Module Identifier FR33120  
Academic Year 2006/2007  
Co-ordinator Professor David A Trotter  
Semester Semester 2  
Pre-Requisite Eligibility for entry to Level 3 French  
Mutually Exclusive FR23120  
Course delivery Lecture   10 x 1-hour lectures  
  Seminars / Tutorials   10 x 1-hour seminars  
  Workload Breakdown   Lecture and seminar attendance - 20 hours; lecture and seminar preparation (research and reading) - 135 hours; essay research and preparation - 45 hours.  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours 2-hour examination (2 essay questions, equally weighted).60%
Semester Assessment Continuous assessment: 2 x 1,500-word essays. (Note that the Level 3 version of this module FR33120, has a specific assessment exercise: an analysis of a regional variety (dialect or minority language) in terms of its relationship to standard French, corresponding to the different learning outcome under no. 7 below).40%
Supplementary Exam2/3 Hours 1 x 2-hour examination if continuous assessment submitted. 1 x 3-hour examination if no continuous assessment submitted.100%

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Understand the relationship between standard French and the regional forms of French (and other languages) found within France;
2. Understand the contribution made by both regional languages and dialects to modern French;
3. Understand the core principles and methodologies of variationist linguistics and dialectology, applied to France;
4. Understand the relationship between political and economic power, and language autonomy/survival;
5. Appreciate the - often complex - relationship between language and other aspects of regional culture;
6. Understand the rationale behind, main functions of, and likely impact of French national language policy;
7. Demonstrate an ability to analyse (sociolinguistically and also linguistically) a regional variety (dialect or minority language) in terms of its relationship to standard French. This is a "Level-3-only" outcome; cf. continuous assessment (above).


Despite the claim that French is the language of the Republic (remarkably, only officially asserted in the constitution in 1992), France is clearly a far more multilingual country than state policy would suggest, or would wish. Language variation is still considerable and takes the form both of regional (minority) languages - Breton, Alsatian, Catalan, Corsican, Basque, Occitan, etc. - and of dialects/regional forms of French, particularly in rural areas, and particularly in the regions furthest removed from Paris. This module will explore some of these varieties, not least in an attempt to heighten awareness of and sensitivity to regional variation as a whole.

Brief description

A survey of the situation with regard to regional languages and dialects/regional varieties of French in France, focusing on case-studies which exemplify each category, and examining them (in the case of regional languages) sociolinguistically and sociologically and (in the case of dialects/regional varieties of French) in addition, linguistically. The module will also address questions concerning the relationship between these varieties and standard French (both in situ locally, and in terms of their status within the Republic), which raises the whole question of the validity and ideology of the centralizing tendencies of the French state since 1792. Finally, it will provide an introduction to aspects of variationist linguistics and dialectological methods.


Lectures (with supporting seminars) as follows:
Weeks 1-3: Introduction to a) the linguistic landscape of modern France (b) sociolinguistics (c) dialectology. ONE SEMINAR.
Week 4: Political and economic aspects of regional language survival. ONE SEMINAR.
Weeks 5-6: Regional or minority languages: Occitan and Alsatian. TWO SEMINARS.
Week 7: Dialects, francais regional, and so-called 'patois'. Terminological problems. TWO SEMINARS.
Weeks 8-9: Case-studies of dialects/francais regionaux: Normandy and Lorraine. TWO SEMINARS.
Week 10: Conclusions, future perspectives. There will be TWO concluding SEMINARS addressing the specific issue of the students' own past experience of the Year Abroad (or other residence in France) and the issues considered in this module.

Module Skills

Problem_solving Selection of reading material; answering questions posed by written assessment; seminar work.  
Research skills Preparation of written assessment; preparation for seminars.  
Communication Oral communication developed in seminars; written communication developed in assessments and exam.  
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be able to assess their own progress week by week through their increased understanding of the issues raised and the skills developed.  
Team work Debates and group presentations in seminars.  
Information Technology Use of on-line journals and source collections; delivery of course materials and information via email and e-learning system.  
Application of Number Evaluation of statistical data in the secondary reading.  
Personal Development and Career planning Acquisition of transferable skills; understanding of linguistic/cultural studies as an academic subject.  
Subject Specific Skills Acquisition of French linguistic skills.  


This module is at CQFW Level 6