Foreign Language 100

FORL 100: Elementary Conversation in Critical Languages

Prerequisites: Written permission of the Critical Language Program Coordinator

Credit Hours: (4)

Elementary practice in listening comprehension of and in speaking a critical language. Three hours of drill and conversation with tutors plus self-study and practice. This course has been approved for credit in the Foreign Languages Area of the Core Curriculum.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

The content will vary with the critical language offered. An example of the Japanese course content follows:

Textbook: Japanese: The Spoken Language, Part 1, by Eleanor Harz Jorden with Mari Noda. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987. The first semester extends through 3A Core Conversation 3.

  • Lesson 1A: verbals, sentence-particles: ka, ne, yo
  • Lesson 1B: adjectivals: affirmative imperfective and perfective, the -ku form and the negative, and the sentence particle nêe/ne!
  • Lesson 2A: nominal + dèsu, Soo desu
  • Lesson 2B: kore, sore, are, dore, personal referents, and counting (digits, hundreds, and thousands, -en)
  • Lesson 3A: loanwords, prenominals kono, sono, ano, dono, and counting to 9999; classifiers -ban, -doru, -sento
  • Lesson 3B: adjectival + nominal, counting ten-thousands (-man) phrase-particle to: sore to sore, and the nominal no
  • Lesson 4A: nominal + predicate, phrase-particle wa, phrase-particles ga + o, dèsu + arimàsu, requests, and verbal gerunds
  • Lesson 4B: classifiers -satu, -mai, -hon, extent, the konna series, clause-particles kedo and ga, hesitation noises, and the phrase-particle mo
  • Lesson 5A: double-ga predicates, dakê, gozaimàsu+, the Japanese series of numerals and classifiers (-tu), and moo and quantity.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Native speakers trained as drill instructors check and improve students' mastery of the dialogues, assist with the development of correct pronunciation, organize drills to involve the students in manipulation of the structural and lexical elements of the given lesson, and encourage more creative language manipulation through personalized conversation on a variety of cultural topics. Students study the "facts" of the language (grammatical explanations) with their textbooks, and practice the "acts" of the critical language (speaking and listening) in extensive work with audio and video cassettes, and in the drill and conversation in class.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Speaking and listening goals (standardized ACTFL proficiency criteria): Students will be able to communicate minimally with learned material. Students will produce oral speech using isolated words and learned phrases with predictable areas of need. Students will only be minimally able to recombine learned oral elements. As regards listening skills, students will be able to recognize learned material and isolated words and phrases when strongly supported by context. Students will be able to comprehend some words and phrases from simple questions, statements, high-frequency commands, and courtesy formulae about topics that refer to basic personal information or the immediate physical setting. In the case of Japanese, e.g., all characters have been romanized.

Students will achieve a degree of competence in a foreign language and culture. 


Students will be able to:

a. demonstrate language skills appropriate to the level of study

b. analyze similarities and differences between their own and the target cultures

c. explain contemporary international issues from the perspectives of their own and the target cultures


Assessment Measures

The students' conversational skills will be assessed by inviting an outside examiner at the end of the semester to give half hour oral tests contextualized in the target language culture. The students will demonstrate, in a one-on-one or small group context, their abilities to comprehend and to speak about the cultural topics and current global issues to which they have been exposed. Their success in this interview will demonstrate not only their linguistic abilities but also their cultural competence to anticipate and identify different cultural perceptions and behaviors, to simulate their use as if they were indeed conversing in the target culture, and to differentiate between a variety of cultural behaviors and evaluate performatively, in a real interchange between interlocutors of the other culture, the relative appropriateness of one response or perception over the others. The grade received for this exam becomes the course grade.


Other Course Information

Other critical language can be offered under this course designation. This critical language program is affiliated with and recognized by the National Association of Self-Instructional Language Programs.


Approval and Subsequent Reviews

Date Action Reviewed by
September 1999 Revised Philip Sweet