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Short Course in Reading French

Celia Brickman



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Columbia University Press
04 December 2012
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, Cesaire, 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

Imprint:   Columbia University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 254mm,  Width: 178mm,  Spine: 15mm
Weight:   468g
ISBN:   9780231156776
ISBN 10:   0231156774
Pages:   264
Publication Date:  
Audience:   College/higher education ,  A / AS level
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

A native of Montreal, Celia Brickman earned her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago and is the director of the Hyde Park Language Program, where she has been teaching French to graduate students and others for more than twenty years.

Reviews for Short Course in Reading French

There are a number of other options for students looking for a reading knowledge of French, but none are as user-friendly and intelligent as A Short Course in Reading French . . . [S]tudents and teachers alike will find much to like in this fresh and affordable textbook. * The French Review * A simple but scholarly introduction to French, this book fosters learning basic structures necessary to understand written French in no time. What is more, it offers an excellent foundation for those who wish to go beyond the basics and develop skills in oral understanding and speaking French. The ideal resource for those seeking access to written French. -- Jean-Michel Robert, Maitre de conferences en linguistique, Universite d'Amiens This is a refreshing and intelligent book for learning to read and translate French. Although meant for academics, it is really for anyone who wants to experience great French texts in the original. All along the way, Celia Brickman provides a sensible and extremely helpful presentation and explication of French grammar. Then she rewards the reader with excerpts from a wide variety of French writers, helping to understand them. Before you know it, you're reading the likes of Sartre, Camus, and Kristeva-in French! -- Francoise Meltzer, Edward Carson Waller Distinguished Service Professor Chair in the Department of Comparative Literature, University of Chicago The perfect companion for the student or scholar wishing to develop reading skills in French. Not only does this book provide clear, concise explanations but it also offers a wide range of carefully designed and relevant tasks based on short phrases, more complex sentences, and authentic reading passages. These carefully selected texts also cover a breadth of subjects, eras, and styles of interest. For teachers, this book represents a considerable time saver, since it presents a collection of activities and texts that can be fully exploited in class or assigned as homework. -- David Tual, Durham University

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