French Courses

French I

This course introduce elementary grammatical concepts, present and past tenses, basic sentence patterns, and a number of idiomatic expressions. Major units emphasize practical daily situations, such as greeting people, expressing opinions, talking about the weather, counting and telling time, traveling, shopping and discussing family relationships. The courses also present a variety of cultural material. [One credit.]

French II

This course further develop reading, aural comprehension, speaking and writing skills by introducing several new major language structures. These include the imperfect tense and the contrast between the two past tenses, as well as direct and indirect pronouns. Students acquire a broader vocabulary base of new words and expressions, often working in small groups to maximize use of the language and studying authentic material from the target languages, such as newspapers, films, and websites. Students complete projects relating to French geography, politics, society and culture. [Prerequisite: French. Advanced study is available. One credit.]

French III

This course emphasize oral, written, and listening facility, bringing students to a higher level of language proficiency. Students learn additional and more sophisticated grammar and vocabulary; read advanced material such as newspaper editorials, literary prose and poetry; and compose essays in the target language. The course further explore the customs, history, geography and culture of countries where the languages are spoken. [Prerequisite: French. Advanced study is available. One credit.]

French IV Advanced

This course focuses on comprehension, conversation, and listening skills, emphasizing recognition and use of complex grammar and new vocabulary in everyday speech. To increase proficiency, students participate in class discussion, listen to and watch authentic media, compose essays of many kinds, including opinion and creative pieces, and confront practical, everyday scenarios. Students read articles and short stories and participate in debates in class to gain awareness of relevant social issues. In this course, students utilize a wealth of online resources, including TV5Monde, France 24, and Bien-Dire to maximize their linguistic and cultural understanding, to stay abreast of current events, and to effectively communicate in the target language. [Prerequisite: French III. One credit.]

AP French Language and Culture

This course provides rigorous practice in reading, writing, speaking, and listening for the purpose of gaining proficiency in the language. Students also study advanced grammar and vocabulary, read and discuss original texts of varying genres and styles, write compositions, give oral reports and gain cultural knowledge through videos, songs, and Internet research. Debates, Harkness discussions, recordings, and other conversational activities build fluency. Language proficiency is built within the context of the six themes prescribed by the AP curriculum: Global Challenges, Beauty and Aesthetics, Science and Technology, Family and Community, Personal and Public Identities, and Contemporary Life. Both AP courses, conducted entirely in the target language, build proficiency in the language while assisting students in preparing for the required AP language examinations. [Prerequisites: French / Spanish IV Advanced or III Advanced with departmental approval. One credit.]

Le Monde Francophone (The French-speaking world)

Language is not just about grammar. Language is a means of communication, of expressing oneself. What role does language play in identity? In this advanced French course, students will better understand the French-speaking world through readings, film, exploration of current events, and direct contact with French speakers around the globe. Students will study the people and cultures of this global language. The first semester of this year-long course will focus on the relationships between North Africa (what is often referred to as “The Maghreb”) and France. The long history between Morocco, Algeria, and France is a rich one, full of violent episodes and peaceful ones. The influx of North African immigrants to France has created fascinating cultural dilemmas, especially as second and third generation French citizens still question their own identity. Through art forms, national education programs and politics, students will learn more about colonization and its aftereffects, as well as the current challenges of living in dual languages and cultures. Most important, students will learn to interpret the information in order to apply it to other global situations, perhaps some in their own countries. For the second semester, our focus will shift toward Western Africa (Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire) and then on to the Americas: a region with a very rich Francophone presence. As our studies lead us through Canada, the Caribbean and South America, students will learn about history, differing cultural attitudes and the reasoning behind them, and the extent to which language is linked to identity. This course often has a curricular travel component during Spring Break (Morocco or Guadeloupe). This course is most appropriate for students who have successfully completed AP French Language and Culture. [Prerequisites: French IV Advanced or departmental approval. One credit.]

Fall Semester - Advanced Topics in Linguistics: French Phonetics

In this semester-long, advanced-level course, we leave grammar, writing, and reading behind and work strictly on pronunciation and listening skills. Through close study of liaisons and enchaînements, as well as rhythmic groups and general intonation, students will learn about the basic flow of spoken French and work to incorporate this into their speech. Study of the International Phonetic Alphabet (vowel, consonant, semi-vowel sounds, etc.) solidifies their confidence in the proper pronunciation of any word in spoken French. Students are graded on written, spoken, and listening assignments. Independent work is an important component of this course. A research project in English or French covering dialects and pronunciation differences of spoken French throughout the world is the culmination of the semester. [Prerequisite: French III. May be taken concurrently with other French courses. Half credit.]

Spring Semester - Advanced Topics in Communication: French Conversation

In this semester-long, advanced-level course, students will hone speaking and listening skills through many different scenarios: informal discussion, prepared performances, debates, theater, interactive video, etc. Intensive building of vocabulary and accompanying structures will help to increase the students’ comfort level in a variety of situations. Time will also be devoted to body language and gestures, helping students to understand and use nuance. Students will be placed in many different situations with constantly changing variables so that they are able to express themselves more clearly and concisely and in the proper register, be it formal or informal. [Prerequisite: French III. May be taken concurrently with other French courses. Half credit.]

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