French: A Language Around the World
The following is post includes a Q&A with Professor Armelle Crouzières, Associate Professor of French at Middlebury College and author of numerous articles examining French literature.
Describe how you became interested in studying French literature and language.
I came to the United States in the late 80s to study French Literature at the graduate level (M.A. and Ph.D.) because I wanted to become a French professor and teach French language and literature at an American college or university.
What do you find most exciting in the French language world today?
The variety and diversity of Francophone people and countries are what impresses me the most. You can speak on French on all continents. You can be in North America and speak French in many Canadian provinces (Québec, some places in Ontario and New Brunswick, on some islands), or in the Caribbean island (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Haiti, Saint Bart, Saint Martin, etc.). If you are in South America, you can speak French in the French Guyana. In Africa you can speak French in North Africa, West Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa. There are too many African countries to list! Obviously you can speak French in Europe: France, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Monaco. Many people also speak French in Romania! You can speak French in Asia (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia) and in the Pacific (New Caledonia, Wallis et Futuma, Vanuatu, French Polynesia). You can speak French in Lebanon in the Middle East, too!
What advice would you offer to young students of French about study practices or ways to gain proficiency before going abroad?
Students need to speak and hear French every day if possible. Here are some great ways to accomplish it: via the internet (French radios: FM, RFI, France Culture, etc.; French TV shows: American TV shows dubbed in French; French movies, etc.), by speaking with French speakers as much as possible or with a group of people who wish to improve their French.