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Senior Member
Russian Federation
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 Message 969 of 1317
07 March 2014 at 2:15pm | IP Logged 
the htlal reptiles did :) we've been posting about twitter for ages.

Edited by Serpent on 07 March 2014 at 2:20pm

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Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
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Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish, Irish

 Message 970 of 1317
07 March 2014 at 6:52pm | IP Logged 
Looks like it's time for me to edit my French Twitter list so I can share it. Just added
a bunch for Gaeilge too so I'll need to organize that.

In the meantime I've made the list public:

French Twitter

Edited by sctroyenne on 07 March 2014 at 10:25pm

1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Virgin Islands
Speaks: Ladino
Joined 3904 days ago

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Speaks: English*, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Creole (French)

 Message 971 of 1317
07 March 2014 at 7:37pm | IP Logged 
As the other reptile here on the forum, obviously, I agree with Serpent. We have, indeed, been talking about Twitter for ages, but few listen or care.

emk wrote:
...If you can find a wide variety of interesting Twitter accounts in your target language, subscribe to them all, and check Twitter a bit obsessively, I think you could easily produce a better content stream than IMX French. Like all of Khatzumoto's products, IMX is aimed at people who don't mind spending money to save time and effort (and as a entrepreneur, I understand perfectly).

You don't have to check Twitter "obsessively". You can let it lie fallow for a while and gorge on it once a week or so, or, you can build time for it into your day. If you don't clutter up your account with people who tweet every 15 seconds, it's no problem to go through my timeline in about 15 minutes. The time "wasting" comes in when I click on links I find interesting. But is it "wasting" my time to read and listen in my TL's- well, no, it isn't. The links make Twitter very useful but even without following a single link, a lot can be learned just by reading the short 140 character limit tweets in your TL. It all starts by creating an account and choosing to follow people or subjects of interest to you, be that footballers, museums, other athletes, poets, journalists, bloggers, 17th century Elbonian tiddlywink enthusiasts, cartoonists, comic book writers/distributors, etc., etc. Yes,it may take a little while to build up your own personal favorites and weed out the chaff but there's a lot than can be done in just a few short searches on Twitter to build an interesting group of people/subjects to follow.

Essentially Khatzumoto has found a way to make what I do with Twitter and Blogs easier for people with an "out of a box" solution, and getting paid for it. One of the reasons more people don't and wont use a multi-track approach is it doesn't come "out of a box" and "ready to wear".

Many people find no value in Twitter at first glance. Give it more than a cursory look. You do have to sign up for an account in order to follow people but that doesn't mean you have to actually tweet messages yourself in order to get the benefit. I follow a wide variety of interests, such as journalists, writers, bloggers, cartoonists, singers, etc. Before you speak the language, you can find out the words for your interests and search via Twitter and that will give you some ideas. For example, here's one of the accounts I follow in Haitian Creole:

@creolelingo wrote:
Haitian Creole word of the day: BOUT v. – TO WRAP UP, TO CONCLUDE. Depi mwa a bout, mèt kay la vin frape pòt la pou mande lwaye kay la.
EN: Since the month is ending, the landlord comes knocking on the door to ask for the rent for the house.

This guy has a wealth of Haitian Creole tweets just like this one that help me to improve. All I have to do is click on his account and there's enough for flash-card city, if I were into that sort of thing.

And one that I follow in Portuguese:
@cronicadodia wrote:
ÁRVORES, FILHOS E LIVROS >> Paulo Meireles Barguil /03/arvores-filhos-e-livr os-paulo-meireles.html …

This link sends me to the blog where I can read the story (crônica] about Trees, Kids and Books. I can go through the archives and find a year's worth of topical stories about varied subjects in contemporary Brazil. I would've never found this without Twitter. So I'll let Khatz make his money. If anybody wants me to create a list of Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole and Ladino Twitter accounts to follow, I won't charge you a thousand dollars a year or $2.99 a day! Hmmmm, maybe, I should... ;)

Edited by iguanamon on 07 March 2014 at 7:43pm

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Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3551 days ago

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Studies: Hindi, Ancient Greek, French, Sanskrit, German

 Message 972 of 1317
08 March 2014 at 12:51pm | IP Logged 
But does IMX have anything as funny and compelling as stupid cat videos on youtube? I present to you: Parole de chat.

