* NEW!!! Saturday Morning Sessions of Mommy and Me (ages 8 weeks to 4/5 years of age)
* French for English Speaking Children (4/5 through 9/10)
* NEW!!! Winter Camp for Kids in French
* Pronunciation Course in French
* 5 week Beginning French Session
* Italian I
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This Month in Québec…
Carnaval de Québec is a festival that takes place every year from the end of January through February for 17 days. The mascot of the festival is the Bonhomme, or snowman, who wears a red hat, black buttons, and a arrowhead scarf. The arrowhead scarf has become a symbol of the Carnaval and is worn by many of the people who attend the festival. The first Carnaval was held in 1894 as a celebration of Mardi Gras, and has continued to this day, with interruptions only during WWI, the Great Depression, and WWII.
At the Carnaval, activities include snow slides, ice sculptures, skiing, dog sledding, and discounted specials at restaurants. There are also many dances and auctions which take place throughout the festival. All in all, the Carnaval de Québec is a wide-spread festival which celebrates winter sports and the winter season. If you find yourself in Québec this month, this event should not be missed!
Welcome! We survived the harshness of January and made it, hopefully, to a much gentler February. In this issue we will be visiting some of the better known Carnivals in the French and Italian speaking world! These places take winter seriously and actually celebrate it! Snow sculptures, ice hotels, and wonderful foods, and sledding all play a wonderful part in the festivities. And let’s not forget Mardi Gras! February is a great month of celebration.
Our newsletter has a new look. We wanted something that would grow with us and this new banner will give us the opportunity to bring pictures to you based on the season, events, and featured topics. We are using the default banner this month to introduce the new look.
The Language Learning Institute is also celebrating Winter Fun and Mardi Gras in our children’s programs! During February break we will be holding our First Annual Learn French Winter Camp for Kids! The camp is from February 16th through the 20th and is modeled after our popular Summer Camp. Theme based, kids ages five to twelve will learn vocabulary and use it in song, crafts and fun activities.
There is a rather new magazine entitled Parent and Grand-Parent in the capital region. It has all sorts of helpful information for families with children. It is free and can be found in doctors’ offices, Day Care Centers and other family oriented venues. My article “Language Development and Bilingualism: A Family Affair” will be appearing in the February issue. Also look for us in this month’s issue of Capital Region Living Magazine.
Would you like to learn French or Italian? If you have had some of either language, we take new students on an ongoing basis. You are welcome to sit in on one class to find the level that is a good fit for you. If you are interested in Spanish or English as a Second Language, give us a call and we will take your information. We are advertising and taking information now to insure enrollment for a class. We are planning to offer these languages in the fall. Enjoy February and all of its magic. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
Nancy Scarselletta Owner/Developer The Language Learning Institute 518-346-7096
Les Eaux Sportifs: Le Ski! by Emily
…shouldn’t everyone have a week off in February to go skiing?
After every school recess throughout the 2004-2005 academic year, my primary school students would always return excited to share what they had done during their vacation. The stories were normally diverse, even given the limited English vocabulary the students possessed to describe what they did. (I generally required the children to speak in English; after all, it was English class! On occasion, however, they would revert to what became known as “franglais”; a mix of French and English). After February break, however, all students’ stories were the same. J’ai reçu mon deuxième étoile! J’ai reçu ma première étoile! Of course, I smiled and said “Wonderful!” without revealing my ignorance to what receiving first or second stars referred.
Eventually I learned that every February, many French families pack up and head to the Alps, Pyrenees, or one of the other French mountain ranges, for the week to learn, practice and perfect skiing/snowboarding. The mass migration is evident in the soaring prices for lift tickets and rentals during the month. Young children participate in group lessons, and as they progress, earn 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 stars based on their progress and success…5 stars meriting bragging rights. Certainly, skiing during the February break may not always be an option for winter recess, but it certainly appears to be a popular one. Of my 150 students that year, only a few didn’t participate in the annual ski a thon.
The French have shown their ability to participate in sports/athletic activities during the winter season…but what will they do in the spring?
Italian Recipe from Eleonora
February is Carnevale month in Italy. And, although Italy has many Carnevale celebrations, Viareggio, on the Tuscany coast, has one of the biggest. Viareggio Carnevale was born in 1873, the idea of a parade of floats to celebrate the Martedì Grasso – in the open, in the square among the people – blossomed among the young well-to-do of Viareggio of that time. Carnevale is not only celebrated with parades, but also many decadent sweets and one stands out – in Rome they are called Frappe, Cenci in Genoa, Bugie in Florence and Chiacchiere in Naples. The light, ribbon shaped fried dough strips, were first cooked in the kitchens of the Renaissance. It was during this time that Shrove Tuesday was first celebrated with large feasts and a variety of sweets many of them fried. The peasants could only use “poor” ingredients, such as flour, eggs, butter and oil for frying to make this decadent treat.
