SPRING 2011: French 202 in HONG-246A (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:


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 147.28 euros on January 21, 2011, when this paragraph was newly edited though not really originally written).

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 reassuringly 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 (le 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) : 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, Stalin's purge trials, the Spanish civil war, the explosion of the Hindenburg, the assassination of Huey Long, and the writing of Darkness at Noon and the publication of Finnegans Wake ! A miserable period, really.

Class schedule

Wed., Feb. 9 : 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., Feb. 11 : 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. We'll begin most classes with a review of these words. Sign your work with your name or initials. — In addition, read, or reread, the preface in Barson's formidably all-in-French (except the preface!) grammar textbook.

Mon., Feb. 14 : (1) Introduction to the International Phonetic Alphabet. (2) Consonants : [R]  Scott Juall, review of French consonants. (3) Barson, Chapter 7, Les verbes pronominaux, pp. 168-73. (4) Fournier, II, §§ 6-10.

Wed., Feb. 16 : Barson, Chapter 7, Les verbes pronominaux, pp. 173-76, including a skosh of group work. (2) Fournier, III, §§ 4-6.

Fri., Feb. 18 : (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., Feb. 21: Presidents' Holiday.

Wed., Feb.. 23 : (1) Barson, Chapter 7, Le passif, pp. 176-80, including group work. (2) Fournier, V, §§ 3-4.

Fri., Feb. 25 : (1) Before class: Read Giraudoux, I, 8-10 & II, 1-3, and prepare answers to questions. (2) Fournier, VI, §§ 4-6.

Mon., Feb. 28 : (1) Vowels. (2) Barson, Chapter 8, La négation, pp. 194-96. (3) Fournier, VII, §§ 4-6.

Wed., Mar. 2 : (1) Barson, Chapter 8, La négation des pronoms et des adjectifs indéfinis, pp. 196-99. Group work. (2) Fournier, VIII, §§ 3-5.

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

Mon., Mar. 7 : (1) Nasal vowels. (2) Barson, Chapter 8, more on negation, pp. 199-201. (3) Fournier, X, §§ 3-5.

Wed., Mar. 9 : (1) Barson, Constructions, pp. 201-05. Some group work. (2) Fournier, XI, §§ 3-5.

Fri., Mar. 11 : (1) Before class: Giraudoux, II, 7-11, and prepare answers to questions. (2) Fournier, XII, §§ 3-4.

Mon., Mar. 14 : (1) Semi-vowels. (2) Barson, Chapter 9, Le féminin des adjectifs et des noms and le pluriel, pp. 217-24. (3) Fournier, XIII, §§ 4-7.

Wed., Mar. 16 : (1) Barson, Chapter 9, L'accord des adjectifs and La place de l'adjectif qualificatif, pp. 224-28. (2) Fournier, XIV, §§ 4-6.

Fri., Mar. 18 : (1) Before class: Giraudoux, II, 12-14, and prepare answers to questions. (2) Fournier, XV, §§ 4-6.

Mon., Mar. 21 : (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, XVI, §§ 3-4.

Wed., Mar. 23 : (1) Review for midterm. (2) Fournier, XVII, §§4-7.

Fri., Mar. 25 : The long-dreaded but no longer avoidable MIDTERM EXAM!

Mon., Mar. 28 : (1) Syllables and rhythmic groups (i). (2) Barson, Chapter 10, La formation du subjonctif, pp. 252-56. (3) Fournier, XVIII, §§ 2-3.

Wed., Mar. 30 : (1) Barson, Chapter 10, L'emploi du subjonctif, pp. 257-63. (2) Fournier, XIX, §§ 3-5.

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


Mon., Apr. 11 : (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., Apr. 13 : (1) Barson, Chapter 10, Constructions, pp. 266-69. (2) Fournier, XXII, §§ 3-4.

Fri., Apr. 15 : (1) Simenon, ch. 3-4, and prepare answers to questions. (2) Fournier, XXIII, §§ 3-4.

