FR2HTF-How to Think in French

Module Provider: Modern Languages
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Pre-requisites: FR1L3 Advanced French Language I
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr John McKeane


Summary module description:
It is sometimes said that as well as being a place, France represents a set of values and philosophies. Just some of these are secularism, the Republic, human rights, equality, freedom of debate, clarity of thought, universalism – but also hierarchy, rigidity, bureaucracy.

This module provides an overview of how these ideas have developed since the 18th century, and how they affect culture and society in France today. It introduces students to the symbiotic relationship between these ideas and the French language. This will be studied in a range of landmark writers from Voltaire to Houllebecq, but also in broadly-varying modes of cultural production.

- To explore Frenchness as a value and a philosophy
- To develop students’ ability to closely analyse French texts and the French language
- To engage with broader ideas of cultural translation and specificity

Assessable learning outcomes:
- To demonstrate a working grammatical knowledge of French
- To translate both within French and between French and English
- To undertake close textual analysis in commentary form
- To produce extended discursive prose writing

Additional outcomes:
- The ability to construct and defend critical arguments in a seminar setting

Outline content:
This module is more concerned with method than with a corpus. But texts studied may be taken from:

Voltaire, Poème sur le désastre de Lisbonne
Robespierre, Discours
De Staël, De l’Allemagne
Comte, Discours sur l’ensemble du positivisme
Proust, A la recherche du temps perdu
Barthes, Mythologies
Bailly, Le dépaysement : voyages en France
Houllebecq, Soumission

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
There will be a strong focus on close textual work, developing students’ language skills. We will use the full range of exercises, including grammatical analysis, ‘translation’ between registers of French, translation into English, close reading and commentary, and discursive prose writing.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 15 15 2
Guided independent study 84 84
Total hours by term 99.00 99.00 2.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 50
Class test administered by School 50

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:
A formative assignment testing the same skills as the summative assignment.

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.
  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August in case of failure in this module and in Part 2 as a whole. Coursework must be resubmitted by 1PM on the third Friday of August or, if the University is closed on the third Friday of August, at 1PM on the next working day thereafter.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

    Things to do now