Kelly  Sax

Kelly Sax

Senior Lecturer Emerita, French


  • Ph.D., French Linguistics, Indiana University, Bloomington, 2003
  • M.A., Applied Linguistics (TESOL), Indiana University, Bloomington, 1997
  • M.A., French Linguistics, Indiana University, Bloomington, 1996
  • M.A., French Literature, University of Oregon, Eugene, 1986
  • B.A., Romance Languages (emphasis in Spanish), University of Oregon, Eugene, 1984

Research areas

  • Second language acquisition
  • Foreign language pedagogy
  • Computer-assisted language learning
  • French phonetics
  • Québécois French

About Kelly Sax

My teaching and research interests are closely connected. I am interested in theories of second language acquisition and teaching, but I am also mindful of the need to make the study of French interesting and relevant to students’ lives. To this end, for example, I created and oversee a service learning class in which students teach French at several area elementary schools. My own research is never disassociated from its potential pedagogical implications. For example, based on my study on acquisition of stylistic variation by American learners of French, I co-authored an article on using film to introduce this crucial aspect of language use into the classroom. In a follow-up project, a colleague and I compared native speaker use of stylistic variants in French with their treatment in 22 popular first and second year French language textbooks, concluding with a number of strong recommendations for changes in pedagogical materials as commonly designed today. Our latest project focuses on native speaker attitudes towards stylistic variants used by native speakers versus learners of French, the results of which will serve as a basis for further pedagogical recommendations.

Selected publications

  • “Turning Students into Language Teachers: Bridging the K-16 Gap Through Service Learning,” invited book chapter to appear in forthcoming volume on Service Learning through SUNY Press.
  • “Stylistic Variation in French: Bridging the Gap Between Research and Textbooks,” with Corinne Etienne, to appear in The Modern Language Journal, 2008.
  • “Teaching Stylistic Variation Through Film,” with Corinne Etienne. The French Review. April, 2006.

Courses taught

  • Methods of College French Teaching
  • Practicum in College French Teaching
  • Service Learning Practicum in French Teaching
  • Conversational French
  • French Phonetics and Pronunciation
  • Second Year French II: Language and Culture

Honors, fellowships, & awards

  • Edouard Morot-Sir prize for the best pedagogical article of the year from the Institut Français de Washington, 2006
  • Community Outreach and Partnerships in Service Learning (COPSL) award to develop Service Learning course, April 2005
  • Teaching and Learning Technologies Grant for development of a CD-ROM to teach stylistic variation in French. November, 2002
  • Grant to attend Middlebury Technology Certification Graduate Alumni conference on Teaching with Technology. June, 2002