|The purpose of this course was not
simply to introduce the student to the language of the French-speaking
world, but to bring the student to a personal familiarity with that world
through not merely the language but also through discussions about the
culture ... and what was usually the most exciting thing of all for our students,
the experience of having traveled there - at least for a short period of
French I - Conversations
The objective of this beginning course was to help the student develop strong French reading and speaking skills within the time span of a single school year. Students felt pushed. But the goal was to get their language up and running so that it was truly a workable instrument, able to get them around comfortably in the context of extended travel or mission work in France.
The student was expected to memorize as much as possible of each of the 16 conversations. These conversations formed an excellent framework for all sorts of different conversations the student might find himself or herself engaged in while in France.
During this first year, the student was introduced to (and tested on) virtually all of the major French grammar topics. Truly, the goal was to build in this single year a strong French language foundation for the student ... which they could then build on (most of my students took all four years of my French language development).
The material for this beginning course was drawn heavily from a wonderful old college textbook - long out of print: Julian Harris & André Lévêque's Basic Conversational French (Henry Holt, 1958). It was a bit old fashioned - in the sense of being founded in a very strong French cultural legacy - one that was/is (as with all things) being diluted rapidly by modern, secular, bland, international culture. When necessary the vocabulary was updated. But by and large, it represented the flavoring of an old noble French cultural legacy.
So - we had no textbooks, but rather a large number of handouts, all of which were also found on this website (which has been around for decades!). These proved to be be quite adequate to complete the task we set before us!
This section was included to
help the student with the trickier part of French usage ... the
variance of French verbs depending on the particular tense - both
regular and irregular verbs - and the variance of French pronouns
depending on their position in the sentence. The Reference
Section also includes a Paris Metro Map ... to acquaint the student
with the way he or she would be getting around on our class trips to
that beautiful city (we used no busses but only subway transportation ... both in Paris and London).
Just to add some flavor to things, some popular songs of years gone by (by musicians Edith Piaf and Joe Dassin), some Christmas Carols, the French National Anthem, and the Lord's Prayer were added to this site.
And finally, just for the sake
of some great memories, pictures from the six trips my students
took with me to Paris (and London) in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015 were also posted on this site.