Having completed at least the "Advanced" sequence
of Georgetown's French curriculum (FREN 101-102 or 111-112), and preferably,
the Gateway (FREN 250 and/or 251) or, alternatively, having placed above
sequence on our placement test.
In-class work involves mostly close reading and
discussion of materials, for which you need to prepare carefully. "Preparing"
involves several stages:
the assigned materials, making notes on the difficulties (in language
or content matter) you encounter;
up some words and expressions in a monolingual dictionary (Robert,
Larousse), so as to clarify the general meaning of the
materials (always read/view over the materials afterwards);
up notions, names, events and other content items (on-line, in an
encyclopedia or other reliable source);
out questions to be brought up in class in order to elucidate whatever
you cannot satisfactorily figure out on your own;
some notes reflecting the results of your research in a rationally
organized fashion: a summary, an outline, a cognitive map (model,
75-minute class session should be matched by about 45 minutes of
preparation before class, and another 45 minutes of follow-up work
afterwards. Every evening, review what was done in class that day
to verify that you understand it; if necessary, use books and on-line
resources for clarification. Bring up unresolved items in class,
or discuss them with your instructor during office hours.
work must be carried out entirely in French. Translation to/from
English or another language should never be a part of it at any stage.
The instructor will provide specific strategies on how to function in
French without recourse to translation.
IS NOT A "LECTURE COURSE"—YOUR ACTIVE PARTICIPATION
student is expected to be present for every
class. If an absence is anticipated for any reason, the instructor must
be notified beforehand by e-mail or by phone (ext. 5852). In any case,
students are responsible for finding out what was done or assigned while
they were absent, and for turning in assignments on time.
Every student is
also expected to be prepared for every class,
is, having something definite to say about the assigned materials (based
on research and/or reflection),
and/or questions to ask the intructor, and/or
raise in class for discussion. Students are mostly responsible for conducting
the readings and analyses.
every student is expected to participate in
every class, that is,
speak up in response to prompts by the instructor or to other students'
comments, and volunteer comments without being prompted (see
also the "Total
Commitment Policy"). Manifest
lack of adequate preparation will result in a reduction of the portion
of the final grade allotted to "Presence, Preparedness and Participation."
course involves three different class
• Lectures by the teacher on the themes listed below. Taking
notes efficiently is part of your work in this class, as your instructor
will provide original insights not available from the text or any other
source. If you are unsure about note-taking strategies, consult with
the Writing Center. (http://writingcenter.georgetown.edu).
• Collective analysis and discussion of documents (texts, images,
film excerpts) assigned as homework or presented in class;
• Student Oral Class Presentations (Exposés).
In class, some of the work will be conducted in small
groups; you will also have to prepare short individual analyses at home,
from which you may have to deliver brief in-class presentations. These
will not be graded as such, but your involvement will influence your
order to study language phenomena in the most concrete way possible,
we will spend much of our time working with documents where the various
theories and models discussed in the reading selections are examplified.
When examining documents, we will follow a methodical approach which
is an important learning objective of the course. This involves three
main stages to be completed in sequence: description of the corpus
(what is it?), analysis of the linguistic and semiotic
phenomena involved in producing and conveying a message (how does
it work?), and tentative interpretation of the message (what
does it mean?). In so doing , you will acquire a solid methodology
for considering all available evidence, asking relevant questions, formulating
a problem, devising hypotheses and proposing solutions and possible
Every student is expected to be present for every
class and arrive on time (repeated tardiness will be penalized). If
an absence is anticipated, the instructor must be notified beforehand
by e-mail or by phone (ext. 5852).
An absence may be "excused" if it was caused by
an unforeseen event or accident that made it impossible or extremely
difficult for a student to attend class, and which can be documented.
If you feel sick enough to miss class, then you should also seek medical
attention and obtain a certificate from the health care provider who
treated you. If you suffer from a chronic mental or physical condition
that occasionally flares up to the point of incapacitating you, you
need to be registered with the University health services in order to
be granted accommodations.
A student who was absent (justifiably or not) remains
responsible for finding out what was done or assigned during the missed
class(es), and for turning in assignments on time. Unjustified absences
will result in a reduction of the portion of the final grade allotted
to "Presence, Preparedness and Participation."
deadline indicates the absolute last day and time when assignments should
be turned in. The cut-off time is the end of class on the day of the
deadline, whether you bring in a hard copy of your paper or e-mail it.
