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French CD to aid Olympic volunteers

PROVO, Utah — A team of BYU faculty and students has been instrumental in the development of a French language CD-ROM to be used by volunteers at the Salt Lake Winter Games.

The CD-ROM, "Ã vos marques, Préts, Partez: French at the Salt Lake 2002 Games," was financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France through the Alliance Française of San Francisco. The software — the title of which means "On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!" — aims to teach "survival French" skills to volunteers for the upcoming Salt Lake 2002 Games.

"French is one of the two official languages of the Olympics and is spoken either as a first or second language by many participants at the games, athletes and visitors alike," said Michael Bush, associate professor of French and the team leader.

Alain-Marc Rieu, Cultural Attaché of the French General Consulate in San Francisco, presented the CD-ROM to Mitt Romney, president of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC), who accepted the software on behalf of his organization and its volunteers.

Soon, 5,500 copies of the CD-ROM will be distributed by SLOC officials to volunteers as part of their training for the upcoming games.

"Sponsors and developers are hopeful that the software will contribute to the welcome that visitors and athletes will feel during their stay in Salt Lake City," said Associate Professor Bush.

The BYU development team included the work of 17 students who spent their summer and fall creating the interactive CD-ROM. The team — made up of graduate and undergraduate students, including two former students who are currently teaching French in local schools — took on the tasks of lesson design, resource collection and development, programming, video and audio production, and testing as they created the software's 14 lessons.

The assorted exercises, set in the context of the Winter Olympic Games, will familiarize learners with basic Olympics and sports vocabulary and various types of questions and situations that they may face as Olympics volunteers.

Nearly 100 student volunteers served as models, voices and testers for various stages of the software production.

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