L'art de la séduction
La boîte à chat.
5 persons have voted this message useful

United States
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2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 973 of 1317
08 March 2014 at 11:50pm | IP Logged 
Thank you all, for your Twitter advice, your lists and your amusing cat videos. :-)

I've gone ahead and canceled IMX French. PayPal has been a dysfunctional wreck all week, and they've been taking money from my bank account and sitting on it, all while promising to deliver it to Khatzumoto sometime next week. I ended up receiving 2 days of IMX French and Twitter is charging me for 4, so I'm going ahead and cutting my losses. Like I said, my Twitter feed provides better links, anyway, and more of them.

I've been testing out the Izneo Android application, and it's actually quite nice—maybe a bit better than the Kindle comic reader. If you're looking for BDs, two good offers from Izneo:

20 BDs from Lombard. 2.99€ each to buy, 1.99€ to rent
Get rental access to 15 BDs per month for 9.90€

The latter seems like a perfect present for intermediate student of French who loves comics.

I've got a stack of French books I want to read (including Syndicalistes ou voyous?), a bunch of cheap BDs to rent, a season of Le trône de fer to catch up on. And lots of French humor sites and book reviews to follow on Twitter. Oh, and Benny's book is coming out tomorrow, I think, and I want some time to flip through that.

I'll be back for my Egyptian team and for the dead languages challenge in a while. Until then, I may be a bit easier to reach on Twitter. Take care, folks. I'll see you around.

Edited by emk on 09 March 2014 at 12:08am

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 Message 974 of 1317
11 March 2014 at 1:32am | IP Logged 
I'm pretty busy with work and with deeper-than-usual French immersion outside of work. Thanks to the immersion, my spoken French is pretty good shape right now.

While I'm mostly away from HTLAL, I thought I would post this overly-detailed self-assessment that I've been working on. Attention conservation notice: 2000+ words of CEFRL checklists and personal navel-gazing.


So anyway, what’s up with the CEFRL level listed in my profile? I passed the B2 exam almost two years ago now, with a pretty solid score, and since then, I’ve completed a Super Challenge, watched vast quantities of TV, and spent the intervening time using French as my default home language. Obviously, my French is much better than it was two years ago.

So why haven’t I taken the DALF C1 yet? Well, partly because it’s a big jump up from the DELF B2, and because I’d have to spend some time practicing my synthèses. But also because even though my vocabulary and precision has grown quite a bit, my fluidity of speech is still not hugely better than it was way back then, because I don’t actually need to speak much better than I do in my day-to-day life. (And I spend too much time exhausted, and in an English-speaking world, neither of which helps.)

Anyway, since I’m too lazy to study for the DALF C1 right now, I thought it would be worth doing an informal summary of my level using the C1 self-assessment checklist from the European Language Portfolio.


Overview: When warmed up, I can channel surf and mentally “tune in” on most programs pretty quickly. With luck, this often allows me to understand 70% to 90% of what I’m watching. However, some things normally cause me problems: Engrenages and other “realistic” shows, shows with especially complex and subtle plots, standup comedy, etc. And French films remain fairly challenging. In person, I sometimes need time to adjust to people’s accents, espeically in Quebec. I can at least follow conversations between the native speakers I know.

I can follow extended speech even when it is not clearly structured and when relationships are only implied and not signalled explicitly. Generally not a problem.

I can understand a wide range of idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms, appreciating shifts in style and register. Yeah, sure, within the limits of my experience. Some of the street slang in action movies and Engrenages goes over my head. But I have few problems following well-educated adult speakers of standard French, even when they’re aggressively casual, at least on the level of vocabulary.

