FREN1009     Elementary French I             Automne 2017     
Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
                  BOSTON COLLEGE


INSTRUCTORS: Sections 1 & 3: 
Bryant White
Section 2:
Andréa Javel
Sections 4 & 6:
Giuliana La Rosa
Sections 5 & 7:
Claire Gutowksy
Class times: M-W-F
9 & 11 am
10 am
12 & 1
12 & 2 pm

Lyons 204a

E-mail: bryant.white@


Office hours:
M-W- F
9:15 - 9:45
1:00 - 2:30




Lyons 204A



Mon, Wed & Fri 9:15 - 9:45 & 1:00 - 2:30
(and by appointment

WEB SITE: (Links to on-line  syllabi, worksheets and study guides for tests).

Texts: 1) Débuts: an Introduction to French.  (3rd edition) Siskin, Williams and Field, New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009.  There are copies of the text on 2-hour reserve at O'Neill Library and in the Boston College Language Laboratory in Lyons 313, if you are unable to purchase your textbook right away. 
2) Quia Online Workbook / Laboratory Manual Part 1 to accompany DébutsSiskin, Williams, Virtue and Leahy, New York: McGraw-Hill 2009.  This may only be purchased at and is not included with the textbook. 

Questionnaire: Click here to access a questionnaire on your background in French. Please take a moment to fill it in and then turn it in to your instructor.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: You may have chosen French because your grandparents speak it, or because of an interest in Impressionist art, European history, French literature, fashion, avant-garde cinema, travel, French cuisine or because you watched the Tour de France or the French Open this summer. Whatever the reason (perhaps just to fulfill the requirement), it may seem like an exciting, yet daunting task. The objective of this course is to lay the foundation for acquiring proficiency in French and to prepare you to succeed in Intermediate French next year or in study abroad next summer.  To this end, Elementary French is film-based and conducted primarily in French, with extensive visuals to reinforce comprehension. The film, called Le Chemin du retour or The Road Home, is the story of a young French woman, Camille, in search of her roots.  There is a family secret to be uncovered with possibly disastrous consequences.  Camille's investigation will take her from modern day France back to World War II.  In between,  you will have the opportunity to learn about her everyday life, her family and to visit some of the most beautiful neighborhoods of Paris.  The textbook and workbook are carefully coordinated to present, reinforce and explore the vocabulary and grammatical structures used by the film's characters and necessary for proficiency.  In class activities, as well as those in the workbook, will allow you to personalize this vocabulary and grammar and to emerge with the confidence you need to interact in French in the classroom and beyond. What lies beyond the classroom is the French speaking world (le monde francophone). It is also our goal to introduce you to this world, be it through the many resources available on campus, in the greater Boston area and on the Internet. This contact with Francophone culture will reinforce your cultural competence and deepen your understanding of other disciplines studied at Boston College. 

PREREQUISITES AND PLACEMENT: This is a beginning course for those who have not studied French previously, or who have a very minimal background and have been placed at this level by the Department of Romance Languages' computer placement exam. Students who have had French before and have not taken the Placement Test must take it during the drop/add period ending September 6, 2017. Access the Department's website for the link to the Placement Exam.  A student having placed into Elementary French through the placement exam must show proof of such to his/her instructor.  Upon completion of the test, students receive an e-mail copy of their score.  This score can be printed and presented to the instructor or forwarded through e-mail.

THE ELEMENTARY FRENCH I PRACTICUM: If you are a true beginner, have struggled with foreign languages in the past or want further reinforcement of grammatical structures and vocabulary studied in FREN1009 , we highly recommend that you enroll in the Elementary French I Practicum (FREN1011).  It takes place once a week, on Tuesdays. You can choose between the 11:00 and the 12:00 sections.  Sections are limited to 10 students.  Click here for further information.

Need more exposure to the French language and culture?
Attend one of the many activities sponsored by La Maison française in Voute Hall at 110 Commonwealth Avenue.   Follow La Maison française on Twitter, "like" it on Facebook or follow Maison's blog.  See information below.
Twitter: bcmaisonfr
Facebook: Blog:

Want to spend next summer in France? Click here!

