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emk
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Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
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 Message 1033 of 1317
08 June 2014 at 4:53pm | IP Logged 
Cavesa wrote:
Thanks for the piece of your translating. It is certainly a tricky thing to choose the proper language when it comes to programming.

I actually saw a great discussion of this the other day on reddit's r/programmation:

Dall0o wrote:
Emnight wrote:
Je le fais en anglais mais la fac exige qu'on le fasse en français

N'y a t il que moi qui trouve cela idiot ?

L'informatique est un monde anglophone. Forcer des étudiants à utiliser le français est presque une penalité selon moi. Mettons que tu réalises un service, une API ou un soft open source. Tu le postes en ligne ou sur github (ou autre) avec ton code en français. Tu risques de te priver d'une bonne part de la communauté de developpeur. Je ne parle même pas d'un code mis en prod qui devrait être maintenu par une entité externe non francophone.

Si je peux comprendre que l'on code dans sa langue pour soi, dans tous les autres cas, je doute un peu de la logique.

Emnight wrote:
C'est complètement con, oui. Mon code perso est 100% anglais.

Over the last few years, I've seen hints that Québécois developers seem to code almost entirely in English, but that French developers tend to code in Franglais. But as you can see from this thread, it seems that even in France, more and more people code exclusively in English unless somebody forces them to use French.

One of the big drivers here is that any programmer who works with open source web technologies has to read an enormous amount of English every day, because the technology moves so fast, and the documentation for thousands of useful, open source libraries never gets translated. And as my personal experiences show, it's not really that hard to transfer reading knowledge between English and French—a few million words is enough to make it pretty comfortable.

Cavesa wrote:
Just one idea: You might find it useful to consult some kind of "programming textbook" for French beginning programmers. It should contain the common vocabulary easily in one place.

Interestingly, O'Reilly France pretty much gave up translating technical manuals to French, because there was no market, and everybody bought the English versions. Even in Quebec, where documentation must often be provided in French by law, I hear stories of Francophone programmers routinely trashing the French documentation, because even they don't recognize the French technical "vocabulary", much of which is never used by actual professionals.

I've had excellent luck, though, with French programming blogs. Anybody who's interested should really check out my French blog subscriptions; there's a ton of programming and startup stuff there.

Cavesa wrote:
Your note as well supports my opinion that the internet had 1000 times larger impact on English becoming so dominant than all the political and historical events of the 20th century. English is the native language of computers not only thanks to the lack of diacritics.

The Internet has definitely made it far easier to learn languages. I never could have gotten as good as I did at French with access to hundreds of websites and to Amazon.fr. And of course, since English is an important language—and the Internet is full of a vast ocean of content for every interest—of course it makes it easier for people to learn English.

So I expect that we'll see both more English speakers, and also more polyglots, thanks to the Internet.
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patrickwilken
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Germany
radiant-flux.net
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Studies: German

 
 Message 1034 of 1317
08 June 2014 at 5:10pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
patrickwilken wrote:
I haven't used Assimil, but from all the positive things I have heard about it I would probably recommended it to people wanting to learn German. Can you summarize in a few sentences who it would best suit?

Persistent extensive learners, basically.

Assimil's passive wave is a basically a graded listening/reading text with grammar footnotes and cloze exercises, split up into chunks that typically take 20–60 minutes. It supplies L2 text, L2 audio and L1 audio.

To benefit from it, people seem to need two things: (1) enough self discipline to do roughly one lesson per day for 5 or 6 months, and (2) a willingness to figure things out from context, the way you do when you're reading or listening to real German.


That sounds a lot like I have been doing for German: read a basic grammar at the start; rote learn some vocab; plunge into lots of native materials.

Would you say it's major advantages is that it is systematic (in grammar and vocab) and that it's very accessible to beginners?

As I understand it from previous posts it leaves you somewhere in the B1 range after about six months. Is that correct?
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emk
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 Message 1035 of 1317
08 June 2014 at 5:27pm | IP Logged 
patrickwilken wrote:
Would you say it's major advantages is that it is systematic (in grammar and vocab) and that it's very accessible to beginners?

The biggest difference between Assimil and native materials is that Assimil is graded, and somebody has already provided matching L2 text/L2 audio/L1 text and footnotes, basically. This gentle learning curve really helps for a language like Egyptian, where native texts are completely opaque, with virtually no cognates ("Pharaoh," "adobe," and "ebony", that I know of). It also helps first-time language learners.

After about two months, Assimil uses plenty of real texts, even for ancient Egyptian. But in the beginning, it's nice to get a daily, bite-sized piece that only introduces 3 or 4 new things at a time. Assimil is quite happy to throw in oddball vocabulary and unusual grammar. Some of it they repeat, but other stuff never appears again. This adds a nicely authentic feel even to their simplified texts. They also tend to have a rather dry sense of humor—when France was occupied during World War II, they actually got in trouble for satirizing prominent German officials in their French-based German course.

