Intermediate French I

I.     Course Prefix/Number: FRE 201

       Course Name: Intermediate French I

       Credits: 4 (3 lecture; 2 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

FRE 102 or consent of instructor.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course continues development of basic skills. Content includes general review and expansion of beginning grammar, along with conversation, vocabulary development, readings and writing exercises, with focus on life in modern French-speaking countries.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. To actively communicate in French, making spontaneous use of structures and vocabulary studied.
  2. To demonstrate an appreciation of contemporary French culture through written and aural class work.
  3. To demonstrate spoken French in everyday contexts through responding to complex questions.
  4. To illustrate reading comprehension through answering relevant questions on short literary passages.
  5. To use elements of intermediate grammar through listening, spoken, and written exercises.
  6. To write complex 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

WeekChapterTopic (Interaction Langue et Culture)Exams
1-2 1 Introduction to course policies and procedures.

Grammar & Concepts: Present tense of regular: -er verbs, stem changing -er verbs, commands, irregular verbs: être, avoir, faire, aller.

Vocabulary: Activity vocabulary, fruits and vegetables, bakery and pastry, basic household staples (flour, sugar, etc.), dairy products, meat and poultry, stores, merchant info.

Communicative topics & Culture: La Zone euro (The Euro and where it is used), Petites et Grandes Surfaces (Small and large shopping areas), Boutiques de commerçants (Small shops and boutiques) et galeries marchandes (Galleries of small shops), and Les grands magasins (Department stores), and le marché Kermel (open air market in Dakar, Sénégal).
3-4 1 Grammar & Concepts: Nouns, articles, and imperatives, voilà and il y a.

Vocabulary: Activity vocabulary, fruits and vegetables, bakery and pastry, basic household staples (flour, sugar, etc.), dairy products, meat and poultry, stores, merchant info.

Communicative topics & Culture: les petits commerces de quartier (neighborhood shops), le bouillon d'awara (a special culinary preparation from French Guiana), le cabas (an ecologically acceptable shopping bag).

Reading: "Frères humains, devenez végétariens!" (Fellow humans, become vegeterian!), "Le croissant du trottoir" (The Croissant).
5-6 2 Grammar & Concepts: Regular verbs: -ir & -re, Reflexive and reciprocal verbs, regular -oir verbs. Idioms with être and avoir. Depuis + present tense.

Vocabulary: lodging, social problems, technology, personal daily activities, conditions, academic activities, academic vocabulary.

Communicative topics & Culture: Qui habite où? (Who lives where?), Sarcelles: une cité de banlieue (Sarcelles, a suburb), Place de Catalogne (Catalogne Square), Le vieux Paris (Old Paris), le Paris de baron Haussmann (Baron Haussmann's Paris), Citadins ou Campagnards (City or Country Dwellers), les HLM (Low Income Housing), l'architecture de Dogons (Architecture near Timbuktu in Mali, Africa), "Emotions" (A short movie clip with questions and discussion).

Reading: "Techno-Logis, Eco-Logis, Ego-Logis" (Technology and the modern home), "Les Armoires vides" (The Empty Cupboards, a life of small merchants).
7-8 3 Grammar & Concepts: Irregular -ir verbs. Adjectives: descriptive, possessive, demonstrative, numbers. Il / Elle vs. c'est

Vocabulary: outdoor activities, relationships, characteristics, leisure-time activities, personal possessions, societal vocabulary.

Communicative topics & Culture: Le sport collectif et individuel (Group and Individual Sports), La Coupe du Monde (The World Cup Soccer Competition), La génération de quinze à vingt-quatre ans (The 15-24 year old generation), L'impressionisme (Impressionism), "Il pleure dans mon coeur" de Paul Verlaine (Poem by Paul Verlaine), Renoir: "Le Déjeuner des canotiers" (a painting with questions by Auguste Renoir).
9-10 3 Grammar & Concepts: Formation and position of adverbs, negation.

Communicative topics & Culture: La génération "zapping" (The remote control generation), Interactions: La consommation et les jeunes (Young people as consumers).
11-12 3 Grammar & Concepts: Comparatives and superlatives of adjectives and adverbs, Cardinal and Ordinal Numbers.

