Language Resource Center Hours
Mon-Thurs: 8am-12am
Fri: 8am-9pm
Sat: 10am-9pm
Sun: 10am-12am

Language Resource Center

LRC Reference Guide-FRENCH

Phonétique : tableau des symboles de l'alphabet phonétique international
Assistante de français :

French language assistant : Odyssée Bouvyer  
office: Lovejoy 354

office hours: Tuesdays, 4 to 6 and by appointment

Class tutor: Kaitlin Curran (
office hours: Tuesdays: 10:15 to 12:15 and Wednesdays: 3:45 to 5:45 in Lovejoy 307 & by appointment
FRENCH TABLE: Monday at noon in Foss; Wednesday at 6pm in Foss

Regular attendance at French table is strongly encouraged !
Every student MUST ATTEND the French table at least
ONCE each month during the semester.

Welcome to Fr126!

This is the second course in the French language sequence at Colby College. It is intended for students who have already studied French in high school or at Colby (FR125). Students who have not previously studied French at Colby will have placed into the course based on a placement test.
Learning Goals for FR 126:
By the end of FR 126, most students should be able to use spoken French to describe familiar people, places and objects, use French in travel situations, write a cohesive paragraph in French, understand spoken French used for classroom purposes as well as simple conversations and messages on audio and video recordings, and read short literary and cultural texts. Please make sure to talk to me, should you find that this class is far too easy for you, so that I may move you 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 FR126:

Motifs, enhanced 6th edition required. 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 along with the book key to access iLrn:

Jansma, Kimberly and Margaret Ann Kassen. Motifs: An Introduction to French (enhanced 6th edition.)

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

• 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.

You are required to purchase 2 binders, 1 for your book, the other for notes, handouts, etc.

Bring both your printed book (in a small 3-ring binder) and your second 3-ring binder to class each day.

Divide your three-ring binder for the class into five sections and label section dividers as follows:

1-Grammar (hand-written exercises from the "Structures utiles" section of Motifs, handouts on Grammatical Structures along with your own study guides)

2-Verbs (notes from class, related handouts, and your own lists or study guide)

3-Vocabulary (notes from class, related handouts, and your own lists or study guide)

4-Quizzes (including dictations) & Tests

5-Other handouts
(on pronunciation, etc.)

Your 3-ring binder should also have loose leaf paper in it.

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 126, 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). 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 the answers to the assigned grammatical exercices (which you will also complete online via iLrn) 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.
Homework / Grammar practice (10%):

There are several types of exercises:

a. “Structures utiles" (grammar exercises):
The grammar exercises assigned from Motifs (green pages) are to be completed online via iLrn. As stated above, you are to reinforce your learning by also writing the answers out. If you do not understand the correct answer, be sure to ask in class or during office hours.

b. "Exercices sur iLrn"

You are to complete all the exercices assigned for each "module" on the iLrn site. Click on the link to the site from the course syllabus: iLrn; once you login, go to the calendar and click on the appropriate date to see the list of exercises assigned for that particular class.

These exercises test your mastery of grammar, listening comprehension, and oral expression, all of which will support your learning and may appear on quizzes and tests!

You will also find many other materials to supplement your learning (such as flashcards, puzzles, and quizzes, etc.) by navigating to the Practice Tab and the Self-Tests Tab on iLrn.

c. “Voix en direct” and other audio recordings on iLrn: You will find these by navigating to the Media Library Tab, where you will find both the Audio Library and the Video Library.

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

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 submit them to your professor 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 I can grade you individually. No make-ups.

Written performance

Verb and vocabulary quizzes, and dictations (10%):
You will often have either a short verb conjugation quiz or a brief dictée in class (sometimes as part of a scheduled contrôle).

Announced and unannounced quizzes will be given regularly. These quizzes can test any of the skills: reading, writing (grammar/vocabulary/culture), pronunciation or listening. The objective is to verify progress and comprehension in class.

Six writing assignments “écrits” (10%):
These must be typed, with accents, double spaced, spell checked, and handed in at the start of class on the date they appear on the syllabus.

Academic honesty:

All written work must be original; that is, imagined and written entirely on your own, without assistance. Academic dishonesty is a serious offense and will be punished accordingly. You may consult a French tutor or the French Assistant only after having corrected your mistakes yourself. The tutor/assistant cannot correct your mistakes; s/he can only guide you.

Six "contrôles" (20%):
These are unit-based tests on your oral comprehension skills, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and cultural knowledge. Each of them is designed to evaluate your understanding of the grammar and vocabulary covered in each unit. You may also be asked to write a short composition.

Final exam (15%):
There will be a three-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.

French & Italian Dept Paliyenko home page Colby Library-
French Studies Research Guide

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