Romance Languages: Course Offerings

Romance Languages Course Offerings

FRENCH

 

ACCELERATED FRENCH

(The Department)

This course is offered to students who have successfully completed at least two years of another romance language, whose experience with language learning enables them to proceed at a faster pace in assimilating the usages of French. This course emphasizes aural/oral proficiency as well as written skills.

 

FRENCH I

(The Department)

This course is for students who are new at learning a romance language, and for those who need one more year to solidify their knowledge and usage of the fundamentals. Emphasis is placed on sentence structure and oral expression. Students acquire elementary conversational skills, and vocabulary is learned through texts and review exercises.Web-based interactive exercises and activities help students practice and retain the material. Special attention is given to accurate pronunciation.

 

FRENCH II

(The Department)

Students entering this level already possess fundamental skills of grammar and expression (as described in French I). This course is designed to foster continued development in each of the four language skills: speaking, writing, reading, and oral comprehension. A variety of materials are used: a textbook and workbook to reinforce grammar and vocabulary, and short readings to encourage class discussion and serve as samples of written text. Audio materials are used in class to improve listening comprehension skills. Accurate pronunciation is stressed.

 

FRENCH III

(The Department)

In French III the objectives are to reinforce the students’ basic grammatical concepts and to stress the idiomatic use of French. We place an emphasis on the assimilation of all major grammatical structures. Readings such as Saint Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince or Sempé and Goscinny’s Le Petit Nicolas are used to expand vocabulary and provide topics of discussion. We consider questions of content and form. Topics of class discussion serve as the basis for composition writing. At the end of this course, students should be able to speak and understand French with relative ease and write coherently.

 

FRENCH IV: FRENCH LANGUAGE & CULTURE

(The Department)

This course exposes the students to a variety of materials, textual as well as audio-visual, and emphasizes communicative skills through conversation and hands-on activities. Cultural themes pertaining to the “French way of life,” as well as other relevant forms of art, are presented through French films and other appropriate material. After a careful elucidation and practice of the linguistic elements necessary for exploring these themes, the students are able to express themselves on the various topics introduced.

 

FRENCH IV: FRENCH LANGUAGE & COMPOSITION

(The Department)

This course is designed (1) to help students refine their knowledge of the subtler, more complex points of French syntax, and (2) to put the students at ease with the practice of the structures learned previously, by seeing them and applying them “in context.” To that end, literary texts are used as tools to expand vocabulary and to familiarize students with increasingly difficult texts. By the end of the year, the students should have assimilated and synthesized all previously learned rules for forms of French syntax. They should also be proficient readers and writers.

 

CONTEMPORARY TOPICS IN FRENCH LITERATURE AND FILM

(Martinho/Zimmerman)

This is a two-semester course exploring contemporary topics in the French-speaking world through literature and documentary films. It is designed for students interested in gaining increased fluency in oral French, and who have successfully completed French IV. One semester is dedicated to the viewing and discussing of films addressing topics such as the judicial system, the educational system, and questions of immigration and identities. We view Entre les murs, by Laurent Cantet, Les plages by Agnès Varda, and 10ème chambre,

instant d’audience, by Raymond Depardon. Special attention is paid to idiomatic expressions and the way French is spoken in everyday life. The other semester we focus on the reading and discussing of works by contemporary French writers (Tahar Ben Jelloun, Yasmina Reza, Michel Tournier, Marie NDiaye, Philippe Delerm, Marjane Satrapi, among others). The linguistic forms encountered in the texts (plays, short stories, and graphic novels) may vary from highly literary and standard French to slang, thus exposing the students to the language as it can be experienced in the Francophone world today. Students are required to read an average of five to ten pages per night and to keep up with the new vocabulary introduced. While the emphasis

of the course is on oral expression, students are expected to write summaries, character and plot analyses, as well as short essays, on a regular basis. By the end of the year, the students should have refined their expressive skills and gained a greater awareness of some aspects of French contemporary society.

 

FRENCH LITERARY TRENDS FROM THE NINETEENTH TO THE TWENTIETHTH CENTURY

(The Department)

The early nineteenth century sees the flowering of the Romantic movement in literature, music, and art. The poets, novelists, and dramaturges of the period often incarnate the Romantic hero portrayed in their works:

Lamartine, Hugo, Chateaubriand, Stendhal, Musset. With the onset of the industrial age, new writers reject l’idéalisme romantique for la réalité matérielle. The preferred genre of the realists is the novel, which comes into its own in the nineteenth century: Balzac, Flaubert, Zola. Poetry flourishes with the works of Baudelaire, Verlaine, Rimbaud, and Mallarmé. The early twentieth century celebrates the marriage of philosophy and literature in la littérature engagée of Sartre, Camus, and Malraux, while the theater—Ionesco, Beckett, Anouilh—seeks its own solutions to depicting the modern condition humaine. Finally, the nouveau roman not only announces the death of character but seems to herald the demise of the novel itself: Robbe-Grillet, Duras. Other authors: Maupassant, Gide, Proust, Breton, Césaire.

