December 2009

December Newsletter
Language Learning Institute

In This Issue
Join LLI and Xerox
3rd Annual St. Nicolas Day
Hommage to our Troops
Ostia Antica
Nouara’s Passport
Le Gouvernement et Les Nouvelles Françaises
Join Our Mailing List!
Fall Courses

Programs for Adults

* Intermediate French
* Continued Intermediate French
* Continuing Advanced French
* Beginning Italian
* Intermediate Italian

Programs for Children

* After School Beginning French
* After School Continuing Beginning French
* After School Program for French Speakers
* Mommy and Me

Keep watching our website for updates!

Save the Date!
December 6

3rd Annual St. Nicolas Celebration
This is a fun family event that is sure to put you in the Holiday spirit!

For more information, click here.

Join the Language Learning Institute and Xerox
If you go to this web site, you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq . You can’t pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services.

How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one!!!  It is FREE and it only takes a second.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the soldiers received a bunch of these?  Whether you are for or against the war, our soldiers over there need to know we are behind them.

This takes just 10 seconds and it’s a wonderful way to say thank you.    Please take the time to pass it on for others to do.  We can never say “thank you” enough.
Thanks for taking to time to support our military!

© December 2009, The Language Learning Institute, LLC. All rights reserved

Dear Reader,

Welcome and Happy Holidays to all! We would like to give a warm greeting to our new readers and we hope that you will find our newsletter both enjoyable and informative.

In this country, December is a big gift giving month and I would like to remind all, that gift certificates are available and make a very unique holiday gift. Gift certificates can be used for any of our courses and retail products. We also have available $20 ISmile gift cards on sale for $10.00 (all money collected goes to our Language Learning Institute Scholarship Fund) as well as hand carved, hand painted St Nicolas figurines from Russia. Please contact us at [email protected] if you are interested.

We will be celebrating our 3rd Annual St Nicolas Day Celebration on December 3rd this year from 4:30pm to 8:00pm as part of the Magic & Melodies Celebration put on by the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation. We are very excited for this opportunity to be part of a bigger celebration. And in doing so, admission is free. So come out to Proctors Theater and visit us! We will have something for everyone; craft and coloring pages for the kids, hot chocolate, courtesy of Chez Daisie, and our previously mentioned gift items for purchase. We will be visited by St. Nicolas who will tell his story between 4:30 and 7:00 and visiting with the children during that time as well. To go along with St Nicolas’ spirit of giving, our charity this year will be “Lets Say Thanks” sponsored by Xerox. We will be giving you the opportunity to sign up for a card to send to the troops, but we’ll do all the work. See you there!

There are three dates in December scheduled for our FREE Mommy and Me in French demo classes. Come join us on any one of the following dates and times: December 7th at 6pm, December 14th 6:30pm or December 21st at 6pm. We are accepting registrations for these classes to ensure fun for the whole group. So register today! Our Mommy and Me program is for the little ones ages 8 weeks to 5 years of age. Each child is accompanied by an adult or two! Bring the whole family to our free class and experience the program!

Every Year in December we like to do a service project. This year we are working on Giving Thanks to our Troops with ““. This is a project originated by Xerox and we are promoting it and encouraging our readers to join us. My recent visit to the south of France has both inspired this project and the article that I wrote for this month’s newsletter.

2010 is just around the corner and we will be announcing the start of new courses for the new  year; so please visit us at for the latest updates.
From all of us at The Language Learning Institute to all of you, we wish you a wonderful and safe holiday season.

Best regards,


Nancy Scarselletta
The Language Learning Institute

© December 2009, The Language Learning Institute, LLC. All rights reserved

3rd Annual St. Nicolas Day Event

Celebrate Our 3rd Annual St. Nicolas Day Event!
December 3rd, 2009
4:30PM to 7:30PM
Proctors Theater at Robb Alley

St Nicolas is the person upon whom Santa Claus is based. He is known as the protector of children and a generous giver of gifts and random acts of kindness. For many cultures, such as France, Italy, Germany and Belgium, St. Nicolas Day is celebrated with the giving of gifts.
Join us as we participate in the Magic & Melodies Celebration organized by the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation. We will have a craft table with a free craft for all children running from 4:30-7:00. Stop by to make a wonderful item. St. Nicolas will tell the story of St. Nicolas between 4:45 and 7:15. St. Nicolas will be passing out chocolate coins and visiting with the children. We will be serving delicious hot cocoa for free and will have St. Nicolas figurines available for sale. There will also be a free raffle for a beautiful scarf to keep you nice and warm this winter.
Our charity for this year will be “Let’s Say Thanks” by Xerox. The Language Learning Institute will have a sign up at our event where you can choose a card and we will send it to the troops in your name. You may also visit and pick out a thank you card. Xerox will print your card and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving overseas. You can’t pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services. This is FREE and it only takes a second. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the soldiers received a bunch of these? We can never say “thank you” enough.

