FR 125
automne 2012

Course Description


French: The Most Practical Foreign Language

Language Resource Center Hours:
M-Th: 8-12; F 8am-9pm; Sat 10-9pm; Sun 10-9pm


LRC Reference Guide-FRENCH

Phonétique: tableau des symboles de l'alphabet phonétique international

Phrases utiles en classe

Online bi-directional dictionary (Harper-Collins)

Le conjugueur (verb conjugation)

Exercices de grammaire

Course Description

Welcome to Fr125!

This is the first course in the French language sequence at Colby College. It is intended for students who have not studied French in high school or at Colby.

Learning Goals for FR 125:
By the end of FR125, students ought to be able to: understand spoken French used for classroom purposes as well as simple conversations and messages on audio and video recordings that present topics and cultural themes; use spoken French to greet people, describe themselves, familiar people, places and objects, talk about campus life, their family, work and play, the weather, and the past; read short literary and cultural texts; write simple dialogues and cohesive paragraphs in French. Please make sure to talk to your instructor, should you find that this class is too easy for you, so that you may move up a level.

This course will be conducted entirely and exclusively in French, and you will be expected to speak French at all times during class. If you are confused and lost, we encourage you to ask questions in French, using simple phrases and questions, such as: “Excusez-moi, je ne comprends pas”; “Pourriez-vous répéter s’il vous plaît”, “Comment dit-on….?”, “Est-ce que vous pouvez expliquer….”. Don’t be afraid to speak up in class!!! Don’t expect to understand absolutely everything you hear from the outset; pay close attention, get the gist of what is going on, ask for clarifications and in little time you will be following easily. You may always ask your instructor questions in English outside of class or during office hours.

Text and Methodology for FR125:

Motifs. This is the name of the text, which "immerses students in the study of French and encourages them to become active participants in learning about the language and the culture." Motifs is based on the premise that "students' primary motivation to learn French is to acquire the ability to communicate in the language." Thus, Motifs has "carefully selected contexts in which [...] students might reasonably expect to communicate. [...] In the process of discovering the language, students are introduced to the French-speaking world in a way that challenges them to look at their own cultural practices more objectively."

Initially, you will be asked to say things before you fully understand how they work. You will be asked to glean meaning from all kinds of clues to understand the gist of something, even if you don’t understand every word. You will be communicating from the first day of class.

A few other things you should know about learning French at Colby:
--A strong emphasis is placed on oral French, both on speaking and listening skills.
--We will speak only French in class. If you want to ask questions in English, please ask them outside class.
--Motifs presumes knowledge of the world beyond the borders of the United States.
--Motifs makes demands on your intelligence and not just your language skills.
--Motifs asks you to imagine yourself in many different roles outside of yourself.
--Creativity, imagination, playfulness, and humor are strongly encouraged!!

In this class, you will make progress in the following areas:

1. Oral skills. These include pronunciation and accent as well as your mastery of the structures and vocabulary learned in class. The goal is not necessarily to sound like a French person, but to be understood by a French speaker. Class will be conducted entirely in French to maximize your practice time.

2. Written French. Although Motifs emphasizes oral French, you will improve your writing skills, including spelling, through short writing assignments and dictation practice throughout the semester.

3. Oral and written comprehension. Your ability to comprehend both written texts and spoken language will far exceed your ability to produce them. This is normal and should be expected. You will be amazed at how much you will understand in a very short time.

• You are required to purchase 1 text at the bookstore:
Jansma, Kimberly and Margaret Ann Kassen. Motifs: An Introduction to French (5th ed.)

The text is bundled with the Text Audio CD and QUIA (online workbook/lab manual) you will need.

The headphone icon indicates that the accompanying activity is available on your Text Audio CD. The track number is provided.
This icon accompanies "Écoutons ensemble" and "Voix en direct."

Your online Workbook/Lab Manual is powered by QUIA. Registrations instructions can be downloaded here: QUIA registration

You are required to have a three-ring binder for the class divided into the following sections and in this order:

Exercices (assigned from the green pages in Motifs; you are to type these or write out your answers neatly and make corrections using a different color pen)
• • Grammatical Structures (notes you will take)
• • • Verbs (lists you will write)
• • • • Vocabulary (lists you will write)
• • • • • Quizzes/tests

I would suggest that you file class handouts in the appropriate section; some will refer to grammar, whereas others will refer to verbs, vocabulary, etc.

Please be sure to have loose leaf paper in your binder for quizzes and dictées.

• For this class, a compact or concise dictionary is fine, but if you plan to continue French, you probably want to invest in a larger dictionary right away. It’s much easier to select the right word from a large dictionary. You also get much more information on how to use words in context.
Bring both your textbook and 3-ring binder, along with a dictionary, to class each day.

• Take advantage of the additional, self-correcting exercises found on the Department of French and Italian website:

Grade breakdown at a glance

  • Participation and preparation:  15%
  • Oral performance: 20%
  • Written performance: 65%

Participation and preparation

Regular class attendance, preparation, and participation:
Much of the learning you will do in this course occurs in class and cannot be made up outside of class. It is essential that you keep up with the assignments and attend class because there is no way to make up the work or to “cram” for a test.

Since the development of effective listening and speaking skills is emphasized in French 125, it is essential that students be in class daily to participate in communicative activities of all types. Moreover, daily attendance and class participation will foster progress in French since language learning is a cumulative process best developed through steady, regular study and practice. 

