A beginner’s introduction to French language and culture

Module details

  • Offered to 1st & 2nd Years
  • Monday or Tuesday 16.00-18.00 (depending on year of study)
  • Planned delivery: On campus (South Kensington)
  • 2 term module worth 7.5 ECTS
  • Not available as part of I-Explore
  • Extra Credit or Degree Credit where your department allows
Degree credit module options by departmentHow to enrol

A communicative module for absolute beginners offering an introduction to the language and culture of the French-speaking countries.

This module aims to : -

  • To give students with no previous knowledge of French an introduction to the everyday language spoken in the French speaking countries including a fairly wide range of vocabulary and basic structures
  • To develop all the fundamental language skills, i.e. reading, writing, listening and speaking
  • To offer students insight into culture and daily life in the French-speaking countries

By the end of the module, students should have reached approximately the A1+ level of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

To be eligible for this module you need to have no previous experience in learning French. 

Please note: This module is currently undergoing minor modifications and is therefore subject to change. 

Information blocks

Learning outcomes

Arc de Triomphe This module will equip you with the ability to:

  • Greet people and introduce yourself
  • Identify countries and nationalities
  • Give information on and enquire about profession, study and personal details
  • Describe friends and family
  • Deal with numbers, tell the time and the date
  • Interact in a simple way in everyday situations (in shops, restaurants, etc.)
  • Ask and give directions and describe places
  • Describe your home, rooms and basic furniture
  • Describe daily routine and interests
  • Express preferences
  • Request permission
  • Agree and disagree
  • Ask for information; understand and give instructions
  • Make appointments and bookings
  • Write a postcard or an email
  • Read some authentic material (e.g. advertisements relevant to the students)
  • Identify some of the social and cultural characteristics of French-speaking countries

Indicative core content

Versailles Basic linguistic structures to include:

  • Interrogatives
  • Present tense
  • Near future and perfect tense
  • Introduction to conditional
  • Reflexive verbs
  • Modal verbs (vouloir, devoir, pouvoir)
  • Introduction to imperative
  • Articles
  • Position and agreement of adjectives
  • Negative form ne..pas
  • Possessive and demonstrative adjectives
  • Prepositions
  • Introduction to direct and indirect pronouns
  • Numbers
  • Simple expressions of time


  • Social interaction
  • Everyday life and objects
  • Work, training and professions
  • The home and the family
  • Holidays and leisure time, travel, eating and drinking
  • Giving and understanding information
  • Opinions
  • Features of modern life
  • Selected cultural areas and personalities of the French-speaking countries 

Learning and teaching approach

Weekly in-class activities cover reading, writing, listening and speaking. Learning will involve pair work, group work, and individual tasks and will include critical evaluation of texts, audio and video material. A range of weekly homework tasks give you the opportunity to revise and consolidate knowledge and skills.

All pieces of coursework are marked and returned within two weeks. Detailed feedback is provided for each individual section of the coursework, giving the correct answer along with suggestions for improvement.  Generic feedback on each individual piece of coursework is also provided in class.


  • Coursework: Set of tasks - grammar, reading and 100 word writing piece (20%)
  • Coursework: Project based - speaking (2-minute pre-recorded oral presentation) and 100 word writing piece (20%)
  • Examination: 1-hour Written Exam - grammar, vocabulary, listening and 100 word writing piece (20%)
  • Examination: 1-hour Written Exam - grammar, vocabulary, listening and 120 word writing piece (20%)
  • Practical: approx. 10-minute Oral Exam - presentation and unprepared dialogue (20%)

Key information

  • 7.5 ECTS points awarded on successful completion of the module.
  • Available to take for credit towards your degree where your department allows. Also available for extra-credit.
  • You must be prepared to attend all classes and and undertake approximately 3 hours of private study each week in addition to the assessment.

Course book: French 1 by Dounia Bissar, Helen Phillips and Cécile Tschirhart, Palgrave Macmillan, Third edition, 2016 - ISBN-13: 978-1137579195- supported by audio-visual material and online resources:
Grammar support:  French Grammar Revision - Mille et un points, by Neil Creighton, Nelson Thornes; New Ed edition (2 May 2000) - ISBN-13: 978-0174444602

"The course was very well taught, and the feedback was very helpful. "