Communicative topics & Culture: Le Profil des jeunes gens (Profiles of several young people), Interactions: Les Loisirs varient selon les tranches d'âge (Leisure time activities vary according to age group).

Reading: "Dans la famille 'méritocratique' Larissa, 20 ans en prépa (A young woman from the Congo and her educational career), "Roman" d'Arthur Rimbaud (A poem by Arthur Rimbaud).
13-14 4 Grammar & Concepts: Passé Composé with avoir and être, irregular -re verbs, placement of adverbs with the passé composé.

Vocabulary: activities, computers and telecommunications, technological adjectives.

Communicative topics & Culture: La nétiquette, Interactions: Génération techno (Technological generation), La circulation des idées (How to get ideas across: books, etc.), La politique face à la radio et à la télévision (Politics and the connections between radio and television), La télévision.
15 4-5 Grammar & Concepts: Chapter 4: Uses of the Passé Composé, imperfect.

Vocabulary: Chapter 5: Activities, journalism, journalistic adjectives.

Communicative topics & Culture: Chapter 4: Fort Boyard, le futur mythe télévisuel (Fort Boyard, the televisual myth), "Gratte-Papier" (A short movie clip with questions and discussion).

Reading: Chapter 4: "Simple comme un clic" (As simple as a click), "La Télévision."

Chapter 5: La bande dessinée (French comic books), La presse française et francophone (French and francophone press).
16 5 Grammar & Concepts: Pluperfect, choosing past tenses, dates.

Communicative topics & Culture: La presse quotidienne (The daily newspaper), Le dix-huitième siècle et l'Encyclopédie (The 'Encyclopédie' of Denis Diderot), Le dix-neuvième siècle et l'Affaire Dreyfus (The Nineteenth century and the Dreyfus Affair), Les magazines (Magazines), Le Bilan (Current situation of the French press), le kiosque (News Stands).

Reading: "Kiosquier et Philosophe" (On selling newspapers and magazines and being a philosopher), "La Peste" (The Plague by Albert Camus)
Week Chapter Topics (Contacts) Exams
1 19 Grammar & Concepts: Suivre and expressions with suivre , vouloir, pouvoir, and devoir. Il faut and various forms of the verb falloir.

Vocabulary: University and indefinite expressions of quantity.

Communicative topics & Culture: University diplomas. A votre tour: Discerning whether activities are in regards to studies or some other activity. Using ‘vous’ and talking as if you are an academic advisor talking to a student, describing university studies, writing about a day at the university.
2 20 Grammar & Concepts: The verb connaître, voir, the pronouns le, la, les, using le, la, and les with the infinitive construction, the agreement of the past participle in the passé composé.

Vocabulary: Post Baccalauréat studies and verbs having direct objects.

Communicative topics & Culture: Post Baccalauréat choices. A votre tour: Discerning which subject area someone in the post baccalauréat program is studying (literature, science, or business). Asking someone personal questions. Discussing a film recently seen. Writing about your university to explain it to someone else.
3-4 21 Grammar & Concepts: Verbs: dire, lire, and écrire, the indirect object pronouns lui and leur, verbs having indirect objects, the object pronouns: me, te, nous, and vous, pronoun placement with commands in both the affirmative and the negative.

Vocabulary: Words relating to reading, writing, and talking and verbs having indirect objects.

Communicative topics & Culture: French Universities. A votre tour: Discerning whether someone being talked about is using a computer or not. Asking a partner about different activities. Asking a partner about doing a favor for you and the conversation that ensues. Writing about something you recently read. Vie Pratique: the computer, Technology, e-mail, the Internet, and the French and the Internet. Images du Monde Francophone: The Province of Québec and its history, la Saint-Jean (national holiday of Québec), the Cirque du Soleil, The French language of Québec, and several singers from Québec.
5-6 22 Grammar & Concepts: Vivre, vivre vs. habiter, savoir, savoir vs. connaître, the relative pronouns ‘qui’ and ‘que.’

Vocabulary: Urban life.

