Learning Outcomes for the Major in French and Francophone Studies 

The mission of the Department of French and Francophone Studies is to provide students with a cohesive, integrated learning experience which gives them a solid background in French and Francophone language, literature and culture.

1.  Cultural Knowledge

          French majors will be able to recognize and discuss the role of French culture in French literature and other artistic productions.  Students will be able to deconstruct the relationships and intersections between French and Francophone cultures, both historically and in the 21st century.  French majors will be able to articulate and examine critically their position in their own culture and analyze cross-cultural differences in writing and speaking.  This overarching goal informs the learning outcomes for speaking, writing, and reading French as outlined below.

2.  Communicative Capacity:  Speaking and Comprehension

          French majors will become active participants in informal and classroom conversations with their peers and professors. Students will be able to conduct literary and/or cultural analysis of texts with the appropriate vocabulary, ask questions for clarification or to further the conversation, summarize information, and formulate conclusions effectively.  Students will be able to interact with peers, lead class discussions, and make formal presentations, individually or in a group, of a text, author, or topic in an advanced level course. 

            French majors will develop speaking skills at the Advanced Low level of the 2012 ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.  Some distinguishing characteristics of Advanced Low speakers include the following:

·      Speakers at the Advanced Low sublevel are able to handle a variety of communicative tasks. They are able to participate in most informal and some formal conversations on topics related to school, home, and leisure activities. They can also speak about some topics related to employment, current events, and matters of public and community interest.

·      Advanced Low speakers demonstrate the ability to narrate and describe in the major time frames of past, present, and future in paragraph-length discourse… . The speaker’s dominant language may be evident in the use of false cognates, literal translations, or the oral paragraph structure of that language.

·      Advanced Low speech is typically marked by a certain grammatical roughness (e.g., inconsistent control of verb endings), but the overall performance of the Advanced-level tasks is sustained, albeit minimally.

·      Advanced Low speakers contribute to the conversation with sufficient accuracy, clarity, and precision to convey their intended message without misrepresentation or confusion. Their speech can be understood by native speakers unaccustomed to dealing with non-natives, even though this may require some repetition or restatement.

3. Reading and Analytical Ability

            French majors will be able to engage critically with texts and primary sources, film and digital content in areas related to French and Francophone literature and culture. Students will be able to situate major texts and authors in their historical contexts and identify genres in order to better interpret and evaluate what they are reading.  French majors will acquire the appropriate terminology for the analysis of texts in French (broadly understood to include film and other cultural productions as appropriate). French majors will conduct research using selected secondary sources in French to analyze literary and cultural phenomena.  

4. Written Expression

            French majors will be able to express information and ideas in a variety of styles and forms, both informal and formal.  Students will be able to write narratives and descriptions about familiar topics, social correspondence, summaries and analyses of written, oral and/or visual texts, and stylistic imitations of  literary and cultural texts by French speaking authors whose works they have studied.  Students will be able to construct clear, coherent paragraphs and narrate and describe in major time frames.  Within the context of specific courses, French majors will be able to produce organized, informed, analytical papers ranging in length from 3 to 10 pages, using clear, correct and comprehensible French.

            French majors will develop writing skills at the Advanced Mid level of the 2012 ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.  Some distinguishing characteristics of Advanced Mid writers include the following:

  • Writers at the Advanced Mid sublevel are able to meet a range of work and/or academic writing needs. They demonstrate the ability to narrate and describe with detail in all major time frames with good control of aspect.
  • They are able to write straightforward summaries on topics of general interest. Their writing exhibits a variety of cohesive devices in texts up to several paragraphs in length. There is good control of the most frequently used target-language syntactic structures and a range of general vocabulary.
  • Most often, thoughts are expressed clearly and supported by some elaboration. This writing incorporates organizational features both of the target language and the writer’s first language and may at times resemble oral discourse.

Writing at the Advanced Mid sublevel is understood readily by natives not used to the writing of non- natives.