FALL 2011: French 202 in INGR-122 (MWF 11:15-12:20): Intermediate French

Prof: Mark Jensen
Office: ADMN-220
Phone: (253) 535-7219
E-mail: jensenmk@plu.edu
Web page: www.plu.edu/~jensenmk/
Office hours: M 1:45 p.m.-3:45 p.m., W 1:45 p.m.-3:45 p.m., F 1:45 p.m.-2:45 p.m.


Required purchase:

  • Barson, John. La grammaire à l'oeuvre — Media edition with QUIA Passcard. 5th ed. Thomson/Heinle, 2004. When registering online for the course, use this course code:  NTPR643. You will also need a book code, which comes with your purchased materials.
  • Fournier, J. Le mot et l'idée : Révision vivante du vocabulaire français. Ophrys, 1986.
  • Giraudoux, Jean. La guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu. Livre de poche. ISBN: 9782253004899.
  • Simenon, Georges. L'affaire Saint-Fiacre. Livre de poche, 2003.
  • Cuthbertson verb wheels: French. Houghton Mifflin, 1935.


Course goals

This course completes a sequence that began with French 201.

All zee work in zees class will be in French—well, almost all—there will be infrequent exceptions like this syllabus. But ideally, all communication will be in French. You will endear yourself greatly to the instructor if you help to make the classroom a French-language zone (une zone de langue française) where use of other languages is an unwelcome—mais non, ce n'est pas très aimable—let us say regretfully tolerated—intrusion, except in unusual circumstances.

The goals of French 202 are goals you'd expect:

First, the course would like (if a course can be said to like something): 1) to help you master elements of grammar essential to your becoming an effective prattler in French; 2) to expand your vocabulary in French in a systematic fashion, with the same end in view, teaching you to avoid faux amis and not ask for food that is sans préservatifs ; 3) to develop your ability to speak and write effectively in ways that an actual French person might use; (4) to focus your attention on the accuracy of your pronunciation of all those pesky little phonemes (sacrebleu ! ); and 5) to log you on to the cultural, social, and intellectual dimensions of linguistic communication in French.

Second, French 202 seeks to give you: 1) insights into the background and values of Francopohone cultures, especially French culture, with a special emphasis in this class on the 1930s; and 2) some information about how French culture has influenced the culture of the United States (ça alors ! ).

Third, the teacher of this course, even at his advanced age, aspires: 1) to make you better able to analyze and compare ideas and opinions, both your own and those of others; 2) through the study of imaginative works of and discussion of them, to make you a chum of conventions of genre, to cause you to flirt with the influence of history, to pal around with the progress of ideas, and to open your eyes to how these have affected and shaped human experience (heureusement ! ); and 3) to learn to challenge assumptions (en garde ! ) intellectually, to bounce against different perspectives without breaking, to evaluate and explain different viewpoints on complex issues, and defend (but not enforce) judgments (si possible ! ). In addition, intensive work with the French language at this level will give you new ways of thinking about your own native language and will often prod you to reflect on language itself. If you succeed in doing all these things, you will be ahead even of your benighted instructor and can proceed directly to Go and collect $200 (worth 142.02 euros on July 18, 2011, when this paragraph was newly edited though not really originally written), but for how long? given the Irish, Portuguese, Greek, Italian, and ________ (your guess for the next one is as good as mine) debt crises.

In the fourteen weeks of this course, you will 1) struggle through the second half of a rigorous presentation of French grammar in French ; 2) study in tedious detail a great French play, (La guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu), and immerse yourself in a quirky detective novel about the immortal detective Maigret, written by Georges Simenon, acquainting yourself along the way with notions like the dichotomy of Paris and les provinces that have contributed to the French Weltanschauung (Zut ! pardonnez mon allemand ! ).

Activities in class will vary, albeit in a monotonous yet comfortingly predictable weekly fashion.

Mondays will begin with a half-hour devoted to pronunciation and phonetics, then proceed to the grammatical material for the week. You'll be assigned pages to study in the grammar text in preparation for the class. On most weeks—weeks of special delight and interest for every student as well as for the instructor himself—a meticulously prepared short written composition (or, on the following week, the attempted correction of the previous week's now discouragingly and spider-webbily red- or green- or purple- or blue-inked composition) will be also be due in class.

