Module Identifier FR23120  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Professor David A Trotter  
Semester Semester 2  
Pre-Requisite Eligibility for entry to Level 2 French  
Mutually Exclusive FR33120  
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 written examination (2 essay questions, equally weighted).60%
Semester Assessment Continuous assessment: 2 x 1,500-word essay. Only the better of the two marks will be taken for the continuous assessment element. This is to allow some assessment to be formative as well as (or instead of) summative. If a student fails to submit one piece of the two required, and does not supply the tutor concerned with valid reasons/evidence in writing, the mark for the one piece of work submitted will be carried forward as a continuous assessment mark, but divided by two. If no assessed work is submitted, the mark for the continuous assessment element (which will be fed into the overall module assessment) will be zero. (Note that the Level 3 version of this module, FR33120, has a different assessment exercise and an additional learning outcome.)40%
Supplementary Exam 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. Embark on a period of residence in France (as part of their Year Abroad) better-equipped to understand, and to profit from encountering, regional language varieties.


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 relationshp 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 Year Abroad 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 5