I can extract specific information from even poor quality, audibly distorted public announcements, e.g. in a station, sports stadium etc. The odds are in my favor.

I can understand complex technical information, such as operating instructions, specifications for familiar products and services. This stuff is usually read in an “announcer” voice, in which case it's easy.

I can understand lectures, talks and reports in my field of professional or academic interest even when they are propositionally and linguistically complex. Yes, with exceptions. For example, when I took an online statistics class, I could follow two of the three lecturers. The third mumbled technical material very quickly, in an unusual accent, and he could lose me.

I can without too much effort understand films which contain a considerable degree of slang and idiomatic usage. I struggle a lot with this.


At this point, I find it vaguely suprising when I can’t read something easily. When reading Le Pont de la rivière Kwaï, I found that perhaps 1 word in every 500 or 750 was “opaque”, and I typically read interesting books at 30 to 40 pages/hour. When I looked at the reading passage on a sample DALF C1 exam, I read it in a small fraction of the alloted time and I think I knew every single word. The only online vocabulary estimator I could find thought I knew about 22,000 words, which seems a little high.

I can understand fairly long demanding texts and summarise them orally. Yeah, sure. I might struggle with oral summarization in some cases, but I take it for granted that I can pick up almost anything written in French and just read it.

I can read complex reports, analyses and commentaries where opinions, viewpoints and connections are discussed. Um, yeah?

I can extract information, ideas and opinions from highly specialised texts in my own field, for example research reports. Sure.

I can understand long complex instructions, for example for the use of a new piece of equipment, even if these are not related to my job or field of interest, provided I have enough time to reread them. I suppose it depends on the equipment. I’ve never bothered to fill in my French mechanical terminology, so it’s possible that I’d be missing a couple key vocabulary words. I don’t know all the common synonyms for “crank handle”, and I can’t name French engine parts.

I can read any correspondence with occasional use of a dictionary. Very occasional use of a dictionary.

I can read contemporary literary texts with ease. It varies. Not all contemporary French literary texts are intended to be read with ease. To pick an example from one of my favorite genres, the science fiction novel La Horde du contrevent is extremely “literary,” and I find it rough going. Similarly, long passages in Proust can confuse me.

I can go beyond the concrete plot of a narrative and grasp implicit meanings, ideas and connections. Yeah, sure.

I can recognise the social, political or historical background of a literary work. Again, it varies. I get a lot of cultural references, but I miss a lot too.

Spoken Interaction

Speaking is my weakest area. If I’m well-rested and I’ve recently gorged on lots of French, I can fake a decent percentage of the skills below. If I’m exhausted and my French is inactive, it can get pretty ugly. Note that there’s an interesting wrinkle here: I can fluently discuss most subjects that actual, live French speakers frequenty discuss in my presence. But because I generally only interact with a single French speaker whom I know very well, that’s more limiting than you might think. On the bright side, I substantially outperform many young children who live in environments similar to mine. But again, that’s also a pretty limiting standard.

My bigget failure modes include: stopping to search for really precise vocabulary, and briefly pausing my speech to sort out gender markers.

I can keep up with an animated conversation between native speakers. Sometimes. My best strategy is to slip in appropriate comments and then yield the floor. I can’t reliably take and hold the floor via charm or persuasiveness if people don’t particularly want to hear my opinion. Some times I need to demand that people listen and give me a little space.

I can use the language fluently, accurately and effectively on a wide range of general, professional or academic topics. Pick any 2 of 3? More seriously, I need to make tradeoff between fluency and precision.

I can use language flexibly and effectively for social purposes, including emotional, allusive and joking usage. Generally, yes. If it involves parenting tasks, I’m on very firm ground. Routine socialization’s not bad, either.