Wednesdays will be devoted to further laborious and baffling explanations and eye-opening explorations of French grammar, usually with additonal attention to group work, occasionally including entertaining performances, amusing games, or diverting class presentations.

Fridays (vendredi ! enfin ! merci Dieu ! ) will be devoted to works of literature. The two works we'll look at in detail this semester were both written in the 1930s, in the period depicted in the 2009 film Public Enemies (with which this course has nothing whatever to do, but Johnny Depp is so cool — and also speaks French ! as is proved by this YouTube clip.) : La guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu by Jean Giraudoux in the first half of the course, and L'affaire Saint-Fiacre by Georges Simenon in the second half. The first is a text of staggering profundity (d'une profondeur stupéfiante), and the second is one of the innumerable (but by one count 192) novels by the creator of Maigret. Ah, the Thirties, the light-hearted decade that brought you the Great Depression, the rise of Nazism, the Stavisky affair, Stalin's purge trials, the Spanish civil war, the explosion of the Hindenburg, Sartre's depressing novel La nausée, the assassination of Huey Long, and the writing of Darkness at Noon and the publication of the greatest work of the 20th century, the unreadable Finnegans Wake ! A miserable period, really.

Class schedule

Wed., Sept. 7 : Introductions and what sociologist Erving Goffman would call presentations of self. Discussion of course, study methods, and expectations for the course—yours and mine. Some English, for the sake of clarity.

Fri., Sept. 9 : Before class: Read the first four scenes of the first act of Giraudoux's La guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu. Review the fascinating vocabulary on houses and the corresponding sentences toward the bottom of the page (vous pouvez les trouver !) in Fournier, Le mot et l'idée, I, §§ 4-7. (Review §§ 1-3 as well, and also do this for every subsequent "chapter" in Fournier as you work through the book.) Look up words you don't know in a good dictionary (see below on the meaning of this vague expression), and, for four words not yet chosen by anyone else, post on Google Docs a definition or explanatory remarks, an image, and a sample sentence using the word. (See below for more information on this bold, innovative pedagogical project.) Sign your work with your initials. — In addition, read, or reread, the preface in Barson's formidably all-in-French (except the preface!) grammar textbook.

Mon., Sept. 12 : (1) Introduction to the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). (2) Consonants : [R]  Scott Juall, review of French consonants. (3) Barson, Chapter 7, Les verbes pronominaux (classification et conjugaison), pp. 168-70. (4) Fournier, II, §§ 6-10.

Wed., Sept. 14 : Barson, Chapter 7, Les verbes pronominaux (l'accord du participe passé), pp. 171-73, including a skosh of group work. (2) Fournier, III, §§ 4-6.

Fri., Sept. 16 : (1) Before class: Read Giraudoux, Acte I, Scènes 5-7 and prepare answers to the questions previously distributed in class. (2) Fournier, IV, §§ 4-7.

Mon., Sept. 19 : (1) Practice using l'alphabet phonétique international (API). (2) Barson, Chapter 7, Les verbes pronominaux à sens idiomatique, pp. 173-76. (3) Fournier, V, §§ 3-4.

Wed., Sept. 21 : (1) Barson, Chapter 7, Le passif, pp. 176-80, including group work. (2) Fournier, VI, §§ 4-6.

Fri., Sept. 23 : (1) Before class: Read Giraudoux, I, 8-10 & II, 1-3, and prepare answers to questions. (2) Fournier, VII, §§ 4-6.

Mon., Sept. 26 : (1) Vowels. (2) Barson, Chapter 8, La négation, pp. 194-96. (3) Fournier, VIII, §§ 3-5.

Wed., Sept. 28 : (1) Barson, Chapter 8, La négation des pronoms et des adjectifs indéfinis, pp. 196-99. Group work. (2) Fournier, IX, §§ 3-4.

Fri., Sept. 30 : (1) Before class: Read Giraudoux, II, 4-6, and prepare answers to questions. (2) Fournier, X, §§ 3-5.