© December 2009, The Language Learning Institute, LLC. All rights reserved

Join Our Team!
We are a growing and expanding our school, specializing in the learning and study of French and Italian. We are looking for energetic, enthusiastic and talented people to join our team.

Visit our website for more details.

Hommage to our Troops
As November, the month of “thanks”, draws to a close; I would like to pause and give homage to our service men and women who have given so valiantly of themselves throughout the history of our country.

I have twice been in France during the month of November, in and around All Souls’ Day and Armistice Day.  The remembrance and homage paid to our troops, who worked so hard to liberate the French from occupation, is very touching, heartwarming and gripping. The atrocities of war are many and often not spoken. We hear of the major events like D-Day and the liberation of Normandy. Events like the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, or the bombing of Pearl Harbor. We do not hear of the thousands of individuals who sacrificed so much.  We do not hear much of the occupation of the small towns of southern France where the resistance was strong and supportive of US forces. These brave men and women who believed so fiercely in their Revolution battle cry “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité” that they risked their lives to give valuable information to our military. This information was used to enable the destruction of important bridges, which served to soften the German stronghold.  These successful missions often led to retaliation and instant death to the French station masters and those who aided them.  We also do not often hear of the humiliating, frightening and life threatening cruelty undergone by prisoners of war in Japan, endured for years on end, in anonymity.

I happened to catch parts of WWII which aired on the History Channel recently. In my opinion, it gave a very personal view of the Second World War. It used film footage as well as letters and stories of survivors and loved ones of those who died.  It gave a glimpse into that part of history, and what it felt like to be there. The facts are overwhelming and gripping and not so widely known.

While we should never forget those who served so long ago, we must also not forget the tens of thousands who are serving today.  I would like to invite all of you to visit the website,,which was sent to me by a friend. This is a project lead by Xerox.  It gives us all an opportunity to say “thank you” to our present day troops who today, still fight for freedom and peace.  It is a fitting way to begin the December celebrations of light, hope, and love.

© December 2009, The Language Learning Institute, LLC. All rights reserved

Eleonora’s Secret – Ostia Antica
When in Rome…visit Ostia Antica

Ostia Antica
Location: 30-45 minute train from Piramide station
Entry fee is €6.50 for adults over 25, 18-25 half price, under 18 or over 65 free
Open between 8:30 AM – 6:00 PM. Closed Mondays.
Please check local websites for most current information.

ostiaThere is no denying Rome is one of the most amazing and interesting places to visit in the world.  But over the years I have gotten weary of the crowds in the ancient ruins around the city, and Pompeii is just too far away.  Luckily my cousin knew of a great place we could visit that had just as much to see as Rome and Pompeii, and only 30 minutes away.  Off we went to Ostia Antica, or Ancient Ostia, one of Italy’s most interesting and best-preserved archaeological sites. Unusually tranquil, due to the lack of tour groups, reserve a whole day for your visit – not just to relax, but also because Ostia Antica deserves it.

Ostia, Latin for “mouth,” was established at the mouth of the Tiber River around 620 B.C.  Later, as mainstreetRome began expanding (around 400 B.C.), Ostia was conquered and a fort, or castrum, was built here. Ostia, often called Rome’s first colony, served as a naval base which protected Rome from any invasion by river. By A.D. 150, when Rome controlled the Mediterranean, Ostia’s importance became commercial rather than military. Rome eventually outgrew the port of Ostia, but it remained a key administrative and warehousing center, busy with the big business of keeping more than a million Romans fed and in sandals. With the fall of Rome, the port was abandoned. Over time, the harbor silted up and the Tiber retreated to about one mile away. The mud that eventually buried Ostia actually protected it from the ravages of time.

Ostia now sprawls over 10,000 acres of painstakingly restored ruins, around a main street that runs for more than a mile.  It is easy to imagine what this ancient cosmopolitan port city might have been like.  As you walk along Ostia’s main street, the Decumanus Maximus, your feet settle into deep ruts left by carrucas (four-wheeled carts used to ferry merchandise and baggage between Rome and Ostia). A fleet of two-wheeled cisia provided public transportation for commuters.  You can imagine buying your fruit bathsNeptuneand vegetables at one of the many shop fronts which line the main thoroughfare. Or marvel at the almost flawlessly preserved mosaics which formed the hot and steamy Baths of Neptune, where you will find a beautifully preserved mosaic measuring 55 feet by 36 feet, the sea god is seen riding a chariot drawn by four pawing horses.

