice delivering their presentation with a partner. Step 6 : Students deliver presentation. Classmates ask questions. Together, locate the place name on a map.

22 Unit: Learning about pronunciation from place names Targeted Standards: 3.1 Making Connections with Other Disciplines (History/Geography); 4.1 Making Comparisons (Language) Objectives: Understand the basic differences between the French and English sound systems. Using examples from everyday life (common place names), make a connection to the target culture and its language and our own culture and language. (Note: This exercise was used in an advanced phonetics class, but could be done at different levels, using a simplified phonetic alphabet, or having students explain it orally)

23 Unit: Learning about pronunciation from place names Step 1: Students compile a list of place names and street names that they know are of French origin. [Platteville, Lafayette, Lac Butte des Morts, Juneau, Fond du lac, Racine, Lac du flambeau, Eau Claire, De pere, Allouez, Lac Courtes Oreilles] Step 2: Students give phonetic transcriptions of the standard French pronunciation of these names. [plat vil] [la fa jet] [lac but dE mOr] [  y nO] [fõ dy lak] [ra sin] [lak dy flã bO] [O klEr] [d  pEr] [A lwE] [Lak kurt sO rEj]

24 Unit: Learning about pronunciation from place names Step 3: Students give an approximate phonetic rendering of how the names are commonly pronounced, focusing sound by sound on the differences in the English pronunciation of the place names, but also pointing out the things that have remained the same.

25 Examples (from students): Lac butte des morts: In English, we pronounce this almost like “lake buttermore”, which shows how in English we tend to pronounce vowels that are farther back in the mouth, and also how the vowels in general are less important to our pronunciation that the consonants, at least in how we divide syllables. Oh, and we retained the French habit of not pronouncing the ‘s’ at the end of plurals. Fond du lac: In English, we pronounce ‘fond’ just like the English word that it resembles. Then, the last part is kind of like “djew lack.” I guess this shows what happens with the French vowel /y/, which is usually spelled ‘u’... Since we don’t have that vowel in English, we diphthongize it, and then we sort of add an extra consonant before it to make it easier to say. I know we talked about that in class, but I don’t remember what it was called.

26 IV. Time Travel Les voyageurs

27 V. Regional Identities Unit: Understanding Regional Identities in the U.S. and France

28 Targeted Standards: 1.1 Interpersonal Commmunication; 1.3 Presentational Communication, 3.1 Making Connections with Other Disciplines (Human Geography), 4.2 Making Comparisons, 5.1 Communities Part 1: Understanding Regional Identities in the U.S. Step 1: Distribute a blank map of the United States. In small groups, students divide the map into separate regions. They should come to a consensus, but can mark as many or as few regions as they wish. Step 2: Compare maps. How many regions did each group come up with? Discuss as a class how to account for these differences. How are regions defined in the United States (geographically, historically, politically, economically, culturally)? (Note: the instructor could also provide information at this point in the unit to help students compare and contrast how regions are defined in the United States and in France.)

29 Unit: Understanding Regional Identities in the U.S. and France Part 1: Understanding Regional Identities in the U.S. (cont.) Step 3: Now choose 4 or 5 of the regions (for example, the Northeast, the South, the West Coast, and the Midwest). In small groups, students jot down as many qualities/attribute/stereotypes as they can that they associate with each (Note: For added content, this step can be extended as a mini-survey activity assigned as homework: students survey family and community members about their perceptions of different regions and report the results in class.) Step 4: As a class, choose one of the regions as a starting point (the Midwest!) and describe a different region from that perspective, e.g., what do Midwesterners think of Californians? (Ask a student or students to take notes on the board.) Now imagine that Californians are describing a different region (for example, the South). Continue in this fashion until you come full circle (e.g., Southerners describe Northeasterns who then describe Midwesterners).

30 Part 1: Understanding Regional Identities in the U.S. (cont.) Unit: Understanding Regional Identities in the U.S. and France Step 5: Analyze the regional perceptions noted on the board. How are the defining characteristics of a region viewed differently from within and from without? (e.g., people in the Northeast may attribute the so-called slower- paced lifestyle in the South to laziness whereas Southerners may see Northeasterners as brusque and ill-mannered because they don’t seem to take the same amount of time to be polite). Step 6: In small groups, students list positive attributes of their region (the Midwest). They may include perspectives (the “personality”) of the region as well as practices and products of interest.

31 Unit: Understanding Regional Identities in the U.S. and France Part 2: Researching and Presenting a French Region Individually or in pairs, students choose one of the 22 administrative regions in France to research and to present to the class. Keeping in mind the description they compiled of the Midwest, students should include in their presentations reasons why their region would make a good sister region for the Midwest. (Note: For added content, students survey French informants about their perceptions of the region they have chosen and include the results in the presentation.)

32 A voir, à faire C'est en bordures des lacs que sont situés les lieux intéressants, tous axés sur les paysages et une nature rude et sauvage. Quant aux villes, hormis Chicago et éventuellement St Paul/Minneapolis, elles ne présentent quasiment aucun intérêt. L'intérieur des terres annonçant les "Grandes plaines" ne mérite pas non plus le détour. "Grandes plaines" **** : à ne pas manquer; *** : très bien; ** : à voir; * éventuellement... Illinois ** Chicago **** (ville) Springfield * (ville - historique - de Lincoln) Galena ** (ville historique sur le Mississipi) Chicago. Wisconsin ** Milwaukee * (ville) Door County ** (lac Michigan) Apostle Islands ** (rando, nature) Spring Green * (architecture F. Wright) Milwaukee Apostle Islands. Minnessota ** Minneapoli/St Paul ** (villes) Lac Supérieur *** (paysages, activités nature) Voyageur Nat. Park ** (lac, nature) Sud du Minnessota * (petites villes, Mississipi) Minneapoli/St Paul Voyageur Nat. Park -- aventures du bout du monde

33 Avant de lire On va regarder une introduction à notre région des Etats-Unis pour un voyageur français. Quelles villes ou attractions vont être mentionnées? Qu’est-ce qu’on va dire pour parler de la géographie de notre région? En lisant Quelle est l’attitude générale envers cette région? Quels sont les lieux que ce guide conseille? Et ceux qui sont moins conseillés? Déconseillés? Après avoir lu Que pouvez-vous ajouter à cette présentation que les auteurs ont sûrement oublié? Quels sont les aspects de votre région ou ville qui ne sont pas bien représentés par cette présentation? Targeted standards: 1.2 Interpretive communication (written), 2.2 Cultures.

34 VI. The Ties that Bind: France and the Midwest today A sample of Midwestern French festivals and events : Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Bastille: Bastille Days; organized by Milwaukee's East Town Association; celebrates music, food, and culture loosely organized around a French theme; held in the Cathedral Square area of Milwaukee's East Town. West Lafayette, Indiana: The Feast of the Hunters moon, a recreation of an 18 th century French and Native American gathering. Des Moines, Iowa: The Midwest Belgium Beer Festival: Bloomington, Minnesota: In late July, Bloomington puts a French twist on yet another Independence Day celebration with Bastille Day held outdoors at Hotel Sofitel. They also call their July 4 th celebration at Normandale lake “Summerfete.” Dayton, Ohio: The dance group Bagatelle performs French folk dances annually at the Dayton International Festival. Ste. Genevieve, Missouri: Each year this town has a “French Heritage Festival” Featuring music, dance, reenactments, crafts, lectures and food.

35 VI. The Ties that Bind: France and the Midwest today French-American Relations (Embassy of France) Description of the Midwest for French citizens (Consulate in Chicago) http://www.consulfrance-

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