Written by Adriana Flores

Marie-Line Brunet

The Department of Modern Language and Classics is filled with unique and extraordinary staff and they would love to share their stories. One of these amazing professors is Dr. Marie-Line Brunet. Dr. Brunet teaches a wide variety of French classes, including French 101, French 202, and French 388: French for the Professionals.

Dr. Brunet was born 10 miles outside of Paris to a fluent French-speaking household. Since a young age, she has been attracted to learning different languages. “I always have that curiosity and I wanted to listen to what they’re saying, even if I don’t always understand what they’re saying, but it has always fascinated me,” Dr. Brunet said.

Learning different languages has allowed Dr. Brunet to learn about other cultures and people. As a young girl, her friend’s mother was a Portuguese teacher and she took the opportunity to learn Portuguese. She began teaching as an English language teacher but later moved to northern England to a small city called Harrogate where she taught French.

This opportunity opened her mind to completely switch from English to French as her concentration. As Dr. Brunet comes from a family of educators, she always knew she wanted to teach but she had come to the realization she could teach her native tongue. When exploring schools, she decided to go abroad and obtained her Ph.D. at Indiana University in French and Francophone Studies with a focus on 20th and 21st-century literature and cinema. Afterward, she taught at Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania.

She joined the wonderful staff at Ball State where she fell in love with the culture of the campus and students. She teaches both beginner French and higher-level French. She enjoys the variety of students she teaches in different classes. There have been students who have done four semesters of a language and gone on to a different major. There are also students who have decided to major or minor in French. She has loved being able to encourage students to continue to learn French and see where it could take them.

Dr. Brunet’s classes include a wide variety of levels of French but one of the most interesting is French 388: French for the Professionals. At its core, the class is about getting to a business and professional level of French. The class covers interviews, resumes, and projects. “There are many different projects that are very tangible that [the students] can use outside of the university experience,” Dr. Brunet said.

It is definitely a class for any business major but many students from music, journalism, history, law, nursing, art history, and even fashion take it. The class is very diverse in the different backgrounds and goals of the students. Most of the students are not French majors but are interested in learning French for their profession.

While in the classroom Dr. Brunet has created a welcoming and approachable environment. She is known to be very approachable to connect with and ask for help.

“We can work together as a team to see how we can solve a problem,” Dr. Brunet said.

Language classes are very different from math or history. She has found many students must adjust how they study or learn to grasp a new language. When asked about the best way to learn outside of the classroom, Dr. Brunet encourages exposure. This can involve looking into French culture, movies, or even songs.

One of Dr. Brunet’s passions is French films, and she is part of a French Film Festival here at Ball State. The event is supported by Albertine Cinematheque, a program of FACE Foundation and Villa Albertine. Along with support from the CNC (Centre National Du Cinema) and SACEM (Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music), the festival has films in French with subtitles all week long, which is a great opportunity for non-French speakers to experience the culture. It can also be a great outing for friends or dates. There are many French films available on Kanopy that students have access to.

“You can start hearing the language even if you don’t speak it,” Dr. Brunet said.

Dates for Films:

  • Revoir Paris by Alice Winocour (March 14)
  • Hold me Tight by Mathieu Amalric (March 20)
  • Josep by Aurel (March 28)
  • Casablanca Beats by Nabil Ayouch (April 3)
  • Le cercle rouge by Jean-Pierre Melville (April 11)
  • Saint Omer by Alice Diop (April 17)

“Learning a language at any point in your career or in your life, even for adults, is always a very eye-opening experience,” Dr. Brunet said. A lot of learning a new language is opening up to different cultures and lifestyles. Whether it is inside the classroom or at an event, Ball State has wonderful opportunities for everyone to explore.

Read more about Ball State’s Modern Languages and Classics Department.