GRADING:                                         (percent of final grade)

Class participation and homework :


Cahier (workbook): Chapitre préliminaire - Chapitre 11


Cinémathèques (2)


TV5 Monde (3)

Mid-term online oral test


3 tests* (listening comprehension + writing)


Film critique


Final exam (written)


CLASS PARTICIPATION AND ABSENCE POLICY: Since learning to communicate in French requires regular oral practice, the Department allows only three (3) unexcused absences per term. Subsequent missed classes, unless officially excused by the Dean's Office, will result in point loss from the Class Participation grade. Students are wholly responsible for making up any missed work promptly following an absence. Late work will NOT be accepted. In order to excel in class participation and to make the most of this course, students must be present and must have prepared the items indicated on the syllabus for a given day.  The use of cell phones for texting in class is detrimental to effective class participation and will result in a lower class participation grade. 

TESTS AND MAKE-UP POLICY: There will be three unit tests during the semester; each covering material studied over the course of 3 chapters.  The first test will cover the Chapitre préliminaire and Chapters 1 and 2.  The second, on Chapters 3 - 5 and the third on Chapters 6 - 8.  Chapters 9 - 11 will be covered this semester, but students will be tested on this information on the Final Exam.  Tests will include listening and written components.  The lowest test grade will be dropped.  No makeup tests will be given, except for medical reasons. A written excuse from a physician or the Dean's office must be provided.

WORKBOOK AND LAB MANUAL: The Quia online workbook and lab manual provides oral and written exercises that correspond to work covered in each lesson in the text. Completed workbook assignments are to be submitted online on dates indicated in the syllabus below.  On the first day of class, your instructor will provide an instruction sheet and the course code associated with your class, so that you can set up your workbook account online. If you miss the first day of class, please contact your instructor by e-mail.

CINÉMATHÈQUE: Cinema provides language immersion, cultural information, historical data and a unique opportunity to develop a feel for the language as it is spoken by natives. Students are required to see 3 French or Francophone films of their own choosing during the fall semester and will fill out and hand in a Fiche technique on two of the films they have seen. (Students will do a film critique on the third film. See description below.) Films may be checked out of the O'Neill Media Lab, viewed on campus at the Maison Française, at local cinemas or at home. American movies dubbed in French do not qualify, i.e. the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast.  On the other hand, Jean Cocteau's surrealist version of the same story, La Belle et la Bête is an excellent choice.  

Recommended films: French language films available at O'Neill Library.  Many French films are also available on Netflix or Amazon Prime.  There are usually a number of French films playing at cinemas in the Boston area, as well as at the Museum of Fine Arts, as well.  Consult the local newspaper or for listings.

TV5 MONDE, Ateliers (workshops): On this website there are 31 ateliers for débutants (beginners).  You will do three of them over the course of the semester.  Watch the video several times and use the script to read aloud with the speaker during your second viewing.  Then do the exercises that follow and read the brief “memos” and play one of the games.  Take screen shots of your results and drag them into a Google Doc.  Share your document with your instructor by putting it in your personal Elementary French I folder. 

A list of the countries that make up "la Francophonie".

MID-TERM ONLINE ORAL TEST: This test will consist of 6 oral questions.  Expect personal questions (not too personal) which draw upon the broad themes and contexts discussed in Chapitres préliminaire - 7.  The test will take place on either Wednesday, November 1 or Friday, November 3 (check the syllabus for your instructor's last name in the syllabus on those dates) in the Language Laboratory, Lyons 313. Please state your name at the beginning of your recording. You will be graded on the appropriateness of your response (i.e., did you answer the question?), accurate use of grammar, appropriate vocabulary and pronunciation. 

FILM CRITIQUE: Students are required to see at least one French language film at the Maison Française, at the O'Neill Media Lab, at the cinema or at home and to write a short critique of the film IN FRENCH.  The Film Critique is to be handed in through Google Drive.  Film critique guidelines.

