Description of Modern French - FREN5990

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


Written and spoken French are now, arguably, so far apart as to constitute distinct varieties. Unlike most French modules, this module will take the latter as its starting point. The phonology (sound system) will first be explored, and basic transcription skills acquired, with consideration of recent and ongoing changes in the general system known as français standard. The module will then move on to consider the gap between written and spoken French grammar, notably in such areas as the tense/mood system, morphosyntax or pronouns, grammatical gender and agreement, and verb classification. The treatment of neologisms, and particularly the status of franglais in contemporary French, will also be considered. Although the module will provide students with some basic tools of linguistic description, no background in Linguistics is required or assumed.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Private Study Hours: 130
Total Study Hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Essay (2,000 words) – 40%
Group presentation (20 minutes) – 20%
Examination (2 hours) – 40%

Reassessment methods
Reassessment Instrument: 100% Coursework

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices. The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Read International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) script, and produce a broad phonemic transcription of spoken French;
2 Confidently use and understand the basic vocabulary of general linguistics as applied to French (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, register etc.);
3 Critically evaluate the views of linguists and non-linguists regarding change in the modern language;
4 Comment authoritatively on variation within the French language (with regards to differences in prestige, style, register, spoken v. written usage etc.).

9. The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Communicate effectively and work as part of a team;
2 Write cogent, well-constructed essays supported by textual evidence;
3 Give presentations and run seminars independently;
4 Reflect on their own learning, plan their use of time, and identify appropriate directions for further study;
5 Synthesise and critically evaluate information from a number of sources;
6 Make effective use of information technology (e.g. word processing, library searches).


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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