Professor Gyula Zsombok
Office
Le Chateau 103
Tel
(802) 443-3044
Email
gzsombok@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
Spring 2023: Mon 1:30-2:30 pm, Thurs 9:00-10:30 & by appointment
Additional Programs
French and Francophone Studies Linguistics

Gyula Zsombok (he/him/his) is an Assistant Professor in French and Francophone Studies at Middlebury College. He holds a Ph.D. in French Linguistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He began teaching at Middlebury in 2020.

In his research, Prof. Zsombok studies language ideologies and authority in French with a focus on France and Québec. He is interested in the social dynamics of top-down intervention in language use, in particular with respect to borrowings, lexical innovation and inclusive writing. His methodologies include computational and statistical implementations on a variety of textual data, such as social media texts, newspaper publications, surveys, web scraping, etc.

In addition to teaching a number of French language classes at different levels, Prof. Zsombok has recently offered courses on French in North America, Language Ideologies in the Francophone World and a writing intensive course. He has extensive training in second language acquisition, and he is dedicated to providing an immersive language environment through a communicative approach.

In English, his name is approximately pronounced as “JOO-lah ZHOM-bok” or IPA /’dʒula ‘ʒombok/.

Courses Taught

Course Description

Intensive Beginning French
For students who have not previously studied French, an introduction to listening, speaking, reading, and writing in French, providing the syntactic and semantic foundation of the French language in a concentrated program of grammar presentation, drills, laboratory work, and discussion. Primary emphasis will be placed on the student's active use of the language, and weekly attendance at the French language table will be required. This course does not fulfill the foreign language distribution requirement. Students are expected to continue with FREN 0102 in the winter term after successfully completing FREN 0101, and with FREN 0201in the spring. 6 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2022, Fall 2023

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Beginning French
This course is a continuation of FREN 0101, dealing with more complex French. Oral skills are stressed and students participate in the French language table at lunch. This course does not fulfill the foreign language distribution requirement. (FREN 0101)

Terms Taught

Winter 2022

Requirements

WTR

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Intermediate French I
Emphasis on increased control and proficiency in the language through audiovisual, conversational, and drill methods. Readings and film enlarge the student's view of French life and culture. (FREN 0102 or by placement) 5 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

Requirements

LNG

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Intermediate French II
An active and intensive review of French grammar for students having had good beginning-level training in French. We will work not only to perfect mastery of the structures of the language with practice of writing and reading, but also to develop oral comprehension and production skills. (FREN 0103 or FREN 0105 or placement) 5 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

LNG

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Toward Liberated Expression
A course designed to increase and perfect the ability to express oneself in spoken and written French. Emphasis on precision, variety, and vocabulary acquisition. Sections limited to 15 students. (FREN 0201, 0203 or placement) This requirement for the major and the minor may be satisfied by placement at a higher level. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2023

Requirements

LNG

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Self and Society: Effective Writing in French
In this course, students will deepen their knowledge of the French language and French-speaking cultures while developing their reading and writing skills through examination of a variety of texts and media. This course facilitates the transition from language-oriented courses (FREN 0205) to content-oriented courses (such as FREN 0220 and FREN 0230) by introducing students to strategies for interpretation and discussion, with a focus on effective writing. Course materials may include essays/articles, theater, fiction, poetry, videos, and films. (FREN 0205 or by placement) 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Spring 2022

Requirements

EUR, LNG

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

French in North America
In this course we will focus on French varieties in North America, including those found in Québec, historic Acadia, New England, Louisiana, and the Caribbean. We will survey the impact of French colonialism on the linguistic landscape of North America and the sociolinguistic dynamics of French-speaking communities. We will study language revitalization and maintenance in local newspapers, social media, literature, and film. This course is intended to facilitate the transition between introductory and advanced-level classes with an emphasis on developing written and oral expression in French. (FREN 0209) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2023

Requirements

AMR, LNG, SOC

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

History of the French Language
In this course we will study how French has evolved into a global language. We will survey its development from a Latin dialect spoken in ancient Gaul to its present-day diversity in the French-speaking world, with a focus on comparative analysis. Specific topics may include linguistic variation over time, gender and language change, phonological history, spelling reforms, and language use on social media. Students will engage with historical and contemporary texts, art, and audiovisual sources. (FREN 0209, or by waiver. No previous knowledge of linguistics is required.) 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022

Requirements

CMP, HIS, LNG

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Language Ideologies in the Francophone World
Is French really in danger? Does it need to be defended? Language ideologies have prevailed in France since the foundation of the French Academy in 1635. New waves of language defenders emerged in the 20th century especially against English in the technological and entertainment industry. In this course, we will examine the history of French language ideologies in the Francophone world from the 17th to the 21st century in order to better understand French attitudes toward the “bon usage”. In addition to theoretical works, we will explore language laws, newspaper articles, social media posts, radio news, and documentaries. (FREN 0220, 221, 222, 224, 230) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Fall 2022

Requirements

CMP, LNG, SOC

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

French Language and Society
In this course we will study the relationship between the French language and French-speaking societies. Sociolinguistic approaches will be used to explore how geography, class, ethnicity, and gender influence dialectal, lexical, and phonological variation. We will examine how language contact with regional and minority languages affects language use and development. Materials will include scholarly publications, speech samples, social media, and films. Students will learn how to build and analyze surveys, and will practice presenting their research at professional venues. (At least two FREN courses above 0209, or by waiver. No previous knowledge of linguistics is required.) 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021, Fall 2023

Requirements

EUR, LNG, SOC

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Independent Project
Qualified students may be permitted to undertake a special project in reading and research under the direction of a member of the department. Students should seek an advisor and submit a proposal to the department well in advance of registration for the term in which the work is to be undertaken. (Approval required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Senior Honors Essay
For this one-term course, qualified senior majors who wish to be considered for Honors in French must submit a proposal well in advance of registration for the term in which the work is to be undertaken. (Approval required; see requirements.)