It is not advisable to start working on an assignment on the day it
is due. Give yourself enough time to allow for unforeseen delays or
problems (printer running out of ink, e-mail bugs, network access down,
etc), which cannot be used as excuses for not meeting a deadline. Acceptable
excuses are acts of God, system-wide server outages and documented medical
aspects of this class fall under Georgetown University's honor system.
If you are not thoroughly familiar with its provisions, please review
them at http://honorcouncil.georgetown.edu/system/policies.
A point of particular concern is using source material appropriately
and avoding plagiarism : "Plagiarism, in any of its forms, and
whether intentional or unintentional, violates standards of academic
integrity. Plagiarism is the act of passing off as one’s own the
ideas or writings of another (…). While different academic disciplines
have different modes for attributing credit, all recognize and value
the contributions of individuals to the general corpus of knowledge
and expertise. Students are responsible for educating themselves as
to the proper mode of attributing credit in any course or field. (…)"
Note that plagiarism can be said to have occurred without any affirmative
showing that a student’s use of another’s work was intentional.
IS A FRENCH IMMERSION CLASS! NO ENGLISH WILL BE USED OR TOLERATED
TOP OF PAGE
For greater authenticity, we will only use materials
originally produced for a French speaking public: Only purely administrative
matters (such as this syllabus) will be handled in English. In all other
circumstances, including discussion and critique of your work in class
or during office hours, French will be used exclusively orally and in
writing, by you and by the instructor. You will never be asked (with
rare, very precise exceptions) to translate anything, nor are you expected
to use translation ever as a means to accomplish your work in this class.
NO BILINGUAL DICTIONARIES ARE ALLOWED IN CLASS. Use of a monolingual
dictionary is strongly encouraged, however.
This is a class held in a university classroom. It is not
a meeting of a book club at a local library branch; it is not a game
in a stadium or a workout at the gym; it is not a get together at someone's
home or a pajama party in your dorm room; it is not a luau at the beach.
Please dress and behave accordingly!
- No eating or snacking during class (drinking is OK).
- Cell phones, smartphones and other mobile communication
devices must be turned off and stored away in a pocket
or a bag (except for emergency situations, with prior notification to
- No wearing of gym shorts, flip flops, exercise/sport gear, pajamas,
lounge wear, grass skirts, etc.
- No chit-chat unrelated to class matters… unles perhaps it is
- Use of computers is class is strictly limited to working on
relevant tasks. Anyone caught using a computer in class for
anything else (checking e-mail, Facebook status, stock prices, playing
games) will be issued a warning the first time, and, the second time,
banned from using a computer in class altogether for the rest of the
Writing / Paper Rules
objectives, principles and guidelines for each writing format will be
discussed in class and in e-mail messages. Your papers will
be marked up, and possibly given a provisional grade and handed back
for rewriting. The rewritten paper will receive a higher grade only
if significantly improved, and with a maximum of one letter-grade increase
from the provisional grade (e.g., from B- to A-, or from C+ to B+).
Any further rewrites will be graded according to the same principle.
Note: an "F" on a first draft cannot yield
a final grade higher than a "C". A coding system will help you identify and correct
problems in your writing.
writing assignments completed outside of class must be composed
with a word-processing software and you should always keep a back-up
copy. They must be submitted electronically as e-mail
attachments to email@example.com
in <.doc>, <.docx> or <.rtf> format—when
you save your document, make sure that the software (especially
MS Word) does not automatically save
it as anything else than a text document. Note
that MS Word may save a Windows Media document with a <.doc>
the file beginning with "FR291", then your last name and
a paper code as follows:
-- Expo for the outline of your presentation (e.g. <FR291SmithExpo.doc>)
-- AP0, AP1, AP2 for the three versions of
the self-portrait (e.g. <FR291SmithAP1.doc>)
-- Pub1, Pub2 for the analysis of the print ad, versions
1 and 2
See the instructor if you are unsure about text formats, sending
attachments, or if there is a reason why you wish to submit your
work in printed rather than electronic format.
paper should bear the number of the course (FREN
291), the name of the author, the date and a draft
number (1, 2, 3)
- Revisions may result
in a one-increment grade increase, e.g. from B- to A- if revisions
are fully satisfactory. Note: an "F" on a first draft cannot
yield a final grade higher than a "C."
plain fonts like Times Roman or Geneva, in size 12. Double-space your
text, leaving 1-inch margins on all sides.
standard French diacritical marks must be used: accents (é,
è, ê, ë, ù, à, û, ï) cedillas
on ç and Ç, guillemets (« ...»), superscripts
into paragraphs must be consistent with the content, and the first
line of each paragraph must be tabulated on the left.
