We are a growing and expanding our school, specializing in the learning and study of French and Italian and the addition of Spanish starting in April. We are looking for energetic, enthusiastic and talented people to join our team.
Stop by and get a good meal, gift, or check out our latest promotional material!
Passover 2010 began at sundown on Monday, March 29. Passover lasts for seven days in Israel and eight days in the rest of the world.
The Passover celebration worldwide commences with the traditional seder, which is a family gathering where the Haggadah is read, which tells the story of Passover. The seder plate is on the table during the reading, which has many symbols of the Passover story, such as matzah, horseradish, haroset, karpas, and maror. The seder is followed by a large meal which includes matzah, which was very important because the Jews did not have time to wait for the bread to rise when they were fleeing from the pharaoh. One fun tradition during Passover is “Hiding the Afikoman” where the parents hide a piece of Matzah somewhere in the house, and the children have to find it in the hopes of earning a prize. In France and Italy and all over the world, the differing traditions consist mainly of differences in family recipes and gastronomy. For the most part, the holiday is celebrated in the same way worldwide, since it is based on historical accounts and religious traditions.
Happy 4th Birthday Language Learning Institute! And welcome to all of our new readers!
We are pleased to announce the opening of our new location in New Paltz, New York. We will be conducting our classes in Christ the King Episcopal Church on Eugene Brown Drive in New Paltz. On April 24th we are offering a 4-hour seminar for beginners in French, and at the end of April/beginning of May we will offer an Immersion Film Weekend in French. Shortly thereafter we will be offering our regular class schedule in French and in Russian. Keep watching the website for details and registration information. Christ the King Episcopal Church is a brand new building for this congregation and we are excited to be offering our classes there. If you are in the New Paltz area, feel free to contact us at (845) 476-1900.
We are often asked if one has to be of the religious affiliation of the church in which we offer our classes. I want to let you know that all are welcome, and that there is no connection between the denomination of the churches from which we rent and the classes we offer. The Language Learning Institute is a school without walls, bringing language classes to you in convenient locations. To this end, the churches in the area have been very generous in the rental contracts that we have been able to set, and for this we are very grateful.
With our fourth year upon us we are adding Spanish, Welsh and English as a Second Language in our Capital District locations in addition to our expansion into the New Paltz area. Sign up today for Beginning Spanish in our Colonie location! This course will begin on April 19th. If you have studied Spanish but your speaking is weak, this is the course for you. We emphasize speaking, and I will often encourage prospective students to start from the beginning to help develop their speech, and the result is very positive. Feel free to contact me at (518) 346-7096 to help determine your starting point.
This summer we are offering an Introduction to Welsh course in our Colonie location. We are very pleased to have as our instructor, Robert Jones, an experienced teacher and president of the Welsh Society. This is going to be a very exciting course. Come join us this summer on Thursday evenings from 6pm to 8pm starting July 15th! Call (518) 346-7096 for early registration.
We are continuing to develop our English as a Second Language program and will have a very exciting program lined up for the summer. This program is a work in progress and we will have details at a later date.
Beginning April 15th, we will be offering French for 3 to 5 year olds at the Woodland Hill Montessori School in North Greenbush. This program is part of their after school enrichment program. If you would like to have your child included and s/he is not currently enrolled in their after school program, you will be able to enroll your child based on availability. Call our office (518) 346-7096 for information regarding enrollment in the program. There is still space available in the class.
Our Immersion Film Weekend in French will be taking place on April 30th-May 1st and we are centering this immersion weekend on the film Ridicule. If you are intrigued by history and the Versailles court at the time of Louis XVI and you speak French at about the level of Advanced Beginner and higher, this is a not to be missed weekend.
This month we will be posting our summer classes so be sure to check the website. Additionally, we are now on Facebook and invite you all to become fans. This is a great way for you to keep up with the changes and updates throughout the month and to get involved! We have a discussion thread started: Language Learning and Age: In your opinion, what is a good age for a person to start learning a second or third language in addition to the language of the community he or she is born into? We invite you to visit us on Facebook and post your thoughts! There is much more in the works that will be announced towards the end of the month of April. Keep checking our website; www.languagelearninginstitute.com and our Facebook page regularly.