FINAL EXAM: A two hour written exam based on Chapters 1-11 and the first 11 episodes of the film, Chemin du retour, will be given on Saturday, December 16, 2017 from 4 to 6 p.m. Please note that this date and time is different from that given in the course guide. Students with two or more exams on that date may sign up to take the Makeup (date and time to be announced). Please note that the date of the makeup is always after the scheduled exam time. There will be no exceptions.

WE CARE ABOUT ACADEMIC INTEGRITY; YOU SHOULD TOO. Plagiarism is a serious issue and is treated as such.   Any and all work submitted in this course must be each student's own work.  Submitting work done by another student, all or in part and/or work taken verbatim from another source is considered to be plagiarism.  Plagiarism or cheating can lead to disciplinary action involving the student's Dean.  Doing your own work on assignments will ensure that you make the progress required to succeed in Elementary French II and beyond.  The use of Google Translator or other online translation sites is strictly forbidden as this also constitutes an academic integrity issue.  Use of an online translator is quite often readily apparent to your instructor. Wikipedia can provide an overall idea on a topic, but should not be relied upon as a source.  Copying from Wikipedia word-for-word IS plagiarism and can lead to sanctions. The use of online dictionaries such as is allowed.  Click here for a quiz on what constitutes a breach of academic integrity.  Once you have completed the quiz, sign it and submit share it with your instructor on Google Drive.  This quiz is mandatory and will constitute part of your participation grade.

Academic Integrity

Boston College values the academic integrity of its students and faculty. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the university’s policy on academic integrity. Violations of academic integrity will be reported to your class dean and judged by the academic integrity committee in your school. If you are found responsible for violating the policy, penalties may include a failing grade as well as possible probation, suspension, or expulsion, depending on the seriousness and circumstances of the violation.


Students with Disabilities

If you are a student with a documented disability seeking reasonable accommodations in this course, please contact Kathy Duggan, (617) 552-8093,, at the Connors Family Learning Center regarding learning disabilities and ADHD, or Paulette Durrett, (617) 552-3470,, in the Disability Services Office regarding all other types of disabilities, including temporary disabilities. Advance notice and appropriate documentation are required for accommodations.

Learn how to do accents on your computer...

In computing grades, the following numerical equivalents for the 12 letter grades will be used:

A 4.00 (95 -100)

B- 2.67 (80 - 82)

D+ 1.33 (67 - 69)

A- 3.67 ( 91 - 94)

C+ 2.33 (77 - 79)

D1.00 (64 - 66)

B+ 3.33 (87 - 90)

C 2.00  (74 -76)

D-0.67 (60 - 63)

B 3.00 (83 - 86)

C- 1.67 (70 - 73)

F 0.00 (below 60)

Language Lab Hours:
Sundays 1 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Mondays - Thursdays 8 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Fridays 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.


MATERIAL TO BE READ and/or COVERED (Tests are in bold.):

Pages to be read, structures to be studied and items to be handed in are listed below.

Mon - August 28   

Introduction au cours, au film & Chapitre préliminaire

Wed - August 30

Chapitre préliminaire: les salutations, les nombres, qui est-ce? qu'est-ce que c'est? 

  • Lisez (read) les pages 1 - 10.

Fri - Sept. 1

Culture: Le français dans le monde

Mon - Sept. 4
Fête du travail, pas de cours! 

Wed-Sept 6
(Last date for undergraduate students to drop/add or to declare a course pass/fail in UIS)

Chapitre 1: l'alphabet
Episode 1: Un grand jour pour Rachid et Yasmine Bouhazid

  • Lisez les pages 18 - 23.
  • Préparez les activités "Avant de visionner", p. 23.

Fri- Sept 8

Chapitre 1: le verbe être, la négation

  • Lisez les pages 25 - 28.
  • Étudiez les Structures 3 et 4.