There is no textbook
to purchase for this class. In addition to proprietary on-line course
materials developed by Dr. Spielmann, excerpts from two books have been
placed on BlackBoard.
Unless specifically indicated by the professor, there are no assigned
readings for any particular class. However, the readings outlined below
must be completed as quickly as possible to provide the necessary
background to class activities, which mostly consist of document analysis
and discussion. These readings are also helpful in completing homework
Précis de linguistique générale. Paris, Minuit, 1993. This is a reference
book that provides definitions and detailed explanations related to
all aspects of the language sciences. Use the index to locate passages
relevant to specific notions and issues discussed in class.
Marina Yaguello, Catalogue des idées reçues sur
la langue. Paris, Seuil, coll. «Point Virgule»,
1988. Organized in short, very readable chapters, this book exposes
some of the most commonly-held misconceptions about language.
«Entre la nature et la culture», p. 19-22; «Le Don
des langues», p. 29-32; «Le Multiple dans l'unique»,
p. 33-38; «Avé l'assen», p. 39-42; «L'Arbre
des langues», p. 53-61.«Au commencement était le
verbe», p. 69-73; «Moi, j'ai jamais fait de grammaire»,
p. 75-79; «Ce n'est pas dans les dictionnaire!», p. 85-90.
from books, downloadable from BlackBoard
available on line only
This course is articulated
in three main parts, subdivided into smaller units.
0. Introduction (session
What is communication?
à la communication.
1, «Le Sentiment de la langue»,
p. 11-14. Lerot, Ch. IV, 5 («Les disciplines linguistiques»),
Communication (sessions 1-8)
for starters (sessions 1-2)
Communication is often
described as the primary function of human languages; yet, most if not
all communication involves a number of different codes which
can be purely linguistic (syntax, morphology, phonology), para-linguistic
(prosody, pragmatic and communicative strategies), or non-linguistic,
such as the use of distance, gestures, etc. In addition, images, colors,
sounds, textures, even smells and tastes are used communication in non-linguistic
We will begin with the most common and
mundane situation, "conversation," i.e. synchronous face-to-face
verbal-dominant communication, that we will study through short filmed
sequences involving French native speakers. You will learn how
to analyze a language sample in context, in order to distinguish the
various parameters that contribute to the creation, negociation and
exchange of meaning. We will examine how such empirical data supports—or
fails to support—theoretical
models of communication.
||DANS LA PEAU DES
FRANÇAIS. Videotaped dialogues
between two young people - used in class as sample
BELLE LA VIE. Video (Season 1
streamed on Blackboard). France's favorite sitcom provides excellent
samples of informal conversation between native speakers.
de la conversation
Lerot, Ch. II, 1 («La Communication verbale»),
p. 30-37.; Ch. II, 7 («Les Bases de connaissance»),
p. 49-53; Ch. II, 8 («Le Processus d'interprétation»),
p. 53-58; Ch. II, 9 («La Convivialité des échanges»),
p. 58-60. dans Lerot1.pdf
B) Code and system (session 3-4)
In the course of studying
verbal, face-to-face communication, we come across various codes:
spoken language (speech), gestures and postures (kinesics), use of
space (proxemics), styles of dress, social norms and others. A code
is a system: a coherent set of elements (units) bound by
certain relations, for a specific purpose (in this case, expressing
and conveying meaning). Identifying and understanding what a system
is and how it works allows us to understand and analyze precisely
what goes on in the process of communication.
C) Linguistic signs as building
blocks (session 5)
Most modern theories of
signification are derived from a linguistic model first established
by Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure in the early 20th century. Saussure's
work focused on analyzing "linguistic signs," i.e. the minimal
units of language considered as a system. It is indispensable to be
familiar with this model, as well as of others which have been developed
since (Peirce, Ogden and Richards, Hjelmslev) in order to better understand
how linguistics seeks to break down the complex reality of language
into relatively simple building blocks and mechanisms. The
field of semiotics (the "science of signs") has extended
these principles to all systems that can be used to express
or convey meaning through images and sounds, and, to a lesser degree,
textures, smells and tastes.
du signe (text and
Ch. III, 2 («Le Signe linguistique»), p. 67-69 dans Lerot1.pdf
PRESENTATIONS ON CONVERSATIONS FROM PLUS BELLE LA VIE on
Feb 7 (session 7) and Monday, Feb 12
1 (Communication) on Wednesday, Feb
21 (session 9)