I can express my ideas and opinions clearly and precisely, and can present and respond to complex lines of reasoning convincingly. Given a patient listener and a bit of time to organize my thoughts, I’ve successfully explained Keynesian economics in popular terms, via use of the Capital Hill baby-sitting circle example. But in general, I still have trouble expressing precise ideas about books, business models, and quite a few other subjects.

Spoken Production

I’m definitely below what I consider to be C1 standards here, though I might be able to find ways to limit the damage in an actual exam. Again, 6 months of serious interaction with a group of French speakers would make a big difference—I’m noticeably limited by the fact that I interact with a single speaker.

I can give clear, detailed descriptions of complex subjects. Again, assuming a reasonably patient listner, I can get pretty far.

I can orally summarise long, demanding texts. Depends on the text.

I can give an extended description or account of something, integrating themes, developing particular points and concluding appropriately. Spontaneously? Again, a somewhat patient listener or a familiar topic make it a lot more pleasant.

I can give a clearly developed presentation on a subject in my fields of personal or professional interest, departing when necessary from the prepared text and following up spontaneously points raised by members of the audience. If I have plenty of prep time, I can do a pretty reasonable job. (For English, I assume 1 hour of prep for every minute of an important public presentation.)


I can use fluently a variety of appropriate expressions to preface my remarks in order to get the floor, or to gain time and keep the floor while thinking. I have a very extensive set of verbal reflexes to gain time; I’ve been speaking French at home, consistently, for over two years now.

I can relate own contribution skilfully to those of other speakers. With a bit of luck, it’s not impossible.

_I can substitute an equivalent term for a word I can’t recall without distracting the listener. I need to do this more consistently. I often tend to prioritize precision over fluidity.

Language Quality

I can express myself fluently and spontaneously, almost effortlessly. Only a conceptually difficult subject can hinder a natural, smooth flow of language. Well, there are certainly subjects where this is true. Much “home” French is nearly effortless. But my fluency breaks down outside of my comfort areas.

I can produce clear, smoothly-flowing, well-structured speech, showing control over ways of developing what I want to say in order to link both my ideas and my expression of them into coherent text. Eh, maybe on my very best days, under controlled cirumstances, I could fake noticeable parts of this.

I have a good command of a broad vocabulary allowing gaps to be readily overcome with circumlocutions ; I rarely have to search obviously for expressions or compromise on saying exactly what I want to. I certainly have a C1-sized vocabulary, or better, but it’s not as active as it should be. This means I do far more searching for words than I should, unless my spoken French is in top form.

I can consistently maintain a high degree of grammatical accuracy ; errors are rare and difficult to spot. It wouldn’t take terribly long for a good listener to catch me in a gender agreement error.


Writing is the skill I neglect the most, largely because I don’t need to write a lot, and I never try to write longer pieces without Internet access. When I do write, I try to write carefully, and I use various online resources to double-check that my prose is idiomatic. (In general, the answer is “yes”—when I think up a way to express an idea, and I Google it, I will quite often get a huge number of hits.) But even though I can pretend to write fairly well, I don’t do as well in an exam environment, writing by hand (who does that?), with no access to native dictionaries or other resources. However, I know how to fix this: I just need to write an essay per day for a month or so, and make sure I know where all the accents are on my favorite turns of phrase. Oh, and I need to learn how to write a DALF C1 synthèse, which is apparently a rather specialized style.

It’s gotten hard to use lang-8, because I can’t rely on drive-by corrections, which are pretty much useless at my level. I need to befriend specific, literate correctors to have any chance of useful feedback.

I can express myself in writing on a wide range of general or professional topics in a clear and user-friendly manner. Subject to the limitations discussed above.

I can present a complex topic in a clear and well-structured way, highlighting the most important points, for example in a composition or a report. Ditto.

I can present points of view in a comment on a topic or an event, underlining the main ideas and supporting my reasoning with detailed examples. Ditto.

I can put together information from different sources and relate it in a coherent summary. Ditto.

I can give a detailed description of experiences, feelings and events in a personal letter. Sure, all the time.