I think the short, daily lessons really help, too. If somebody actually commits to doing a lesson every day the way you commit to reading two books per week, Assimil almost always seems to work out pretty well.

patrickwilken wrote:
As I understand it from previous posts it leaves you somewhere in the B1 range after about six months. Is that correct?

More of a strong A2 with a bias towards passive skills, I'd say. But if you follow it up with any of the usual intermediate study techniques, it won't take long to be a solid B1.
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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2579 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 1036 of 1317
08 June 2014 at 5:31pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:

Cavesa wrote:
Your note as well supports my opinion that the internet had 1000 times larger impact on English becoming so dominant than all the political and historical events of the 20th century. English is the native language of computers not only thanks to the lack of diacritics.

The Internet has definitely made it far easier to learn languages. I never could have gotten as good as I did at French with access to hundreds of websites and to Amazon.fr. And of course, since English is an important language—and the Internet is full of a vast ocean of content for every interest—of course it makes it easier for people to learn English.

So I expect that we'll see both more English speakers, and also more polyglots, thanks to the Internet.


Ethan Zuckerman's book Rewire:Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection is worth reading.

One point he makes is that it used to be if you were a blogger (say in Cairo) that you would naturally write in English, as that was the language of the Internet, but as more Arab speakers have come online, bloggers are going back to their local languages to communicate and they often say things a bit differently when speaking in their own language to a local audience, than when they communicate in English internationally. I am sure the same is true in Hindi, French etc.

His concern is actually that while the Internet early on promised some sort of global melting pot, as time as gone on things have become more and more fractured along linguistic/cultural lines. The book is not perfect, but he has thought about these issues a lot and makes some interesting points.

There is an interesting differences here in Berlin between English language blogs -- written either by native English speakers, foreigners from Spain, Sweden who don't speak German, and by Germans who want to write to an international audience -- and those written in German. The overlap in concerns is very different, with little common ground between the two discussions. There is no sense that English is somehow replacing German. I bet the same would hold for Paris blogs or Madrid blogs or whatever. The concerns of locals (at least native speaking locals) are written in the local language not English.

I work for an NGO that provides a news service out of Central Asia. We publish in both Russian for our local audience and English for our International audience. There is surprisingly little overlap between the two audiences as far as I can tell. Those who can would naturally read the Russian as this is much more the language of region.

emk wrote:

I think the short, daily lessons really help, too. If somebody actually commits to doing a lesson every day the way you commit to reading two books per week, Assimil almost always seems to work out pretty well.


Hmmm... 2-4 books per month (say 1000 pages) not per week! :)

You definitely have to commit to systematically doing lessons either way. I found the Super Challenge helpful as it developed a regular daily reading habit (say 30 pages). If I hadn't had that push and reinforcement I would probably have slacked off and at some point given up.



Edited by patrickwilken on 08 June 2014 at 5:56pm

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Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
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Speaks: English*
Studies: Hindi, Ancient Greek, French, Sanskrit, German

 
 Message 1037 of 1317
09 June 2014 at 1:25pm | IP Logged 
It was Emk's experience, among a few others, that inspired me to use Assimil for
learning French. I began by taking his advice to complete 1 lesson a day, but things
went off track around lesson 35 or so. After that I worked on it in fits and starts,
and finally finished the passive wave two years after starting. I think it worked out
very well for me this way. If I were to do it again, I think I would do it daily but
on a week on / week off basis, because I think it took me more time to actually absorb
the content (which fits in with the "bow wave theory" of Leosmith). On the alternate
week I would read from a simple grammar like the one Emk suggests, begin to get into
native material, do lots of listening practice, etc.

The reason I think Assimil works well is that it gives a pretty significant amount of
comprehensible input in a steadily graded manner. If you like learning from "content"
then Assimil is a great place to start.
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emk
Diglot
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 Message 1038 of 1317
11 June 2014 at 2:52am | IP Logged 
patrickwilken: When I read French writing online, I see massive evidence that younger writers read extensively in English, and translate lots of ideas for a French audience. In fact, on many French blogs aimed at the younger generation, it's often taken as a given the reader can deal with untranslated English.

Jeffers: It's certainly possible to go through Assimil at much less than one lesson per day, especially if you make Anki cards. I'm learning Egyptian at a rate of one lesson per week, and it's working great. Plus, anytime after lesson 40 or 50, it's theoretically possible to wade through real native materials in small quantities, even for a language as challenging as Egyptian.

...

What's in Assimil's L'Égyptien hiéroglyphique

I recently spent some time flipping through the second half of Assimil's Egyptian course, and I was blown away by the quality of the texts they use. Below, I break the lessons down by subject and explain everything in English. This is going to be a really fun course to finish.

Introduction to the writing system.

Lessons 1–7: Introduction to vocabulary and hieroglyphic writing.

Several easy stories which introduce the language gradually.

