Friday, May 04, 2012

Every spring, French-speaking educators and community members from around the state gather for a day of language immersion. This year Fairmont State University and Dr. Erin Hippolyte, Assistant Professor of French, hosted the French Immersion Day event for the first time.

On April 28, 2012, beginning with café (coffee) and pastries at 10 a.m. in the Education Building conference room, roughly 25people enjoyed speaking French outside the classroom setting with presentations and mix-and-mingle activities until the day came to a close at 3 p.m.

“There is a global and multilingual community around us even in West Virginia and it is very rewarding to be part of that,” said Dr. Hippolyte about hosting the event, which is held at rotating locations throughout West Virginia. “During the event you would hear only French and people are not there to correct each other, but to support the use of the language in an everyday setting. It’s for people of all levels of proficiency to enjoy being around a common linguistic community.”

Presentations focused on French-speaking cultures and included presentations about Haiti from the Joseph Duvert family, "Cameroun" by Axelle Sandjong and "Burkina Faso" by Teewende Sandiwi. A guest asked Duvert if he had ever seen a zombi, which is a different entity entirely from the American zombie, and his answer was, “Ces choses-la sont réelles!”

“Those things are real” was a constant refrain throughout the event as participants learned about people who had actually lived in the cultures they had spent so much of their lives studying.

For more information about next year’s event or other French immersion activities, contact Dr. Erin Hippolyte at Erin.Hippolyte@fairmontstate.edu.