Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 4 sessions / week, 1 hour / session

Additional lab work is also required.

Course Objectives

This is an introductory course that is conducted entirely in French. The goals for this semester are:

  1. To be able to understand, speak, write and read in the present, future and past tenses about such topics as you and your family, food, travel, hobbies, your daily present and past activities and your environment. Emphasis will also be placed on how to interact with different people in different contexts.
  2. To be able to write short compositions about the topics above, without the use of a dictionary.
  3. To become acquainted with French and Francophone customs, history and civilization on a simple scale.
  4. To develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for your own culture as well as others.


21G.301/351 is a beginning level course designed for students who have no prior knowledge of French.

Course Requirements

A. Content

We will cover the preliminary chapter and the next 7 chapters (chapters 1 through 7) of your textbook. (The following 6 chapters will be covered in French 21G.302.)

You will also be working, on your own, on the corresponding audio and written portions of your Cahier d'activités.

B. Attendance and Participation

You are expected to attend all class meetings and to participate actively. Your ability to speak, write and understand French can be only developed and improved through daily individual work, and in-class intensive practice. More than 4 unexcused absences will significantly affect your final grade in the course. Regular late arrivals will also affect your final grade. Should you miss class, it is your responsibility to find out what was done in class, what handouts were given, what the next assignment is, etc.

C. Homework

You are expected to do the assigned homework so that you can participate actively in all course activities, group work, etc. Coming to class fully prepared will help you have a rewarding and productive experience.

For every chapter, you will receive a detailed syllabus outlining the work for the following weeks. Therefore, your assignments will be announced ahead of time. They will include:

  • Studying the vocabulary and grammar in the textbook Parallèles.
  • Completing the assigned written exercises. Completing all the "Compréhension auditive" exercises and the revision exercises in the Cahier d'activités from the audio CDs that accompany each chapter.
  • Writing and correcting short compositions.

You are expected to submit written assignments on time.

Note: Please be aware that you will need to dedicate one or two hours of homework per class.

Additional Preparation and Resources

  • Do as many of the CD-ROM activities as you wish (they will be optional but they do provide good reinforcement).
  • Listen to the vocabulary cassettes/audio CDs. They offer very good pronunciation practice.
  • A French tutor will be available during the semester to provide you with help in pronunciation and writing (more information will be available on this subject soon).
  • Please check the MIT French web page for regular updates on the program, French resources, as well as useful information about available French grants and fellowships for both undergraduate and graduate students.

The LLARC (Language Learning and Resource Center)

For the pronunciation and listening comprehension activities, you will need to go to the LLARC, i.e. Language Learning and Resource Center, and borrow the corresponding cassettes/CDs/CD-ROMs. Please check directly with the LLARC for their opening hours.

Additional audio CDs containing a reading of each "lecture" will also be available for you at the LLARC (they also come in your book package). You are required to listen to these daily.

D. Exams

Six exams, which are all required, will be scheduled throughout the semester. If you miss any exam and want to make it up, you need to make arrangements with the professor ahead of time. If you miss any exam because of an illness or an accident, you or someone on your behalf needs to call the office the day the exam is administered in order to be allowed to make it up later. Make-ups will not be allowed if this procedure is not strictly respected. There is no final exam.



Grades will be based on class work and participation, two short oral presentations, attendance, homework including lab work, compositions, and six exams.

Grading Procedure

Six Exams 40%
Compositions 20%
Homework 20%
Attendance and Participation 20%