Reviews of our Reading French course from former students

 

Thank you again for such a wonderful class. I am really astounded by the progress that I have been able to make as a result of your instruction. I now have a wonderful skill that will be immensely useful, dare I say essential, for my future research. I will absolutely be recommending this course to other graduate students.

Kris Palmieri 

PhD student in the Conceptual & Historical Studies of Science 

University of Chicago, 2017.

The Hyde Park Language Programme is a fantastic course. Even as a relatively advanced French student, I found going over the basics with a specific focus on translation gave me a new perspective on the language. I would highly recommend this course to anyone who is approaching French translation for research or pleasure. The swathe of short translation passages provide a brilliant introduction to a wide variety of French writers; this means that every new translation skill you learn immediately opens up a new writer and cultural moment.

 

Xander Ryan 

PhD student in English and French literature 

University of Reading, 2016

I took years of French before college, but afterward I let the language gradually slip away. By the time I found myself facing a graduate-level translation exam, I worried that I had no idea how to revive my knowledge of the language effectively. Celia's intensive course is perfect for people who need to acquire competence quickly, whatever their skill-level going in. She knows exactly which aspects of French need the most attention - which ones to drill constantly and which to let slide. As soon as the class started, I knew I was in good hands, hands I could trust in the inherently risky project of cramming a language I needed for research.

 

PhD student  

University of Chicago Divinity School, 2013

 

 

From the start, Celia made it quite clear that her class would require great effort on the part of the student.  While this was expected, I was pleasantly surprised to see that our effort was equally matched by Celia's.  Her concern was always for her students and this quite clear from my interactions with her in and out of the classroom. The course itself was fantastic and contains the absolute necessities to learn how to read and translate French. It is taught in a very practical and concise manner with no superfluous additions; everything you learn in this course you will use.  If you are willing to put in the work, Celia's class will undoubtedly help you achieve your French reading goals.  Her confidence and my hard work resulted in a "High Pass" on my first attempt at the French Reading Exam, and I could not be happier.

MA Student

University of Chicago Divinity School, 2013

 

When I began Celia Brickman's French Intensive course, I had no background in French, and I was under enormous pressure to pass the language exam for my PhD in English at the University of Chicago. Dr. Brickman's course was extraordinary in all respects, six weeks of rigor and enjoyment combined in a breathtakingly efficient program. I emerged with a "High Pass" on my exam and an extremely solid grasp of French grammar and syntax, which stood me in excellent stead some 14 years later when I lived in Paris for four months. As hundreds if not thousands of Dr. Brickman's former students can attest, this course delivers the goods, and it does so in a miraculously pleasurable way. Dr. Brickman is a fantastic teacher, engaging, acute, amusing, erudite, accessible, attuned to her students' strengths and weaknesses, excellent at fostering class community even as she marched us all toward our individual exams or goals. Indeed Dr. Brickman has created her own coursebook, an index of her pedagogical commitment and expertise. Having taken introductory courses in Spanish, Hebrew, and German, at Harvard and the University of Chicago (in addition to Dr. Brickman's French), I cannot recommend Dr. Brickman or her course more highly: it was by far the best, most successful language-learning experience I have had.

Maureen McLane

Professor of English

New York University

This is an ideal course for scholars learning how to read and translate French for academic research. The course provides a logical framework for understanding the written French language as a code that can be deciphered and understood. Dr. Brickman's course book is specially designed to avoid unnecessary detours into the spoken language. Instead, one efficiently but seriously concentrates one's memorization upon a limited menu

of irregular verbs, verb forms, "false friends," and interesting features of French expression. At the end of the course, one is able to negotiate the

French language as a serious scholar.

        When I attended an orientation workshop for graduate work in biblical theology, faculty members advised us on how to fulfill a degree requirement that we show competence in translating three foreign languages. When it came to French, they made only one recommendation: take the Hyde Park Language Program's French course. I am happy I took that advice.

