A Short Course in Reading French

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  • Edition: Bilingual
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-12-04
  • Publisher: Columbia Univ Pr

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Designed to help readers develop efficient skills for translating French in a short amount of time, this textbook teaches the basics of French grammar, reinforcing its lessons with exercises and key practice translations. A systematic guide, this book is a critical companion for university-level students learning to read and translate written French into English; for graduate scholars learning to do research in French or prepping for proficiency exams; and for any interested readers who want to improve their facility with the French language. In addition, A Short Course in Reading French exposes readers to a broad range of French texts from the humanities and social sciences, including writings by distinguished francophone authors from around the world. The book begins with French pronunciation and cognates and moves through nouns, articles, and prepositions; verbs, adjectives, and adverbs; a graduated presentation of all the indicative and subjunctive tenses; object, relative, and other pronouns; the passive voice; common idiomatic constructions; and other fundamental building blocks of the French language. Chapters contain translation passages from such authors as Pascal, Montesquieu, Proust, Sartre, Bourdieu, Senghor, Césaire, de Certeau, de Beauvoir, Barthes, and Kristeva. Drawn from more than two decades of experience teaching French to students from academic and nonacademic backgrounds, Celia Brickman's clear, accessible, and time-tested format enables even beginners to develop a sophisticated grasp of the language and become adept readers of French.