Mon., Oct. 3 : (1) Nasal vowels. (2) Barson, Chapter 8, more on negation, pp. 199-201. (3) Fournier, XI, §§ 3-5.

Wed., Oct. 5 : (1) Barson, Constructions, pp. 201-05 & 233-34 (Étude de verbes). Some group work. (2) Fournier, XII, §§ 3-4.

Fri., Oct. 7 : (1) Before class: Giraudoux, II, 7-11, and prepare answers to questions. (2) Fournier, XIII, §§ 4-7.

Mon., Oct. 10 : (1) Semi-vowels. (2) Barson, Chapter 9, Le féminin des adjectifs et des noms and le pluriel, pp. 217-24. (3) Fournier, XIV, §§ 4-6.

Wed., Oct. 12 : (1) Barson, Chapter 9, L'accord des adjectifs and La place de l'adjectif qualificatif, pp. 224-28. (2) Fournier, XV, §§ 4-6.

Fri., Oct. 14 : (1) Before class: Giraudoux, II, 12-14 (la fin !), and prepare answers to questions. (2) Fournier, XVI, §§ 3-4.

Mon., Oct. 17 : (1) Phonetic transcription : Jean Desmeuzes, « Colère » (produce a phonetic transcription of this poem and bring it to class). (2) Barson, Chapter 9, Le comparatif and Le superlatif, pp. 228-31. (2) Fournier, XVII, §§ 4-7.

Wed., Oct. 19 : The long-dreaded but no longer avoidable MIDTERM EXAM!

Fri., Oct. 21 : Mid-semester break.

Mon., Oct. 24 : (1) Syllables and rhythmic groups (i). (2) Barson, Chapter 10, La formation du subjonctif, pp. 252-56. (3) Fournier, XVIII, §§ 2-3.

Wed., Oct. 26 : (1) Barson, Chapter 10, L'emploi du subjonctif, pp. 257-63. (2) Fournier, XIX, §§ 3-5.

Fri., Oct. 28 : (1) Simenon, L'affaire Saint-Fiacre, Chapters 1-2, and prepare answers to questions. (2) Fournier, XX, §§ 3-4.

Mon., Oct. 31 : Nota bene : Pour marquer la fête d'Halloween, le prof portera son costume de gentilhomme de la Restauration ! (1) Syllables and rhythmic groups (ii). (2) Barson, Chapter 10, La concordance des temps au subjonctif, pp. 263-66. (3) Fournier, XXI §§ 4-6.

Wed., Nov. 2 : (1) Barson, Chapter 10, Constructions, pp. 266-69. (2) Fournier, XXII, §§ 3-4.

Fri., Nov. 4 : (1) Simenon, ch. 3-4, and prepare answers to questions. (2) Fournier, XXIII, §§ 3-4.

Mon., Nov. 7 : (1) Syllables and rhythmic groups (iii) ; Clandestine, (« La boîte à souvenirs ». (2) Barson, Chapter 11, Les pronoms relatifs, pp. 282-85 (to II.B.). (3) Fournier, XXIV, §§ 3-4.

Wed., Nov. 9 : (1) Barson, Chapter 11, Les pronoms relatifs (suite), pp. 285-87 (from II.C.). Some group work. (2) Fournier, XXV, §§ 4-6.

Fri., Nov. 11 : (1) Simenon, ch. 5-6, and prepare answers to questions. (2) Fournier, XXVI, §§5-8.

Mon., Nov. 14 : (1) Glanville Price, "Mute e," Ch. 11 in An Introduction to French Pronunciation (Basil Blackwell, 1991), 76-87. (2) Barson, Chapter 11, Le participe présent, pp. 287-89. (3) Fournier, XXVII, §§ 3-4.

Wed., Nov. 16 : (1) Barson, Chapter 11, Tout, pp. 289-90. (2) Fournier, XXVIII, §§ 5-8.

Fri., Nov. 18 : (1) Simenon, ch. 7-8, and prepare answers to questions. (2) Fournier, XXIX, §§ 4-7.