 

Gerald E. Nora, 2010

 

 

 

I am happy to add my voice to a chorus of praise for Celia Brickman's intensive summer course in French for reading. From start to finish, the

course is packed with precisely what you need to learn how to read French. I have had a lot of experience in working on languages (prior studies include several years of Greek, Latin, and German), and to date this was easily the most efficiently-run course I have taken. Dr. Brickman is serious and expects serious work, and she will get you precisely where you need to go - whether that means passing an intense reading exam or bettering your knowledge for research purposes. In addition to helping me pass a reading exam at Notre Dame, Dr. Brickman's course provided me with notes and a textbook that are still very useful as I use French for my research. I highly recommend the investment of your time and money in this course.

 

Kellen Plaxco

Ph. D. Student

Marquette University, 2009

 

 

 

I recommend the intensive French course without reservation. It was very apparent from week one till the conclusion that exceptional planning

went into strategizing how to prepare students to pass the translation exam. Everything from the pace of instruction, the order and depth of

coverage of vocabulary and grammar of the French language, as well as numerous mnemonic devices for quick and comprehensible translation were critically imparted by the instructor in one of the most professionally prepared curriculums that I have experienced in my several years as a graduate student.

Christopher S. Barkan
Ph.D. student
History of Consciousness Department
University of California, Santa Cruz, 2008

 

 

 

As one of those people that was not exposed to a foreign language at a young age, I have always found learning one a major challenge. The simple fact is that Celia Brickman's reading French course was the best and most effective encounter I have ever had with language learning. It lead to a high pass first time around and a genuine interest in the French language. Her teaching style is extremely effective and practical, and while I dreaded responding in class, it was a very satisfying and ultimately acculturating experience. When I have moved on to translating texts for my research, her materials have proved invaluable aids and I have developed a sense of competency that lets me tackle difficult texts. Taking her course is an exciting and intellectually stimulating way to acquire French.

W. Sterner

Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science

University of Chicago, 2007

 

 

 

I took the French exam several times before I heard about Celia's course.  I have no doubts I would have passed the first time if I'd taken her course right at the beginning. She is tough, but the effort is well worth it. Take the course. Pass the test. Get on with your life.

 

Former PhD History student, 2007

 

 

 

When I began Ms. Brickman's French Intensive, I had absolutely no prior French language training. The class, tailored to graduate students with numerous demands on their time, is scrupulously designed with highly-constructive exercises, which are meticulously graded and reviewed in

class. Drawing from years of experience, Ms. Brickman's elegant style of instruction is creative, orderly, and clear. She goes to great lengths to attend to all students varying needs with both personability and accessibility.

           

Like the vast majority of those students who complete Ms. Brickman's lesson plan, not only did the class culminate in my receiving a "High Pass" on the University of Chicago French Exam, but the process itself, which could very well be overwhelming and stressful, was made pleasant, methodical and edifying. I have recommended Ms. Brickman's class with confidence to many a daunted student.

 

Elizabeth Lazar Muir

University of Chicago Divinity School, 2007

 

 

 

I was a PhD student in theology at Chicago Theological Seminary where there are no resources for language instruction, so the Hyde Park Language Program was an invaluable resource!  The real jewel in the crown of the resource is Celia’s teaching ability.  She structured the French class in a way that built our knowledge of French steadily and her willingness to pour over our homework gave us the feedback we needed to learn.  She had said at the outset, if you come to every class and do the homework diligently, you will pass the translation exam.  And that is absolutely true in my experience!  I have encouraged many of my fellow students to take your class and will continue to do so.

My suggestion would be that the Brickman pedagogical  model be mandatory for all reading language classes.

Julianne Buenting, 2007

Simply put, I would not have passed the French Reading Exam on the first attempt if it weren't for this class, even though I had formally studied French for most of my childhood until high school.  The course is rigorous and highly effective not only for passing the exam, but also to remind people how to learn languages with a scholarly goal in mind. Now instead of shirking away from an article written in French, I approach it with confidence knowing that all I need is a dictionary and some time to render it into comprehensible English.

Saud Al-Zaid, 3rd year PhD Student, 2007

 

I entered Celia Brickman's French reading course after not having taken French in almost 14 years. Celia got me up to speed in no time, and soon

had me exceeding what I thought were my limits. I high-passed the University's French reading exam with no problems: a 93 on the test and the first done. I come across French now in my academic work and I don't miss a beat, thanks in no small part to Celia.

Let me put it another way: You need Celia Brickman's French reading course!

