Module code: FRE3021

Module Overview

This module builds on knowledge and understanding of how language and society interact, acquired in other language modules, as well as real world knowledge acquired during PTY. It introduces students to sociolinguistic concepts and terminology in French and explores a range of sociolinguistic phenomena in the French-speaking world, including regional and national variation, language contact situations and creoles. Students will develop research and presentation skills and discover the French-speaking world through a sociolinguistic lens.



Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

MARLEY Dawn (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 51

Seminar Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 66

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • historic development of the French language and the other languages of France

  • the other languages of France today

  • regional and national variation

  • language policy and defence of French language in French-speaking countries

  • impact of English, technology and social change on developments in modern French

  • language contact situations arising from French colonial expansion – diglossia and creoles

  • decolonisation and development of la Francophonie

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Individual class presentation (recorded) 40
Coursework Written assignment of 2,500 words 60

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

*advanced nowledge and understanding of the target language
* ability to analyse and interpret texts critically, and to develop original arguments
* ability to select and synthesise information from written and oral texts
* ability to take notes effectively and use IT skills to find and present relevant information in an appropriate and engaging manner
* subject-specific knowledge of French sociolinguistics


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

* Individual Class Presentation (recorded) (40%)
Students record a 12 minute presentation, with ppt slides, on a topic selected from a list provided. This enables students to demonstrate communicative and presentation skills, as well as subject-specific knowledge, command of spoken and written French, and research skills.

* Written Assignment of 2,500 words (60%
Takes the form of an extended piece of writing, on a topic selected from a list provided. This enables students to demonstrate subject specific knowledge, command of written French, and research skills.


Formative assessment and feedback

* Formative assessment will focus on student participation and class discussions throughout the module.
* Students will be provided with detailed written feedback following coursework assignments.
* Verbal feedback will also occur in class and individual appointments if required.

Module aims

  • The module aims to: develop knowledge and understanding of how the French language and other languages of France have evolved and are currently evolving, in a sociolinguistic perspective
  • develop understanding of sociolinguistic concepts and the ability to use sociolinguistic terminology to describe and analyse a range of phenomena in French

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 On successful completion of this module, students will: understand how and why French became the language of France, whilst the other languages of France developed differently KC
002 Be able to use sociolinguistic terms in French to describe and analyse the languages of France KC
003 Have increased awareness of how language and culture interact in different social contexts, and with variables such as gender, class and ethnicity KCT
004 Have gained a general understanding of various sociolinguistic phenomena in a variety of specific geographical and cultural contexts KC
005 Be able to undertake independent research into related areas and present their ideas in written form and in an oral presentation, using a range of sources PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy will enable students to:

* develop their language skills, through listening, speaking, reading and writing in the target language
* confidently work and learn independently through reading outside contact hours and preparing for and participating in seminars
* develop research skills, through preparing informal class presentations and preparing the assignments
* engage in analytical and evaluative thinking, analyse and interpret texts and other cultural products through attending classes and engaging in individual study
* refine communication skills through interactions in class
* acquire an in-depth knowledge of the sociolinguistics of France and the French-speaking world

The learning and teaching methods include:

* Two contact hours per week: practical seminars based on discussion of work prepared in advance.
* Flipped classroom methods are used to maximise class time and student engagement.
* One hour per week of captured content, typically two Panopto videos and accompanying reading.
* Guided learning each week – suggested readings and activities to prepare for seminars.
* Interactive seminars which enable students to refine their communication and presentation skills.
* Guidance on how to prepare and present assignments via SurreyLearn and during practical seminars.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: FRE3021

Other information

Surrey's Curriculum Framework is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas:

Digital Capabilities: students will refine their ability to source, select and engage with appropriate online resources in their target language. Students will regularly be engaging with a range of digital resources, including video and audio, using strategies developed in previous years to ascertain the reliability of each source. Students will also use digital resources to share and present work in weekly classes and will learn to use  different digital resources to record presentations. They will discover the ways in which advances in IT are influencing the development of the French language and the other languages of France and the French-speaking world.

Employability:.weekly activities in this module will often require students to work together and learn to plan and delegate tasks, thus developing communication and project management skills useful in professional life. Students will build on the professional skills many have developed during PTY:  distributing or delegating tasks between group members, researching new topics and preparing notes or presentations to allow sharing of information. The assignments also relate to aspects of professional life – recording a presentation in order to engage an audience; writing content for a specific audience.

Global and Cultural Capabilities: this module explicitly introduces students to the ways in which language and society interact throughout the French-speaking world, creating awareness of the diverse nature of Francophone cultures. Students will engage with contemporary research into language growth, shift and death, thus developing awareness of the ever-changing nature of languages, cultures and societies.  The module will also specifically focus on the sociolinguistic impact of colonialism and decolonization on France and postcolonial countries, including the genesis and growth of creoles, the development of new varieties of French in Africa and the Americas, and the impact of immigrant languages on modern French.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: students will routinely be asked to investigate issues, often having to rely on their own resourcefulness to find relevant and appropriate materials. Students will be given minimal information and will have to draw on their own resources to research and develop ideas and concepts. In some cases, they will need to develop investigative skills, usually in the target language, in order to find out about relatively obscure issues, preparing them, and building up their resilience  for the world outside of university where challenges such as these have real life application.

Sustainability: although the SDG do not mention linguistic diversity, it is a fact that many languages, including those in the French-speaking world, are endangered, often because they are spoken by endangered populations. This module will cover the issue of linguistic diversity as parallel to biodiversity. French is a particularly interesting case, as the French government and the Organisation International de la Francophonie overtly promote linguistic diversity at an international level, whilst continuing to allow, if not encourage, the disappearance of France's historical regional languages. This paradox will be examined in detail, as will the issues of language obsolescence and potential revitalization.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Modern Languages (French with German) BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.