Master’s in Teaching French at University of Arizona

Maybe it’s the never-ending cold inside and outside, but I keep looking for Master’s programs in French in warm climates… et voilà, I found the perfect program at the University of Arizona in Tucson. They offer a Master’s in Teaching French as a Foreign Language, which is exactly what I’m looking for before I decide if I want to do a PhD or not. They also offer classes in technology & the internet in language teaching which is obviously my specialty.

The application guidelines are pretty standard – letters of recommendation, transcripts, piece of writing in French, personal statement, GRE scores encouraged but not required (Yay!) – but they also require a recording of some passages in French and English. I haven’t seen many (ok, any) other universities that require this, but I think it’s a good idea since it is entirely possible to have perfect grammar and a good vocabulary, but a horrible accent.

Here’s one of the passages. Do you think they’ll admit me? (I’m not seriously applying since I have no idea where we’ll be next year, but Arizona is a nice dream…)

“Il ne s’agit pas, dans mon esprit, d’une satire de la mentalité petite bourgeoise liée à telle ou telle société. Il s’agit, surtout, d’une sorte de petite bourgeoisie universelle, le petit bourgeois étant l’homme des idées reçues, des slogans, le conformisme de partout: ce conformisme, bien sûr, c’est son langage automatique qui le révèle. Le texte de La Cantatrice chauve ou du manuel pour apprendre l’anglais (ou le russe, ou le portugais), composé d’expressions toutes faites, des clichés les plus éculés, me révélait, par cela même, les automatismes du langage, du comportement des gens, le ‘parler pour ne rien dire’, le parler parce qu’il n’y a rien à dire de personnel, l’absence de vie intérieure, la mécanique du quotidien, l’homme baignant dans son milieu social, ne s’en distinguant plus. Les Smith, les Martin ne savent plus parler parce qu’ils ne savent plus penser, ils ne savent plus penser parce qu’ils ne savent plus s’émouvoir, n’ont plus de passions, ils ne savent plus être, ils peuvent ‘devenir’ n’importe qui, n’importe quoi, car, n’étant pas, ils ne sont que les autres, le monde de l’impersonnel, ils sont interchangeables: on peut mettre Martin à la place de Smith et vice versa, on ne s’en apercevra pas. Le personnage tragique ne change pas, il se brise; il est lui, il est réel. Les personnages comiques, ce sont les gens qui n’existent pas.”

(Eugène lonesco, Causerie, 1958)

And here’s the English. Do I still sound like a native speaker? I know my accent has changed thanks to the British English pronunciation I have to teach…

“Come in,” she said. She pointed to a blue armchair with dark wooden feet carved like eagle claws. The room smelled like the white clay the people used for whitewash. It was cool. The curtain at the back of the room drifted in a cool steam of air from the window or behind it. The music came from behind the curtain too; the songs were soft and slow, without voices. Outside the thunder sounded like giant boulders cracking loose from high cliffs and crashing into narrow canyons. Sometimes the room shook, and the panes of glass in the window behind him rattled. He watched her read the note and wondered what she kept behind the curtains. He could feel something back there, something of her life which he could not explain.

(Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony)

Eesh, I hate both recordings. Maybe I’ll just stick to Italian and German from now on.

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  • http://katiaandkyliemac.com/ kylie

    you still sounds like a native speaker to these ears! :)

    kylies last blog post..k&k episode 210 – the one where they decide they’ll have to go back to Burgundy… and stuff…

  • http://katiaandkyliemac.com kylie

    you still sounds like a native speaker to these ears! :)

    kylies last blog post..k&k episode 210 – the one where they decide they’ll have to go back to Burgundy… and stuff…

  • http://katiaandkyliemac.com/ kylie

    i, on the other hand, apparently can’t even WRITE like a native speaker (you still soundS? eeek!)

    kylies last blog post..k&k episode 210 – the one where they decide they’ll have to go back to Burgundy… and stuff…

  • http://katiaandkyliemac.com kylie

    i, on the other hand, apparently can’t even WRITE like a native speaker (you still soundS? eeek!)

    kylies last blog post..k&k episode 210 – the one where they decide they’ll have to go back to Burgundy… and stuff…

  • MrDolomite

    I think both recordings are fine. The words are crisp and clear and easy to understand. Oh, and everyone hates how their own voice sounds when played back. I hate calling my own voicemail to check for messages because I have to listen to 5 seconds of my own voice before I can press *

  • MrDolomite

    I think both recordings are fine. The words are crisp and clear and easy to understand. Oh, and everyone hates how their own voice sounds when played back. I hate calling my own voicemail to check for messages because I have to listen to 5 seconds of my own voice before I can press *

  • http://oneikathetraveller.blogspot.com/ Oneika

    Wow, your French is great!!

  • http://oneikathetraveller.blogspot.com Oneika

    Wow, your French is great!!

  • Frankofile

    Your French reminds me why I learn the language – sooo beautiful. I’d love to know if a native speaker finds it as perfect as it seems to me.

  • Frankofile

    Your French reminds me why I learn the language – sooo beautiful. I’d love to know if a native speaker finds it as perfect as it seems to me.