Mon., Apr. 18 : (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., Apr. 20 : (1) Barson, Chapter 11, Les pronoms relatifs (suite), pp. 285-87 (from II.C.). Some group work. (2) Fournier, XXV, §§ 4-6.

Fri., Apr. 22 : Easter Break.

Mon., Apr. 25 : (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, XXVI, §§ 5-8.

Wed., Apr. 27 : (1) Barson, Chapter 11, Tout, pp. 289-90. (2) Fournier, XXVII, §§ 3-4.

Fri., Apr. 29 : (1) Simenon, ch. 5-6, and prepare answers to questions. (2) Fournier, XXVIII, §§ 5-8.

Mon., May 2 : (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, XXIX, §§ 4-7.

Wed., May 4 : Showing of Le ballon rouge.

Fri., May 6 : (1) Simenon, ch. 7-8, and prepare answers to questions. (2) Fournier, XXX, §§5-9.

Mon., May 9 : (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., May 11 : (1) Barson, Chapter 12, Constructions, pp. 307-09, and Faire causatif, pp. 309-13. (2) Fournier, XXXII, §§ 5-8.

Fri., May 13 : (1) Simenon, ch. 9, and prepare answers to questions. (2) Fournier, XXXIII, §§ 6-11.

Mon., May 16 : (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 presentations. (3) Fournier, XXXIV, §§ 4-6.

Wed., May 18 : (1) Cheering group presentations. (2) Fournier, XXXV, §§ 4-6.

Fri., May 20 : (1) Simenon, ch. 10-11, and prepare answers to questions. (2) Final review.

QUIA homework schedule

QUIA exercises should be done within three days of the class on the related subject. After that date the QUIA site will no longer accept your work. And neither will I!

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 Feb. 16 class, QUIA exercises due by Feb. 19 : §§7-1.1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, and §7-2.1.

After Feb. 23 class, QUIA exercises due by Feb. 26: §§7-2.2, 3, and 4.

After Feb. 28 class, QUIA exercises due by Mar. 3: §§8-1.1, 2, 3, and 4.

After Mar. 2 class, QUIA exercises due by Mar. 5: §§ 8-2.1 and 2.

After Mar. 7 class, QUIA exercises due by Mar. 10: §§8-2.3 and 4.

After Mar. 9 class, QUIA exercises due by Mar. 12: §§8-2.5 and 6.

After Mar. 14 class, QUIA exercise due Mar. 17: §§9-1.1, 2, 3, and 4.

After Mar. 16 class, QUIA exercises due Mar. 19: §§9-2.1, 2, 3, and 4.

After Mar. 21 class, QUIA exercises due on Mar. 24: §§9-2.6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.

After Mar. 25, QUIA exercises due by Mar. 28: §§10-1.1 and 2.

After Mar. 30 class, QUIA exercises due by Apr. 2: §§10-2.1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

After Apr. 11 class, QUIA exercise due by Apr. 14: §§10-1.3, 4, and 5.

After Apr. 13 class, QUIA exercises due by Apr. 16: §§10-2.6 and 8.

After Apr. 18 class, QUIA exercises due by Apr. 21: §§11-1.1 and 2.

After Apr. 20 class, QUIA exercises due by Apr. 23: §§11-2.1 and 2.

After Apr. 25 class, QUIA exercises due by Apr. 28: §§11-1.3 and 4.

After Apr. 27 class, QUIA exercise due by Apr. 30: §§11-2.3 and 4.

After May 2 class, QUIA exercises due by May 5: §§ 12-1.1, 2, 3, and 4.

After May 9 class, QUIA exercises due by May 12: §§12-2.1 and 2.

After May 11 class, QUIA exercise due by May 14: §12-2.3, 5, and 6.

