This computer-assisted language-learning package was first devised in 1988-1991 as an MSDOS-based programme by Alan Hindley and Brian J. Levy in the Department of French at the University of Hull, in collaboration with Computing Services at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London. Medfrench works on the principle of cognate language teaching, i.e. it teaches the student, by means of a text to be read – together with appropriate help options – how to read a natural language on the basis of another, related, or cognate, language. In this instance, the programme teaches Old French (“ancien français”) through the medium of modern French, with which the student is already expected to be familiar. The text to be read is displayed on the screen, and the student is provided with a dictionary, a grammar, and a commentary which, unlike books, are always open at just the right place.

Given the rapid developments in computing technology since the Medfrench program first appeared, it has now been updated for use as a web-based resource by Katherine Fenton (a former lecturer in electronic publishing at the University of Northumbria) and Rosalind Brown-Grant in the Department of French at the University of Leeds. 

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