  • http://www.wickedfrenchkiss.com/ Erica

    your accent in french is wonderful. i wish i spoke french like that !! couldn’t even hear a hint of your anglophone accent. Wow !!

    hope you get in !!

  • http://www.wickedfrenchkiss.com Erica

    your accent in french is wonderful. i wish i spoke french like that !! couldn’t even hear a hint of your anglophone accent. Wow !!

    hope you get in !!

  • http://www.lindamathieu.com/ Linda

    I actually lived in Tucson for many years and even taught at the Uof A many years ago in the Nursing School. If you want warm weather, that is definitely the place.

    Lindas last blog post..Interior

  • http://www.lindamathieu.com Linda

    I actually lived in Tucson for many years and even taught at the Uof A many years ago in the Nursing School. If you want warm weather, that is definitely the place.

    Lindas last blog post..Interior

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    I still have a problem with the r’s, especially after t. The stupid ou/u distinction trips me up sometimes. And I stress some syllables when I shouldn’t, like SA-tire should be more like sa-TIRE. But overall, it’s definitely my voice that I hate most!

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie

    I still have a problem with the r’s, especially after t. The stupid ou/u distinction trips me up sometimes. And I stress some syllables when I shouldn’t, like SA-tire should be more like sa-TIRE. But overall, it’s definitely my voice that I hate most!

  • http://davidsswamp.blogspot.com/ David

    Every school I applied to asked me for recordings, both for my MA and my PhD, so I assume that it’s more common than you think.

    What they’re looking for is that you speak fluently, not that you have a perfect pronunciation (once in my program, I helped the teacher in charge of those once, because she had doubts about one French accent). Also (unless stated otherwise) it’s better to provide them with natural speech rather than a reading from text. In doubt, do both.

    Also, I doubt you need to produce a recording of English as it’s your native language. They ask for both for people that are not native speakers of neither French nor English.
    At least this is the way it is in my university, now maybe they have a weirdo in the Arizona French program. ;-)

    Davids last blog post..Cronyism

  • http://davidsswamp.blogspot.com David

    Every school I applied to asked me for recordings, both for my MA and my PhD, so I assume that it’s more common than you think.

    What they’re looking for is that you speak fluently, not that you have a perfect pronunciation (once in my program, I helped the teacher in charge of those once, because she had doubts about one French accent). Also (unless stated otherwise) it’s better to provide them with natural speech rather than a reading from text. In doubt, do both.

    Also, I doubt you need to produce a recording of English as it’s your native language. They ask for both for people that are not native speakers of neither French nor English.
    At least this is the way it is in my university, now maybe they have a weirdo in the Arizona French program. ;-)

    Davids last blog post..Cronyism

  • Smelly Man’s hapless passenger

    Makes me so happy to hear your voice again! And the accent, which was already excellent, has improved yet again since August.

    Thanks for the little surprise that I received a couple of days ago. I shall send one your way soon.

  • Smelly Man’s hapless passenger

    Makes me so happy to hear your voice again! And the accent, which was already excellent, has improved yet again since August.

    Thanks for the little surprise that I received a couple of days ago. I shall send one your way soon.

  • Patty

    I think you’re accent in French is excellent! And you still sound American when you speak English. Interesting how your voice sounds different in each language.

  • Patty

    I think you’re accent in French is excellent! And you still sound American when you speak English. Interesting how your voice sounds different in each language.

  • http://blondeinfrance.blogspot.com/ Andromeda

    Did you choose these passages? I’m doing The Bald Soprano with my third year students! Hopefully they’ll “get” it, maybe they can read what Ionesco said about it in French to help them out.

    Both sound nice, though I agree with David that natural speech is better, so it’s normal you wouldn’t be totally happy with these. I’m sure you sound perfectly fine when speaking everyday!

    Andromedas last blog post..More positive

  • http://blondeinfrance.blogspot.com Andromeda

    Did you choose these passages? I’m doing The Bald Soprano with my third year students! Hopefully they’ll “get” it, maybe they can read what Ionesco said about it in French to help them out.

    Both sound nice, though I agree with David that natural speech is better, so it’s normal you wouldn’t be totally happy with these. I’m sure you sound perfectly fine when speaking everyday!

    Andromedas last blog post..More positive

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    I agree they should require a more natural recording, like just introducing yourself or something. Having to read while being recorded makes me self-conscious and it doesn’t sound as good.

    @David: Which schools did you apply to? The ones I’ve been looking into don’t require recordings, but only writing samples; though one did require a telephone interview which is better than a recording.

    And I thought it was a little odd that they require recordings in both languages regardless of your native language. It doesn’t really seem like they would need both… but their application simply says to read passages in both languages: http://www.coh.arizona.edu/french/Graduate_Application2009.pdf I’m not sure why there are so many typos in those passages either… lol

    @Smelly Man’s hapless passenger: Glad you got the card! I didn’t even notice that it’s actually 65 cents to send letters within the EU, so I was worried it would be returned. The price just got raised to 70 cents too. Stupid la Poste.