 

FRENCH CLASSICISM AND THE ENLIGHTENMENT: FROM RULE TO REVOLUTION

(The Department)

Open to juniors and seniors who have successfully completed the French Literary Trends course. We begin at the golden age in France, a time of belief not only in the divine right of kings but in the divine itself. Inherent in such beliefs was the idea of the absolute—absolute power, absolute reason, and, by extension, the “absolute” work of art. In literature, perfection becomes the rule, and prescriptions for achieving it are devised. Corneille, Racine, and Molière are recognized as major craftsmen. By the eighteenth century, cracks begin to appear in the bastion of Absolutism. Writers known as Les Philosophes declare war on heretofore sacrosanct tenets, with words for weapons. The French Revolution begins as a conflict of ideas eventually exploding into insurrection. “On est tombé par terre, c’est la faute à Voltaire; le nez dans le ruisseau, c’est la faute à Rousseau.” Authors are chosen from those above and from the following: Pascal, Madame de Sévigné, Madame de la Fayette, La Bruyère, La Fontaine, La Rochefoucauld, Beaumarchais, Diderot, and Montesquieu.

 

ADVANCED READINGS IN FRENCH LITERATURE

(The Department)

For students who have completed all other French electives. Works are selected based on students’ interests and literary background.

 

FRENCH CONVERSATION

(The Department) (2x per week)

Offered to juniors and seniors, and to sophomores with permission of the department chair, this class helps students use their acquired vocabulary and expand it to express themselves more fluently. Through a variety of verbal games, paired activities, and oral reports, students build their oral/aural skills and use them in a context of informal conversation on topics such as politics, education, fashion, everyday life, or other subjects of interest to the group.

 

 

SPANISH

 

ACCELERATED SPANISH

(The Department)

This course is offered to students who have successfully completed at least two years of another romance language, whose experience with language learning enables them to proceed at a faster pace in assimilating the usages of French. This course emphasizes aural/oral proficiency as well as written skills.

 

SPANISH I

(The Department)

This course is for students who are new at learning a romance language, and for those who need one more year to solidify their knowledge and usage of the fundamentals. Emphasis is placed on sentence structure and oral expression. Students acquire elementary conversational skills, and vocabulary is learned through texts and review exercises. Web-based interactive exercises and activities help students practice and retain the material. Special attention is given to accurate pronunciation.

 

SPANISH II

(The Department)

Continuing the study of grammar and building vocabulary, students read and discuss short stories relevant to Spanish culture and begin to express more sophisticated ideas in writing.

 

SPANISH III

(The Department)

Grammatical concepts are further reviewed and reinforced at this level. Students are introduced to more literary texts, poetry, and to articles on culture and current events in Latin America and Spain.

 

SPANISH IV

(The Department)

The curriculum of this course provides the groundwork for consolidation of skills acquired in earlier courses. At this level we focus on strengthening the student’s ability to speak, as reading skills (reading out loud, reading comprehension, vocabulary work) are balanced with writing skills like spelling, grammar and syntax through drills and exercises as well as written compositions. To round out the students’ familiarity and enhance their proficiency with the material, we review old vocabulary and grammar paradigms and introduce new words and idioms.

 

SPANISH COMPOSITION THROUGH SHORT FICTION

(The Department)

Based on the reading and discussion of short literary selections (by authors such as Borges, Neruda, Cortázar, Unamuno, Esquivel, and Márquez) this course intends to improve active command of the language. While topics of intrinsic interest to students encourage class discussion and help reinforce grammar skills, particular emphasis is given to the practice of writing descriptive and narrative prose.

INTRODUCTION TO SPANISH LITERATURE

(The Department)

This course is a comfortable transition from colloquial to literary language. Short stories, fables, poems, and eventually a novel and a play are systematically read, discussed and analyzed. Our authors include Lorca, Matute, Neruda, and Sábato. Some critical and much creative writing is done throughout the year. An indepth review of grammar is offered if needed.

 

SPANISH & SPANISH-AMERICAN MASTERS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

(The Department)

The prose and poetry examined in this course—some of which students may already have read in translation—provides a comprehensive view of twentieth century Hispanic letters. Through the works of Borges, Unamuno, Martín Gaite, Fuentes, Márquez, Rulfo, Donoso, Cortázar, and Bolaño (among others), the course aims to stimulate the students’ interest in contemporary Hispanic literature and expand their knowledge of the language and culture.

 

ADVANCED READINGS IN SPANISH

(The Department)

Open to students who have successfully completed “Masters of the Twentieth Century,” this course focuses on the “Golden Age” of Spain through the works of Cervantes, Calderón, Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, Góngora, and Quevedo (among others). Our literary approach is complemented by a study of the famous artists of the time, such as El Greco, Velázquez, Zurbarán, Ribera, and Murillo.

 

SPANISH CONVERSATION

(The Department) (2x per week)

For juniors and seniors who have completed at least Spanish III, this course develops communicative proficiency. Placing special emphasis on practical vocabulary and enhancing the interactional use of the language, we try to build each student’s self-confidence and facility in speaking Spanish.