Mon., Nov. 21 : (1) Glanville Price, "The Semi-Consonants in Detail," Ch. 13 in An Introduction to French Pronunciation (Basil Blackwell, 1991), 94-99. (2) Barson, Chapter 12, Les temps au discours indirect and L'interrogation au discours indirect, pp. 302-04. (3) Fournier, XXX, §§ 5-9.

Wed., Nov. 23 : Showing of Le ballon rouge.

Fri., Nov. 25 : Thanksgiving vacation.

Mon., Nov. 28 : (1) J.W. Jack, "Liaison or Linking," Ch. XXXIII in French Pronunciation and Diction (D.C. Heath & Co., n.d.), 172-83. (2) Barson, Chapter 12, Phrases impératives au discours indirect, Autres changements au discours indirect, and Les verbes introductifs du discours indirect, pp. 304-07. (3) Fournier, XXXI, §§ 5-10.

Wed., Nov. 30 : (1) Barson, Chapter 12, Constructions, pp. 307-09, and Faire causatif, pp. 309-13. (2) Fournier, XXXII, §§ 5-8.

Fri., Dec. 2 : (1) Simenon, ch. 9, and prepare answers to questions. (2) Fournier, XXXIII, §§ 6-11.

Mon., Dec. 5 : (1) Bernard Travel, "French Liaison and Elision Revisited: A Unified Account within Optimality Theory," Claudia Parodi, Carlos Quicoli, Mario Saltarelli, and Maria Luisa Zubizarreta, Romance Linguistics in Los Angeles (Georgetown University Press, forthcoming). (2) Provocative group presentation. (3) Fournier, XXXIV, §§ 4-6.

Wed., Dec. 7 : (1) Cheering group presentations. (2) Fournier, XXXV, §§ 4-6.

Fri., Dec. 9 : (1) Simenon, ch. 10-11 (la fin !), and prepare answers to questions. (2) Final review.

QUIA homework schedule

QUIA exercises should be done within four days of the class on the related subject. After that date the QUIA site will no longer accept your work!

Recommended:  As you do exercises, use your doughty Cuthbertson verb wheel to review verbs you've forgotten or with which you're not familiar.

After Sept. 12 class, QUIA exercises due by Sept. 16 : §§7-1.1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, and §7-2.1 and 2.

After Sept. 14 class, QUIA exercises due by Sept. 18 : §7-2.3.

After Sept. 19 class, QUIA exercises due by Sept. 23: §§7-2.4 and 5.

After Sept. 21 class, no QUIA exercises due.

After Sept. 26 class, QUIA exercises due by Sept. 30: §§8-1.1, 2, 3, and 4.

After Sept. 28 class, QUIA exercises due by Oct. 2: §§ 8-2.1 and 2.

After Oct. 3 class, QUIA exercises due by Oct. 7: §§8-2.3, 4, and 5.

After Oct. 5 class, QUIA exercises due by Oct. 9: §§8-2.7 and 8.

After Oct. 10 class, QUIA exercise due Oct. 14: §§9-1.1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

After Oct. 12 class, QUIA exercises due Oct. 16: §§9-2.1, 2, 3, and 4.

After Oct. 17 class, QUIA exercises due on Oct. 21: §§9-2.7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12.

After Oct. 19 class, no QUIA exercises due.

After Oct. 24, QUIA exercises due by Oct. 28: §§10-1.1 and 2.

After Oct. 26 class, QUIA exercises due by Oct. 30: §§10-2.1 and 2.

After Oct. 31 class, QUIA exercise due by Nov. 4: §§10-1.3 and 4.

After Nov. 2 class, QUIA exercises due by Nov. 6: §§10-2.3 and 4.

After Nov. 7 class, QUIA exercises due by Nov. 11: §§11-1.1, 2, 3, and 4.

After Nov. 9 class, QUIA exercises due by Nov. 13: §§11-2.1, 2, and 3.

After Nov. 14 class, QUIA exercises due by Nov. 18: §§11-2.5.

After Nov. 16 class, no QUIA exercises due.

After Nov. 21 class, QUIA exercises due by Nov. 25: §§ 12-1.1.

After Nov. 23 class, no QUIA exercises due.