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Senior Honors Thesis
Qualified senior majors who wish to be considered for Honors in French must submit a proposal well in advance of registration for the term in which the work is to be undertaken. (Approval required; see requirements above.)

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Language Policy and Inclusion

What is inclusive language? How do speakers of French perceive gender-neutral expressions? What roles do linguistic authorities play in the future of linguistic inclusion? Historical and more recent social movements have called into question the purist assertion that the grammatical masculine gender ought to be considered neutral in French. From the feminization of profession names, the proximity agreement, to binary and gender-neutral pronouns, inclusive language encompasses a vast variety of applications. In addition, sociolinguistic and political differences between France and Québec result in diverging attitudes toward its implementation, ranging from political support to outright institutional rejection. This course will explore language policies in France and Québec responsible for the practical implementation of inclusive language. The course is designed to help students improve their analytical and critical thinking skills, work with data, and prepare them for professional research presentations, including abstracts as well as poster and conference talks. Materials provided by the instructor.
No required texts

Terms Taught

Summer 2021 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session, Summer 2023 Language Schools, LS 7 Week Session

Requirements

Linguistics

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

French in the United States
This course will explore the rich history of French in the United States from a sociolinguistic perspective. We will focus on French-speaking communities in New England, the Midwest, Louisiana and immigrant populations in large urban areas. The course has three major topics of interest: language variation, language maintenance/revitalization and language policy. We will use

authentic materials from social media, literature, music, legislative documents and more. Taught in French. Course materials will be provided by the instructor.

No required texts

Terms Taught

Summer 2022 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

Requirements

Linguistics

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

European Studies Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023, Spring 2024

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Data Science Across Disciplines
In this course, we will gain exposure to the entire data science pipeline—obtaining and cleaning large and messy data sets, exploring these data and creating engaging visualizations, and communicating insights from the data in a meaningful manner. During morning sessions, we will learn the tools and techniques required to explore new and exciting data sets. During afternoon sessions, students will work in small groups with one of several faculty members on domain-specific research projects in Geography, Linguistics, Political Science, or Writing & Rhetoric. This course will use the R programming language. No prior experience with R is necessary.

GEOG: Students will apply data science tools to explore the geography human-environment relationships around protected areas. We will use household survey and land cover data from locations across the humid tropics where the Wildlife Conservation Society has been tracking human wellbeing and forest resource use in high-priority conservation landscapes. Projects and visualizations will be presented back to WCS to inform their ongoing monitoring and management in these sites.

LNGT: In this section, we will learn how to collect and analyze Twitter data in R. We will focus on social metrics and geographical locations to examine language variation in online communities across the United States. While the emphasis will be placed on linguistics, the statistical and analytical tools will help you work with other types of Twitter corpora in the future.

PSCI: Students will use cross-national data to explore relationships between conflict events and political, social, and economic factors in each nation. What factors contribute to conflict and violence? Our focus will be to find patterns in the data using the tools in R and discuss what those patterns suggest for addressing rising conflict and resolving ones that have already experienced violence.

WRPR: Students will learn to conduct writing studies research through working with "big data” from a multiyear survey of first-year college students about their academic confidences, attitudes, and perceptions. We will explore how educational access, identity, and language background impacts survey responses. Using statistical analysis and data visualizations, as well as writing, we will report our findings.

Terms Taught

Winter 2023

Requirements

DED, SOC, WTR

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Introduction to Data Science
In this course students will gain exposure to the entire data science pipeline: forming a statistical question, collecting and cleaning data sets, performing exploratory data analyses, identifying appropriate statistical techniques, and communicating the results, all the while leaning heavily on open source computational tools, in particular the R statistical software language. We will focus on analyzing real, messy, and large data sets, requiring the use of advanced data manipulation/wrangling and data visualization packages. Students will be required to bring alaptop (owned or college-loaned) to class as many lectures will involve in-class computational activities. (formerly MATH216) 3 hrs lect./disc. (Not open to students who have taken BIOL 1230, ECON 1230, ENVS 1230, FMMC 1230, HARC 1230, JAPN 1230, LNGT 1230, NSCI 1230, MATH 1230, SOCI 1230, LNGT 1230, PSCI 1230, WRPR 1230, or GEOG 1230.)

Terms Taught

Spring 2022

Requirements

DED

View in Course Catalog

Publications

Zsombok, G. (2020). Prescribing French: A corpus-linguistic approach to official terminology in French newspapers. Journal of French Language Studies, 1–24. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0959269520000204

 Zsombok, G. (2022, forthcoming). Language Ideologies in the Age of the Internet: Hashtag on French Twitter. Journal of French Language Studies, Special Issue on French Variation in Digital Media.