For nearly 150 years, Nebraska was French. Yet ever since 1803, when the territory was sold to the United States, the French presence has all but disappeared: only a handful of French people live in the state today. Still, a dedicated Francophile community in Omaha champions the French language and contributes to cultural diversity in the Midwest.
On the esplanade of the University of Nebraska in Omaha, three students in shorts kick a football around. Meanwhile, in Classroom 344, five students discuss the nuances of French grammar around a long dark-wood table: definite articles, indefinite articles and partitive articles. Each has a book opened to page 179 and a large cup of coffee. As in a game of ping-pong – the name given to the exercise – group members take turns answering the questions in exercise 5. “Philippe likes salad,” begins Barb, a vivaciou [...]