After Nov. 28 class, QUIA exercises due by Dec. 2: §§12-1.2.

After Nov. 30 class, QUIA exercise due by Dec. 4: §12-2.1.

After Dec. 5 class, no QUIA exercises due.

After Dec. 7 class, no QUIA exercises due.

Schedule of compositions

NOTE: These are due in class (no email submissions accepted) on the day indicated. Double-space or triple-space and leave margins on all sides of at least one inch (2.54 centimeters).

Mon., Sept. 26 : Les écrivains, les artistes et les musiciens sont-ils plus sensibles (faux ami ! — en anglais = 'sensitive') que les autres ? Par exemple, se fâchent-ils, s'excitent-ils ou se désespèrent-ils plus souvent ou plus facilement ? Utilisez des verbes pronominaux. (200 mots) — Correction of first draft due in class on Mon., Oct. 3.

Mon., Oct. 10 : Écrivez une mini-pièce de théâtre avec le scénario suivant : Vous êtes soupçonné(e), à tort, d'avoir commis un délit. Vous retrouvez un(e) ami(e) et vous lui racontez vos mésaventures, en essayant de le/la convaincre que vous n'êtes pas un(e) criminel(le). Spécifiez l'acte illicite dont vous êtes accusé(e). Utilisez beaucoup de négations. (250 mots) — Correction of first draft due in class on Mon., Oct. 17.

Mon., Oct. 31 : Décrivez le pays de vos rêves. Ce pays existe-t-il ? Utilisez une grande variété d'adjectifs. (250 mots) — Correction of first draft due in class on Mon., Nov. 7.

Mon., Nov. 14 : Sous forme d'une lettre à un(e) nouvel(le) étudiant(e) de PLU, offrez quelques bons conseils basés sur votre expérience personnelle. Utilisez les tournures suivantes : (1) il faut que (2) ne pensez pas que (3) il est possible que (4) c'est une bonne idée que (5) je suis content(e) que (6) il serait utile que (7) il est probable que (8) je suis certain(e) que (9) j'espère que (10) c'est dommage que. (300 mots) — Correction of first draft due in class on Mon., Nov. 21.

Mon., Nov. 28 : Est-ce que l'apparence physique est un reflet du caractère ? Donnez au moins un exemple qui illustre votre point de vue. Employez des pronoms relatifs. (300 mots) — Correction of first draft due in class on Mon., Dec. 5.

Calculation of grades

Your grade will be determined as follows:

  • 15% Participation
  • 20% Workbook exercises (QUIA)
  • 20% Five compositions
  • 10% Contributions to collective vocabulary project (Google Docs)
  •   5% Group presentation
  • 10% Midterm exam
  • 20% Final exam

  • Comments on each of these components:

