Saturday, October 31, 2015

Thème agrégation

Il y a des petits changements au calendrier. Mercredi 4:  cours normal: je vous rendrai vos copies, nous travaillerons Merle et si possible commencerons Amette. Le 11 novembre est férié, et le 18 novembre je serai absent, puisque je suis convoqué   pour faire partie d'un jury de thèse... en Slovaquie! le cours du 18 novembre sera remplacé plus tard dans l'année.

Vous aurez un peu de temps libre donc. Profitez-en pour travailler la grammaire et aussi pour traduire soigneusement un des textes et me l'envoyer (pour ceux et celles qui n'ont pas eu le temps d'en faire beaucoup jusque là). J'accepte les traductions jusqu'au jour que nous les corrigeons en cours.

Last note on LEA Master homework assignment

Look at the comments I made about your work, and then re-read your work. 

I am not going to print out all your assignments and give them back to you, but we will continue looking at "favourite mistakes" in class on Tuesday.

If your  mark was not very good, you have two chances to improve : there will be one more similar homework assignment, and there will be a classroom test in week ten.

Master's seminar Multiculturalism and diversity in the UK since the 1960s

We will be starting with a revision of general history in the Uk since 1960, an overview of the emilestnes in British political and social history. To help you, here, courtesy of the BBC are a few pages about certain key events and issues.

The history of haircuts !

1966 The world cup

1972 Bloody Sunday 

The Commonwealth

Friday, October 30, 2015

Error correction exercise master LEA

I hope you are making the most of the break. On Tuesday in class we will be doing another error-correction exercise. If you found the last one difficult, do a little research before this one.

In each of these sentences there is one mistake. Can you correct it?

*Unemployment rate was very high and poverty was on the rise.
*These problems caused many gatherings all across Ireland.
*The interview about young people suicides is rather emotional.
*The news do not talk about this kind of situation.
*It is the turn of Ireland having to resort to the support of the European Union.
*The video is about how can the country regain its nickname of “the celtic tiger”.
*I had not previously realized that Ireland was touched by such a massive financial collapse.
*Most of the people at that time were spending extravagantly.
*In the mid 90's Ireland enjoyed a rapid economic growth.

*The video lacks a brief explanation on how did Ireland manage to gain the title of  ‘’Celtic Tiger’’, what led to a decade of prosperity. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Master recherche séminaire multiculturalisme et diversité - calendrier

Les six séances de ce séminaire auront lieu aux dates suivantes:

3 novembre, 10 novembre, 24 novembre, 1er décembre, 8 décembre, 15 décembre

dans la salle L208.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Britain in 1928... in colour

We usually see black and white photos of times before the 1950s. It's easy to get the impression that people lived in black and white . They didn't! Here are some rare colour photos of Britain in 1928


1960s - The New Poetry

In the 1960s, a new group of popular poets arrived on the scene. They spoke their poems in pubs rather than in posh clubs. Adrian Henri, Adrian Mitchell, Roger McGough, Brian Patten were some of the names.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Multiculturalism in the UK

Find out more about multicultural Britain by leafing through the main Black British newspaper, The Voice, online here.

BBC World Service - Witness - Black History Collection - Downloads

A series of radio programmes about Black history. Many of them are American, but some are British

BBC World Service - Witness - Black History Collection - Downloads

Monday, October 26, 2015

The history of the English language

On YouTube, this very good documentary series about the history of the English language:


About the classroom test : M2/ agrégation

DST 1015

278 words
152/ 4
Alice P M2
95/ 9,5
Anne marie P M2
40/ 12,5
Anne P
63/ 7
Béatrice V
68/ 6,5
Blandine K
87/ 5,5
Charlotte L
55/ 8
Clémence P

Elodie F
94/ 5,5
Emilie K

Emilie M M2
70/ 10,5
Emilie N
116/ 4
Flora C
64/ 7
Harry S
58/ 7,5
Hélène R
113/ 5
Hortense L
98/ 5,5
Jean-Marc T
98/ 5,5
Jessica P
97/ 5,5
Julien M M2

