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French A, though excellent in written French, almost completely neglects the spoken language. Its students do not even learn the correct pronunciation of those French expressions which have become a part of English literature and of the international science of Fine Eating. They cannot follow the simplest French conversation.
If the University is going to feed a man "roast beef, au jus" and "au gratin potatoes" at the same meal, the least the French department can do is teach him how correctly to describe his predicament. The French A student is prepared to read "L'Illustration", but he cannot quote, without the largest misgivings, a "New Yorker" article mentioning "crepes suzettes," or the "joie de vie."
In fact, at present the Harvard student taking French A becomes very learned in all aspects of French except the most useful ones. French A may well profit by the fine example of its sister course, German A, which, besides a strictly technical knowledge of the language, also gives instruction in conversation and in the German way of life. Such a balanced course prepares the student to use the language in practical situations as well as in the two R's.
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