Online Development: Advanced French Grammar

Advanced French - Grammar

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French Grammar is part of the Advanced French section of LC Online, and was developed in co-operation with the French Department of the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages to support teachers and learners. Although the materials are designed to support the teaching of the French Department all students of French can use them. The main focus of the Grammar section is outlined below. Other supporting sections are Grammar notes, a section on verbs, and a grammar test.

Presentation of the Use of Past tenses online programme

This programme deals with a very intricate linguistic issue: the use of the "passé simple" in relation to the "passé composé", and "imparfait". The aim of this exercise is not to give learners ready-made answers on these rather complex issues - on which linguists do not always agree - but rather to raise their awareness regarding the problems involved.

We have tried to go beyond the simplistic approach that can be found in most grammar books, most of which tend to take a very black and white stance presenting the passé simple as a highly literary device characteristic of a very high and almost archaic register.

In order to help learners deal with these complex issues we thought it was necessary to expose them to a number of texts (as opposed to simply sentences). These texts illustrate the various ways of using these tenses, and will help learners develop their own understanding of these issues.

Users of the programme are not however simply exposed to the text, they are guided in their reading of the texts and made to reflect on the use of the tenses by interlacing texts with exercises where users are required, through multiple choice questionnaires, to refine their interpretation of the texts. The programme involves a constant interplay between authentic texts and exercises involving metalanguage and grammar, this process is both inductive and deductive and allows learners to deal with these issues in a very comprehensive way. The programme also comprises animations, the aim of which is to illustrate visually the linguistic issues that are being dealt with; they are also a very useful tool where the comprehension of the texts is concerned (users also have access to a glossary which will help them with any unknown vocabulary).

We believe that the combination of an innovative approach with a multisensory medium make this programme an excellent way of tackling a very complex issue, it should be of great help to advanced learners of French.