Laura A
52/ 8
Laure T

Lauric T

Leopold R
40/ 8,5
Lucile M
61/ 7
Marilyne P
148/ 4
Nabaoua L
73/ 6
Nicolas G
102/ 5
Nicole G
59/ 7,5
Oliver S
71/ 6,5
Sandrine R
49/ 8
Sarah B

Valérie R
82/ 5,5
Zaine de B
63/ 7

Above you can see the "points faute" for the people who were present for the classroom test. To compare it with previous work of your own, remember that this passage contained 278 words (so by counting the words in other passages you can calculate equivalence. The Duras passage had 430 words, and the Ernaux passage 300.
I have also given you a mark out of twenty. I have used a different scale for the M2 people than for the agrégation people. First marks on agrégation tests are often rather depressing! The main thing is to never make the same mistake twice (that is, to study thoroughly your grammar books over the mistakes you made). If you do this, your mark will rise, for the mock exam in December, for example.
The class's favourite mistake was "*he accepted to have dinner"
Several students had difficulties with stop working/stop to work (revise urgently if you are not certain about this). The different translations possible of the imperfect tense of "devoir" also caused a lot of problems for people. A few people used wrongly the form "make + inf" (* "to make plumbing enter the third milennium").

First review of "Popular Song in Britain in the First World War"

The first online review of my book is here


Accept to do ??

Please forget the construction " accept to do". Search for it on wordreference.com for explanation.

Translation of classroom test

1) The entire action of the passage takes place on the same day, so keep the pluperfects throughout.
2) Note the difference in register between "Like every year" which is informal, and "as he did every year" which is a written register in general.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Master research seminar: Multiculturalism and diversity in Britain since 1960

After the break, I will be starting my seminar on the above subject. Some of the time in the seminar will be spent listening to students giving prepared text commentaries on historical documents (speeches, leaflets, posters etc) connected with the subject.

The exam which serves to evaluate your level in this seminar will include a text commentary, as will, indeed, the exam on the previous seminar on historiography. 

I'm sure you remember how to do a civilization text commentary, which is very different from a literature text commentary. But it is always good to go over the methodology again. To help remind you how a text commentary is done, here is an example of a document, with its commentary.
Click here for the document, and notes on a suggested text commentary:


Here is a little further advice on text commentaries for civilization studies


[Mp3] Diversité culturelle, antiracisme et musique populaire au Royaume-Uni depuis les années 1960 | John Mullen - Academia.edu

Cette conférence examine la musique populaire britannique et ses liens avec la diversité culturelle et l’antiracisme. Tout d’abord, les festivals, tels que le festival de Notting Hill et les Melas indo-pakistanais au Royaume-Uni sont étudiés. Ces évènements constituent entre autre choses des réponses (parfois ambigues) à l’expérience du racisme par les différents groupes d’immigrés. Ensuite nous passons aux chansons qui évoquent le racisme et nous tentons de comprendre ce qu’on peut faite avec une chanson antiraciste, et pourquoi cette question – davantage que toutes les autres questions politiques – est tellement présente dans la chanson populaire. Enfin, des campagnes telles que Rock against Racism et Love Music Hate Racism sont analysés

[Mp3] Diversité culturelle, antiracisme et musique populaire au Royaume-Uni depuis les années 1960 | John Mullen - Academia.edu

Saturday, October 24, 2015

An easy vocabulary exercise on Post-war Immigration

Click here:

Post-war Immigration Cloze - Nasjonal digital læringsarena

Britain’s child migrants: ‘I was told I was going on a picnic’ | Life and style | The Guardian

A sad part of British history

Britain’s child migrants: ‘I was told I was going on a picnic’ | Life and style | The Guardian

Master LEA Economic and social questions: Homework

I received the homework from the following people. I am busy marking it, and the marks will be posted here in five to eight days time.

