I hope that you are all enjoying the summer, in spite of the rain and wind. Perhaps August will bring with it a real summer, so we can enjoy the great outdoors without getting wet. Bastille Day 2009 brought a new format which opened the occasion to more family fun and activities. This year we had The Amazing Kenno, who delighted all with his magic! Pizzazz the Clown, whose face painting and balloon sculptures added to the celebration. Deanna and her team from Drama Kids International, whose amazing energy, creativity, and enthusiasm created lots of fun for those who attended the event. Our own Nouara gave a mini French lesson, which got our children moving and having fun. Captain Squeeze and the Zydeco Moshers led the parade with about 75 participants…the kids loved it! And last, but not least, the evening ended with the wonderful music and entertainment by Captain Squeeze and the Zydeco Moshers, which, due to rain, ended up inside Proctors Theater’s at Robb Alley. It was a wonderful evening of Zydeco music; lots of fun as people were invited to be “guest” fatoi players and able to dance in the aisles! We would also like to thank our sponsors for the Fourth Annual Bastille Day Celebration: Chez Daisie, Ambition, The Computer Guy, Windows, Walls, and More, as well as the individual donations from Anna Juliar and Bea Angerami & Open Door Bookstore. We were able to start up our Language Learning Institute Scholarship Fund, but we are in need of more funds. In August, we will be starting our English as a Second Language program and, as a result, our scholarship program is in greater demand. If you would like to make a tax deductable donation to the scholarship program, please send your checks payable to The Language Learning Institute Scholarship Fund, and send it to PO Box 12743, Albany, New York 12212. No donation is too small and all are greatly appreciated. On August 5th, we will be starting our English as a Second Language class for beginners; we are still doing private lessons. Just to note, our regular classes are complete for the academic year and will resume in September. We work with elementary, middle school, and high school students as well. August is a good time to get prepared for the fall. Call us with any questions you might have. I hope that you all have a wonderful August. This is a great time to be thinking about what you would like to do in your language study. Please check out our website this month; we will have our course schedule up soon and will be ready to take registrations. I am looking forward to seeing you in September.
Nancy Scarselletta Owner/Developer The Language Learning Institute 518-346-7096
When I moved to Dax, in the southwest of France, I learned quickly that the town known for its fontaines chaudes (hot springs) was a particular attraction for retirees. In addition to soothing their aches in the naturally hot spring waters, the retirees would gather in the local park to engage in leisurely activity known as Pétanque. The goal of Pétanque, the French version of bocce, is to throw metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet (jack). Boring or uninteresting as it may sound, the surprisingly competitive game is played by an estimated 17 million people in France. Pétanque in its current form, dates back to 1907 in La Ciotat, Provence in southeast France and since has become one of the most common and most loved activities among the French. Like most sports in France, Pétanque is also played at the professional level with approximately 375,000 players licensed with the Fédération Française de Pétanque et Jeu Provençal (FFPJP), one of the largest Pétanqueorganizations. The French are not alone in their love for the game. Professional leagues exist throughout Europe and tournaments, both on the international and national levels, are held regularly. So next time you host a barbeque, or go for a stroll in the park, bring along some friends (and metal balls) and introduce Pétanque to your local community!
Ferragosto is the day when Roman Catholics believe the Virgin Mary is supposed to have ascended to heaven, and a major Italian holiday. Even before the time of Christ however, Romans honored the gods on August 15 with a celebration they called Feriae Augusti. Ferragosto is, next to Christmas, Easter and New Years, probably the most important holiday in Italy. The entire country shuts down on August 15 to celebrate, but what you might not see is that most of the country is already in shut-down mode. In the 30s, Mussolini made Ferragosto a national holiday and initiated the process of vacationing in August. So, if you are in Italy for Ferragosto, plan to join in the festivities celebrating the Virgin Mary – it’s the only thing that’s going to be happening in most Italian cities anyway.
Taralli di Ferragosto Most people are familiar with a savory version of Taralli, but this sweet version is eaten throughout Italy on the 15th of August.