8–23: A garden, a great house, and those who manage it.
24–31: A young scribe.
32—47: Feeding some monkeys, and a monkey who steals a necklace.

Native materials.

48—63: Excerpt from the Westcar papyrus. A bored pharaoh asks 20 scantily-clad servents to row a boat. One drops her fish-shaped necklace overboard. The necklace is recovered by a sorceror who causes half the lake to fold up over the other half. (If you're familiar with the story of Moses and the pharaoh's magicians, the Westcar papyrus stories will sound very familiar. The whole story with the staff that turned into the snake? It would fit in perfectly here.)

64—71: Excerpts from "The Eloquent Peasant." This is a surprisingly modern piece of literature, with a strong satirical bent. The "framing" tale concerns a peasant who is cheated by a rich land owner, and who takes a complaint before a judge. The peasant gives several eloquent speeches on justice and corruption (the speeches are probably the real point of the tale). The judge is so impressed by the peasant that he drags the court case out and writes everything down. The brilliant part of this tale is
that none of the government officials are actually corrupt, but the peasant nonetheless gets to spend quite a lot of time talking about the evils of corruption. This is how you safely discuss politics when the ruler is considered to be a god, I'd imagine.

72–84: Excerpts from "The Satire of the Trades." Another classic work of Egyptian satire, this one explaining why being a scribe is a sweet, sweet job, and pretty much any other job is horrible.

85–91: Excerpts from "The Tale of Sinuhe." A classic Egyptian adventure story, about a high official who overhears people plotting against him and flees the country. He rises to prominence in a foreign land, has adventures, and eventually returns to Egypt a hero. I understand that this tale was extremely popular in ancient times, and it exists in many manuscripts. Personally, I find that it drags a bit—for every paragraph of story, there are three paragraphs praising the Pharaoh. But, well, that's Egyptian for you.

92—100: Tomb inscriptions and prayers. Finally! These are highly ritualized and abbreviated, and many courses start with these. Assimil prefers to give you a pretty solid background in actual Egyptian literature before working on these.

101: "I am Ra, Master of Life" from the "Teaching for King Merykare." The author of the Assimil course describes this as one of the most beautiful passages of Egyptian literature.


Overall, this is a pretty awesome table of contents. I've already read several of these works in translation, and you can find translations of most of them in the excellent Ancient Egyptian Literature: Volume I: The Old and Middle Kingdoms, which I recommend highly. In other words, over half of the Assimil course is pulled directly from some of the best known Egyptian writings. And I mentioned elsewhere, Assimil is preparing an English translation of their course, and they may release it in 2015.

[Did I mention that Egyptian is an awesome wanderlust language? The writing system is fun, but much smaller than anything learned by students of Japanese or Chinese, and the grammar is delightfully weird but quite regular, with only a handful of declension and conjugation tables. Yeah, I think I've mentioned this before. :-) ]

Edited by emk on 11 June 2014 at 2:54am

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emk
Diglot
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 Message 1039 of 1317
16 June 2014 at 4:56pm | IP Logged 
More talking with French teachers

I had another lovely kayaking trip this weeked, and spent the entire upriver leg talking to a retired French teacher again. And the day before that, I spent a while talking to a younger French & Spanish teacher.

Now, everybody who reads my log knows that I gripe about my speaking skills. I can converse, but I have trouble with the really high-level stuff: persuading, keeping up with groups of natives, etc. But apparently, my spoken French is now more than good enough to keep up with many non-native French teachers. Which probably suggests that I'm being a bit of a perfectionist when I complain.

This keeps underling an important point: Past a certain point, it's not very useful to compare yourself to other students. If your ultimate goal is to be able to function more-or-less like a native, make sure you set aside lots of time to use the language with native speakers and native materials.

A French tech conference!

I discovered that a French technology/startup conference will be held in the US soon. I suspect that the main language of the conference will be English, but there's a lot of people coming from France, and a lot French expatriates coming from the US.

Since my consulting business is currently in the "lull before the storm", I'm spending a few days translating my résumé, my sales copy, and the blog post I mentioned before, and I've finished filling out my profile on a new French freelancing site. Oh, and I'm probably going to step up my immersion level a little bit. (Let me go find the VoilaTV remote control!) And then I'm going to pay somebody to proofread it all. If you're good at proofreading French, please feel free to PM me.

I don't expect any immediate payoff from all this work, but merely having a French presence should make it easier to take advantage of serendipity when it occurs. A lot of things in life require lots of slow, steady groundwork before anything can happen. Actually, AJATT is more or less based on this idea: surround yourself with every possible precondition, and just keep pushing steadily towards where you want to go.

Until this conference is over, I probably won't be around HTLAL much. Too busy doing stuff in French. :-)
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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
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1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 1040 of 1317
16 June 2014 at 5:04pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:

Until this conference is over, I probably won't be around HTLAL much. Too busy doing stuff in French. :-)


Have fun!!


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