Beginning French I

I.     Course Prefix/Number: FRE 101

       Course Name: Beginning French I

       Credits: 4 (3 lecture; 2 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course develops basic language skills within the context of cultures of French-speaking countries. Content include pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, reading, listening comprehension, and oral and written communication. No prior study of the language presumed. Recommended that experienced students discuss proper placement with instructor.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Actively communicate in French, making spontaneous use of structures and vocabulary studied.
  2. Demonstrate an appreciation of contemporary French culture through written and aural class work.
  3. Demonstrate spoken French in everyday contexts through responding to simple basic questions.
  4. Illustrate reading comprehension through answering relevant questions on uncomplicated selections.
  5. Use elements of beginning grammar through short listening, spoken, and written exercises.
  6. Write simple sentences within the context of what has been studied.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

Week Lesson Topics Exams
1-2 1 Introduction to course objectives and policies

Grammar & Concepts: Greeting people, introducing yourself, Formality, Nationality, Pronunciation: Silent Letters.

Grammar & Concepts: Numbers from 0 to 12, Accents, Talking about Time, Pronunciation: French Vowels.

Vocabulary: Greeting people, introducing yourself, Nationality, Numbers from 0 to 12, Time.

Communicative topics & Culture: A Votre Tour (It's Your Turn: Exercises in listening, Directed Conversations, Free Oral Expression, and Writing): Introductions, Time, Meeting a new student at the French Club.
3 2 Grammar & Concepts: Acquaintances and friends, Gender: Definite articles, Indefinite articles, Possessive articles, Pronunciation: Linking words, Cognates, Pronunciation of French vs. English.

Vocabulary: Acquaintances and friends, Cognates.

Communicative topics & Culture: Preferences, A Votre Tour: Recognizing Gender in speech, Exchanging information about people.
4-5 3 Grammar & Concepts: Chapter 2: "How are you?" You: Familiar vs. Formal, Greeting in France, Talking about your studies, Contracting words (élision), Numbers 13 to 60, French telephone numbers, French intonation.

Vocabulary: "How are you?" expressions, Talking about your studies, Names of school subjects, Numbers 13 to 60, In the Café, the Euro,

Communicative topics & Culture: Communication of time and minutes, A Votre Tour: French Cell phone numbers, Time, Greeting a new university student, Vie Pratique (Practical Cultural Information): In the Café, the Euro, Images du Monde Francophone (Views of the Francophone World): French as an International Language, Where French is spoken, Who speaks French?
6-7 4 Grammar & Concepts: The verb être and subject pronouns, prepositions and conjunctions (and/or), regular -er verbs, negations, conversation words (Yes! Sure! etc.), the multi-purpose pronoun 'on.'

Vocabulary: the verb -être, prepositions and conjunctions, conversation words.

Communicative topics & Culture: Studying in Québec, Québec and its history, A Votre Tour: Discerning affirmative and negative constructions, Introductory Conversation practice, Interviewing international students, Writing about student life.
8-9 5 Grammar & Concepts: French Language: Questions about what you do and like to do, -er verbs, Forming questions with 'Est-ce que,' Adverbs, Infinitive Constructions (aimer + infinitive) and infinitive constructions with negation, Invitations, Days of the week.

Vocabulary: -er verbs, Adverbs, Infinitive Constructions (aimer + infinitive) and infinitive constructions with negation, Invitations, Days of the week.

Communicative topics & Culture: Student life in Dakar, Sénégal, Dakar and Sénégal culture and history, A Votre Tour: Activity comprehension, Meeting a Senegalese student, Sports discussion, Writing about yourself.
10 6 Grammar & Concepts: Chapter 4: Interrogative words and questions, Questions with 'Qui' and 'Que' (who and whom), Independent pronouns.

Vocabulary: Chapter 4: Interrogative words, date, months, and seasons, Communication (telephone) vocabulary, Classroom commands and vocabulary.

Communicative topics & Culture: Geneva, Switzerland, Geneva and Swiss culture and history, A Votre Tour: Listening to interrogative expressions, Talking to an exchange student from Switzerland, Conversation about birthdays, Writing about yourself, Cell phones, Images du Monde Francophone: Geography, government, and economy, Multicultural France, religion in France, Holidays and important events on the French calendar, Interlude Littéraire (Literary Moment): René Philombe, African writer.
11-12 7 Grammar & Concepts: The verb avoir, expressions with avoir, singular and plural of nouns and definite and indefinite articles, the indefinite article with negative expressions, the expression il y a (there is, there are).

