French Language Program
Welcome to the French Language Program at BC
The French Language Program is part of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Boston College and is comprised of a large number of qualified professors and instructors who are devoted to language teaching. Each semester around 500 – 600 students, including French majors and minors and students in other academic disciplines, enroll in our language courses.
At Boston College you will find many opportunities to learn and practice French at all levels of proficiency and enjoy the diversity of its cultures. A number of our courses satisfy the University’s Literature Core or the University’s Cultural Diversity Core.
The language curriculum has been carefully designed to foster progressive acquisition of proficiency in French. From the first day of class students are exposed to the target language and trained to practice the necessary basic skills (speaking, oral interaction, listening, reading, and writing) while expanding their vocabulary and learning new grammar points and structures in context. All courses incorporate the study of culture from different French speaking countries. Students acquire the language while they learn to understand relevant socio-cultural and historical aspects of the French-speaking world and to appreciate and celebrate their differences. A number of our courses also satisfy the University’s Literature Core or the University’s Cultural Diversity Core.
Students interested in enhancing their linguistic proficiency while advancing their cultural literacy should consider the major and minor programs in French.
Elementary French follows a communicative approach. From the first day of class, students will interact in French with the instructor and with classmates. Therefore, by the end of this course, students should be able to successfully manage a significant number of communicative and writing tasks in different time frames in the target language.
Upon successful completion of the sequence Elementary I and II (FREN1009 and FREN1010) students should be able to:
- speak in the target language to describe, narrate and carry on spontaneous conversations about topics such as travel, health, professions, plans for the future and references to the past.
- comprehend the target language with sufficient ability to understand the main ideas and additional details in short conversations referring to the above mentioned topics and authentic situations in different time frames.
- read and understand texts (some prepared specifically for students, others authentic) dealing with cultural products and practices on a variety of topics.
- write basic compositions about different themes in simple but complete sentences and short paragraphs with good control of the grammar and sentence structure.
- recognize, appreciate, and compare similarities and differences between their own culture and the target culture.
Intermediate French follows a communicative approach. Class is conducted entirely in the target language and nearly all course materials are authentic and carefully chosen to match the interests and capabilities of the students. At the end of the second semester students will be able to express themselves on a wide variety of topics of personal interest and in different communicative settings.
Upon successful completion of the intermediate sequence (FREN1109 and FREN1110) students should be able to:
- speak in the target language to narrate and describe in the present, past and future express opinions about topics relating to their own lives and those of the target culture, especially in areas such as student and family life, traveling, cinema, music, holidays, art and current events, etc.
- comprehend spoken language at a higher level including authentic videos and recordings in a more formal setting with some assistance.
- read selected authentic texts on everyday topics with apparatuses such as vocabulary annotations and comprehension aids.
- write in French at the paragraph level in a variety of formats, from summaries and cross-cultural observations to more formal but guided research papers based on course themes.
- understand and appreciate current and classic foreign culture especially as it relates to the lives of young people, and make comparisons to their own cultural experiences.
CONVERSATION, COMPOSITION, AND READING
In Conversation, Composition, and Reading (CCR) students will increase their fluency and solidify their accuracy in French while focusing on complex grammar topics, expanding their vocabulary, and broadening their understanding of diverse cultural and historical aspects of the French-speaking world. The course fosters students’ analytic, critical and creative skills in the target language through the use of authentic materials such as newspapers, reports, films and literary texts and through systematic practice of the three modes of communication: interpersonal, presentational, and interpretative.
Upon successful completion of the CCR1 and CCR2 sequence (FREN2209 and FREN2210) students should be able to:
- speak spontaneously in most conversations on topics that are familiar, of personal interest or pertinent to everyday life. Students should also be able to speak about more formal or specific topics with previous preparation.
- comprehend the main ideas and relevant details of extended general speech from diverse authentic audiovisual materials in standard language.
- read and interpret extensive articles and reports related to contemporary topics, including the understanding of important details and nuances. Students should also be able to understand contemporary literary texts in the target language with some assistance.
- write clear and detailed texts on a wide range of general topics sustaining their views. Students should also be able to write narrative and argumentative essays on specific topics with previous preparation.
- understand and appreciate Francophone cultures and develop an awareness of their historical, political and sociocultural differences.
In the Foundation Courses students will acquire extensive fluency and accuracy while focusing on complex grammar topics, expanding and deepening their vocabulary, and broadening their understanding of contemporary sociocultural and political issues in the French-speaking world. The course is structured around analysis, discussion and production of descriptive, narrative, expository and argumentative texts and fosters students’ analytic, critical and creative skills in the target language through the use of diverse authentic materials and systematic practice of the three modes of communication: interpersonal, presentational, and interpretative.
In combining Foundation Courses, two for the minor, four for the major, students will:
- speak with fluency and accuracy in the target language in informal and formal situations.
- comprehend the main ideas and relevant details of extended general speech from authentic audiovisual materials such as TV news, films and videos in standard language and recognize the most commonly spoken dialectal varieties of the French language.
- read and interpret wide-ranging articles and reports related to contemporary topics, including the understanding of details and nuances. Students should also be able to interpret literary texts in the target language and identify the principal characteristics of the four main textual genres (description, narration, exposition and argumentation).
- write creative, clear, coherent and extended texts in the four main textual genres interacting with field-specific and academic language.
- understand and appreciate the different Francophone cultures and develop a critical vision of their circumstances, contexts or idiosyncrasies.
- demonstrate the metalinguistic awareness necessary to master a foreign language.