Attendance policy: "Students are expected to attend all of their classes and scheduled course events in any semester or January and are responsible for any work missed. Failure to attend can lead to a warning, grading penalties, and/or dismissal from the course with a failing grade" (Colby College Catalogue, p. 43). Sports-related absences are to be discussed well in advance with your instructor, and may not be excused.


All homework is due at the beginning of class on the date due; LATE WORK WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.




Preparation for class is essential, or you will be lost in class.
By preparing carefully outside of class, individual students are confident and ready to take part in classroom communicative activities.  In addition, students often find that daily class preparation leads to higher levels of performance on course tests and exams because as they prepare for class on a daily basis, students also prepare for tests and exams. 

Active engagement with course material is key to your success.
Be systematic and thorough in your preparation of assignments outside of class.

Begin by familiarizing yourself with the overall theme of the lesson you are preparing, writing down the new vocabulary you are to memorize. Write out/Type the answers to all grammatical exercices and bring them DAILY TO CLASS. Prepare the "Activités" orally (unless directed otherwise by your instructor). Your oral performance in class gives us an indication of how well you have prepared, and you will receive a daily participation grade.
The preparation of reading and writing assignments will be reviewed throughout the semester.

Class participation (15%) graded as follows:

A--Always well prepared for class; speaks up easily and willingly; contributes ideas and opinions; shows mastery of the material, asks questions, brings textbook every class; participates well in small group work; speaks French to classmates; attends class regularly, always on time

B--Usually well prepared, participates actively but does not demonstrate full mastery of material; volunteers and contributes ideas/opinions occasionally; oral skills needs some improvement, participates quite well in small group work but needs to be reminded to use French with classmates

C--Moderately well prepared; tries when called on but gives inconsistent results; does not bring textbook every class period; speaks only when spoken to, listens passively; uses English; contributes little to group discussions/work; Does not attend class regularly

D--Is working at the minimal basic level; does not participate efficiently either because of class performance or repeated unexcused absences or tardiness

F--Performance is unacceptable; anything from absences to unprepared, disinterested attitude can gain you this grade.

Regular attendance at La table française is strongly encouraged ! Every student MUST ATTEND the French table TWICE during the semester (attendance taken). The French Table meets twice a week (schedule to be announced).

Homework/Grammar practice (10%):
There are two types:

a. “Voix en direct” (Go to iLrn-Quia site) and all other oral exercices (Text Audio CD; see "To the Student, pp. xvii-xviii):
These are to be done orally; the TEXT audio CD is bundled with your textbook.

THIS ORAL PRACTICE IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. It will enhance your performance on phonetics tests and oral exams and is essential to help you produce the language “automatically.” Expect periodic unannounced quizzes on these exercises that will also appear on written exams.

b. “Structures utiles" (grammatical exercises):
These are written exercises that can be found in the textbook on the assigned pages. You are to complete these exercises in a notebook. They will be corrected in class.

Oral performance

Four oral pronunciation tests (10%):
These tests evaluate your oral production skills.
Each student will record a selection of sentences that include grammar and vocabulary recently acquired. The emphasis will be on correct pronunciation and fluency.You will record these tests in the language lab (LRC) and send them to us via e-mail.

Final oral communication exam (10%)
These "skits" (which you will write) test your oral production skills. You will perform in class, and the exams will be videotaped so that we can grade you individually. No make-ups.

Written performance

Verb and vocabulary quizzes, and dictations (10%):
We will have either a short verb conjugation quiz or a brief dictée in class (sometimes as part of a scheduled contrôle). For details, see the syllabus.

Four writing assignments “écrits” (5%):
These must be typed, with accents, triple spaced, spell checked, and handed in during class on the date they appear on the syllabus.

Five"contrôles" (15%):
These are unit-based tests on your oral comprehension skills, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and cultural knowledge.

Mid-term exam (10%)

Final exam (15%):
There will be a two-hour written exam on the date specified by the college. For the oral section of the exam, you will sign up with one or more of your peers to do a 5-minute skit during the last week of class. It will be a time for you to display the linguistic skills and cultural knowledge acquired during the semester, as well as to show off your enthusiasm, humor, and creativity!

This class can be a lot of fun if everyone enters into it with enthusiasm, good humor, and the commitment to speak French at all times--good French, bad French, funny French, fractured French--as long as you are trying, you will get something out of it.

Consider the following principles and habits of successful language learners:

1) You must keep up with the work and not fall behind, because there is no way you can "cram" the work in this class. We ask for a minimum of an hour a day, four days per week; up to two or more hours may be necessary when preparing special assignments and reviewing for tests.

2) You must attend all classes. If you miss a class, you miss the work. You cannot make it up by asking a classmate for notes because the work involves communicative activities.

3) You must, above all, enter into the class with enthusiasm and commitment. You must speak French in class, and participate in all class activities. This is how you will make progress.

4) Make the process of learning a foreign language active by reading your lessons aloud and by writing what you wish to commit to memory (i.e., new vocabulary words and conjugations of verbs)

5) Keep a notebook of grammar rules with examples to illustrate them.

6) Multiple repetitions enable you to retain patterns and to gain confidence in speaking and writing a foreign language.

7) Listen and imitate.

8) Always speak French in class.

9) Do not translate from English to learn French.

10) Divide material into small units for memorization, then put them together.

11) Make sense of a word's meaning in the context in which it occurs. Make sparing use of a dictionary.

12) Rereading is often necessary for comprehension.

Paliyenko's home page LRC French & Italian Dept