French 110 is a first-semester elementary language course for students who have never studied French before or who have had very little exposure to the language. Most students with previous French should be in French 121 (elementary French for "false beginners"). All students who have already studied French elsewhere are required to take the placement test to determine which elementary course is appropriate for them. Students with a score of less than 380 on the SAT II or below 18 on the computer placement test should enroll in French 110.
As in other French courses, class will be conducted entirely in French. You will be guided through a variety of communicative activities in class which will expose you to a rich input of spoken French and lead you from structured practice to free expression. You will be given frequent opportunity to practice your newly acquired vocabulary and grammatical structures in small group and pair work activities which simulate real-life situations. The course will introduce you to French and Francophone culture through authentic materials including written documents, simple articles, songs, films, videos, and taped conversations between native speakers. Out-of-class homework will require practice with audio and video material, and will include regular writing practice. The course will also invite you to explore the Francophone world on the Internet.
French 120 is the second-semester continuation of the elementary sequence and is open to students who have completed French 110 at Penn (see the description of 110). Students who place into the second-semester level should normally enroll in French 121. In those semesters when French 121 is not offered, students with an SATII score between 380 - 440 or a placement score between 18 - 29 are allowed to enroll in French 120.
French 130 is the first half of a two-semester intermediate sequence designed to help you attain a level of proficiency that should allow you to function comfortably in a French-speaking environment. You are expected to have already learned the most basic grammatical structures in elementary French and you will review these on your own in the course workbook. This course will build on your existing skills in French, increase your confidence and ability to read, write, speak, and understand French, and introduce you to more refined lexical items, more complex grammatical structures, and more challenging cultural material. Students having completed French 120, or with an SATII score of 450 - 540 or a placement score between 30 and 35 should enroll in this course.
As in other French courses at Penn, class will be conducted entirely in French. In addition to structured oral practice, work in class will include frequent communicative activities such as role-plays, problem-solving tasks, discussions, and debates, often carried out in pairs or small groups. Through the study of authentic materials such as articles, poems, songs, films, videos, and taped conversations between native speakers you will deepen your knowledge of the French-speaking world. The course explores the customs and values prevailing in France, Senegal, Cameroun, Martinique, and other cultures, with a focus on living standards, family traditions, cuisine, and leisure activities. Daily homework will require listening practice with audio and video material, in addition to regular written exercises in the workbook and frequent composition practice. The course will also invite you to explore the Francophone world on the Internet.
Intermediate French: Accelerated
French 140 is the second half of a two-semester intermediate sequence designed to help you attain a level of proficiency that should allow you to function comfortably in a French-speaking environment. Students having completed French 130, or with an SATII score of 550 - 640 or a placement score above 35 should enroll in this course. See the course description for French 130.
Through the study of authentic materials such as articles, poems, songs, films, video-clips, and taped conversations between native speakers, you will deepen your knowledge of France as well as North Africa and other French-speaking areas. The content areas you will explore include the world of work and contemporary social issues, such as the environment, poverty, homelessness, crime, and racism.
Advanced French in Residence
Open only to residents in La Maison Francaise
French 202 is a one-semester third-year level French course. It is designed to prepare students for subsequent study in upper level courses in French and francophone literature, linguistics, civilization, cinema, etc.
It is also the appropriate course for those students who have time for only one more French course and wish to solidify their knowledge of the language by continuing to work on all four skills - speaking, listening, reading and writing. Students’ work will be evaluated both in terms of progress in language skills and of ability to handle and engage in the content areas.
The class studies two thematic units dealing with a wide variety of magazine articles, literary texts, historical documents, movies, songs, etc. In the first dossier, students get a chance to expand their knowledge of French history, with one major focus on World War II and the German occupation of France. In the second dossier, students study youth-related issues (such as upbringing and education, television, unemployment, racism, etc…). The class touches upon issues of identity in France as well as in the Francophone world, in the context of immigration and colonization.
French for Professions I
This content-based language course, taught in French, introduces economic, business, and professional terminology through the study of the following topics: the French economy and monetary policy (transition to the Euro); financial institutions (banking and postal services, stock market and insurance); specificity of the French fiscal system; business practices (business letters and resumes); advertising and the internal structure and legal forms of French companies. France’s atypical system of industrial relations as well as cultural differences and their impact on the business world will also be explored.
On completion of the course, students will have the opportunity to take the Certificat Pratique de Français Commercial et Economique, administered by the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Prerequisite: Intermediate-high advanced level French.
Advanced French Grammar and Composition
Intensive review of grammar integrated into writing practice. A good knowledge of basic French grammar is a prerequisite (French 202 or equivalent is recommended). Conducted entirely in French, the course will study selected grammatical difficulties of the French verbal and nominal systems including colloquial usage. Frequent oral and written assignments with opportunity for rewrites. There will also be a reading component (magazine and newspaper articles as well as selections from Camus’s L’Etranger).
Advanced French Composition and Conversation
This is a course intended to improve speaking and writing skills by offering extensive practice in a variety of styles and forms. It will also help students better understand contemporary French culture, thought and mode of expression. Activities include the study, analysis and emulation of model texts, the discussion and debates about current events and social issues as covered by the French news media (television, print, Internet sources). Students will do oral presentations based on research, take part in class discussions and compile a writing portfolio (journal, essays, blog).
Designed to provide students with a solid foundation in French phonetics and phonology. Part of the course will be devoted to learning how to produce discourse with native-like French pronunciation, rhythm and intonation. The second half of the course will be devoted to improving aural comprehension by examining stylistic and dialectical differences in spoken French.
