Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)


Department: Modern Language and Cultures (French)


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap 100 Location Durham


  • French Language 1 (FREN1011) or an equivalent qualification to the satisfaction of the Chairman/Chairwoman of the Board of Studies in MLAC or his/her representative.


  • Modern Languages, Combined Honours and all Joint and 'with' programmes: French Language 2 (FREN2051). Other: see Chairman/Chairwoman of the Board of Studies in MLAC or his/her representative.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • The Syntax component seeks to heighten students' awareness of Modern French grammar.
  • The vocabulary component seeks to heighten awareness of the origins of different sections of French vocabulary, to introduce concepts such as borrowing, word formation, semantic change and register, and to enable students to apply them to the analysis of texts.
  • To introduce students to the basic phonetics of Modern French, and to enable them to apply this knowledge to the analysis of written texts.


  • The module will concern itself with the development of French syntax and French vocabulary, from the Old French period up to the present day.
  • The syntax component will concentrate on a number of specific topics (for example, the use of the subjunctive, patterns of word-order), and the vocabulary component will study, amongst other things, change of meaning, word-formation and the borrowing of words.
  • A considerable amount of time will be devoted to the analysis of representative passages, and an anthology of illustrative texts will be available.
  • Students will be introduced to basic phonetics of Modern French, which they will be able to apply to the analysis of representative texts.
  • The module is taught in English and French, and examined in English.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of this module, studnets should be able to demonstrate a heightened awareness of Modern French grammar, how 'rules' develop and how they can change.
  • By the end of the vocabulary element, they should have acquired an expanded vocabulary and a greater awareness of how meanings shift and how the register of a word is part of its 'meaning'; they should also have gained a historical sense of the different layers of French vocabulary.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To be able to comment on significant phonological features of texts from the Modern French period.
Key Skills:
  • The further development of general written communication skills.
  • The ability to discuss topical or general issues with fluency.
  • The ability to seek out and identify appropriate sources of evidence and information.
  • The ability to read complex multivalent texts with intellentual nuance.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • One lecture a week is devoted to syntax in the first term and to vocabulary in the second; two lectures will be devoted to an introduction to the phonetics of Modern French, with follow-up exercises.
  • Fortnightly seminars are used to examine texts to reinforce material from the lectures, and also to analyse the syntax and vocabulary of texts in order to prepare for writing commentaries.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 21 Weekly 1 hour 21
Seminars 10 Fortnightly 1 hour 10
Reading and preparation 169
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Commentary Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Linguistic commentary in English 1,000 words 100% Yes
Component: Summative Essay Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Essay in English 1,500 words 100% Yes
Component: Written Examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written Examination 2 hours 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University