Mon-Sept 11

Chapitre 1: Les questions avec l'intonation et avec est-ce que

Culture: Le système d'éducation en France et dans le monde francophone

  • Lisez les pages 29 - 33. 
  • Étudiez la Structure 5. 
  • Préparez «À vous» (A & B), p. 33 à rendre (to be handed in)
  • Cahier: chapitre 1

Wed-Sept 13

Chapitre 2: Adjectifs, l'accord et le désaccord
Episode 2: Bonjour!  Camille Leclair et Bruno Gall

  • Lisez les pages 35 - 38.
  • Préparez l'activité "Avant de visionner" p. 39

Fri-Sept 15

Chapitre 2: La description, les verbes en "er" au présent
Culture: Perceptions et réalités

  • Lisez les pages 41 à 48.
  • Étudiez les Structures 6 et 7.

Mon-Sept 18

Chapitre 2: Adjectifs (B.A.G.S. = Beauty, age, goodness and size)
Lecture (reading): Jolie Louise

Wed-Sept 20

Contrôle nº 1

Review sheet: Contrôle (test) 1

Fri-Sept. 22

Chapitre 3: les nationalités, les régions et les langues
Episode 3: Le médaillon (the locket)

  • Lisez les pages 56 - 60.
  • Préparez l'activité "Avant de visionner" p. 61.
  • TV5 Monde/Atelier pour débutants au choix.

Mon-Sept 25

Chapitre 3: le futur proche (aller + infinitif), n'est-ce pas?
Culture: La communication non-verbale

  • Lisez les pages 63 - 67.
  • Étudiez les Structures 9 et 10.

Wed-Sept 27

Chapitre 3: le verbe "venir" et "venir de"
Culture: La communication interculturelle

Fri- Sept 29

Chapitre 4: la famille de Bruno, le jour, la date
Episode 4: Une nouvelle vie à Paris

  • Lisez les pages 74 - 81.
  • Préparez l'activité "Avant de visionner", p. 81.

Mon-Oct 2
(Last date for undergraduates to drop a course or to declare a course pass/fail in the Associate Dean's Offices.)

Chapitre 4: la possession, le verbe "avoir"
Culture: La diversité de la France

Wed-Oct 4

Chapitre 4: questions
Lecture: La famille française du XXIème siècle

Fri-Oct 6

Chapitre 5: la maison et l'heure
Episode 5: Secrets (dans la famille Leclair)

  • Lisez les pages 96 - 103.
  • Préparez l'activité "Avant de visionner", p. 103.

Mon-Oct 9

Columbus Day!  No class!

Wed-Oct 11

Chapitre 5: le verbe "faire", adjectifs interrogatifs et démonstratifs (quel, ce)
Culture: La famille

  • Lisez les pages 104 - 109.
  • Étudiez les Structures 15 & 16.
  • TV5 Monde/Atelier pour débutants au choix.

Fri-Oct 13

Chapitre 5: masculin, féminin, pluriels irréguliers
Culture: La famille, la communauté et les fêtes

Mon-Oct 16

Contrôle nº 2

Review sheet, Contrôle (test) nº 2. 

Wed-Oct 18

Chapitre 6: la mode, les vêtements, les couleurs
Episode 6: Bonjour, grand-père!

  • Lisez les pages 116 - 121.
  • Préparez l'activité "Avant de visionner", p. 121.

Fri-Oct 20

Chapitre 6: les verbes "pouvoir" et "vouloir"
Culture: Les habits et la mode

  • Lisez les pages 123 - 129.
  • Étudiez les Structures 18 et 19.

Mon-Oct 23

Chapitre 6: Les pronoms interrogatifs
Lecture: Le langage silencieux des vêtements

Wed-Oct 25

Chapitre 7: Vocabulaire pour faire des achats
Episode 7: Préparatifs - Camille au marché de la rue Mouffetard

Fri-Oct 27

Chapitre 7: l'article partitif, le complément d'objet indirect
Culture: Le marché et la cuisine

  • Lisez les pages 142 - 149.
  • Étudiez les Structures 21 et 22.

Mon-Oct 30

Chapitre 7: verbes de tous les jours - prendre, mettre, boire
Culture: Cuisines du monde francophone

Wed-Nov 1

MID-TERM ONLINE ORAL TEST IN LANGUAGE LAB Lyons 313 for students of the following instructors:  JAVEL, WHITE and LA ROSA's students)


Chapitre 8: les repas en France
Episode 8: C'est loin tout ça.  Louise et son passé.  (Professor Gutowksy students.)

