A Short Course in Reading French

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This textbook teaches the basics of French grammar, reinforcing its lessons with exercises and key practice translations. A systematic guide, the volume 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.

There is an answer key for translation exercises and for non-copyrighted translation passages available to professors and teachers who have assigned this title in a class. Please provide your name, title, institution, and number of students in the course in an email to [email protected]

Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; Bilingual edition (December 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231156774
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231156776
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.6 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces

Customer Reviews

A Short Review of a Short Course in Reading French

13 people found this helpful.
 on August 25, 2014
By Edward Kim
If you’re like me you’re looking at this book because there is an exam in your future—maybe your very near future. I began this book with all the anxious energy of having to pass a PhD proficiency exam. I would’ve torn through the pages except for the word of pedagogy the author was kind enough to share at the start: work slowly, she admonished, let speed build organically, she said. That bit of sage advice was what I needed to get myself to stop and take breath. So, Instead of rushing, tumbling, skipping over the surface, I began working my way slowly, deeply—and then—joyously, through the book. What happened next was what I think you call… learning. 

Learning comes alive in this fine book. In fact

5 people found this helpful.
 on September 14, 2015
By Q. H.
This book is truly one of a kind. In a world where true language acquisition, and where notions of internalizing the nuances of language have rather receded to the backside amongst both scholastic ideals and lay presumptions, we finally find a book that reveals the real power of intellectual prowess and integrity.

Five Stars

One person found this helpful.
 on September 11, 2015
By kay
It’s a great book for breaking down the basics. Great for grad students taking a language qualifying exam!

Five Stars

 on August 31, 2016
By Alistair McPherson
Excellent condition.

this book is great!

 on January 22, 2015
By Chime Lama
Gotta shout out to Ms.Brickman, this book is great!

Excellent Book for Learning How to Read French Quickly

13 people found this helpful.
 on May 20, 2013
By M. T. Miller
I used Dr. Celia Brickman’s “A Short Course in Reading French” in an intensive French reading course and, in my opinion, the book did an excellent job of covering the most important parts of French grammar/vocabulary without overwhelming the neophyte French student with endless (and discouraging) lists of vocabulary or obscure grammatical constructs. This book focuses on getting the student ready to read and translate French as quickly as possible by giving the student the most important grammatical and vocabulary tools to begin tackling even the most difficult texts at a very early date.
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