Ostia’s amphitheater, erected in 12 BC, is a quiet and wonderfully preserved series of steep semicircular stone bleachers that could hold 3500 spectators. The tiny stage is still intact, and although the permanent scenery that rose three stories behind it is no longer standing, you can easily imagine what it must have looked like during the premiere of a Greek play.  ampitheatherBehind the theater is the Forum of the Corporations, so called because its great rectangular portico housed the offices of sixty-four maritime companies. This was where you would come if you needed to ship something to Rome, be it wheat from Spain, sugar from India, or African beasts for the Colosseum games. To find the most suitable shipper, you would examine the mosaic names and pictures still visible on the ground in front of each office. If you were pleased with the deal, you would then offer a sacrifice at the Temple of Ceres, which rises over the middle of the Forum.  Ostia has a wonderful and blessedly small Forum. Sit on the marble fountain and picture what it would have looked like. Senators would be striding up and down the Capital stairs.

What about Pompeii?  I’ve been there too, and would also agree it is an incredible archeological site well worth a visit.  But if you are looking for the “secret” place to really enjoy and imagine what ancient Italy might have been like, take a walk down Decumanus Maximus (memory lane) in Ostia Antica and be transported to another place and time.

For More Information:
Rick Steve’s Ostia Antica – Great site with lots of visitor information, check out the scavenger hunt at the end of the article.
Ostia Antica Official Site – Local information about visiting Ostia Antica

© December 2009, The Language Learning Institute, LLC. All rights reserved

Nouara’s Passport to the Francophone World

Our next destination is the young Republic of Armenia. Armenia is a member of OIF (Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie) since October 2008.

The Armenians, an ancient people living on an ancient land, call Armenia “Hayastan”, and themselves “Hai”. Oral history explains the lineage of the Armenian people as being the direct descendants of Noah’s son Japheth.

While the Armenian state withstood foreign invasions and domination over the centuries, the population continued to inhabit the highlands in Asia Minor, centered around Mount Ararat, the national symbol of Armenia and resting place of Noah’s Ark. This continual presence came to an abrupt halt when the Young Turk regime of the Ottoman Empire implemented the first genocide of the twentieth century against its Armenian citizenry beginning in 1915. As a result, the majority of the Armenian people were either killed outright or ethnically cleansed from their ancestral homeland, taking refuge in neighboring countries or finding sanctuary in what remained of Armenia, the soon-to-be Soviet Republic of Armenia.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the rebirth of the independent Armenian state, the Republic of Armenia reemerged as the latest embodiment of Armenia’s perseverance as a nation. Overall, the population of Armenians world-wide is estimated to be 10 million. Many comprising Diaspora communities in Russia, the US, Europe and the Middle East. Despite dispersion and effects of globalization which have drawn Armenians to the four corner of the world, Armenians continue to uphold strong cultural, religious, and historical customs and traditions, and have a rekindled spirit regarding their homeland, Armenia.

Next month, we will continue our journey through the Francophone world and stop not too far from Armenia.

A bientot!


© December 2009, The Language Learning Institute, LLC. All rights reserved

Le Gouvernement et les Nouvelles Françaises

Lately, it seems that every manufacturer is trying to “go green” by producing products that are not harmful to the environment. Renault, a popular French car manufacturer announced this past month that they plan to introduce a zero-emission car in the next two years. This car improves upon many other previously introduced “green” vehicles. To start, it uses only electricity to power, and can last around 100 miles before it needs to be recharged, which is ideal for those with a short commute. In addition, it can comfortably seat 5 people and has storage space for luggage. It also runs quietly and smoothly. The best part about this new car is that it will be affordable, which is a huge step in reducing vehicle emissions. They are extremely affordable, and apart from their price, many European countries subsidize low-emissions vehicles to consumers to reduce pollution.  Renault’s marketing strategy is to provide consumers with many options. Their electric car line has three different models, which are suited for many different lifestyles. In the future, they are sure to expand upon that number to make people even more interested in buying them. Now people will have a positive incentive to buy a zero-emission vehicle. Renault is partnered with Japan’s Nissan Company, and the two both
hope to have similar vehicles on the road in the near future,  hopefully around the world.

© December 2009, The Language Learning Institute, LLC. All rights reserved

Thanks To Our Sponsors!
We would like to thank our sponsors for providing valuable space for our classes and events.

Do You Know?

Thank you to all who responded to last month’s “Do You Know?”

What is the oldest monument in Paris?

Answer: The Obelisk in the Place de la Concorde is the oldest monument in Paris. It is from ancient Egypt and is over 3000 years old.

This Month’s “Do You Know?”

What was Jacques Chirac’s job before he became president of France?

Please click here to respond.

Good Luck!

Thank you for your interest in our school.  Please feel free to pass this newsletter on to anyone who might be interested in learning about the Language Learning Institute and our programs and events.

Best regards,

Nancy Scarselletta
The Language Learning Institute, LLC

What Our Students Are Saying

“My daughter has been receiving private French lessons at the Language Learning Institute for about a year. Under the tutelage of director, Nancy Scarselletta, her listening, speaking, and writing skills have flourished and her confidence has grown immensely.”

— Michele Marie

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