As a final note, I am very pleased to announce that The Language Learning Institute is the proud recipient of the Constant Contact 2009 All Star award. The note we received read as follows: “Kudos to you! In 2009, you did email marketing the way it’s supposed to be done. You stayed in touch with your customers or members with regular email communications. You made sure your lists were up to date – and that everyone on it gave you permission to send them emails. Finally, you delivered engaging information that your audience was eager to receive, open, and read.”
Enjoy our newsletter and this wonderful month which is starting off with Passover and Easter. We wish you all a Happy Spring and a very blessed holiday season.
Nancy Scarselletta Owner/Developer The Language Learning Institute 518-346-7096
In 2010, Easter Sunday falls on April 4 for both the Western Church and the Eastern Church, a rare concurrence.
To celebrate Easter in France, their main icon of Easter is the bells, where in the US our symbol is the Easter bunny. Weeks before Easter, French grocery stores still fill up with chocolate bunnies and chickens, but one also sees chocolate fish and bells. Most cities and towns in France were built around a cathedral or a church. However, from the Thursday before Good Friday until Easter Sunday, all the bells in France are silenced to symbolize the mourning of the church. The story behind the Easter bells is that on Good Friday, the bells from every church fly from France to the Vatican to mourn the crucifixion of Jesus, carrying all grief. The bells will not return to France until Easter Sunday, carrying the good news and dropping gifts along the way. It is for this reason that children leave their shoes out in their gardens the night before Easter, hoping that the bells will fill them up with chocolates and painted eggs for them the next morning. In Italy, Easter is celebrated by a parade either on Easter Sunday or the Monday after Easter, which is also considered a holiday. Those who participate in the parade wear traditional costumes, based on the era in which Jesus lived. Many churches throughout Italy use special statues of the Virgin Mary and Jesus in the parades. As you can probably imagine, the largest and most popular church service is in the St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, led by the Pope. Here at the Language Learning Institute we hope that you have a joyous month of April, no matter what holiday you celebrate!
Eleonora’s Secret – Vampiri in Italia – Volterra and Montepulciano
Yes, the secret is out. You don’t have to go to Transylvania to see vampires, you can now visit them in Italy according to the book New Moon by Stephanie Meyer. After the release of the movie last November, fans of the Twilight series of books descended on the cities of Volterra, the city named in the book, and Montepulciano, where the movie was actually filmed. Volterra Volterra is a small Tuscan city with an ancient Etruscan history and one of Tuscany’s most evocative hill towns. Volterra usually has far fewer tourists than nearby San Gimignano. The “magic and mysterious” city of Volterra has its roots in three thousand years of history. It is possible to find evidence and traces from every historical period which gives the artistic city a unique aspect. A Roman amphitheater outside the town walls dates to the first century, and its medieval center remains one of the best preserved in Italy. 13th century walls enclose the historic center. There are six gates in the walls into the center, dating from the 13th to 16th centuries. At the highest point of Volterra is the Etruscan acropolis with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. The main square is one of the most impressive in Tuscany. On the piazza is the 13th century Palazzo dei Priori, the oldest town hall in Tuscany. Also on the piazza are the 14th-century Palazzo Vescovile and the back of the cathedral. The Duomo, or cathedral, dates from 1120 when it was constructed on the site of a previous church. It has a Romanesque facade and an entrance added in the 13th century. The interior was modified in the late 16th century in Renaissance style and has a richly decorated ceiling and several chapels with frescoes or wood panels and a 12th century marble pulpit. The octagonal Baptistery dates from the 13th century although parts of it may be older. Its facade is decorated with green and white marble stripes and the dome dates from the 15th century. By now you’ll be ready to sit down and relax over a nice Tuscan meal. There are several places, ranging from the very simple to the elegant. One delicious local specialty you might like to try is salami or pasta made with wild boar (cinghiale), an animal portrayed in marble on the upper façade of Palazzo dei Priori. Be sure to save some time to sit and relax in Volterra because, like all great hill towns, the most memorable treasure it has to offer is the feeling of history that lingers all around you.
Getting to Volterra: The closest train station is in Poggibonsi, north of Siena. Buses connect Volterra with Poggibonsi and other towns in Tuscany.