Communicative topics & Culture: Urban life in France. A votre tour: discerning whether people speaking have a positive or a negative view of the area in which they live. Asking your partner about the new area in which he or she lives. Expressing the pros and cons of visiting in a small town or the country. Writing a description of the play where you live.
7-8 23 Grammar & Concepts: Reviewing the passé composé with both avoir and être as the auxiliary verb, formation of the Imperfect tense, the imperfect of the verb être, comparing the imperfect tense with the passé composé, and the verb conduire.

Vocabulary: Sequencing events vocabulary like ‘first, then, finally, etc.,’ vocabulary of time (for example ‘Tuesday’ vs. ‘on Tuesdays’ and the difference between ‘temps’ and ‘fois.’

Communicative topics & Culture: Meeting people. A votre tour: Discerning the difference between a one-time event and a habitual one. Interviewing a celebrity about the person’s childhood. Describing what you do at different times during the day, Writing about your last summer vacation.
9-10 24 Grammar & Concepts: Describing an event using the passé composé and the imperfect, using both preceding tenses in the same sentence, the Pluperfect tense (le plus-que-parfait).

Vocabulary: Description and narration of an event.

Communicative topics & Culture: The importance of Art to the French. A votre tour: discerning the difference between hearing about a main event or simply a fact about the event. Asking your partner about witnessing a UFO. Talking to someone about being an imaginary victim of a robbery. Writing about a recent party. Vie Pratique: Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts in France. Images du Monde Francophone: Haïti and its history, voodoo, Haitian music and art. Interlude littéraire: Albert Camus and an excerpt of L’Étranger.
11-12 25 Grammar & Concepts: The pronouns Y and En, en used with expressions of quantity or replacing a number.

Vocabulary: Sports and Health.

Communicative topics & Culture: Sports, Health, and the French. A votre tour: Determining which sport someone is practicing. Striking up a conversation on the French Riviera. Doing a sports survey with more than one person. Writing about what you, individually do sports-wise.
13-14 26 Grammar & Concepts: The definite article and body parts, avoir mal à and its uses with parts of the body, formation of reflexive verbs, reflexive verb infinitives, reflexive commands, ouvrir.

Vocabulary: Body and physical movement verbs, expressions used for things one does during the day, bathroom vocabulary (comb, toothpaste, etc.).

Communicative topics & Culture: French housing. A votre tour: Discerning where an activity takes place, indoors or out. Asking a friend about how he or she feels. Doing a survey of more than one person about the brands of products he or she prefers. Writing (in the imperfect tense) about habitual activities during the last vacation.
15-16 27 Grammar & Concepts: Special idiomatic French reflexive verbs (like s’amuser = to have fun), reciprocal action reflexive verbs (like se rencontrer = to meet each other), the passé composé of reflexive verbs.

Vocabulary: Friendship, love, and marriage.

Communicative topics & Culture: The love of your life, marriage in France. A votre tour: Discerning good or bad experiences. Asking questions of someone who is getting married. Interviewing several people on sleep habits. Writing a letter to a future roommate about daily academic routine. Vie Pratique: Health and Medicine in France, the Pharmacy, Emergencies. Images du Monde Francophone: Northern Africa (Le Maghreb) and its history, Islam, le raï (music of Algeria), Gold Medalist, Nezha Bidouane from Morocco, Couscous, the famous North African dish.

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.

Instructors will use the following text:

  • Interaction: Langue Et Culture (Enhanced), Latest Edition, by St. Onge, Cengage Learning.
  • Interaction Access Card, Latest Edition, by St. Onge, Cengage Learning.
  • The DVD for this course may be seen in class.  It is also available for viewing only for reinforcement or extra-practice in the language labs, room 2446 at the Des Plaines campus, room C132 at the Skokie campus.

 Or -

  • 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


  • English Grammar for Students of French, Morton, Latest Edition.
  • Bescherelle, Complete guide to conjugating 12,000 French verbs, Latest Edition.
  • A French/English dictionary of student’s choice.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Components: Maximum points possible:
A. Participation 230
B. Lab Assignments 350
C. Exams 400
D. Presentations and written report 120

Grading Scale:

A = 1100-990
B = 989-880
C = 879-770
D = 769-660
F = 659 + 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.

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.