Andrea L
Apolline D
Aude C
Camille B
Camille T
Céline L
Claire V
Clémence H
Clémence P
Eleonore D
Elisa R
Elise D
Emeline B
Emmanuel D
Faustine D
Gautier Q
Johanna G
Juan H
Julia R
Juliette L
Kevin P
Lea P
Lemaître C
Leo L
Luisa B
Maimouna D
Maria B
Marianne C
Marie P
Martin L
Mathilde B
Nicolas V
Noémie N
Tiphaine L
Tristan E
Valentin B
Valentina C
Victoria M
Withney L
Zoe F
Zoe G

Friday, October 23, 2015

Translation classes

Q: What do you do when you are translating a French sentence into English, and the sentence does not have a verb in it?
A: You add a verb.

Q: What category of word is more common in English sentences than in French?
A: Verbs

Q: Is it okay not to put a verb in the Englsih sentence, if there is no verb in the French ?
A: No.

Q: Should I add a verb when I translate into English a French sentence which does not have a verb in it?
A: Yes.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Master LEA: describing graphs

I found that describing graphs is harder for students than I thought it would be. There will definitely be some of this in your end of semester test. Here is a page to start you off.

And here is an article with many expressions to revise or learn.

Master LEA Tuesday 20 November

In the second part of tomorrow's class I will be continuing on the subject I began last week. 

In the first part, you will be trying to correct some of the errors students made in their homework assignment.  Look at the following so that you will be prepared.

In each of the following sentences there is one mistake (of grammar, of vocabulary, or of register). Can you correct it?

1 *House prices rose of 270%.

2 *Representatives from the IMF and the EU negotiated terms for 85 billion euros bailout.
3 *Ireland embarked on a 10 years journey of amazing growth.
4 *German banks could make a bigger profits margin out of the Irish economy.

5 *The mother explains that any school will not accept the child with Down’s syndrome.

6 *Or the Irish will change or they will just remain silent.

7 *Concerns about the future of Ireland were highly expressed

8 *We can wonder if the Celtic tiger will be back some day.

9 *This allows asserting that the assistance scheme was a success.

10 *The documentary was realized by Sinead O Shea.
11 *The economy of Ireland lived an incredible boom.

12 *The consequences of all that spending are really important.

13 *This concerned particularly the Germans because it was them who set the interest rate.

Master LEA Diversity and multiculturalism

Here is this week's news on the question from the UK


Sunday, October 18, 2015


One of the very few British-Indian female directors, Gurinder Chadha, directed this film: a musical comedy set in India but based on the story of the famous novel. It is now available online free, and well worth watching. 


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Historiography of the First World War in France

In our master's seminar, we have looked at the historiography of the First World War in Britain. This article just published gives one view of the situation in France. As you will see, there are a number of points in common between the two countries.

Historiography of the Great War in France since 1918

Translation errors : the comma splice

The absolute rule of preparing for an agrégation translation exam is not to make the same mistake twice. But some students are still making this mistake, which we have already covered, and which is in no way complicated. 

Check out this page on the comma splice

Translation classes

On Wednesday, we will first look at the passage you translated last week, and I will give you my suggested translation. Then we will begin the passage by Mr Merle. There was a bit of a mix-up with your scripts, but I now know where they are, and intend to mark them during the week's holiday.

More commemoration of the First World War

The centenary of the First World War has given rise to a staggering variety of commemoration events in Britain. Here is a brand new one, which says it commemorates the buses which volunteered for the war...


Thursday, October 15, 2015

The murder of Stephen Lawrence (Master LEA students, and others)

In the history of multiculturalism, racism and anti-racism in Britain, the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 was a watershed. Many things changed because of this crime. This 45 minute documentary explains: indispensable viewing for all students of Britain

Click here 

La Chanson populaire comme objet d'étude de l'histoire culturelle

Mon intervention de la semaine dernière au séminaire Eriac

Les chansons populaires des différentes époques n’illustrent pas l’histoire sociale et culturelle : elles en font pleinement partie. Elles s’intègrent à une activité de masse qui peut nous apprendre beaucoup sur les représentations populaires de l’époque, sur les opinions, les peurs et les fantasmes des publics.

