FR2HTF-How to Think in French

Module Provider: Languages and Cultures
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:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr John McKeane


Type of module:

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:

The module draws on a wide range of primary materials taken from the historical and contemporary French education system (exercises, guides, manuals, assessments) as well as secondary materials discussing both this and other education systems, and relevant issues of language, rhetoric, and philosophy.

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
Guided independent study: 170
Total hours by term 185 15 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 70
Class test administered by School 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

The summative assessment will consist of a written assignment (70%) and of a class test (30%). For the written assignment you have an essay in French (2,000 words) and an analysis exercise (3 pages of questions). For the class test you will write a reflective essay.

One piece of coursework worth no more than 50% of the module mark can be replaced by a report produced after an academic placement. The placement must be agreed in advance by the module convenor; the length of the report is to be equivalent to standard departmental practice for coursework. 

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

Penalties for late submission:

Assessment 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: 5 February 2020


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