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The Language Centre

 

CULP: General Language Courses - French

French is a Romance language spoken by some 220 million people in more than 75 countries worldwide. It is recognised as the official or co-official language in more than 40 countries and is the second most widely learned foreign language after English. French owes its existence to a number of ancient languages. These include:

    • Gaulish, the language of the Celtic peoples, including the fictional Asterix the Gaul, who inhabited primarily the territory of what is now modern-day France, before the Roman invasions;
    • Latin, the language of the invading Romans;
    • Frankish, the language of the Germanic peoples who occupied this territory after the fall of the Roman Empire, and who gave France its name;
    • Old Norse, the language of the Vikings, who occupied many of the coastal and in-land navigable areas of northern France before being granted the area now known as Normandy meaning "Land of the Norsemen".

It is from Latin that French derives the most. During the Roman Empire the spoken form of Latin was broadly the same as in any part of the Empire. The effect of the Germanic invasions that brought about the fall of the Roman Empire was to create a strong tendency towards linguistic fragmentation or "dialectization". So, as time passed Latin waned and people began to write administrative documents in their own dialect rather than Latin. In 1539 François I made it compulsory for all official administrative documents to be written in the francien dialect from which modern French has evolved. French was being increasingly used in scholarly texts e.g. Jacques Cartier's geographical writings and Nostradamus' astrological writings were written in French. However, the ascendancy of French did not just occur for administrative or academic reasons but for cultural reasons too. With the Renaissance at its height, Ancient Greece and Rome became models for all the new European states, and the need for a strong and versatile national language became paramount. During this time the expansion of the vocabulary of French became a matter of national prestige.

Today French is spoken in many countries throughout the world, and is one of the key working and official languages of the United Nations, the European Union, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross and international courts. French is the language of the three cities where the EU institutions are headquartered: Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.

At the Language Centre you can use our extensive collection of online resources. Taught Courses are offered ab initio through to Advanced Plus. At Basic 1 and 2 and Intermediate 1 level the syllabi are functional-notional with a focus on spoken language. The Intermediate 2 and Advanced and Advanced Plus courses feature more topical and intellectually stimulating syllabi which aim to develop all four language skills. Academic Reading courses are offered at 3 levels to graduate students of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and bespoke courses are run for students of medicine.

All French courses are supported by multimedia online materials. Courses are delivered by a team of well qualified and highly experienced teachers: Jackie Bow (Coordinator), Isabelle Fournier, Marie-Géraldine Lea, and Françoise Steel.


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Qualifications framework level: CEFR A1

Prerequisites

This course is appropriate for ANY students with no knowledge of the French language nor of any other Romance language.

Approach

This course provides the linguistic foundation and skills necessary for communication in predictable everyday situations. Whilst all four skills, speaking, reading, writing and listening will be developed, the primary focus will be on developing speech and conversation. Ultimately, it provides an initial understanding of the cultures within the French-speaking world.

The classes are tasks oriented, helping students understand French in use and to acquire it by use. All four communicative skills will be developed and/or strengthen – listening, speaking, reading and writing. The students will engage in interactive language activities, participating in group and pair work according to a syllabus based on systematic grammatical progression. Each class focuses on a topic that is related to the previous and following one; activities build on the students’ abilities and on their previous knowledge. Grammar and vocabulary are practiced and perfected in context.

The course is divided into 15 sessions with each one introducing new and different concepts.  Although all sessions follow a common thread, they can easily be accessed on a standalone basis.  This means that should a session be missed, the student does not lose the value of the whole course and can pick up the missed elements in later sessions. As part of the Language Centre services students will also be offered guidance in self-study and language learning by the advisors in the John Trim Centre.

Course main objectives

    • To provide a basic knowledge of French culture and language.
    • To compare the differences between the student’s own culture and that of French-speaking countries.
    • To understand and use grammatical structures and vocabulary.
    • To strengthen a positive and confident attitude towards language learning
    • To be able to understand and exchange general and detailed information and to communicate in standard speech on a range of everyday issues.

Specification produced: 2016. Last reviewed: August 2017

Course Content

  • Please see full course syllabus below.

Syllabus:

French Basic 1


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Qualifications framework level: CEFR A2

Prerequisites

This course is appropriate for students who already have a little knowledge of the French language and/or already speak or have studied another Romance language. [If you already have GCSE French, Intermediate 1 may suit you better.]

Approach

This course provides the linguistic foundation and skills necessary for communication in predictable everyday situations. Whilst all four skills, speaking, reading, writing and listening will be developed, the primary focus will be on developing speech and conversation. Ultimately, it provides an initial understanding of the cultures within the French-speaking world.