Dans cette intervention, John Mullen explore l’histoire de l’étude des chansons populaires et présente ses propres recherches en histoire culturelle de la chanson populaire, notamment sur la période de la Première guerre mondiale. L’intervention est suivie d’une séance de questions-réponses.
Cliquez ci-dessous

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Agrégation, surtout interne

So, if I were a French person preparing the agrégation interne, I would be listening for at least an hour a day ( in the bus or in the car), podcasts from the BBC, on a wide variety of subjects: history, statistics, cinema, business, science and so on. I particularly recommend

In  Our Time
Thinking Allowed
Desert Island Discs
More or Less
Making History
Women's Hour

Agrégation /M2 translation

Les sujets pour le DST de ce matin attendent, dans le bureau A501. Deux étudiantes de M2 s'étaient engagés à les chercher et à rapporter les copies après. Bon courage à tous.

PS qui a les copies?!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Translation classes: agrégation and M2

On 14th October you will be left alone to do a classroom test (since I have been asked to do a lecture for the M1 students that day). Two students have agreed to pick up the passages to be translated at the office of the English department secretary before the class and return all your translations to the same office after the class. Please leave a good margin and write on every second line. I will correct these as quickly as I can. In any case, on the 21st we will start by going through the passage from the test, before moving onto the passage from Merle which is the next in your booklet. This means you have some time to work on the following passage, from Un été chez Voltaire.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Seminar : Historiography and the First World War

Questions on Offenstadt chaps five and six

1 Explain * in your own words* what Durkheim meant by a "social fact". Think of two examples of your own.

2 Explain * in your own words* some of the contributions made by the Annales group in France.

3 What is Alltaggeschichte?

4 What are the main characteristics of
A) Gender history and
B) the new " global history"?

Oh! What a lovely war - YouTube

IN the 1960s, Joan Littlewood  and her Theatre workshop famously turned World War One into... an Edwardian musical comedy. here on YouTube is an amateur production of "Oh What a Lovely War!" All the songs are really from the First World War.

Oh! What a lovely war - YouTube

Les écrits historiques britanniques et la Première Guerre Mondiale | John Mullen - Academia.edu

Voici un article que j'ai écrit il y a quelques mois, sur les écrits historiques britanniques et la Première Guerre mondiale:

(2) [PDF texte intégral] Les écrits historiques britanniques et la Première Guerre Mondiale | John Mullen - Academia.edu

Agrégation interne: compréhension et restitution

So make sure you practise listening a lot. It is also indispensable to record yourself  summarizing passages, and listen back. You will find that you can yourself identify a number of faults. Then do the same exercise again, until the only mistakes you are making are ones that you really do not know of. 

One other point, I suggested to one student, who was a native speaker of English, that it was not necessary for him to come to these classes. I now realize this is not true: the rules of the exercise take some time to learn even if you understand the entire passage at once. 

LEA master "Britain's Racist Election" - YouTube

We will be looking over the next few weeks at mutliculturalism and diversity in Britain. This facinating documentary shows how immigrants who arrived a few decades ago found the country not always welcoming.

"Britain's Racist Election" - YouTube

Monday, October 05, 2015

Marx, l'historiographie et le progrès dans l'histoire

La question de savoir s'il existe des lois de l'histoire humaine est discutée depuis près de 200 ans. Vous trouverez ici le powerpoint et l'enregistrement d'une conférence que j'ai faite l'année dernière sur Marx et cette question. Le titre pourrait être "Comment Marx est devenu marxiste?". Il s'agit d'une tentative de synthétiser ce qu'a écrit Marx sur l'Histoire.


Préparation agrégation interne: compréhension-restitution

Please note that the above class will take place on Wednesday from 1.30pm to 3pm. Some documents appear to say otherwise.

I think we are in the CETAS on the fifth floor in A building. My office is A 503.


Learning about Ireland : Garda Síochána - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Garda Síochána - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Denis Healey

Denis Healy, an important Labour politician, died this week at the age of 98. He was never Prime Minister, but he was Chancellor of the Exchequer in the 1970s and was very well known indeed.

Here is his obituary in The Guardian newspaper. Of course, it is traditional to write mostly positive things about leading figures when they die, and one must remember that the author of this obituary is generally in agreement with Healey's view of what the Labour party should be (considerably to the right of the present Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn). Still, the article explains a number of things, and the role of Healey in some of the main political debates of the 1960s and 1970s. If you understand every reference, you are very well informed indeed on recent British history.