Perspectives in French Literature
This basic course in literature provides an overview of French literature and acquaints students with major literary trends through the study of representative works from each period. Special emphasis is placed on close reading of texts in order to familiarize students with major authors and their characteristics, and also with current literary theory and methods of interpretation. Students learn to situate and analyze literary texts. They are expected to take an active part in class discussion in French. French 222 has as its theme the Individual and Society. Majors are required to take either French 221 or 222, but students who have taken 221 may also take French 222 for credit.
French Youth Since 1968
Among the many dramatic transformations which marked the modernization of post-war French culture and society, the emergence of a distinct youth culture has been one of the most forceful challenges to persistent traditions and structures. By means of films, short novels, historical and sociological sources, we explore shifts in lifestyle, values and identity among youth, starting from the explosive events of May ‘68. in order to appreciate the social, political, and cultural realities of France in the present.
Conducted entirely in French, this course is conceived as a general introduction to the history and culture of France since the sixties. Recommended: 202, especially for students who began French at Penn.
View seven films outside of class, factual quizzes and written assignments on readings and films.
This course offers an overview of French political, cultural, and social history from the Revolution of 1789 to the present. Beginning with the French Revolution, we will explore the emergence of the modern French nation through an interrogation of a variety of written sources—including letters, literary texts and political documents — as well as visual materials, especially painting and architecture. Taught entirely in French, this course will provide students not only with a firm understanding of historical events but also with the ability to interpret the culture of different epochs within a historical framework.
French for Professions II
The course, conducted entirely in French, emphasizes verbal communication in business professional situations through three components. First, a series of student’s presentations, in-class activities (using newspapers’ articles, technical readings, radio shows and films), and debates on the following topics (list not exhaustive) related to France’s economy and society:
The role of the State in France’s economy
The French fiscal system
Labor (impact of the 35-hour workweek, “congés”, women in the workplace, etc…)
Regions of France (production)
Major French industries / companies / brands
France’s major imports / exports
Business of pop culture
Second, as effective communication is based not only on linguistic proficiency but also on cultural proficiency, cultural differences mostly between Americans and French will be explored.
Finally, throughout the semester, students will work in groups on the creation of their own business, association, or other organization and will be invited to present their project to the class at the end of the semester.
On completion of the course, students will also have the opportunity to take the Diplôme de Français Professionnel – DFP Affaires (C1) administered by the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Prerequisites: An intermediate high to advanced level of French. French for the Professions I (211) highly advisable. No business background necessary.
France and the European Union
The following topics will be addressed:
1) A brief history of European integration: The Franco-German couple-The hesitations of Great Britain; Debate: neutrality, sovereignty and identity
2) The Community's institutions: Necessity for reform before enlargement. Debate: intergovernmental cooperation vs. federation (a European constitution?)
3) The European single market: Europe becomes the biggest market in the world (the beef and banana war with the United States)
4) Economic and monetary union: Introduction of the EURO; Debate: From an economic community to a political community?
5) Political union and defense-Relations between France, Europe and NATO; Debate: Eurocentrism vs. Atlanticism
6) Is there a social Europe? Analysis of the cultural and social European model; Debate: its future vs. American or Japanese liberalism (the unemployment problem)
7) A people's Europe: Education and training; Debate: Is there a European civilization?
8) Common programs (agriculture, fishing and environment); Debate: Impact of the common agricultural policy on France
9) The Community and its neighbors: Debate: a wider vs. a deeper Community
10) Europe and its relations with the rest of the world (US, Asia and the developing countries); Debate: Euro vs. dollar and yen
Presence and participation in class are important. Three short papers during the semester and one final paper of the students' choice are required.
Advanced French Translation
This is a course on the theory and practice of translation from English to French and vice versa. Students will learn translation techniques and apply them to a variety of texts (literary and journalistic as well as publicity). They will also have the opportunity to practice subtitling audiovisual materials. Students should have a good knowledge of French grammar and should have taken French 211, 212 or the equivalent in order to be well prepared to take the course.
Modern French Theater
A study of major movements and major dramatists from Giraudoux and Sartre to the theater of the absurd (Ionesco, Beckett, Genet) and its aftermath.
Paris in Film
Latter-day examples like Christophe Honoré’s Dans Paris or the international omnibus Paris, je t’aime (with each director paying homage to a distinctive “arrondissement,” or district, of the capital), both released in 2006, or even more recently Cédric Klapisch’s Paris (2008), are there to remind us that there is something special – indeed, a special kind of magic – about Paris in and on film. Despite the extreme polarization between Paris and provincial France in both cultural and socio-economic terms, cultural historians have argued that Paris is a symbol of France (as a centralized nation), more than Rome is of Italy and much more than Madrid is of Spain or Berlin of Germany, for example. The prevalence of the City of Lights on our screens, Gallic and otherwise, should therefore come as no surprise, be it as a mere backdrop or as a character in its own right. But how exactly are the French capital and its variegated people captured on celluloid? Can we find significant differences between French and non-French approaches, or between films shot on location that have the ring of “authenticity” and studio-bound productions using reconstructed sets? Do these representations vary through time and perhaps reflect specific historical periods or zeitgeists? Do they conform to genre-based formulas and perpetuate age-old stereotypes, or do they provide new, original insights while revisiting cinematic conventions? Do some (sub)urban areas and/or segments of the Parisian population (in terms of gender, race or class, for example) receive special attention or treatment? These are some of the many questions that we will seek to address… with a view to offering the next best thing to catching the next non-stop flight to Paris!
Films by such directors as Renoir, Minelli, Truffaut, Godard, Malle, Bertolucci, Losey, Rohmer, Tavernier, Carax, Kassovitz, Jeunet, Haneke.
This class will be conducted in English. Students writing their assignments in French will receive credit for the French major.