Prendre langue! workshop

The Prendre langue! workshops are 2-hour presentations of cultural verbal art – song lyrics, poems, narratives, proverbs, etc. – by a speaker or speakers of a language that celebrates a strong oral tradition. Some of these traditions are in good health and flourishing while some of them are clearly endangered.

You may consult previous workshop details here.

These workshops are the result of a partnership between VOVA and CITIM, a non-profit organization that gathers, stores, and diffuses a wealth of information about human populations living in the margins of today’s industrialized economy. Seeking to create more human-centered international exchange, and to promote intercultural solidarity in the region of Lower Normandy, in France, VOVA and CITIM have invited a multitude of speakers of languages, living in or near Caen, to lead us in a discovery of their language and culture.

“Prendre langue” is an ancient French expression used to refer to the act of making verbal (spoken) contact with another person, often with respect to another people. According to the online dictionary of the French Academy, this expression is used for the verbal act of “gaining information about what is happening, about the state of an affair, about the character and the disposition of those with whom one is going to enter into an affair.”

Due to its diplomatic connotations and to its literary usage, the organizers of the workshop found that this expression captured the guiding objectives of their initiative: open up discussion between people of differing cultural heritages, learn about another culture directly from individuals who practice it, and establish an open, ongoing discussion with the workshop leader(s) who graciously bear their cultural heritage.