Translation classes: Sentences and main clauses in English and in French

Students seem very reluctant to add verbs to a sentence when translating into English, if there is no verb in French. Last week we saw several sentences, or principal clauses without verbs in French and I insisted every time that a verb be added. This week's translation began "L'exode: elle est partie sur les routes..." The first two words, before a colon, represent, once more, a clause without a verb. But only one student added a verb!! Here is a short extract from an introductory book "How to write in English" by Jean Max Thomson:

Saturday, October 03, 2015

A new biography of Queen Elizabeth the second

A new biography of Queen Elizabth, reviewed by an academic who doesn't really agree with the biographer.


Thursday, October 01, 2015

Seminar on the First World War and historiography

Nicolas Offenstadt “Historiographie”
Questions on Chapters three and four, which will start our discussion next week.

  1. Who has suggested that  history is in some ways  a science?  What did they say?
  2. What were some of the main steps in making history into a profession?
  3. What difference can it make who a history book is written for?
  4. How far is a historian a story-teller?

Internet reading:
Read this article (in French) which is a book review of a work in English. http://quaderna.org/richard-j-evans-in-defence-of-history-londres-granta-2000/
Come with questions if there are parts which are hard to understand.

Personal questions
a Do you have a favourite kind of history book?
b If historians can be storytellers, what kind of stories should they tell if they want to interest you?

LEA Master Powerpoint on Ireland

You will find here the powerpoint which I used in class, on Ireland's history and economy. If your connection is very slow, try here.

Incidentally, in our next class we will be working from the articles in the booklet, so don't forget to bring it with you.

Etudiants qui préparent l'agrégation interne

Etudiants agrégation interne.

We will be having our first class in listening comprehension next Wednesday, the 7th of October, in the early afternoon. I will be asking you what ways you use to practise listening to English, and making some recommendations. And we will of course be doing some trial runs on listening extracts.

Advanced translation :marking scheme

This is the marking scheme I'm using. As I'm sure you can appreciate, it would be too long to write in the margins of your script "I'm afraid you have made a mistake here concerning the aspect HAVE + EN", so I just write "ASP". The work sent by mail gets much more information about errors, because it's partly automatized. This marking scheme can give you an idea about which kinds of mistake tend to be more dangerous. Note however that this is not how the actual exam is marked: a marking scheme is developed around all the mistakes which are likely to be made in translating that particular passage.

Marking scheme (these are of course, negative points)
NS       Non-sens                                            12
TGF Très Grave Faute de syntaxe                  12
CNJ: conjugaison                                           9
PRET/PF Erreur preterite/present perfect        9
SING singular/plural error                              8
COUNT Count/non count error                      8
CS: contre-sens                                              8
GFS grave faute de syntaxe                            6
GEN Genitive error                                        6
OMU: omission unité de traduction                6
AJU: ajout fautif unité de traduction              6
DEIX: Déixis                                                  6
MOD wrong modal or missing modal             5
CON Contraction error                                               4
BAR Barbarisme, mot ou locution inexistante           4
CAL: calque                                                   4
CONSTR: construction verbale, adv, prep…  4
LEX: insuffisance lexicale sauf mot rare       4
SRTR: surtraduction significative                   4
SSTR: sous-traduction significative                4
TEMPS: erreur de temps bal                           4
ASP erreur d’aspect                                 4
ART Erreur d’article défini/indéfini etc          4
PHON: phonétique/phonologie                      4
FS: faux sens                                                  3
O: omission de mot                                        3
AJM: ajout fautif de mot                                            3
LR insuffiSance lexicale mot rare                  2
REG Registre trop familier ou trop soutenu    2
CLUM Clumsy                                             2
QUOT: quotation marks (“” vs «»)                2
SP: orthographe 1 ou 2 selon rareté du mot    1 ou 2
MAJ Erreur de majuscules                             1
PUNC: ponctuation (sauf “”)                         1

Positive points
Unité de traduction très bonne                     +4

Unité de traduction excellente                      +8