Professor GUTOWSKY's students only:

  • Lisez les pages 156 - 162.
  • Préparez l'activité "Avant de visionner", p. 162.

Fri-Nov 3

MID-TERM ONLINE ORAL TEST IN LANGUAGE LAB Lyons 313!  (Instructor GUTOWSKY'S students only)


Chapitre 8: les repas en France
Episode 8: C'est loin tout ça.  Louise et son passé.  (Professor JAVEL, WHITE AND DE ROSA'S students.)

Professor WHITE, JAVEL AND LA ROSA'S students only:

  • Lisez les pages 156 - 162.
  • Préparez l'activité "Avant de visionner", p. 162.

Mon-Nov 6

Chapitre 8: verbes réguliers en "re", l'impératif  (donner des ordres)
Culture: Principes de conversation

  • Lisez les pages 163 -169.
  • Étudiez les Structures 24 et 25.

Wed-Nov 8

Chapitre 8: verbes de tous les jours - sortir, dormir, partir, etc.
Lecture: Familiale de Jacques Prévert

  • Étudiez la Structure 26 à la page 169.
  • Lisez les pages 170 - 173.
  • Préparez les activités B & C par écrit à rendre.
  • Cahier: chapitre 8
Fri - Nov 10
Contrôle nº 3 Review Sheet - Test 3

Mon-Nov 13

Chapitre 9: les parties du corps et la santé
Episode 9: Inquiétudes

  • Lisez les pages 175 - 180.
  • Préparez l'activité "Avant de visionner", pp. 179 - 180.

Wed-Nov 15

Chapitre 9: le complément d'objet direct, les verbes pronominaux pour parler de la routine
Culture: La santé en France

  • Lisez les pages 181 - 187.
  • Étudiez les Structures 27 et 28.
  • Préparez l'activité A, p. 187 - 188.
  • TV5 Monde/Atelier pour débutants au choix.

Fri-Nov 17 

Chapitre 9: le verbe "devoir" pour parler des obligations
Culture: La santé dans le monde

Mon-Nov 20

Chapitre 10: les distractions en ville, le temps, les saisons
Episode 10: Rendez-vous au restaurant.  Camille et Bruno sortent. 

  • Lisez les pages 195 - 201.
  • Préparez l'activité "Avant de visionner", pp. 201 - 202.

Wed Nov 22 - Fri 24

THANKSGIVING!  Mangez bien!

Mon-Nov 27
( Last date for official withdrawal from a course or from the university)
Chapitre 10: le passé composé pour parler des événements au passé
Culture: Les cafés et les restaurants
  • Lisez les pages 203 - 208.
  • Étudiez les Structures 30 et 31.
  • Préparez les activités A & B, pp. 204 - 205. 

Wed-Nov 29

( Last date for official withdrawal from a course or from the university)

Chapitre 10: des verbes de tous les jours - voir, croire et recevoir
Lecture: La Deuxième Guerre mondiale, les Français et l'Occupation.

Fri-Dec 1

Chapitre 11: les métiers et les professions, les jours fériés, les nombres ordinaux
Episode 11: De quoi as-tu peur? 

Mon-Dec 4

Chapitre 11: le passé composé avec être

  • Lisez les pages 221 - 225
  • Étudiez les Structure 33.
  • Préparez les activités A & B, p. 222 - 223.
  • FILM CRITIQUE à rendre.

Wed-Dec 6

Chapitre 11: des verbes de tous les jours en «ir»

  • Lisez les pages 226 - 228.
  • Étudiez la Structure  34.
  • Préparez les activiés A & B, p. 222 - 223.
  • Cahier: chapitre 11
Fri-Dec 8
RÉVISION pour l'examen final
Episodes 1 à 11.


Tues-Dec 12

General review, all sections - 12:00 to 1:00,  place TBA.

Sat - Dec 16

Check Agora for location.

Tues-Dec 19

Make-up exam

For students who have 3 exams on December 16.