  • Class participation. Your faithful attendance and diligent participation in class are just about essential, mes amis, and your imprudent absences and obstinate silence in class will affect your grade. I'll evaluate your participation after every class. You will receive either 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4 for each class. Zero means you were absent; 1 means either that you arrived noticeably late, or did not bring needed materials, or could otherwise not participate; 2 means that you were present but did not significantly participate, or were not adequately prepared; 3 means that you participated "normally" in class activities; and 4 means that you appeared to be well prepared and made signal efforts to communicate in French. At the end of the course the average of these scores will be laboriously calculated by Microsoft Excel, and 15% of your grade will be determined by the result, on a conventional 4-point scale.
  • Workbook exercises. The workbook exercises will be submitted online via QUIA. Use the course code to register online, like a good citizen of cyberspace. Note that exercises can be done (for credit) only during the four days after the relevant class.
  • Compositions. Compositions should be double-spaced or triple-spaced, with ample margins on all sides of the page. They will be handed back with partial corrections and ample suggestions pending your thorough revision, which will be due in class (no email submissions) on Monday of the following week.
  • Collaborative vocabulary project. Fournier's Le mot et l'idée is part of French 201, 202, 301, and 302 as a way to systematically review vocabulary. For each assignment, divide the number of words in the assigned lists (say, for the first assignement, 60) and divide it by the number of students taking French 202 (say, 7), and then, from the answer (8 and 4/7) eliminate the "remainder" (here, 4/7) to find the number of words (here, 8) that you are responsible for 1) defining or commenting on in French, 2) illustrating with an image lifted from the web, and 3) exemplifying in a sentence of your own concoction. Your work will be collectively examined and commented upon in class, and on a daily basis I will evaluate its 10% contribution toward your grade for this course. I've done one (un menuisier/une menuisière) as an example. You should also learn the meanings of all the other words in the sections indicated. You should also read the exemplary sentences for the sections in Fourier, which constitute a remarkably dull but authentically French mini-essay, or sometimes a pathetically unimaginative and boring story, vignette, or sketch. You should review earlier sentences as well. — Note on dictionaries. The online dictionaries with which I am familiar are not very reliable. I recommend you purchase and keep for the rest of your wild, precious life a good French-English or English-French dictionary of 750-1200 pages, like the Larousse Concise Dictionary: French-English/English-French, rev. ed. (2010) or Langenscheidt's Compact French Dictionary (1989   now somewhat out of date) or Harrap's French and English Dictionary. Smaller 300-500 page "pocket" dictionaries are inadequate the purposes of this course. In addition, the following dictionaries are not recommended in any edition: Cassell's French & English Dictionary; Larousse Student Dictionary: French-English/English-French; Merriam-Webster's French-English Dictionary/Dictionnaire français-anglais; Webster's French-English Dictionary; Webster's New World French Dictionary: French/English English/French. Larger 1200-2000 page dictionaries like the Oxford-Hachette French Dictionary or the Collins-Robert French-English English-French Unabridged Dictionary are appropriate for third- and fourth-year French courses, but are too cumbersome and difficult to use in second-year French. Listen. Believe me. Credit my words. I am telling you the truth. The same holds for dictionaries that are completely in French, except for the excellent Le Robert Micro 2008: Dictionnaire d'apprentissage de la langue française (2008) or its earlier editions, for example Le Robert Micro: Dictionnaire de la langue française, édition poche. — Further note. Fournier's Le mot et l'idée is not only a list of words but a hideous, stiflying, and bizarre portrait of traditional French culture that reflects many of prejudices of conventional and reactionary bourgeois society. Sometimes it reads like something from Ionesco's théâtre de l'absurde. Like many other volumes of its vintage, it is designed not only to teach language but to reinforce the values of the prevailing power structure. So feel free to subvert it. You have my permission.
  • Group presentations. In the last half of the course, you'll work others on an entertaining or instructive in-class presentation project for the end of the semester.
  • Comprehensive tests. There will be a mid-term exam on Wed., Oct. 19, which will cover chapters 7-9 in Barson and Giraudoux's La guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu. This will determine 10% of your grade. A final exam on Wed., Dec. 14, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:50 p.m., which will cover chapters 7-12 in Barson and Simenon's L'affaire Saint-Fiacre will determine 20% of your final grade.

University academic policies

Academic Integrity
PLU's expectation is that students will not cheat or plagiarize, nor will they condone these behaviors or assist others who plagiarize. This includes the use of machine translation in the completion of assignments. Academic misconduct not only jeopardizes the career of the individual student involved, but also undermines the scholastic achievements of all PLU students and attacks the mission of this institution. Students are inherently responsible to do their own work, thereby insuring the integrity of their academic records.

Respectful and Civil Conduct
"Civil conversation is central to the university's academic enterprise and centrally guided by faculty expertise. [The university] is committed to protecting the rights of community members to engage in dialogue and express ideas in an environment that is free from harassment, discrimination, and exploitation. This freedom of expression does not, however, entail the freedom to threaten, stalk, intimidate, harass, or abuse. Students are therefore expected to treat every individual with respect and civility." (Student Code of Conduct, p. 12) EXCEPTION: You may insult the instructor, ce pauvre type, in French, provided you make no grammatical mistakes, and provided you introduce your insult with "Pardon my French, mais..."

Accomodations for Students with Disabilities
If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information to share with me, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible. If you have questions concerning the services available for students with disabilities at PLU, please contact the Office of Disability Support Services, x7206.


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