French Syllabus from JAMB


The aim of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) syllabus in French is to prepare the candidates for the Board’s examination. It is designed to test candidates’ general ability to:

(i). assess written comprehension in French;

(ii). apply the principles governing the structure and use of written French;

(iii). identify how French sounds work in speech production;

(iv). examines the culture of Francophone West Africa and France in relation (where possible) to home country.

1. Written Comprehension in French:

Topics of general and emerging interest eg love, life, death, politics, marriage, HIV/AIDS, communication, child trafficking, cultism, travel, corruption, money-laundering, etc.


Candidates should be able to:

(i) deduce answers to questions on the content, intent and style of proposed texts,

(ii) apply reasoning skills.

2. Principles Governing the Structure and Use of Written French:  


I. Identification of basic form classes:

(a) Nouns: simple/compound, Singular/plural, masculine/feminine.

(b) Pronouns: personal, impersonal, demonstrative, possessive and relative.

(c) Verbs: reflexive and non-reflexive, their moods and tenses.

(d) Adjectives: qualifying, possessive, interrogative, demonstrative, indefinite (eg null), numeral (eg ten) and ordinal (eg tenth.) (e) Adverbs: – common forms (i) with-ment (eg



(ii) with preposition + noun (eg by plane, on horseback, by car, by boat.) – special forms (eg bien, quickly, mal, Meilleur, le Meilleur, Piss, le pis, ne…que.) –


– manner (eg standing, easily.)

– purpose (eg pour + Infinitive, in order to + infinitive.)

– cause and consequence (eg pour+ infinitive perfect, because of + noun.)

– concession (eg despite + noun.)

– place (eg y, in, here, there, up there, everywhere.)

– time (eg yesterday, today, the day before yesterday, after, tomorrow, the day before, in the morning, in a month.)

(f) Prepositions:

– simple (eg to, of, with, before, on, in.)

– compound (eg next to, in the middle of.)

(g) Conjunctions:

– of co-ordination (eg but, or, and, therefore, because, however, ne…nor.) -of subordination (eg so that, although, provided that, for that, because.) (h) Articles


– definite, indefinite and partitive.

II. Assessment of vocabulary span: (words in contemporary contexts – meaning, use, opposites, Synonyms)

III. Importance of word order in:

(a) affirmative sentences

(b) interrogative sentences

(c) imperative sentences

(d) passive voice formation

IV. Identification and application of basic processes in language structure, eg

(a) conjugation – in all tenses except the imperfect subjunctive, the past tense of the subjunctive, and…the pluperfect of the subjunctive.

(b) negation (eg ne…not, ne…plus, ne…nothing, no one, ne…ne…nor, ne…nobody, no one…ne, none…ne, nothing ne…etc.) (

c ) agreement (eg the fine arts, he saw the photos.)

(d) pluralization (eg as in horse/horses, beautiful/beautiful.)

(e) derivation: -from adj, to adv – eg slowly-slowly, -from adj. to adj. eg un – first, -from adj. to noun – eg good-goodness, rich-wealth etc -from one degree of comparison to another (using plus…que, less….que, aussi….que eg greater que.) NB –special forms- (eg bon, best, the best, the best, bad, worst, the worst.)

V. Use of French in set expressions such as in proverbs, idioms and conventional structures as provided for in common speech acts:

(a) proverbs (eg like father like son, little by little the bird makes its nest.)

(b) idioms (eg be hungry like a wolf, scream on the roof, die of fear.)

(c) conventional stretches ( eg delighted, it’s a shame, it’s wonderful, parking prohibited, etc.)

(d) speech acts (eg propose, advise, regret, admire, hope, question, reproach, agree, etc.)


Candidates should be able to:

i. identify what constitutes the basic structures of written French,

ii. use the principles governing the structure of written French to determine acceptability, eg to transform one form; one class into another,

iii. apply the structure to convey various messages.

iv. apply communicative skills

3. Workings of French sounds via:  


(a) sound discrimination (eg tout/tu), (fais/fée.)

(b) letter-sound correspondence (eg ai-/e/, eau/o/.)

( c) syllabification (eg con/tent/ment.)

(d) connection (eg three animals, children.)

(e) sense groups in reading eg I have a headache. I have pain/not in my head/but in my back/. How are you, Carol? // How are you tomorrow?

(f) false friends (eglibrary/library, stay/to rest, hurt/to hurt.)

(g) identification of sounds to determine similarity (eg house/season, teeth/don, fond/found.)


Candidates should be able to:

(i) discriminate between French sounds,

(ii) deduce meanings out of sound combinations,

(iii) use the above to enhance effective communication,

(iv) assess sound groupings in terms of how they are affected by such features as syllabification, liaison, e-caduc; pause, intonation, etc.

4. Culture and Civilization:

Characteristics, (aspects, similarities and differences) of the educational system, socio-economic life, political organization and cultural life of Francophone Africa and France, with reference (where possible) to home country ie Nigeria.


Candidates should be able to:

i. identify the specific characteristics of the culture of Francophone Africa and France greetings, dressing, food, leisure, marriage, festival, art, profession etc.

ii. compare these features with those of home country (where possible),

iii. apply reasoning skill.

A.(i) Written Language

Ajiboye, T. (2014) Companion to French Grammar (4thEdition): Ibadan: Cleavoketa books

Ajiboye, T. (2012) Nouvel Horizon, Book 4, New Revised Edition, Ibadan: Bounty Press

Hatier (1980) ) The New Bescherelle: The Art of Conjugation, Ibadan: Spectrum Book Ltd.

Maice, G and Merlo, G., (1998), Progressive grammar of French

(Intermediate level), Paris: Clé international.

Mazauric,. C, and Sirejols, E. (2006) Here we go! Book 3, Ibadan: Spectrun Books Ltd.

Ojo, SA(2000) A Comprehensive Revision Handbook of French Grammar, Ibadan: Agoro Publishing Company.

Any other relevant materials on French Grammar.

(ii) Oral

Ajiboye, T. (2010) An Introduction to Practice in Oral French, Ibadan: Bounty Press.

Any other materials that emphasize oral practice.

B. Culture of Francophone Countries

Girod R and Grand-Clement, F. (1979) Comment vivre les Français, Paris: Hachette

Mbuko, L. (2000) French Essays on Culture and Civilization for Schools and

Colleges, Ibadan: Bounty Press.

Any other relevant materials, eg French newspapers, magazines, journals, and documents on Francophone life.

C. Dictionary

Any good French/English or French dictionary.

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