I can write formally correct letters, for example to complain or to take a stand in favour of or against something. Generally yes. I’ve memorized formules de politesse that are sufficient for most occasions, though I’ve forgotten some of the finer points of formal salutations.

I can write texts which show a high degree of grammatical correctness and vary my vocabulary and style according to the addressee, the kind of text and the topic. Subject to the limitations discussed above. My control of register is pretty good, thanks to diverse reading.

I can select a style appropriate to the reader in mind. Again, subject to the limitations discussed above.


So overall, I strongly suspect that I’m a solid C1 when it comes to reading. Listening, well, I might be able to bluff my way to passing score. I don’t really speak at the level described by this checklist, largely because I still need to manually fix up gender errors and I waste too much time searching for really good words. My spontanous, dictionary-free writing is below a C1 standard, but that’s mostly just a matter of practicing for a specific exam format and getting in ~100 pages of corrected writing practice.

Edited by emk on 11 March 2014 at 8:52pm

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United States
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Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
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 Message 975 of 1317
14 March 2014 at 9:21pm | IP Logged 
This week is crazy: tons of work stuff, a huge snow storm, and one of the kids is under the weather.

In my scarce free time, I've been amusing myself over at Izneo. I plunked down $14/month for their subscription service:

How this works: You pay 9,90€ (about US$13.75) per month, and you get either 15 free BDs, or possibility an unlimited number—it looks like they made the offer more generous in the last few days. You have 10 days to read each BD. They take US credit cards, and they allow you to buy from the US. You can read online or on a tablet, and the Android reader is pretty good, even on a 7" tablet.

This week's free BDs include XIII, a classic thriller, which is better than the Ludlum novel it rips off:

XIII, tome 1. Free until summer. I'm already up to book 4.

And the story of a young girl with leukemia:

Boule à zéro, tome 1. Free this week. Lots of humor, casual language, linguistic jokes.

If you decide to get the Izneo subscription, or if you want to plunk down a few bucks, may I also recommend Blacksad, a fine noir mystery with a talking cat?

Blacksad, tome 1. 1.99€ rental, or free with a subscription. For more awesome pictures of the hero, go here and scroll down a bit.

And if you're looking for good ideas, here's a Twitter list with lots of BD sites and publishing houses. As you can see, this is a huge industry in France, and they produce something for just about everyone.

Anybody interested in challenging themselves with a few BDs?

Edited by emk on 14 March 2014 at 10:10pm

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United States
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Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 976 of 1317
16 March 2014 at 9:00pm | IP Logged 
Il y a quelques jours, j'ai augmenté mon niveau d'immersion un peu. Avec mon compte Twitter, mon abonnement à Izneo et bien sûr mon gros tas de livres et de DVDs, j'ai tout ce qu'il me faut pour m'amuser en français.

D'habitude, j'ai une quantité raisonnable de français dans ma vie. Mais je ne m'y consacre pas à plein temps. Après tout, il y a tellement de choses intéressantes en anglais, et je veux les lire et les regarder aussi. Mais mon problème, c'est que l'anglais est toujours très facile, et avec le français, il faut que je fasse un petit effort.

Mais je veux faire une petite expérience, et voir ce qu'il va m'arriver si j'utilise autant de français que possible. Donc, je viens de lire six BDs en deux jours et beaucoup d'articles en ligne, et c'est très agréable, mais aussi un peu bizarre. Ça fait presque deux ans depuis que j'ai fait un truc pareil. Et quand j'en ai assez de lire et de regarder des choses en français, je cherche une autre chose en français, et c'est un peu comme si je nage sans arrêt. Et si mon cerveau veut se reposer, tant pis, il peut le faire en français.

Mais ce matin, tous les mots étaient là pour moi. J'ai pu m'exprimer rapidement, sans penser, même quand je voulais dire quelque chose d'un peu compliqué. J'aime cette sensation de liberté.

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