Flour, 250 grams Butter, softened, 25 grams 1 whole egg 1 egg white 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ tablespoon granulated sugar Grated zest from one orange Dry white wine, 50 grams Pinch of salt Oil for frying ½ cup powdered sugar to sprinkle on top
Combine butter, flour, granulated sugar, egg white and whole egg in a bowl. Add the baking powder, orange peel, wine and pinch of salt. Turn the dough out of the bowl and knead it well so that all ingredients are evenly mixed together. Wrap in some wax paper and let the dough rest for an hour. After allowing the dough to rest roll the dough out as thin as possible. Using a pastry wheel, cut the dough into long, large rectangular strips. Heat the oil and fry the dough strips, in batches, until just golden. Take them out and let them drain on a towel. Once cooled, sprinkle with the powdered sugar.
Last month, I told you we were traveling in disguise to this place. “Why in disguise?” you will ask me. Because February 24th 2009 happens to be when Mardi Gras is going to be celebrated in this State this month, particularly in New-Orleans. Yes…I am talking about Louisiana!
No other state in America has a more varied or colorful past than Louisiana. It was named for King Louis XIV of France after Robert Cavalier De La Salle claimed it for Bourbon France in 1682. New-Orleans is founded in 1718 and named for Philippe Duc D’Orleans (Nouvelle Orleans in French).
The migration of the French Acadians to Louisiana was neither smooth nor immediate. They established small farms along the Mississippi River. Cajun (the word is a corruption of the original French pronunciation of Acadian–A-ca-jan). Cajun cooking may be a first cousin to the Creole cuisine in New-Orleans, but there is none other quite like it in the world. Cajun dishes include jambalaya, gumbo, andouilles, boudin, crawfish etouffe, beignets, etc….
While not observed nationally throughout the United States, a number of cities and regions in the country have notable celebrations of Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) arrived in North America as a sedate French Catholic tradition with the Le Moyne brothers, in the late 17th century, when King Louis XIV sent the pair to defend France’s claim on the territory of Louisiana. This happened on March 3, 1699, Mardi Gras day. So, in honor of this holiday, they named the spot they established their camp, Point du Mardi Gras (Mardi Gras Point). In 1703 the Mardi Gras tradition began with celebrations by the French settlers in that city. The capital of Louisiana was moved to new-Orleans in 1723 and since then, the tradition of Mardi Gras became synonymous with that city. If you would like to know more about Mardi Gras and maybe celebrate it in New-Orleans this month, go visit this great website www.mardigrasneworleans.com .
Next month, we will travel not too far from Louisiana and learn more about this ancient French Colony nestled in the Caribbean.
Le Gouvernement et les Nouvelles Françaises d’Amelia
Upon my arrival to Paris, I was told that Thursday, January 29th was going to be a grève générale: a general strike. As a result, many who worked in transportation, education, or medicine, and even some in the private sector, would not work on Thursday. This strike was being named “Black Thursday” as a general strike against wages, unemployment, and job security. The strike began at 8:00 PM the night before, and lasted through Thursday night. As a result, Wednesday night the metro stations were packed by those trying to get home early in order to not be affected. Many who are familiar with Paris know that protests or strikes are not uncommon, yet the union leaders insisted that this strike was different, because it also was a demonstration against Sarkozy, the French President. In fact, this was the first major demonstration since Sarkozy took office in spring of 2007. The main center of the protest took place at Place de la Bastille on the Right Bank of Paris, where hundreds gathered at 2:00 on Thursday afternoon. This protest was very different from anything I have seen in the United States. Here, the protest was more like a concert, with many young people and some playing music. There were several people climbing on the Bastille obelisk, and there was very little police involvement. All in all, the protest was very peaceful, and one of my first days in Paris made international headlines!
Thanks To Our Sponsors!
We would like to thank our sponsors for providing valuable space for our classes and events.
Thank you to all who responded to last month’s “Do You Know.”
One of New York City’s most prominent landmarks was a gift from France to the United States: the Statue of Liberty. Prior to making Lady Liberty, the French created a much smaller replica of this statue. In which city and park does this statue reside?
Answer: The Luxembourg Garden in Paris!
Our Winner from last month’s “Do You Know” is Bob Fredette.
This Month’s “Do You Know”
The Sainte Chapelle Church in Paris was built to hold a relic which cost about three times the price of the construction of the church. What was this relic?
“I wanted to thank you for these classes. When you told Jennifer and I we were your first post-COVID students, I wanted to tell you that these classes have been a source of great joy and comfort for me in a really weird hard time and I am so grateful for you and them. It has given me something really interesting and fun to focus on and divert any feelings of life uncertainty as it takes real focus and work. But it is also super fun too and a life goal to learn another language.”