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., Feb. 28 : Racontez l'histoire de quelqu'un qui s'est sacrifié soit par amour, soit par patriotisme, soit par ferveur religieuse. L'histoire peut être vraie ou fictive. Utilisez des verbes pronominaux. (200 mots) — Correction of first draft due in class on Mon., Mar. 7.

Mon., Mar. 14 : Écrivez un dialogue selon la scénario suivante : Vous êtes soupçonné(e), à tort, d'être un agent secret. Vous retrouvez un ami et vous lui racontez vos mésaventures, en essayant de le convaincre que vous n'êtes pas un(e) espion(ne). Utilisez des négations. (250 mots) — Correction of first draft due in class on Mon., Mar. 21.

Mon., Apr. 11 : 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., Apr. 18.

Mon., Apr. 25 : 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., May 2.

Mon., May 9 : Racontez un moment où vous avez agi avec courage. Employez autant de pronoms relatifs que possible. (300 mots) — Correction of first draft due in class on Mon., Dec. 6.

Calculation of grades

Your grade will be determined as follows:

  • 20% Participation
  • 20% Workbook exercises (QUIA)
  • 15% 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. Faithful attendance and diligent participation are just about essential. Your attendance and participation, both in class and in individual meetings, will affect your grade. I will evaluate your participation as follows. Your presence and participation in class will be evaluated 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 scarcely participated, or were not adequately prepared; 3 means that you participated minimally in class activities; and 4 means that you appeared to be well prepared and made adequate efforts at communicating in French. At the end of the course the average of these scores will be laboriously calculated, and 20% 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. You'll receive a course code from me and be asked to register online, like any good citizen of cyberspace. Note that exercises can be done (for credit) during the three days after the relevant class only.
  • Compositions. Compositions should be handwritten, double-spaced or triple-spaced, with ample margins on all sides of the page. They will be handed back with partial corrections for revision, which will be due on Monday of the following week.
  • Vocabulary pop quizzes. Fournier's Le mot et l'idée is being integrated into French 201, 202, 301, and 302 as a way of systematically reviewing vocabulary. You should learn the meanings of the words in the sections indicated. You should also read the exemplary sentences for these sections. The sentences for each section constitute a mini-essay, or sometimes a pathetically unimaginative and boring story, vignette, or sketch. You should review earlier sentences as well. — Online dictionaries are not very reliable. You should consider purchasing a good French-English or English-French dictionary of 750-1000 pages, like the Larousse Concise Dictionary: French-English/English-French, rev. ed. (2004). Smaller 300-500 page "pocket" dictionaries are not recommended for the purposes of this course. NOTE: In addition, the following dictionaries are not recommended: Cassell's French & English Dictionary (any edition); Larousse Student Dictionary: French-English/English-French/ Merriam-Webster's French-English Dictionary (any edition); Webster's French-English Dictionary; Webster's New World French Dictionary: French/English English/French. Larger 1200-2000 page dictionaries like the Larousse College Dictionary: French-English/English-French, the Oxford-Hachette French Dictionary or the Collins-Robert Unabridged French-English English-French Dictionary are appropriate for third- and fourth-year French courses, but are too cumbersome and difficult to use in the second year. Believe me. I am telling you the truth. The same holds for dictionaries that are completely in French, with the possible exception, should you want to splurge, of the excellent but all-too-expensive 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 NOTES: Fournier's Le mot et l'idée is not only a list of words but a bizarre portrait of traditional French culture that reflects many of prejudices of conventional and reactionary bourgeois society of a generation or two ago. 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. Let's find ways to subvert it, O.K.? — By the way, while working with vocabulary, try typing the French word you're studying into the Google images search page. The results can be instructive and/or ROFL hilarious!
  • Group presentations. In the last half of the course, you'll work others on an in-class presentation project for the end of the semester.
  • Comprehensive tests. There will be a mid-term exam on Fri., Mar. 25, 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., May 25, at 10:00 a.m. will determine 20% of your final grade.

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 Sudents 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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