The classes are tasks oriented, helping students understand French in use and to acquire it by use. All four communicative skills will be developed and/or strengthen –listening, speaking, reading and writing. The students will engage in interactive language activities, participating in group and pair work according to a syllabus based on systematic grammatical progression. Each class focuses on a topic that is related to the previous and following one; activities build on the students’ abilities and on their previous knowledge. Grammar and vocabulary are practiced and perfected in context.

The course is divided into 15 sessions with each one introducing new and different concepts.  Although all sessions follow a common thread, they can easily be accessed on a standalone basis.  This means that should a session be missed, the student does not lose the value of the whole course and can pick up the missed elements in later sessions. As part of the Language Centre services students will also be offered guidance in self-study and language learning by the advisors in the John Trim Centre.

Course main objectives

    • To provide a basic knowledge of French culture and language.
    • To compare the differences between the student’s own culture and that of French-speaking countries.
    • To understand and use grammatical structures and vocabulary.
    • To strengthen a positive and confident attitude towards language learning
    • To be able to understand and exchange general and detailed information and to communicate in standard speech on a range of everyday issues.

Specification produced: 2016. Last reviewed: August 2017

Course Content

Please see full course syllabus below.

Syllabus:

French Basic 2


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Qualifications framework level: CEFR B1

Prerequisites: CEFR A2

Educational Aims

At the Intermediate 1 level the main aims are:

    • To build on a basic understanding and an appreciation of the salient linguistic features;
    • To establish the learner as a confident language user in a range of predictable everyday situations;
    • To equip the learner with the skills and knowledge to deal with straightforward job applications and interviews;
    • To increase students' knowledge of the cultural background of France within the context of language teaching.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Course students will be able to:

Listening/Speaking Express opinions on abstract/cultural matters in a limited way or offer advice within a known area, and understand instructions or public announcements.
Reading Understand routine information and articles, and the general meaning of non-routine information within a familiar area.
Writing Write letters or make notes on familiar or predictable matters.

Topics

The Course will include:

    • Introducing yourself and others
    • Discussing your family
    • Discussing your studies, internships and employment
    • Talking about your daily routine
    • Finding your way about town
    • Making travel arrangements
    • Shopping in a department store
    • Relating past events
    • Talking about healthy eating and keeping fit
    • Discussing future plans
    • Making phone calls
    • Learning about the geography and history of France
    • Talking about what France means to you

Specification produced: 2012. Last reviewed: August 2016

Syllabus:

French Intermediate 1


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Qualifications framework level: CEFR B2

Prerequisites

Students who have successfully completed the Intermediate 1 course in the Language Centre, or have acquired a proficiency equivalent to B1 in French.

Educational Aims

At the Intermediate 2 Level the main aims are:

    • To develop a fairly advanced understanding of the language structure and vocabulary;
    • To develop the ability to engage in conversation in French, where the learner is able to express his or her opinion in a variety of topics;
    • To develop in the learner an awareness of the different varieties of French, when it concerns the lexicon and the phonological systems.
    • To develop an awareness of the cultural diversity among French speaking countries and regions.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Course students will be able to:

Listening/Speaking Understand spoken French in a variety of both predictable and unpredictable linguistic situations and be able to express themselves in a variety of situations where a fair amount of detail is necessary.
Reading Understand written French when texts are intended for native speakers, where visual information is not necessarily available and where the text relies on language structure and lexical refinement to convey specific messages.
Writing Write both formally and informally to a single recipient in a variety of topics, using the appropriate register and formulae to achieve communication.

Topics

The Course introduces students to the following functions and notions:

    • Introducing yourself and others
    • Discussing where you come from
    • Describing your home
    • Discussing holiday destinations
    • Comparing means of transport
    • Discussing means of communication in today's world
    • Talking about daily life
    • Discussing studies and work
    • Getting to know more about France and its history
    • Getting to know some other French speaking countries
    • Talking about national identity and stereotypes
    • Reading and discussing some literary extracts and poems
    • Listening to a well known song or two
    • Learning a little about French cinema

Specification produced: 2012. Last reviewed: September 2014

Syllabus:

French Intermediate 2

Sample Past Paper:

  Listening Comprehension | Reading Comprehension

 


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Qualifications framework level: CEFR C1

Prerequisites: CEFR B2

Educational Aims

At the Advanced Level the main aims are:

    • To develop the language skills needed to understand and express complex ideas and opinions in real-time oral/aural situations and to improve the presentation skills in the target language;
    • To deepen the knowledge and enhance the appreciation of the cultures of the countries where the language is spoken, as well as of the varieties of the spoken language;
    • To equip learners with the necessary knowledge, learning tools and skills that will establish them as independent and successful lifelong language learners.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Course students will be able to:

Listening/Speaking Contribute effectively to meetings and seminars within own area of work or keep up a casual conversation with a good degree of fluency, coping with abstract expressions.
Reading Read quickly enough to cope with an academic course, to read the media for information or to understand non-standard correspondence.
Writing Prepare/draft professional correspondence, take reasonably accurate notes in meetings or write an essay demonstrating the ability to communicate.