Montepulciano Known for its wine, Montepulciano is the medieval town where the movie was actually filmed. While little English is heard in Volterra, Montepulciano has long drawn day trippers from Florence and Siena. Montepulciano is a renaissance town in Southern Tuscany and an important agricultural center, famous for its Nobile wine. Montepulciano is a walled city in Tuscany, built on a sloping and narrow limestone ridge. Montepulciano is full of Renaissance buildings, its main square, or piazza, is one of the most impressive in Tuscany. Thanks to its history throughout the centuries, the town has preserved many architectural jewels and artistic treasures along side the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside. Piazza Grande is the real monumental center of Montepulciano and hosts the Palazzo Comunale (Town hall) (15th century), with a big tower from which it is possible to admire the view of the village of Radicofani, the Orcia Valleys and Lake Trasimeno. The Cathedral of Montepulciano is a stately building by Ippolito Scalza, (1592-1630). The overall structure is reminiscent of the Palazzo Della Signoria in Florence. The rest of the square is surrounded by several elegant buildings: Palazzo Cantucci, by Sangallo, Palazzo Tarugi, in front of the church, by Vignola and next the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo (14th century). Also of interest is the ancient well, Pozzo dei Grifi e dei Leoni, dating back to 1520. Montepulciano has many wine shops, enoteca or cantina, offering the chance to taste the local wine “Nobile di Montepulciano,” as well as, to have traditional Tuscan products: pecorino cheese, salami, crostini or bruschetta. A real pleasure for the senses!
Getting there: Montepulciano is on a minor rail line and the small train station is a few kilometers outside town. Buses connect the train station with the town. Hourly buses run from the Chiusi train station, on the major rail line between Rome and Florence. Buses also run to nearby Tuscany towns like Siena and Pienza. Note that buses may not run on Sundays. From the bus station you can walk into the historic center or take the little orange bus. The center is closed to traffic except by permit so if you’re arriving by car, park in one of the lots on the edge of town.
Bonjour! This month, we are travelling far away from the Indian Ocean and heading toward South America. French Guiana (Guyane Francaise, in French) is a French department in the Amazonia region of South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Brazil and Suriname. It is the oldest of the overseas possessions of France and the only remaining French territory on the American mainland. First settled by the French in 1604, French Guiana was the site of notorious penal settlements (collectively known as Devil’s Island) until 1951. More than 80,000 prisoners would be sent to French Guiana. These included Dreyfus, Papillon and Seznec for the most famous. The national language is French, though most of the population speaks a Creole patois. English is also widely spoken. Cayenne is the capital and Kourou the main French Space Center, is something of a European enclave. Next month, we will return to the Old Continent and learn more about another Francophone country. I would like to wish a belated birthday to the OIF (Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie) who celebrated its 40th birthday on March 20th.
In the past week, French citizens have been demonstrating their increasing dissatisfaction with their President, Nicolas Sarkozy. Nicolas Sarkozy belongs to the party Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP), which is the predominant right-wing party. Regional elections were held on Sunday, March 21, and left-wing parties won in all of France’s 22 mainland regions with the exception of one outlier: Alsace. Citizens’ preferences against UMP were clearly defined with this landslide victory of the left. Following the election, citizens went further to demonstrate their unhappiness with Sarkozy’s policies. A nation-wide protest was held the following Tuesday, with hundreds of thousands of public sector workers protesting Sarkozy’s policies on economic reform. The sectors which were most involved in Tuesday’s protests were transport, education, and postal workers. Sarkozy’s election platform focused on economic reform; however, with the unforeseen economic recession, this reform is now causing citizens in the public sector to lose jobs, decrease pensions, and increase the age of retirement.
In addition to the unrest among the population, a former colleague of Sarkozy has announced that he will be forming a new right-wing party to oppose his policies. Dominique de Villepin, the former French prime minister under Jacques Chirac, announced that he will be forming an “independent political movement” to challenge Sarkozy in the 2012 presidential elections. During the 2007 presidential elections, Villepin formally endorsed Sarkozy’s bid from the UMP as the presidential candidate. This discord among the population and fellow politicians will be a challenge to Sarkozy for the remainder of his presidential term.
“The unique teaching method helped me to build vocabulary and grammar and to continue studying on my own. I speak French every day even if only a few minutes and to myself. I especially like the intensive oral approach. I have been able to get my message across when visiting French-speaking countries.”