James Law, Provo, UT
Copyright Year: 2022
Publisher: BYU Open Textbook Network
Conditions of Use
The grammar coverage is rather comprehensive and appropriate for undergraduate students at the intermediate or advanced level. It includes an explanation of the plus-que-parfait du subjonctif, for example, which gives an idea of the thoroughness... read more
The grammar coverage is rather comprehensive and appropriate for undergraduate students at the intermediate or advanced level. It includes an explanation of the plus-que-parfait du subjonctif, for example, which gives an idea of the thoroughness of grammatical coverage in this text. While there is no index or glossary, the table of contents (replete with helpful hyperlinks) makes navigating the textbook quite easy.
I detected no errors. The “ne” was occasionally dropped, and other similar grammatical colloquialisms were included in some of the examples, but this was to good effect.
The literary texts that begin each section were drawn almost entirely from nineteenth-century French authors. While this may not exactly exhibit “bias,” it is worth mentioning that a greater variety of voices (from outside of France, from outside the nineteenth century) might have been welcome for a 21st-century textbook.
The textbook was published in 2022, so it is very recent. The references are timeless and will likely not fall out of date easily. Necessary updates will be easy and straightforward to implement, though there will likely not be many such updates needed, if ever.
The text is entirely in French, which is appropriate for a textbook at this level. Grammatical terms are clearly explained in relatively short, declarative sentences. Concrete examples are given for each grammatical explanation.
The text is very consistent and very predictable. The order and layout of each section is consistent and coherent throughout. The terminology, framework, and level of vocabulary are entirely consistent throughout the text.
One of the many strengths of this text is that sections of it can easily be taught in any order the instructor may wish to teach them. Each grammatical lesson exists on its own, without being tied to other sections or grammatical explanations in the book. These lessons can easily be used to supplement another textbook or other activities that the instructor may be using.
There does not seem to be a particular order in which these topics are to be taught. In this way, the textbook is more of a grammatical lexicon or storehouse than a text that develops from one grammatical point to the next. Each grammatical lesson can exist and be used on its own, perhaps as supplements to other materials that an instructor may be using.
The hyperlinks all seem to work. The design is simple and straightforward, even predictable (which is good for students). There are no images or charts, no visuals or audio exercises, unfortunately.
While a nod to colloquialisms (i.e. absence of “ne” in negative sentences) is not always technically grammatically accurate, it is helpful for students to understand common speech. There are no grammatical "errors" otherwise in this text.
The literary examples are all from France, with a heavy emphasis on nineteenth-century novels (Hugo, Balzac, Stendhal, Flaubert, etc.). While I welcome literary excerpts in textbooks, particularly at this level, a wider variety of voices would be welcome in possible future iterations of this text. Francophone voices, as well as voices from a variety of genres (poetry, theater, short stories, etc.) would make a nice addition to this text.
Other than the few questions that accompany each literary reading at the beginning of every section, there are no exercises to practice using the grammar that is taught. There are no visuals, charts, images, videos or audio exercises, and there is no online component.
Table of Contents
- Noms et pronoms
- Les noms
- Les pronoms personnels
- Les pronoms démonstratifs
- Les pronoms relatifs
- les pronoms idéfinis
- Les déterminants
- Les quantifieurs
- Les adjectifs
- Les adverbes
- Les comparatif et le superlatif
- Les prépositions
- Les verbes
- Les verbes réfléchis
- Le présent
- Le passé composé
- Le plus-que-parfait
- Le futur
- Le conditionnel
- Le subjonctif
- Les participes
- Les temps littéraires
- Les conjonctions
- Le négation
- Le discours rapporté
About the Book
Ce livre est une grammaire pédagogique du français destinée aux apprenants de niveau avancé. 28 chapitres approfondissent les concepts essentiels de la grammaire française (noms et pronoms, modificateurs, verbes, transformations). Chaque concept est introduit de manière inductive par un extrait littéraire accompagné de questions avant d'être présenté en détail. La présentation est soutenue par des exemples authentiques tirés d'un corpus linguistique (le Corpus de référence du français contemporain) et par des notes sur la variation dialectale et stylistique. Des exercices pour vérifier la compréhension accompagnent chaque concept. Le texte ne favorise aucun dialecte comme standard mais présente plutôt le français dans toute sa variété.
About the Contributors
James Law is an Assistant Professor of French at Brigham Young University. He received his Ph.D in French Linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a cognitive linguist interested primarily in semantic change. He teaches courses on semantics and pragmatics, historical linguistics, and French language. In his research, he uses digital corpora to investigate changes in linguistic meaning, with an aim towards identifying regularities that can inform our understanding of the mind. He uses a variety of functionalist approaches in his work, especially Frame Semantics.