    Miss you!

    @Patty: Thanks! it is strange how my voice changes, isn’t it?

    @Andromeda: No, the application has 3 passages total you’re supposed to read; 2 in French and 1 in English. I’m wondering how they chose those passages though.

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie

    I agree they should require a more natural recording, like just introducing yourself or something. Having to read while being recorded makes me self-conscious and it doesn’t sound as good.

    @David: Which schools did you apply to? The ones I’ve been looking into don’t require recordings, but only writing samples; though one did require a telephone interview which is better than a recording.

    And I thought it was a little odd that they require recordings in both languages regardless of your native language. It doesn’t really seem like they would need both… but their application simply says to read passages in both languages: http://www.coh.arizona.edu/french/Graduate_Application2009.pdf I’m not sure why there are so many typos in those passages either… lol

    @Smelly Man’s hapless passenger: Glad you got the card! I didn’t even notice that it’s actually 65 cents to send letters within the EU, so I was worried it would be returned. The price just got raised to 70 cents too. Stupid la Poste.

    Miss you!

    @Patty: Thanks! it is strange how my voice changes, isn’t it?

    @Andromeda: No, the application has 3 passages total you’re supposed to read; 2 in French and 1 in English. I’m wondering how they chose those passages though.

  • http://davidsswamp.blogspot.com/ David

    I applied to West Virginia University, Pitt, Maryland, Florida, Florida State, Rutgers and I may forget one or two.

    I guess they ask for both languages to not have to precise: if you’re a native French speaker do this, if you’re a native English speaker do that, if you’re none do the third option. Also, maybe that can be regarded as not “equal opportunity” for some idiot lawyer, so they write the same thing for everyone, even if they don’t care for your English or for my French.

    Davids last blog post..Mystery Solved?

  • http://davidsswamp.blogspot.com David

    I applied to West Virginia University, Pitt, Maryland, Florida, Florida State, Rutgers and I may forget one or two.

    I guess they ask for both languages to not have to precise: if you’re a native French speaker do this, if you’re a native English speaker do that, if you’re none do the third option. Also, maybe that can be regarded as not “equal opportunity” for some idiot lawyer, so they write the same thing for everyone, even if they don’t care for your English or for my French.

    Davids last blog post..Mystery Solved?

  • Christopher

    Your voice is most pleasant in both French and English!
    Your accent in French is lovely and in English it is still, rest assured, all American.

  • Christopher

    Your voice is most pleasant in both French and English!
    Your accent in French is lovely and in English it is still, rest assured, all American.

  • http://france-bienvenue.fr/ Anne

    Hello Jennie! I am French and I can tell you that your French IS perfect! I haven’t met many English-speaking people with such a good pronunciation. Bravo!

  • http://france-bienvenue.fr Anne

    Hello Jennie! I am French and I can tell you that your French IS perfect! I haven’t met many English-speaking people with such a good pronunciation. Bravo!

  • http://doubledouble-petitcafe.blogspot.com/ Steph

    Sounds good to moi, both of them ;)
    I too dream of the sun…le sign.

  • http://doubledouble-petitcafe.blogspot.com/ Steph

    Sounds good to moi, both of them ;)
    I too dream of the sun…le sign.

  • http://postcards-from-france.com/blog Tom

    Not bad at all!

    For my MA I had to do a recording of a passage from a novel, selected by the school or me depending on the university. Some schools that I applied to also required several minutes of casual discussion about yourself and why you were interested in joining their program.

    I’ve done some similar voice recordings with my high school students. They have mixed success. It is actually very difficult to talk to none and even more difficult to do it well.

    By the way, I know many people, some graduate students, some high school language teachers, who have horrific accents. You’ve got nothing to worry about.

  • http://postcards-from-france.com/blog Tom

    Not bad at all!

    For my MA I had to do a recording of a passage from a novel, selected by the school or me depending on the university. Some schools that I applied to also required several minutes of casual discussion about yourself and why you were interested in joining their program.

    I’ve done some similar voice recordings with my high school students. They have mixed success. It is actually very difficult to talk to none and even more difficult to do it well.

    By the way, I know many people, some graduate students, some high school language teachers, who have horrific accents. You’ve got nothing to worry about.

  • noemie

    That’s funny. I’m from Annecy, but I’m an exchange student in Arizona this year =)
    If you want 360 days of sun a year, you should totally come here. you may actually be too hot in summer =) but believe me, warm winters are awesome ^^

  • noemie

    That’s funny. I’m from Annecy, but I’m an exchange student in Arizona this year =)
    If you want 360 days of sun a year, you should totally come here. you may actually be too hot in summer =) but believe me, warm winters are awesome ^^

  • http://www.mihaipopa.ro/ Mihai

    Eugen Ionescu is a romanian writer. Apropos, why you don’t have “ROMANIA / ROUMANIE” in your wish-list? It’s a beautiful country.

  • http://www.mihaipopa.ro Mihai

    Eugen Ionescu is a romanian writer. Apropos, why you don’t have “ROMANIA / ROUMANIE” in your wish-list? It’s a beautiful country.

Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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