Topics

The Course introduces students to the following functions and notions:

    • Communicate fluently whilst maintaining a high degree of grammatical accuracy;
    • Apply their language skills effectively in a broad variety of contexts including academic ones;
    • Use relevant language registers and acquire an understanding of the main aspects of the historical, political, economical, cultural and linguistic situation of the countries where the language is spoken;
    • Understand current affairs and other audio/visual items from the media;
    • Conduct research in the target language;
    • Speak in public and deliver presentations in the target language;
    • Acquire necessary skills to retrieve and use multimedia online resources in the target language;

The Course aims also to empower the learners and establish them as life-long language learners.

Specification produced: 2011. Last reviewed: 2012

Syllabus:

French Advanced

The Advanced courses run by the Language Centre lead to an official, award-bearing University qualification called the CULP Award, which is issued by the University of Cambridge, and which corresponds to C1 level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Advanced is the only level, which leads to a CULP Award. The Language Centre issues Certificates of Proficiency for all the other levels.

Advanced Asessment Framework


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Société et Culture

Qualifications framework level: CEFR C2

Prerequisites: CEFR B2/C1

A language course for students who already have an advanced command of the French Language (preferably C1), ideally suited to those students who have completed the CULP Advanced course or have taken French at A Level recently.

Rationale

The concept underpinning this course is one of fostering the learning of higher Advanced French language through listening (mainly films), reading (mainly literature), speaking and writing (both film and literature).

Every session will offer a choice of extracts from well-known Francophone literary works, press articles and/or films which illustrate the session’s theme. These passages will be analysed by means of listening, reading and communicative exercises and will lead to a discussion about their aesthetic, wider cultural, historical and political implications and relevance today.

Students are expected to read the pieces and/or watch the films prior to coming to the class (they can borrow them from the John Trim Centre at the Language Centre), so as to be able to focus on varied aspects of their language as well as their background and theme. All teaching and discussions will be in the French language and students will be expected to actively participate and contribute.

Aims

The Course introduces students to the following advanced learning skills:

    • Communicate fluently whilst maintaining a high degree of grammatical accuracy;
    • Apply their language skills effectively in a broad variety of contexts including academic ones;
    • Use relevant language registers and acquire an understanding of the main aspects of the historical, political, economical, cultural and linguistic situation of the countries where the language is spoken;
    • Understand audio/visual items from the media depicting artistic works and their background;
    • Conduct research in the target language;
    • Speak in public and deliver presentations in the target language;
    • Acquire necessary skills to retrieve and use multimedia online resources in the target language;

The Course aims also to empower the learners and establish them as life-long language learners.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Course students will be able to:

Listening/Speaking Contribute effectively to discussions about cultural, historical and geographical topics as portrayed in the arts or keep up a casual conversation with a good degree of fluency, coping with abstract and idiomatic expressions.
Reading Read literary works and film/literary criticism with a high degree of understanding, enough to cope with an academic course, to read the media for information as well as to understand non-standard pieces.
Writing Take detailed notes about a particular artistic representation/literary work and to write a well-structured essay about a literary piece and of a film .

Assessment:

The French Advanced Plus course features no formal summative assessment component and upon the completion of homework (2 essays), one presentation, participation and attendance (attendance required is at least 12/15 sessions) students will be awarded a Certificate of attendance issued by the Language Centre.

Syllabus:

French Advanced Plus Through Film and Literature


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Standard - Michaelmas-Lent 2017/18

  Mon. Tues. Wed. Thur. Fri.
Basic 1 13:00 - 15:00
[LC TR1]
09:30 - 11:30
[LC TR1]
  15:00 - 17:00
[LC TR1]
 
Basic 2 15:00 - 17:00
[LC TR1]
  09:30 - 11:30
[LC TR1]
  11:00 - 13:00
[LC TR1]
Inter 1   19:00 - 21:00
[LC TR1]
13:00 - 15:00
[LC TR3]
09:30 - 11:30
[LC TR1]
13:00 - 15:00
[LC TR1]
Inter 2   14:00 - 16:00
[LC TR2]
  13:00 - 15:00
[LC TR2]
14:00 - 16:00
[LC TR2]
Adv   10:00 - 12:00
[LC TR2]
17:00 - 19:00
[LC TR4]
11:00 - 13:00
[LC TR2]

15:00 - 17:00
[LC TR4]
16:00 - 18:00
[LC TR2]
Adv Plus   17:00 - 19:00
[LC TR2]
     

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