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 Message 225 of 243
07 December 2013 at 9:16pm | IP Logged 
It's been quite a while since I last posted. Have been in a bit of holding pattern, primarily consisting of
radio podcasts averaging under 30 minutes/ day, of Le français façile from RFI and - a new discovery - Au
coeur de l'histoire stoire/ .

Summary of my French from Sept 24, till Dec 6th.

Audio podcasts: 1809 minutes; 30 hrs, 9 mins. (Sans transcripts)
Reading, books: 68 pages, from Barbara Tuchman, Un Lointain Miroir
Reading, BDs: 126 pages.
BD finished: Une Vie Chinoise, Tome 3.

Video podcasts: 120 minutes. Le Téléjournal (without captions)

In other French activity, I had two French-language Couchsurfing encounters: one short 45 minute stint (I took
him to the Art Gallery of Ontario, but had to leave for work); and a longer one of two and a half days, with a
guest from Lyon whom I had previously hosted, and with whom I'd kept in touch. She's a delightful person,
and I'd have happily hosted (and spoken with) her even if she had been Anglophone, so it was a double

Also did my second "Book a Librarian" session in French, with some prior trepidation. As I've previously
mentioned, our library offers this service as an individual session for patrons who have more extensive
reference or reader's advisory needs. Folks explain what they want to learn/ know; we find a staff member
who has the skills; and book appointments (from 30-60 minutes) tailored to their requests.

In this case, it was a Francophone from Burkino Faso, who wanted an introductory session on Internet use
and searching. My first French BaLib had been with a Quebecoise who had strong English skills. However,
"my" Burkinabe was, although quadrilingual, non-English speaking. Fortunately, her daughter made
arrangements for a time when they could both come to the library, and she stayed at hand in case any
translation assistance was needed. But, prepped with vocab printouts from books such as At Home Abroad
by Helen and Nigel Harrison, Passport Books; Mastering French Vocubulary by Wolfgang
Fischer and Anne-Marie Le Plouhinec[/I, Barrons]; and 6,000 Essential French Words by Brigitte de
Wever, Living Language, we happily completed the one-hour session with almost no additional help from the

Small vocab note.   I discovered (from a Quebecois patron), that "@" (the "at sign") which I'd learnt as
l'arobas / l'arobase, is also called "le 'a' commercial":

Have also [U[just renewed my Y membership, and resumed watching TV - there are individual screens for
each of the treadmills. (No closed captioning available, though.)

Am off for a short holiday (London, UK), so may not have much time in the next fortnight to do more French; -
we'll see.   Will try to squeeze in a visit to Grant at Cutler at Foyles, and - if so - will post upon my return
before Christmas. (I have to be back at work on Christmas Eve.) Will also try to post my year-end summary

Apologies for the 2+ month laxness in updates. But I take some comfort in this quote from Kato Lomb's
Polyglot: How I Learn Languages

We should learn languages because language is the only thing worth knowing even poorly.

Many thanks to those of you who've been reading and following my log, and also to those stalwarts (on Team
Pax and others) who've been faithfully posting on yours. You continue, as always, to be a treasured source of
knowledge and inspiration.

p.s. Will fix the links later; have to soon head out on errands.

Edited by songlines on 07 December 2013 at 9:18pm

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 Message 226 of 243
29 December 2013 at 7:20pm | IP Logged 
Summary for the period from Dec 7 - 29.
Audio podcasts: 253 mins; 4 hours, 13 mins.

Year-end summary , to be updated after the 31st if I log any more French time between now and then.

Assimil: 704 minutes; 11 hours, 44 mins.
Films: 590 minutes.
Flashcards: 40 minutes.
Reading, BDs: 4,303 pages. 56 BDs finished.
Reading, books: 870 pages.
Podcasts, TV/video: 1,996 minutes; 33 hrs, 16 mins.
Podcasts, Audio: 3,790 minutes; 63 hrs, 19 mins.

The year started off strongly, then went into something of a holding pattern in the latter half.
I didn't count the films I saw at the Toronto Film Festival, as they were subtitled. Also didn't count/log my
Readlang minutes; it's a very useful resource, which I hope to resume using in the new year. Minimal
flashcard work, as I have been carrying around and using my IPad rather than my IPad.

- Have had a few chances to formally use my French at work, not just on an ad hoc basis at the Reference
Desk with Francophone patrons, but for the "Book a Librarian" sessions described in my log.

Whereas last year's numbers had a large number of book pages logged, this year's seemed to have been
"the year of the BD".

Notable bande dessinée titles/ series/ authors:
Ab Irato
Blake & Mortimer
Le Sursis; and Le Vol du Corbeau, by Gibrat
Le Chat du Rabbin (and others in the series), by Joann Sfar
Chroniques Birmanes, by Guy Delisle
"Paul" series, by Michel Rabagliati
Une Vie Chinoise, by P. Ôtiè & Li Kunwi
Quai d'Orsay, by "Abel Lanzac" & Christophe Blain
Tintin, by Hergé

Books finished:
Le Tour du Monde en 80 Jours
L'Histore de Pi
Le Petit Nicolas (a number in the series), by René Goscinny

Books still (sigh) to finish:
Un Lointain Miroir, by Barbara Tuchman
Le Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Debout les Morts/ /The Three Evangelists, by Fred Vargas

From the Department of Sad Confessions: after a couple of aborted attempts, Italian fell by the wayside.
Didn't manage to get to German.