10 Eggs (separated) 700 gm Flour 1 ¼ tsp baking soda 200 milliliters Anise liqueur pinch of salt for glaze 150 milliliters water 50 gm powdered sugar 1 tsp lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees 2. In a large bowl mix 700 grams of flour, 10 yolks, baking powder, anise liqueur, and salt. Stir the mixture for about 10 minutes or until very smooth and well combined. 3. Beat the 10 egg yokes to a stiff peak and then gently combine with the flour mixture. Add more flour if needed to make a ball of dough. 4. Roll out a piece of dough into a thick rope. Cut into 2-3 inch pieces and join the two ends to create a circle. Place prepared Taralli on a greased cookie sheet. 5. Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden. 6. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze for the Taralli by mixing the water, sugar and lemon juice. Add the water gradually to create a thick glaze. 7. Once cooled dip the Taralli into the glaze and place on a wire rack over a cookie sheet to dry.
This month we are making a halt in Tunisia, North Africa. It is the northernmost country on the African continent. It is bordered by Algeria to the west and Libya to the southeast. Around forty percent of the country is composed of the Sahara desert, with much of the remainder consisting of particularly fertile soil and a 1300 Km coastline. Both played a prominent role in ancient times, first with the famous Phoenician city of Carthage, then as the Africa Province which became known as the “bread basket” of the Roman Empire. The word Tunisia is derived from Tunis, a city and capital of modern-day Tunisia. The country is subdivided into 24 governorates. Arabic is Tunisia’s official language. French also plays a major role in the country, despite having no official status. It is widely used in education and most educated Tunisians are able to speak it. Tunisia is a member of La Francophonie (OIF) since 1970. Following independence from France in 1951, President Habib Bourguiba established a strict one-party state. He dominated the country for 31 years and his successor Zine Ben Ali is following his steps. After 22 years as President, Ben Ali doesn’t seem to be ready to hand over the power. We will stay in Africa next month and as a clue for our next stop, you should know that its name means “sunset” in Arabic.
Le Gouvernement et les Nouvelles Françaises d’Amelia
This past month, the world tuned in to watch one of France’s most well-known athletic competitions; The Tour de France. This race kicked off on July 4th and finished July 26th in Paris. The race consisted of 26 stages, in which the cyclists battled for the maillot jaune, or yellow jersey, signifying the leader of the race. There are other jerseys as well which distinguish different challenges. The green jersey is awarded to the best sprinter, as well as a red polka-dotted jersey for the best mountain climber. Each stage provides a different test to the athletes, with varying difficulties. The stages consist of some mountain stages, some flat stages, and several time trials. The total distance of the Tour de France covers 3,500 kilometers, which is about 2,200 miles throughout France and into Switzerland, Italy, Andorra, and Spain. The first Tour de France was held in 1903 and required cyclists to ride through the night and lasted for over a month. Because the race was so grueling, only 15 people signed up, and the creators realized they needed to lower the stakes. Since then, the race has improved its requirements and continued with the exception of during the two world wars. Here in the United States, Lance Armstrong has created a legacy. However, there are many other front-runners, such as Alberto Contador from Spain, as well as Andy Schleck from Luxembourg. In the end, after all the hard work and effort put forth, Contador was in the lead (followed by Schleck and then Armstrong) as the cyclists made their way down the Champs-Elysées in Paris at the end of the month.
Thank you to all who responded to last month’s “Do You Know?”
The “July Column” is located in the Place de la Bastille in Paris, which commemorates where the Bastille once stood. On the column is a frieze which depicts the story of a historical event which occurred in Paris. What was that event?
Answer: The Revolution of 1830
This Month’s “Do You Know?”
How many train stations are there within the city of Paris?
“Planning a visit to Quebec province, I decided to attend a set of adult evening classes given by Nancy Scarselletta at a local high school. Her enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, the French language prompted me to sign up for further individual lessons. Over the last two years, I have come to appreciate Nancy’s vast experience –and infinite patience! — in teaching French with her unique emphasis on phonetics which she studied at the Sorbonne. In my opinion, French is not an easy language for English speakers given its unusual rules with multiple exceptions, potential liaisons, numerous irregular verbs, unfamiliar phonics, and plentiful idioms. I’ve appreciated Nancy’s approach and guidance throughout the course. And it’s been fun.”