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Module

FRE4014 : Historical Perspectives on the French Language

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Damien Hall
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

•       To give students an appreciation of the historical dimension of the French language
•       To familiarize students with a range of diachronic phenomena from both the internal and external history of French
•       To introduce students to selected frameworks theorizing change in French, and to attendant methodological tools
•       To enable students to pursue further diachronic questions themselves

Outline Of Syllabus

Topics covered may vary, but will typically include the following:

1.       What the French spelling system tells us about the history of French
2.       Landmarks in the linguistic history of French
3.       Language contact between England and France
4.       Why are there two pronoun series in French?
5.       Sire vs. seigneur, le vs. lui: Remnants of case in French
6.       Why aimer but amant? Historical perspective on verb morphology
7.       Fainéants and pantacourts: folk etymology
8.       Debates about “good” and “bad” French
9.       How Standard French came about
10.       Enfin, bref, bon: The rise of discourse markers
11.       Aller – ‘to go’ or future tense? Grammaticalization in French

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1164:00164:00N/A
Total200:00
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
SML8105Issues in the diachrony of French
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

A mix of lectures, small-group teaching (seminars), and independent study is best suited to the module’s intended learning outcomes.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation202M30A presentation given in the seminars on a relevant topic to be agreed between student and seminar leader.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A702,500 words, in English.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

• The essay is heavily weighted so as to give the highest proportion of marks to a component that students can spend time researching, and where they do not have to feel under pressure to perform in a given short time.
• The presentation is assessed so as to give students an incentive to produce a good presentation, which will be able to provoke discussion in the class. To reflect the fact that 30% of the marks for the module will be gained in a single period of about 20 minutes, the lecturer will be prepared to discuss presentations with students (and indeed will require them to consult him before choosing a topic to present on). Presenters in a given week will be required to present on a topic related to that week’s lectures (topics to be identified by the presenters).

Reading Lists

Timetable