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UMFK professor to speak about French Language Revitalization

April 13, 2007

NR07033

University of Maine at Fort Kent Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Doris Metz will give a talk on French Language Revitalization in the St. John Valley on Tuesday, April 24 at 6 p.m. in Nadeau Hall Teleconference Room.

In the fall of 2005, Dr. Metz came to Fort Kent to examine the French language program at Fort Kent Elementary School (FKES). As part of her doctoral dissertation, "French Language Revitalization in northern Maine," Metz chose to research the French language program at FKES because little data is available on the French language spoken in the St. John Valley. Previous language vitality research in the Valley had come primarily from Canadian experts examining French language programs in place in the Madawaska, Frenchville, and Van Buren communities.

FKES teachers and students in grades 1 through 5 were invited to participate in the collective case study. Dr. Metz spent two months in Fort Kent observing adults and children in a variety of settings. She listened for French language usage in the school and community, and she interviewed adult community members, parents of students enrolled at the school, teachers and staff working at FKES, as well as many students. Questionnaires related to the attitudes and beliefs about the local French language also were distributed to random adult community members.

In order to add to the limited resources and data available on the St. John Valley, Dr. Metz researched language diversity and the power of language, global bilingual, language maintenance and revitalization programs, and second language acquisition.

Additionally, Dr. Metz examined group membership, individual identity formation, and language attitude formation. She found that the beliefs and attitudes of adults ultimately determine how children formulate their own beliefs related to the local French language.

The results of the study will be shared with the community during the talk. The presentation is free and interested community members are invited to attend.