 

David P. Lyons, PhD Student, 2007

 

Celia's intensive course is perfect for people who need to acquire competence quickly, whatever their skill-level going in. She knows exactly which aspects of French need the most attention - which ones to drill constantly and which to let slide. As soon as the class started, I knew I was in good hands, hands I could trust in the inherently risky project of cramming a language I needed for research.

 

PhD student in the U Chicago Divinity School, 2013

 

 

From the start, Celia made it quite clear that her class would require great effort on the part of the student.  While this was expected, I was pleasantly surprised to see that our effort was equally matched by Celia's.  Her concern was always for her students and this quite clear from my interactions with her in and out of the classroom.  She even went so far as to contact me on rainy days to see if I needed a ride.  That being said, the course itself was fantastic and contains the absolute necessities to learn how to read and translate French.  It is taught in a very practical and concise manner with no superfluous additions; everything you learn in this course you will use.  If you are willing to put in the work, Celia's class will undoubtedly help you achieve your French reading goals.  Her confidence and my hard work resulted in a "High Pass" on my first attempt at the French Reading Exam, and I could not be happier.

 

MA Student

University of Chicago Divinity School, 2013

 

 

This is an ideal course for scholars learning how to read and translate French for academic research. The course provides a logical framework for understanding the written French language as a code that can be deciphered and understood. Dr. Brickman's course book is specially designed to avoid unnecessary detours into the spoken language. Instead, one efficiently but seriously concentrates one's memorization upon a limited menu of irregular verbs, verb forms, "false friends," and interesting features of French expression. At the end of the course, one is able to negotiate the French language as a serious scholar.

 

When I attended an orientation workshop for graduate work in biblical theology, faculty members advised us on how to fulfill a degree requirement that we show competence in translating three foreign languages. When it came to French, they made only one recommendation: take the Hyde Park Language Program's French course. I am happy I took that advice.

 

Gerald E. Nora, 2010

 

 

I am happy to add my voice to a chorus of praise for Celia Brickman's intensive summer course in French for reading. From start to finish, the course is packed with precisely what you need to learn how to read French. I have had a lot of experience in working on languages (prior studies include several years of Greek, Latin, and German), and to date this was easily the most efficiently-run course I have taken. Dr. Brickman is serious and expects serious work, and she will get you precisely where you need to go - whether that means passing an intense reading exam or bettering your knowledge for research purposes. In addition to helping me pass a reading exam at Notre Dame, Dr. Brickman's course provided me with notes and a textbook that are still very useful as I use French for my research. I highly recommend the investment of your time and money in this course.

 

Kellen Plaxco

Ph. D. Student

Marquette University, 2009

 

 

I recommend the intensive French course without reservation. It was very apparent from week one till the conclusion that exceptional planning went into strategizing how to prepare students to pass the translation exam. Everything from the pace of instruction, the order and depth of coverage of vocabulary and grammar of the French language, as well as numerous mnemonic devices for quick and comprehensible translation were critically imparted by the instructor in one of the most professionally prepared curriculums that I have experienced in my several years as a graduate student.

Christopher S. Barkan
Ph.D. student
History of Consciousness Department
University of California, Santa Cruz, 2008

 

 

As one of those people that was not exposed to a foreign language at a young age, I have always found learning one a major challenge. The simple fact is that Celia Brickman's reading French course was the best and most effective encounter I have ever had with language learning. It lead to a high pass first time around and a genuine interest in the French language. Her teaching style is extremely effective and practical, and while I dreaded responding in class, it was a very satisfying and ultimately acculturating experience. When I have moved on to translating texts for my research, her materials have proved invaluable aids and I have developed a sense of competency that lets me tackle difficult texts. Taking her course is an exciting and intellectually stimulating way to acquire French.

