French is Literally Everywhere: Stories of Francophone Culture in the U.S.

How many times have you wished someone a bon voyage? What about bon appétit? Ever indulged in a fresh croissant or New Orleans-style beignets? Or even just a coffee from Pret À Manger? If you didn’t know it already, French is literally everywhere – in our history and values, in our families, and in our neighborhoods and communities. The United States’ relationship with the French language is as old as the United States itself, and even predates its creation. But have you ever wondered what French culture has given us, beyond the Statue of Liberty, the state of Louisiana, and à la carte menus? If so, then French All Around Us is just the book for you.

French All Around Us—a new title from TBR Books—offers an inclusive, social historical examination of French language and Francophone culture in the United States. This book brings together 24 prominent authors from various fields to shed light on aspects of the French language and its culture in the US: general history and demographics, education policy and realities, linguistic landscape, media and popular culture, literature and literary themes, foodways and culinary heritage. Readers will come away with a greater understanding of Francophone American identity as well as global Francophonie. This is a great read for historians, educators, language specialists, and all those interested in the uniquely American experience of French language and Francophone culture.

This collection of profiles and essays shows readers a unique side of life in America, from food to fashion to higher education. All of these chapters are written by authors who have spent the time to listen carefully to their Franco communities. They include personal interviews as well as time spent listening to podcasts or studying relevant publications to give insight into what life is really like for Franco-Americans today. Further discussions include trajectories of Francophone diversity in the US (immigration), language policies in schools and universities, minority status issues, identity politics in the arts (music, film), literature and language planning. Innovative essays explore themes related to the notion that "French is everywhere" – but with deliberate attention to how it is lived out across space and place. The book covers many peoples and diasporas long associated with Francophone presence in the US, such as Louisiana, New England, and New York. But French All Around Us also delves into states that are not so well known for their connections.

French All Around US is a great resource for those who want to explore the French language, especially with an American twist! This one-of-a-kind volume is more than just a compendium of research and statistics. It provides a voice for Americans with French ancestry who have long been underrepresented and relegated to the fringes of the North American narrative. Get this book to learn more about the everyday life and heritage of American French speakers and for a better understanding of just one of the ingredients that makes up our country’s melting pot.

Emani Fung

French all around us – French language and Francophone Culture in the United States (TBR Books, March 20, 2022)
Edited by Kathleen Stein-Smith and Fabrice Jaumont

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