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Centre de la francophonie

The Centre de la francophonie in collaboration with Speaking Place has just made possible a French version of the documentary Réveil-Waking Up French. You can find it at Stay tuned for a schedule of public screenings.

The Centre de la francophonie des Amériques helps promote and highlight a French-speaking community focused on the future of the French language in the midst of cultural diversity by reinforcing and enriching relations and encouraging give and take among French-speakers and Francophiles in America.

A teacher's guide to the film is now available. It includes historical and cultural background overviews, bibliographies, web sites for further research, and topics and questions to guide use of the film in the classroom. Please see "Copies-Schools and Libraries" for ordering information. The Teacher's Guide was prepared by by Dr. Eileen M. Angelini , Chair, Department of Modern Languages, Canisius College and winner of several prizes for excellence in teaching and promoting French Language and culture.

A review of REVEIL also by Dr. Angelini recently appeared in the The French Review, Vol. 81, No. 4, March 2008, pp 790-791.

Réveil to play daily at the Jean Lafitte National Historical and Preservation Park Layafette, LA

Réveil was presented at Université de La Sorbonne, Paris France, January 30, 2006 with a workshop in documentary filmmaking by Ben Levine.


Did you know that neurolinguists now believe that a heritage language learned before the age of ten cannot be totally lost?

If you heard French growing up but never really spoke it as an adult, or if you feel you had the language but now have lost it due to lack of use, you may be able to become a French speaker again, given the right tools and a safe and supportive environment.

Julia Schulz, Co-Founder of Penobscot School and founding director of Speaking Place, is now offering private tutorials and consulting, small group classes, and community-wide language reacquisition coordination.

With lots of support from your teacher and other Franco-Americans who are working to recover their French, you can . . .

  1. find out how much French you know and build on it
  2. reconnect with family history and your extended family
  3. appreciate yourself and your culture better through reacquaintance with the mother tongue
  4. overcome shyness about your French and learn enough of the language to communicate with speakers from Québec, France, New England and around the world.

Our approach combines heritage films from Québec, lively and fun informal conversational lessons, individual evaluation and projects, with songs, stories, and foods from the French-Canadian tradition. There are no tests and no grades.

For more information about private consultation or joining or starting a group in your community, please contact Julia Schulz, Speaking Place, PO Box 905, Rockland, ME 04841 USA; tel.: 207-975-6017 or

"I was most moved by those people making efforts to re-connect with their French language and Franco-American culture."

"The idea of a forgotten "mother tongue" tying up childhood memories and feelings was very meaningful."

"Showed how language is forming in the earliest relationships even before the words are there."

"The film brought up family memories that I had not thought about for years and made me wish I had asked more questions about my heritage than I had and am now no longer able to do."
"It's always hard for me to separate the shame or self-esteem issues around language versus class [which may be] the reason my mother less and less desired to speak with me in French. My efforts to speak with her failed . . ."

"Really captures the pain of people growing up not being able to communicate in the language of their grandparents."

"I'm 41 years old and intelligent and never knew one thing about my language!! What I did know was a sense of shame and loss but never knew why."

"My teacher public ally shamed me and humiliated me that I ran away from school. I was forced to give up my language and learn a totally foreign language."

"I felt such a great sense of belonging by even just being around French people at the movie. The film was fantastic! You opened up a whole new side of myself that I had long forgotten."
"It's powerfully interesting. I gained an appreciation for my first language and want to find it again."

"I was very touched by the film. It truly inspired me to learn the language."
"Seeing the baby hearing words of love in French and to realize the impact of having lost access to those memories is gut wrenching."