Author Biography

A native of Montreal, Celia Brickman earned her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago and is the director of the Hyde Park Language Program, where she has been teaching French to graduate students and others for more than twenty years.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Introductionp. xvii
Guide to pronunciationp. xx
Cognatesp. xxvi
Nouns, Articles, and Prepositions, and the Principle of Agreementp. 1
Nouns, Gender, and the Principle of Agreementp. 1
Articlesp. 1
Gendered Nounsp. 5
The Plural of Nounsp. 7
Prepositionsp. 9
Contraction of Prepositions with Definite Articlesp. 10
The Partitive and Negative Uses of DEp. 10
The Multiple Meanings of DESp. 11
Verbs, Subject Pronouns, and the Present Tense/Présent De L'lndicatifp. 13
Infinitives and Verb Familiesp. 13
Subject Pronounsp. 13
The Present Tense/Present de l'Indicatif of -ER Verbsp. 15
Translation of the Present Tense/Présent de I'lndicatifp. 16
The Negative Form of the Present Tensep. 16
Two Important Irregular Verbs: AVOIR, to Have, and ÊTRE, to Bep. 17
A Third Irregular Verb: ALLER, to Gop. 18
Formation of Simple Questionsp. 19
Present Tense/Présent de l'Indicatif of -RE and -IR Verbsp. 20
Another Important Irregular Verb: FAIRE, to Do, to Makep. 24
The Historic Present in Frenchp. 24
Adjectives and Adverbsp. 26
Adjectivesp. 26
Adverbsp. 38
Comparative and Superlative Forms of Adjectives and Adverbsp. 40
Translation Passage: Le Corbeau et le Renardp. 43
Reflexive Verbsp. 44
Reflexive Pronouns and the Formation of Reflexive Verbsp. 44
The Negative Form of Reflexive Verbsp. 45
Various Ways in Which to Translate Reflexive Verbsp. 45
The Imperfect/L'imparfaitp. 49
Explanation of the Tensep. 49
Formation of the Imparfaitp. 49
Translations of the Imparfaitp. 51
AVOIR and ÊTRE in the Imparfaitp. 52
The Negative Form of the Imparfaitp. 53
Reflexive Verbs in the Imparfaitp. 53
Translation Passage: La Charte de Médecins Sans Frontièresp. 54
Past Partlciples/Les Participes Passésp. 56
Formation of Past Participlesp. 56
Past Participles as Adjectivesp. 57
Past Participles as Predicate Adjectivesp. 58
Le Passé Composé/The Compound Pastp. 60
Explanation of the Tensep. 60
Rules Governing the Formation and Translation of the Passé Composép. 60
The Passé Composé in the Negative Formp. 65
AVOIR and ÊTRE in the Passé Composép. 65
The Passé Composé Used Together with the Imparfaitp. 66
The Passé Composé with Adverbsp. 67
Past Participles Used As Predicate Adjectives in the Present Tense Compared with Past Participles Used in the Possé Composé to Form the Past Tensep. 68
Translation Passage: Le Petit Chaperon rougep. 69
Directjand Indirect Object Pronounsp. 71
Recognizing Objects in Transitive Sentencesp. 71
Direct Object Pronouns: Meaning and Placementp. 71
LE, LA, and LES As Direct Object Pronounsp. 73
Direct Object Pronouns in the Passé Composé: Placement and Agreementp. 73
Indirect Object Pronouns: Meaning and Placementp. 74
The Partitive Pronoun ENp. 76
The Pronoun Yp. 77
The Order of Object Pronouns When There Are More Than One of Themp. 77
Translation Passage: La Belle au bois dormantp. 79
Additional Forms of the Negativep. 81
General Patternp. 81
Irregularities in Various Forms of the Negativep. 82
Translation Passage: Déclaration des droits de lÆhomme et du citoyen de 1789p. 86
More Irregular Yet Common Verbsp. 87
Venir (to come) and Tenir (to hold)p. 87
-OIR Verbsp. 88
Impersonal Pronouns, Demonstrative Pronouns, Impersonal Verbs, and an Introduction to the Word Quep. 91
Demonstrative Pronoun CEp. 91
Demonstrative Pronouns CECI and CELAp. 91
Demonstrative Pronoun CELUIp. 92
The Impersonal Pronoun ILp. 93
Impersonal Verbsp. 94
The Various Uses of QUEp. 96
Translation Passage: Senghor, Négritude et humanismep. 98
The Future and Conditional Tenses/Le Futur Simple Et Le Conditionnelp. 99
The Future and Conditional Stemp. 99
The Future Tense/Le Futar Simple: Endingsp. 100
The Near Future/Le Futur Prochep. 101
The Conditional Tense/Le Conditionnelp. 101
Translation Passage: Aimé Césaire, Cahier d'un retour au pays natalp. 106
Present Participles and Imperativesp. 107
Present Participlesp. 107
Imperativesp. 109
Negative Imperativesp. 110
Imperatives with Disjunctive Pronouns and Object Pronouns; and Reflexive Imperativesp. 110
Translation Passage: Louis Riel Journaux de guerre et de prisonp. 114
The Passive Voicep. 115
The Passive Voice Formed by the Past Participle as a Predicate Adjectivep. 115
Use of Reflexive Verbs to Form the Passive Voicep. 116
The Translation of the Subject Pronoun ON and Its Use to Form the Passive Voicep. 116
Translation Passage: Marcel Mauss, Essai sur le donp. 118
Le Passé Simple/The Simple Past, or the Past Historicp. 120
The Possé Simple of -ER Verbsp. 120
The Passé Simple of-RE and -IR Verbsp. 121
Translation Passage: Louis Hémon, Maria Chapdelainep. 125
Relative and Interrogative Pronouns and Adjectivesp. 126
Relative Pronouns QUI and QUEp. 126
Uses of the Adjective QUELp. 130
The Relative and Prepositional Pronoun LEQUEL; the Prepositional Pronoun QUIp. 131
The Relative Pronoun DONTp. 132
The Interrogative Pronouns LEQUEL, QUI, and QUEp. 134
Questions Formed with Both Interrogative and Relative Pronouns QUI and QUEp. 135
Translation Exercise: Michel de Certeau, L'Invention da quotidienp. 136
More Compound Tensesp. 158
Le Plus-que-patfait/The Pluperfectp. 138
LeFutur Antérieur/The Future Perfectp. 140
Le Conditionnel Passé/The Conditional Perfectp. 141
Le Passé Antérieurp. 142
Translation Passage: Montesquieu, Essai sur le goûtp. 145
The Causative Fairep. 147
The Causative FAIRE, an Idiomatic Constructionp. 147
Translation Passage: Durkheim, Les Formes élémentaires de la vie religieusep. 150
Translation Passage: Claude Lévi-Strauss, Tristes Tropiquesp. 151
Le Subjonctif/The Subjunctivep. 153
When Is the Subjunctive Used in French?p. 154
The Four Tenses of the Subjunctivep. 157
Translation Passage: Molière, Le Bourgeois Gentilhommep. 162
Translation Passage: Pascal, Penséesp. 164
Modal Verbs and Other Common Idiomatic Verbal Constructionsp. 165
Modal Verbsp. 165
Other Idiomatic Verbal Constructionsp. 168
Translation Passage: de Tocqueville, De la Démocratic en Amériquep. 171
Translation Passage: Roland Barthes, Le Plaisir du textep. 172
Changes of Tense with Idioms of Timep. 174
DEPUISp. 174
Ilya… Que, Ça Fait… Que, Voilà…Quep. 174
Translation Passage: René Descartes, Méditations métaphysiquesp. 176
Translation Passage: Marcel Proust, Du Côté de chez Swannp. 177
Common Idiomatic Expressionsp. 178
TOUT- Grammatical Functions and Meaningsp. 178
Idioms with TOUTp. 179
Aussi; Aussibienquep. 181
Combinative Conjunctions ET…ET;OU… OU;SOIT… SOIT;NI…NIp. 181
Idioms with METTRE/MISp. 182
The Several Meanings of MÊMEp. 182
The Several Meanings of SIp. 183
The Several Meanings of ENCOREp. 184
Translation Passage: Pierre Bourdieu, Pour une Anthropologie réflexivep. 185
Translation Passage: Simone Weil, Les Besoins de lÆâmep. 185
Configurations of the Infinitivep. 187
Verbs Followed by the Infinitivep. 187
The Infinitive After Prepositionsp. 188
The Infinitive After the Preposition APRÈSp. 188
The Infinitive After Adjectivesp. 188
The Infinitive After Nounsp. 189
Translation Passage: Mbembe, “ Notes provisoires sur la postcolonie ”p. 190
Some Verb Familiesp. 192
-OIR Verbsp. 193
Families of Verbs Whose Members Are All Conjugated in the Same Wayp. 195
Further Translation Passagesp. 200
Victor Hugo, Les Misérablesp. 200
Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovaryp. 202
Gabrielle Roy, Bonheur d'occasionp. 203
Jean-Paul Sartre, L'Existentialisme est un humanismep. 204
Simone de Beauvoir, Le Deuxième Sexep. 205
Albert Camus, Le Mythe de Sisyphep. 205
Paul Ric¿ur, Le Conflit des interprétationsp. 206
Édouard Glissant, Philosophie de la relationp. 207
Roger-Pol Droit, Michel Foucault: Entretiensp. 208
Julia Kristeva, Pouvoirs de I'horreurp. 209
Nicolas Bourriaud, Radicant: Pour une esthétique de la globalisationp. 210
Michel Tremblay, Le Cahier bleup. 211
Patrick Chamoiseau, Texacop. 212
Abdourahman A. Waberi, Passage des larmesp. 213
Appendixp. 215
Pronoun Chartp. 215
(Indicative) Verb Tense Chart Ip. 216
(Indicative) Irregular Verb Tense Chart Ip. 219
(Indicative) Verb Tense Chart IIp. 222
(Indicative) Irregular Verb Tense Chart IIp. 225
Indexp. 229
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