Côte À Côte

ISBN: 978-1940178165
154 pages

By Jacques Boureacq

‘In “Côte à Côte”, M. Bourgeacq provides the more advanced student, the student who is interested in understanding the “soul” of French, with a viable approach, melding pure syntax with those extra-syntactic elements which contribute to meaning. With a knowledgeable instructor leading the way, a student, using his techniques, can enhance the development of that needed “feel” for French, that generative capability which allows one to think and to speak/write “from within” French, without aid of translation. (Being told by a 1st-year instructor, “Translate the idea, not the words,” is scarcely useful.)
Despite targeting the 3rd-year student of French, the author suggests that some of his techniques might be utilized earlier. Since a child, acquiring his/her native language, learns, along with syntax, etc., those elements referred to as metalinguistic, I regard his suggestion to be sound. Even at the elementary level, a student can, for example, understand the different cultural viewpoints between “to get on a train” and “monter dans un train”, and use that understanding to make proper vocabulary choices in the target language.’

‘Professor Bourgeacq’s book “Cote a Cote” should serve as an excellent bridge between courses in introductory French and greater mastery of the French language. The exercises provided necessarily assume a thorough knowledge of French grammar and a fairly extensive knowledge of French vocabulary, so the book’s target can be competent intermediate and advanced undergraduates, although graduate students of French also would derive great benefit from it. The author’s comments in the book’s introductory chapter are universally applicable to language learning and provide a solid linguistic basis for Professor Bourgeacq’s approach. The exercises found in subsequent chapters serve, as the author states, to see the learning of a foreign language, in this case French, as a way to get into the way of thinking of cultures other than the student’s own. Highly recommended for those who want to become familiar with many of the subtleties of the French language as well as with those of their own. I hope this book has many sequels.’

Jose E Rodriguez, PhD

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