 

W. Sterner

Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science

University of Chicago, 2007

 

 

After three unsuccessful attempts to high-pass the German language exam, I decided to try the French exam. I had zero background in French and couldn't afford to miss again, so I took Celia's Brickman's prep course and, wahoo! I high-passed the French exam on the first try. She told me when I began that if I followed all the steps in her book and did all the homework, that I would most likely high pass, and she was right. If you follow what she tells you to do (and don't skip anything), you too will most likely make it.  I am sooooooooooo glad I took her prep course; it was worth every penny and I hope she will continue to offer it for other students for many years to come.  Celia is very supportive and helpful to all her students, her classes and the book are organized in just the right way to step you along in learning only what you need to know, and the course moves at a reasonable pace.  And to add sprinkles on the icing, after it was all said and done, I found that I had learned to enjoy reading French in the process of trying to pass the exam.  So after the exam, I went out and bought a used copy of Candide and am (very slowly) continuing to read French, not because I have to, but because it's fun and it's now within my reach.  I think it's a pretty good testimonial that I went from language-impaired to language-empowered in 12 weeks. 

 

Jeannette Darcy, 2008

 

 

I took the French exam several times before I heard about Celia's course.  I have no doubts I would have passed the first time if I'd taken her course right at the beginning. She is tough, but the effort is well worth it. Take the course. Pass the test. Get on with your life.

 

Former PhD History student, 2007

 

 

 

When I began Ms. Brickman's French Intensive, I had absolutely no prior French language training. The class, tailored to graduate students with numerous demands on their time, is scrupulously designed with highly-constructive exercises, which are meticulously graded and reviewed in class. Drawing from years of experience, Ms. Brickman's elegant style of instruction is creative, orderly, and clear. She goes to great lengths to attend to all students varying needs with both personability and accessibility.

 

Like the vast majority of those students who complete Ms. Brickman's lesson plan, not only did the class culminate in my receiving a "High Pass" on the University of Chicago French Exam, but the process itself, which could very well be overwhelming and stressful, was made pleasant, methodical and edifying. I have recommended Ms. Brickman's class with confidence to many a daunted student.

 

Elizabeth Lazar Muir

University of Chicago Divinity School, 2007

 

 

 

I am a PhD student in theology at Chicago Theological Seminary and we do not have resources for language instruction in the seminary, so the Hyde Park Language Program was an invaluable resource!  The real jewel in the crown of the resource is Celia’s teaching ability.  She structured the French class in a way that built our knowledge of French steadily and her willingness to pour over our homework gave us the feedback we needed to learn.  She had said at the outset, if you come to every class and do the homework diligently, you will pass the translation exam.  And that is absolutely true in my experience!  I have encouraged many of my fellow students to take your class and will continue to do so.

My suggestion would be that the Brickman pedagogical  model be mandatory for all language classes.

 

Julianne Buenting, 2007

 

 

 

Celia's French course was just what I needed!

 

I took Celia's French course and the French language exam during the summer quarter—it  fit perfectly into my academic schedule this way, and was just as rigorous as I needed. Celia's teaching style is very straightforward: do the work, and you will learn French. It almost sounds too good to be true, but it is as true as it is simple. With all of the other demands on my time that summer, this method worked beautifully, and week by week, Celia turned me from a sometimes Francophone into a capable translator. Celia herself was sometimes tough, but never unnecessarily so during the learning process; she was also very approachable after class and her dedication to getting us through the test was obvious.

 

By the end of the course, I was not just able to translate passages for the test. I was also enjoying the work because Celia's teaching matched exactly the challenge of the translation test.

 

Most importantly, Celia's course was invaluable to me because she taught me not just how to pass the test, but how to be a good translator of French--a skill that still aids me, long after I received that little "P+" on the required language exam.

 

Jordan Berry, A.M. Divinity School alumna, 2007

 

 

 

Simply put, I would not have passed the French Reading Exam on the first attempt if it weren't for this class, even though I had formally studied French for most of my childhood until high school.  The course is rigorous and highly effective not only for passing the exam, but also to remind people how to learn languages with a scholarly goal in mind. Now instead of shirking away from an article written in French, I approach it with confidence knowing that all I need is a dictionary and some time to render it into comprehensible English.

 

Saud Al-Zaid, 3rd year PhD Student, 2007

 

 

I entered Celia Brickman's French reading course after not having taken French in almost 14 years. Celia got me up to speed in no time, and soon had me exceeding what I thought were my limits. I high-passed the University's French reading exam with no problems: a 93 on the test and the first done. I come across French now in my academic work and I don't miss a beat, thanks in no small part to Celia.

Let me put it another way: You need Celia Brickman's French reading course!

 

David P. Lyons, PhD Student, 2007