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Here you can : email  your questions and work assignments to the following address:


using your email address exclusively please, otherwise my server will bin the message, and all will be lost. Agh!! You can write in French or English as you wish. Latin is possible, but comes as a premium!

I will try to reply to you within 48 hours, but not necessarily over the weekend (I do have a life without my laptop, difficult to believe, I know…but there we are….). We have an Email charter which asks people not to email others, in a professionally context, after 18.00 or over the weekend. I don’t always consult my mails over the weekend, my family takes precedence.

Don’t forget to tell me in the subject line the aim of your message (work, meeting, class schedule) and which year and which department you are in, L1, L2 L3, M1, M2 Anglais, Lettres, CLE, Bologna, Erasmus, MICAI… so that I don’t have to go hunting for your names. I have 300-400 students each year….!!

Just a note about email/letter/street étiquette….well you know what I mean….

1 : When you write a formal letter or an email to someone whose name you do not know, you start with ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Dear Madam’…ending with… ‘Yours Faithfully’ (cordialement…).This is invariable, and would be the case for a job application.

2 : When you write a formal letter or an email to someone whose name you do know, you start with ‘Dear Mr Ludwig’ or ‘Dear Mrs. Fade’…ending with… ‘Yours Sincerely’ (bien cordialement…). This a general format and invariable.

3 : When you write an informal letter or an email to someone you know well, then you use their first name, ‘Dear Ellen, Dear Tony’…or later on ‘Hi Ellen, Hi Tony’, ending with …kind regards, best wishes, see you soon, all the best, etc. (amitiés, à bientôt, bien à vous…)this can vary a lot depending on the relationship.

4 : When you write an informal letter or email to a friend, then it’s up to you…!!

Since many of you do know me, or at least my name, no. 2 is a good start, and then we may move on...often my Master’s students use my first name. I am not a Doctor, or a (full) Professor, so don’t use those titles for me. But other members of staff might like you to use those titles, so just ask them how they prefer to be called, they will tell you.

N.B. Never use Dear Mr. Tony Jolley, or Dear Mrs. Ellen Jolley, in writing, it’s a mixture of first names and surnames that doesn’t work. Never refer to someone as ‘Mister’ or ‘Missus’ only, either in writing or speaking, this means ‘mon vieux’ or ‘ma vieille’….’Miss’ is very old-fashioned and dates back from the time when schoolteachers were single women : if they married, in the inter-war period,  they had to leave their job….you might have used this in school, but now you are a grown-up.

In England, if you ask someone for directions in the street, for example, especially if they are older than you, you use ‘Excuse me, Sir’.…or ‘Excuse me, Madam’ it sounds a bit formal, but people will be delighted at your lovely French manners! Young people in England often answer, ‘OK mate’ if it’s a young man asking another young man a question.  Older people might use the informal term ‘dear’ or ‘love’ as an general address too. Don’t be surprised!

(’Sir Jolley’ would only be used in talking to a nobleman, which is not yet the case…..and if you’ve been watching ‘The Crown’ you know that the Queen is ‘Your Majesty’ and then ‘Ma’am’, (rhymes with ‘ham’) and other Royals are ‘Your Royal Highness’, and then ‘Sir’ or ‘Ma’am’ according to gender! Just in case…)

I am quite happy for people in general to call me ‘Ellen’, after all it is my name…or ‘Mrs. Jolley’ if you really have to…In GB, it’s quite usual for students to address their teaching staff by their first names, if invited to do so; the Brits are a lot less formal than the French, and sometimes the Americans.  I have a feminist theory about all this :  Chew is my father’s name, Jolley is my husband’s name, so the only one left for me is my first name : Ellen, so this is the one I prefer. I personally don’t inevitably see a kind of disrespect in using someone’s first name; that doesn’t necessarily come with inappropriate behaviour. In 38 years of teaching I have (almost) never had to correct anyone’s behaviour to me, especially in writing, because French people are ultra-polite.  My kids would say “‘do so at your peril”!!

My daughter-in-law calls me ‘la patronne’ … Sämi calls me ‘the worried Jewish mother’… ha ha! He’s not wrong. My children call me ‘la mère supérieure’ but what do they know??

all the best,