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FR266 Introduction to French Linguistics

Module Code: FR266
Module Name: Introduction to French Linguistics
Module Coordinator: Dr Will Amos
Term 2
Module Credits: 15 CATS

Module Description

This module introduces students to the major sub-fields within theoretical and applied linguistics. Stretching your understanding of French beyond its use as a mere tool of communication and means of cultural production, you will consider the nuts and bolts of the language, and how it is created, structured, and interpreted. This module offers you a unique opportunity to look under the bonnet of the language you are learning. For instance, where do meanings come from, and how does a language make new words for new things? How does French vary in different places, and according to who is speaking, the situation they are in, and whom they are addressing? What is the relationship between the spoken and written forms, and how does this affect our understanding of 'language'? What the heck are syntax, morphology, and how are they relevant to language learning?
Topics include:
  • etymology - where words come from and how new ones are created
  • semantics - how meaning is created within and behind words
  • morphology - how language is structured within word units
  • syntax - how language is structured within sentence segments
  • phonetics - how speech sounds are created and transcribed
  • phonolgy - how sounds construct meaning within systems of language
  • sociolinguistics - how users express their language based on personal characteristics, audience, and social phenomena

We will study the fundamental theories and emerging ideas within these areas of linguistics, and build up a greater understanding of how French works, and where, how, and why it varies. In addition to analysing the language critically and scientifically, this will broaden your understanding of French as it is currently developing, and equip you with the tools to recognise, describe, and improve your own mastery of the language ahead of the year abroad and your final year.

Module reading list

The essential readings for this module are available online as e-books, as well as most of the recommended reading. Click hereLink opens in a new window to access the reading list.

Mode of delivery

Term 2. 1-hour in-person lecture + 1-hour in person seminar.


  • Summative essay of 2000 - 2500 words (60%)
  • 1-hour exam composed of short answers, transcriptions, and diagram drawing. Completed in-person during the summer assessment period (40%)

Dr Will Amos

Module coordinator:

Dr Will Amos