French 325

Français 325
French 325
Phonetics and Pronunciation
[fʁɑ̃.sɛ.tʁ̥wa.sɑ̃.vɛt̃ .sɛk̃ ]
Fall 2013, section 001
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 2:00 to 2:50
HHH 313
Professor Jessica Sertling Miller
[email protected]
Office HHH 355 – (715) 836-4267
Office hours: Mondays from 3:00 to 3:50; Fridays from 11:00 to 11:50
And also by appointment
Welcome to French 325! This course is designed to enhance students’ listening and
speaking skills through cultural audio exercises, phonetic transcriptions, and discussions
on French pronunciation rules and usage. These activities will help you see clear
relationships between spelling and pronunciation so that you can predict the correct
pronunciation of most words in French. This class also gives you a deeper understanding
of differences between the American and French sound systems.
French 325 is a combination of conscientious written and oral work in and out of the
classroom. This course introduces students to phonological theories highlighting ways to
infer pronunciation from spelling. Using phonetic transcription, i.e. a way to represent
sounds in writing, students can demonstrate their understanding of those rules. You will
learn to identify sounds that do not exist in your own phonological system, to correctly
place speech organs, and to evaluate your own pronunciation. At the same time, you will
learn aspects of francophone culture through the texts used in practice.
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French 325 aims at increasing students’ oral proficiency by helping them improve their
pronunciation for effective communication with native speakers. This course focuses on
the acquisition of strong oral and aural skills expected of advanced students who
understand the importance of correct pronunciation in the French cultural context, and
who are motivated to work and attain native-like pronunciation. To improve
comprehension and intelligibility, students will have opportunities to:
phonetically transcribe written and audio material
explain differences in the production of sounds of French and English
interpret and read phonetic transcriptions with native-like accuracy
continually increase oral proficiency level in spontaneous speech
distinguish formal and informal speech
identify features of non-standard dialects of French
To reach the course objectives, several resources are available. Take advantage of them!
Practicing reading, writing, speaking, and listening every day is necessary to succeed.
You will greatly benefit from exposure to authentic material.
a) Speak French: Learn more about the French Club activities (
You can also work with a classmate on homework and to prepare for exams. It
always helps to quiz each other and discuss difficult topics. You can read out loud
to practice pronunciation. “Le Monde” is a major newspaper and can be accessed
online. “Le Figaro” is a little more business-oriented. Search online for more.
b) Hear French: The site provides additional
information on French pronunciation, exercises, as well as listening samples of
many varieties of French. The McIntyre Library on campus and L.E. Phillips
Library downtown have a large selection of French-language films for free. The
Campus Film Series also regularly schedules foreign movies. Visit the video
sections of French television websites regularly: TF1, France 2, Canal +, M6, etc.
Hear live radio shows on the internet. RadioFrance offers a portal to several
stations. A popular RadioFrance station with young people is Le Mouv. Europe 1
offers various shows about current events and cultural matters. Many podcasts in
French are also available for free on the iTunes Music Store.
c) Meet your teacher: I would love to get to know you better so that I can adapt my
teaching to your learning style. Talk to me after class or email me for an
appointment at [email protected]
Français 325
Sons et Sens: la prononciation du français en contexte (Georgetown University Press,
2013) by A. Violin-Wigent, J. Miller, F. Grim. Course pack with textbook manuscript
and answer key on D2L.
Collins/Robert French Unabridged Dictionary, 8th Edition (Harpercollins Unabridged
Dictionaries): a must-have tool in your studies of French. Other dictionaries must be
approved by the instructor because they may not have accurate phonetic transcriptions.
Bring yours to class to check.
Material will be made available on D2L (, a way to
communicate and share files online. You can also access any lab off campus using lab
virtualization software (
Even though no printer is available in the language lab, printing in other labs is available
and free when you bring your own paper. You are encouraged to use scrap paper when
possible (the back side of discarded flyers, for example), even when your paper is turned
in for a grade. Help with technology can be found at
You will need to submit audio recordings for one oral exam. Software and microphones
are available at the language lab in HHH 311. Talk to a lab assistant for help with the
recording program Audacity. Recording and listening to your own speech is also helpful
for improvement. Lab availability varies from day to day, so plan ahead. You may also
use other campus labs ( or your personal equipment.