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 Message 228 of 243
06 January 2014 at 8:32pm | IP Logged 
Thanks for the greetings and good wishes, DamedesLangues. And all the best to you too. I don't know
if I have any wisdom <smile> to impart, but there are links to resources (e.g. podcasts) scattered through
my log. I've posted the link to the page for some Quebec French ones on the main Triomphe log, if you're

I see, from Kanewai's thread, that you're London-based.- Have just recently returned from a holiday
(all too short, of course) there, with two visits Grant and Cutler's at Foyles: an amazing collection of language-
learning material! Once I've sorted through my trip photos (which may take a while), I'll try to post photos and
a short review as I did for Librairie Michel Fortin (and some other bookstores) in Montreal.

Edited by songlines on 06 January 2014 at 8:33pm

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 Message 229 of 243
06 January 2014 at 9:34pm | IP Logged 
Hi Songlines, I've loosely followed your log here, and it has given me several good ideas. What does it take to join at TAC French team? Do you lead one? Is it too late?

I'm also a fan of visiting Foyles whenever I'm in London.
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 Message 230 of 243
06 January 2014 at 11:20pm | IP Logged 
Thanks for your kind comment, Jeffers.

Re. your query: I don't know if Team Triomphe is accepting any more members at present. - They decided to
have a limit of 30, and I think are even now oversubscribed. (But you're welcome to PM Tastyonions
(the team leader) or ask on the team thread .

Otherwise if it's full, there are a few alternatives:

1/ Start your own TAC team! As a senior member, you'd be very welcome to. As I understand it, what it
would involve would be posting a note (and perhaps PM- ing Cavesa for good measure_ on the TAC
2014 thread, (link in the next paragraph) saying you're interested in starting a second French TAC 2014 team,
and asking if anyone else would like to join it.

Start a team log, announce and post it on the TAC 2014 Sign Up Thread, and wait for interested members to
TAC 2014 Signup thread

It's only the beginning of January, and I see from the sign-up thread that there some other members who've
were also looking for spot in a French TAC team, so you may well get a decent number of replies.

You folks could jointly decide on a team name. As the originator of the team thread, you'd also have to be the
one to post the name of your team members and links to their logs. (This is for techinical reasons; others
can't edit your posts, or change the log title. But if they wish, they could certainly help out by posting the
names and links themselves, in a post on the thread.)    Team members follow each other's logs, and offer
support / advice etc. . There was a decision last year to limit team leaders to Senior Members, partly
because they'd usually be less likely to start a team in the first flush of January enthusiasm, and then drop out
shortly afterwards. Also, not being "newbies" they'd perhaps have a better sense of the Htlal culture and
etiquette. The team leader is not expected to be a more advanced speaker/ learner of the target
language, and teams typically end up with a nice mix of beginners and advanced learners.

Post /keep updated links to, or a list of, your team members on the TAC 2014 signup thread itself.

And that's pretty well it; not too hard, really. Of course, depending on your enthusiasm, energy, and time, you
could (jointly or as a "team leader) add all kinds of bells and whistles: team logos, theme, language
challenges for members to try over the course of the year, etc. That's all fun, but optional.

2/ Second alternative:
Do the TAC as an indiividual challenge. You'd have a log, and could follow other people's, of course, but not
be part of a formal "team".

3/ There is now a third alternative too:
Being an "observer" on a team. Not entirely sure how this differs from Alt 2 above (and someone please
correct me if I'm wrong), but it seems to be an option for people already studying and being on the team for
one language, and wishing to follow some other teams without commiting themselves to having to keep up
a log for yet another language.

I'm already on Triomphe, but look forward to following your log, whichever option you decide to go with. And,
if course, if you do yourself join Triomphe, I look forward to welcoming you! Best wishes for 2014!

Edited to add a tad more info, and correct noticed typos.

Edited by songlines on 07 January 2014 at 12:57am

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 Message 231 of 243
14 January 2014 at 10:46pm | IP Logged 
Just wanted to say thanks for organizing the second French TAC2014 team, and let you know that I'm looking forward to following your log. I just read through most of this thread and stole some of your resources for later :)

I'm an anglophone from Toronto who has a bunch of librarian friends (not Torontonian ones, though) and a deep appreciation for tea, so your perspective was especially interesting/entertaining for me in places. I look forward to seeing your progress this year! Let me know if I can assist in any way with team chores.
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 Message 232 of 243
19 January 2014 at 11:04pm | IP Logged 
Tnx from me too Singlines for popping me onto French team 2...

Good luck with your learning!!

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