Vocabulary: avoir and avoir expressions, personal possession vocabulary.

Communicative topics& Culture: Life of a Senegalese student, Distinction between friends and acquaintances in France (in more depth), A Votre Tour: Listening to people talking about objects, Conversation about sharing an apartment, Interviewing people about electric equipment, Writing a letter about your personal situation.
13-14 8 Grammar & Concepts: regular adjective formation, irregular adjective formation, adjective placement, adjectives that precede nouns, il est vs. c'est.

Vocabulary: adjectives of nationality, people and descriptions of them, adjectives to express opinion.

Communicative topics & Culture: In the outdoor Café, the French and movies, Recognizing gender of adjectives when speaking, Listening to someone talk about someone studying in Paris, Talking about movies, Writing a description of a friend.
15-16 9 Grammar & Concepts: Usage of the definite article in the general sense, prepositions à and de + the definite article (à + le = au, etc.), verbs: jouer and penser, the verb aller, the immediate future tense (aller + the infinitive), the preposition chez.

Vocabulary: verbs: jouer and penser, sports, games, and music vocabulary, city building vocabulary, getting around vocabulary, city vocabulary, getting city information, signs.

Communicative topics & Culture: Music and the young French and music, Recognizing present or future events when speaking, talking about vacation plans, Weather and activities you do depending on the weather, Writing about life on campus, French city information, Images du Monde Francophone: Overseas French possessions, Francophone author Aimé Césaire and thoughts on being "Black," Paul Gauguin and his paintings.

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Class time will be devoted to practice, in large and small groups, with structures, expressions, and vocabulary in the context of everyday functions.  Students are expected to have studied segments of the text assigned in the syllabus prior to class, in order to be able to participate as fully as possible.  Electronic workbook and lab manual exercises provide additional practice in listening, speaking, reading and writing.  Audio and video materials are provided in the Language Lab to be used for additional development of language skills. 

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Course may be taught face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

Do assigned preparations in time for class.  Electronic workbook and lab manual exercises must be submitted by the date specified in the syllabus.  Take unit exams and a final exam.  Short quizzes will focus on some aspect of the material covered in the previous classes.  Quizzes and exams will include a mix of speaking, listening, reading, and writing elements.

The Oakton Community College catalog states: Oakton Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, or marital status in admission to and participation in its educational programs, college activities and services, or employment practices. 

In keeping with this policy of tolerance and non-discrimination, in this class all of us (myself included) should strive to:

  • Listen and give careful consideration to all ideas expressed in class, especially those that are different from our own, without attacking or demeaning the people who have those views, and
  • Avoid using insulting terms or telling offensive jokes when talking to or about individuals or groups.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton’s Schedule of Classes.

For regular and online courses instructors will use the following text:

Contacts, Latest Edition, by Valette and Valette, Heinle Cengage Learning.

Electronic workbook and lab manual for Contacts, Latest Edition.


Students must:

  1. Create an account
  2. Enter their Book Key
  3. Enter their Course Code

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Components: Maximum points possible:
A. Preparation 280
B. Lab Assignments 360
C. Quizzes: 140
D. Oral Presentation 100
E. Exams 400
F. Final oral exam 50

Grading Scale:

  1. A = 1330-1200
  2. B = 1199-1070
  3. C = 1069-940
  4. D = 939-800
  5. F = 800+below

Workbook or electronic assignments must be done by students outside of the classroom in order to practice the course content. These assignments will count as 25% of the course final grade. Students need to have at least a D (60%) in this section in order to pass this course.

In this course at least one speaking exam is required.

XI.   Other Course Information

In this section, each instructor should specify policies on attendance, make-up exams, and late assignments.

Heritage speakers may not take this class.

Oakton has two Language Labs to support your language study. The Language Labs offer the perfect atmosphere for doing your lab homework, meeting with a language tutor, attending a conversation group, or working on a computer. You can find a variety of language specific resources and equipment: language reference books and other supplementary language materials, headphones with microphones, keyboard covers for typing in another language, and more. Language Lab personnel are always available to help students working individually. Visit one of the Language Labs today:

Des Plaines, Room 2446, 847.635.1612
Ray Hartstein (Skokie) Campus, Room C132, 847.635.1493

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.