Certain guidelines apply in and outside the classroom to promote a respectful
environment favorable to learning.
You may address me as Madame Miller and use the pronominal “vous” form in
all your interactions with me.
Activities on electronic devices during class are not allowed.
Food, including gum, is not allowed. You should be ready to speak clearly at any
time. You may ring a bottle of water.
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Information related to deadlines for dropping a course with no record and for
withdrawing with a grade of W can be found at
Class time is more productive if students and teachers come on time and prepared.
Everyone is expected to enthusiastically contribute to this course by engaging in group
discussions and providing comments or asking questions at any time during class. It is by
coming to class prepared and participating that you will learn best and enjoy yourself.
Missing class or arriving late is detrimental to your progress and disturbs the class
dynamics. Visit for more details on
university policies, instructors’ and students’ responsibilities regarding attendance, and
what are considered authorized absences.
If you know ahead of time that you will miss class, whether authorized or not, notify me
at least 48 hours before your scheduled absence to make arrangements. For unexpected
issues, get in touch with me as soon as possible. You are responsible for catching up by
contacting a classmate and borrowing their notes before coming back to class.
Make-ups for missed activities will be provided only when due to an authorized absence.
It is the student’s responsibility to inform the instructor of such situations and to provide
appropriate documentation. Students will need to consult with the instructor regarding the
nature of the make-ups and due dates. Work that is late for non-authorized reasons will
not receive credit. Although students will not be penalized when absences are authorized,
it is important to understand that in some cases the make-up work may be significantly
different from the original assignment.
“Teaching, on its own, never causes learning. Only successful attempts by the learner to
learn cause learning. Achievement is the results of the learner successfully making sense of
the teaching.” (Wiggins & McTighe, Understanding by Design)
a) Homework
Succeeding in this course requires regular practice outside of the classroom.
Homework will consist of reading and listening to lessons and answering questions
linked to the reading. Grades are usually not assigned to homework, but because the
course schedule is crafted for students to have accomplished certain tasks on a
certain day, only those who complete the assignments with care will succeed. Your
overall grade will be directly affected by the effort you put into the homework.
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b) Transcriptions
Ten phonetic transcriptions will be turned in. The lowest grade will be dropped.
c) Table française and francophone films
Hearing conversational French and participating to a conversation table on a regular
basis is necessary to succeed. Some weeks you will watch a French-language film of
your choice (if possible, watch it with French subtitles), and other weeks you will
engage in conversation tables. Reflection on challenges and successes during those
conversations and film screenings is essential for progress.
d) In-class conversations
Students will lead in-class conversations on most Fridays. Everyone will come to
class ready with conversation topics. Half the class will be evaluated one week and
earn a grade, and the other half the following week.
e) Quizzes
Quizzes are based on the weekly lessons and homework, so ask questions in class to
make sure you understand the material. The lowest grade will be dropped.
f) Exams
One written and two oral exams will be given to evaluate your progress. Reflection
based on film screenings and conversations will be part of your evaluation.
g) Final exams
The final exams will consist of an oral exam and a take-home written exam similar
to those given during the semester.
The breakdown of your final course grade is as follows:
 Transcriptions: 10%
 Conversations: 20%
 Quizzes: 20%
 Exams: 20%
 Final exams: 30% (written 10%, oral 20%)
There will be no extra-credit opportunities.
A 93 – 100
A- 90 – 92.9
B+ 87 – 89.9
B 83 – 86.9
B- 80 – 82.9
C+ 77 – 79.9
C 73 – 76.9
C- 70 – 72.9
D+ 67 – 69.9
D 63 – 66.9
D- 60 – 62.9
F < 60
Your current course grade will be posted on the D2L course site regularly. Only you and
I have access to it. Feel free to ask any questions you may have about the grading
procedures, at any time during the semester, in person or by e-mail.
