bulletProgramme du cours


CAS LF 503 La phonologie du français

Automne 2018 

Click here for a pdf version of the course syllabus.

Click here for testimonials 


This course meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30-10:45 am, in CAS 208.

Registered students can access this site using the username and password that will be provided to them in class. (BU login will not work.)

Course description:

The sound system of standard French, and consideration of dialectal variation in France, Canada, and other Francophone regions of the world.  Questions about the mental representation of linguistic information, processes of word formation, and language variation and change are discussed.  Frequent problem sets allow students to discover linguistic regularities. 

This course is conducted in French.


  • CAS LF 303 French Composition and Conversation I (fifth-semester French), or equivalent proficiency in French

  • CAS LX 250 Introduction to Linguistics

Learning objectives:

  • Students will achieve an understanding of the sound patterns of French: how different sounds are produced and how they fit into the overall phonological system of the language.

  • Students will consider the phonemic status of the sounds of French and learn about regular phonological processes that affect the realization of sounds in specific phonological contexts.

  • Students will learn about the correspondences between written and spoken forms, and they will learn to provide transcriptions, using the International Phonetic Alphabet, from written and spoken language samples.

  • Students will achieve an understanding of the prosodic characteristics of the language (rhythm and intonation contours); the uses of liaison; the distribution of the “mute e”; and differences in pronunciation associated with varying registers and literary genres (including songs and poetry).

  • Students’ ability to speak, to read French aloud, and to understand what they hear will also be enhanced by all of the above. Students will discover ways in which their own pronunciation of French may deviate from that of native speakers, and thus will be able to improve their pronunciation by applying this knowledge (aided by optional one-on-one consultations with the professor during office hours).

  • Students will explore the kinds of phonological changes have occurred in the evolution of French, as well as the kinds of phonological differences that account for dialectal variations.

  • Students will have the opportunity to reflect upon questions concerning the mental representation of linguistic information, and to formulate and evaluate arguments in favor of specific hypotheses.

Course materials:

Click here for access to the online syllabus, which will be updated regularly throughout the semester. Assignments will be listed here, as well.

The readings are available electronically, either from the course Blackboard site (at learn.bu.edu) or the Electronic Reserve at Mugar Library (you will need your BU login) or from other Web sources; easiest access to these readings will be from the hyperlinks in the online syllabus; the full bibliography, also containing links to the sources, is also available here.

Additional electronic resources are listed on this page.


  • Regular attendance (required to pass the course) and participation: 6 %
  • Homework assignments: 22 %
  • In-class quizzes and exams: 30 %
  • Cumulative final exam: 22 %
  • Final project (written and oral): 20 %

    Grading standards
A 93.00-100 C+ 78.00-79.99
A- 90.00-92.99 C 73.00-77.99
B+ 88.00-89.99 C- 70.00-72.99
B 83.00-87.99 D 60.00-69.99
B- 80.00-82.99    

For further information:

This page: http://www.bu.edu/linguistics/UG/course/lf503/   

Testimonials :

"As a linguist and aspiring fluent French speaker, the French Phonetics and French Phonology classes with Professor Neidle are some of the best classes I ever took. Understanding French pronunciation and phrasing on a deeper level helped to build my confidence in speaking French, and was a great precursor to studying abroad in France (I even got lots of comments that I don’t have an American accent at all, and it was thanks to those classes!) Learning how to study the sounds of language in a systematic way also showed me effective teaching methods that I have been able to apply to French teaching and tutoring since college. French Phonetics and French Phonology are excellent classes for anyone who wants to improve their French fluency and communicate effectively in French, whether they are French or Linguistics majors or not, especially if they plan to study abroad. I highly recommend them! (Also making funny sounds out loud in class is pretty fun!)"

- Jennifer Nieling, Linguistics and French alum, class of 2011

"French phonology was a fascinating course. It introduced me to spoken French in its different forms around the world in a dynamic and entertaining manner, and my French pronunciation improved too. I recommend this course to anyone studying linguistics and especially to students looking to gain an in-depth knowledge of French practice."

- Sophia Qadir, Linguistics and IR major, with a French minor, class of 2015