« Il a bu du lait pendant que tu faisais les lits en haut. »: which elements of this phrase are often mis-pronounced by English speakers just beginning to study French?
Almost all anglophones have difficulty at first in pronouncing French words containing the sound usually represented by the letter "u". This is only to be expected, since the sound concerned is one which does not exist in English and which English speakers have therefore never learned to pronounce. In the phrase above, "bu...du...and tu" will often be indistinguishable from "bout... doux...and toux." Luckily, French 2300 can help! It shows both how to know which vowel to pronounce and how to master the pronunciation even of difficult sounds like French "u" (and "r"). The word "lait" is often mis-pronounced as well - although in this case, not all francophones always pronounce it the same way either! "faisais" requires special care, too - the letters "ai" are repeated in this word but represent two different vowels (or rather, two different "versions" of the same vowel). Studying French 2300 will also enable you to avoid mis-pronouncing the group "en haut" ("h" is not pronounced, but there should not be any consonantal liaison between "en and "haut").
This course offers an introduction to the study of French phonetics - the study of the sounds of the language. Work in the course is concentrated in three main areas - the pronunciation of the vowels, semi-vowels and consonants used in modern French; the ways in which words and phrases are divided into groups and in which these groups are linked in speech; and the relationships between sounds and spelling. Students learn a simplified form of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) which uses phonetic symbols to identify individual sounds and details of pronunciation in a manner which avoids the problems posed by spelling anomalies - "silent" letters, letters or groups which represent different sounds or groups of sounds in different contexts, etc. Students use this new "alphabet" to transcribe words and phrases into phonetic symbols and also learn to "read" transcriptions in phonetic symbols and to transcribe them into standard spelling.
French 2300 is taught entirely in French. The minimum prerequisite is successful completion of French 1502 (or the former French 1051) or equivalent. However, it is recommended that students with a weak background in oral French complete French 2100 before attempting French 2300.
Most recently, this course has been taught using a text prepared specifically for it and printed here at Memorial - Sons, symboles et graphies, Introduction à la phonétique du français as well as a companion Cahier d'exercices (French 2300 - Phonétique).
Term work (in-class tests, oral/aural test, assignments and class participation) is normally worth 60% of the student's final grade. The final exam is worth 40%.
Recently, French 2300 has been offered only once a year, in the Fall semester. It is offered both on the St. John's campus and as part of the Frecker programme in Saint-Pierre.
Students who have successfully completed French 2300 will be able to register for 2100 or 2101, 2601, 2602 or 2900 - although in some cases, some of these courses may be taken concurrently with 2300. Students who develop a special interest in the study of phonetics may also wish to consider registering for courses such as 3310 and 3311 and/or 3302.