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Here is how A and C students are typically described. Which one describes you best?
What can you do to belong to the A category?
Behavioral Dimensions of Grades (
Ability (Talent)
"A" or "Outstanding Students "
"C" or "Average Students"
Have strong aptitude, motivation, or a
combination of both. This talent may
include either of both creativity and
organizational skills.
Vary greatly in aptitude. Some are quite talented, but their
success is limited by a lack of organizational skills and
motivation. Others are motivated but lack strong aptitude.
Never miss class. Their commitment to
the class resembles that of their
professor. Attending class is their
highest priority.
Periodically miss class and/or often late. They either place
other priorities, such as a job, ahead of class or have an
illness or family problem(s) that limit their success.
Show initiative. Their desire to excel
makes them do more work than is
Seldom show initiative. They never do more than is
required and sometimes do less.
Write well and speak confidently and
clearly. Their communication work is
well organized, covers all relevant
points, and is easy to listen to or read.
Do not speak or write particularly well. Their thought
processes lack organization and clarity. Their written
work may require a second reading by the professor to
comprehend its meaning.
Are visibly interested during class and
display this interest in the subject
matter through their questions.
Participate in class without enthusiasm, with indifference,
or even boredom. They show little, if any, interest in the
subject matter.
(=Ability +
Obtain the highest scores in the class.
They exhibit test-taking skills such as
an ability to budget their time and to
deal with test anxiety. They often
volunteer thoughtful comments and ask
interesting questions.
Are always prepared for class. They
always respond when called on. Their
attention to detail sometimes results in
catching text or teacher errors.
Obtain mediocre or inconsistent scores. They often do not
budget their time well on exams and may not deal well
with test anxiety. They rarely say much during class
discussion and their answers indicate a cursory
understanding rather than a mastery of material.
Learn concepts rather than details.
They are therefore better able to
connect past learning with presented
Memorize details rather than learn concepts. Since they
usually cram for tests, they perform relatively better on
short quizzes than on more comprehensive tests such as
the final exam.
Maintain a fixed study schedule. They
regularly prepare for each class no
matter what the assignment. They
average 3-4 hours of study for every
hour in class.
Study only under pressure. When no assignment is due,
they do not review or study. They average no more than
two hours of study in every class. They tend to cram for
Are not always prepared for class. They may not have
fully completed the assignment, have completed it in a
careless manner, or hand in their assignment late.
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I consider any academic misconduct in this course as a serious offense, and I will pursue
the strongest possible academic penalties for such behavior. The disciplinary procedures
and penalties for academic misconduct are described in the UWEC Student Services and
Standards Handbook in the section titled, “Chapter UWS 14—Student Academic
Disciplinary Procedures.” (
Any student who has a disability and is in need of classroom accommodations, please
contact the instructor and the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities in Old
Library 2136 at the beginning of the semester. Students must self-identify. The need for
special arrangements must first be documented before the instructor is allowed to
The final exam for this class will be communicated later and available on MyBlugold
CampS. If you have three or more exams on the same day, please contact one of your
instructors immediately to request an individual change of examination time. Approval
for an arranged change must be obtained from the Dean of the school in which the course
is offered. If a common exam causes three or more exams in one day, it is the
responsibility of the common exam instructor to arrange an alternative time.
TOPICAL OUTLINE OF THE SEMESTER (detailed schedule in French below)
Week 1: Introduction to phonemes
Week 2: Syllables
Week 3: Stress and intonation
Week 4: Consonants
Week 5: Stops and fricatives
Week 6: Liaison (“linking”)
Week 7: Nasal vowels
Week 8: Nasal consonants
Week 9: Vowels
Week 10: The letter <e> and the schwa vowel
Français 325
Week 11: Mid-vowels
Week 12: Liquid consonants
Week 13: Review through games
Week 14: High vowels
Week 15: Semi-vowels