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Portraits of the French language



Portraits of the French language

First or second semester

6 credits


100% coursework


FREN2002 or equivalent



Hours per week:

2 hrs/week

Contact hours:

24 hours

Total learning hours:

120 hours

The way the French language developed from Vulgar Latin to its current state today is a long and fascinating process in which historical events, political decisions, colonial expansion, societal and cultural changes all play a part. This course explores the development of the French language from its origins to the present days and reviews significant moments of its formation and evolution. The course will use a selection of French texts from various periods to illustrate historical and cultural changes in the French language. In addition, participants will also discuss the issues of standard and norms, the proximity with other languages such as English, as well at the varieties of French spoken and written in France and in the francophone world.


To familiarize students with the formation and development of the French language; To investigate historical, cultural and societal issues pertaining to the French language; To develop students’ appreciation of the French language through texts; To expand French language proficiency in the various skills.

Learning outcomes

1) Demonstrate an understanding of key events that shaped the French language. 2) Demonstrate the ability to understand, analyse critically and discuss perceptively issues related to the development of the French language. 3) Demonstrate the ability to read French texts of different periods.

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