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tarvos
Super Polyglot
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 Message 1257 of 1317
11 June 2015 at 3:31am | IP Logged 
Nick Clegg speaks very good Dutch, yeah
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tastyonions
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 Message 1258 of 1317
11 June 2015 at 4:14am | IP Logged 
1e4e6 wrote:
In the last coalition, the former UK Deputy Prime Minister of the Liberal Democrat Party, Nick Clegg, speaks Dutch at a more than respectable level (he has a Dutch mother), and Spanish and has a Spanish wife. I believe that his children speak a bunch of languages because of their parents as well.

I cannot imagine how badly Clegg would have faired in the USA in terms of election if he speaks at least Dutch and Peninsular Spanish and probably more than that as well.

It is actually specifically French that is a disadvantage here in the States because of its association with "snobbiness" and leftist politics. I don't think there is a general detriment to a politician for simply speaking a foreign language. Most people would at least recognize the usefulness of Spanish, and I doubt that they would have any opinion on Dutch.

Edited by tastyonions on 11 June 2015 at 4:16am

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emk
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 Message 1259 of 1317
11 June 2015 at 4:16am | IP Logged 
This side thread of conversation is drifting in a decidedly political direction, and it's starting to pick on specific nationalities, neither of which ever leads to an especially worthwhile conversation. So please let's find another subject. Thank you.

Francophone TV: I can go back into time!

So I emailed Francophone TV customer service today, and asked them to enable the "Replay TV" feature. It turned out to be slightly more expensive than I hoped for, but I'll try it for a bit.

It came with no instructions, and it took me about half an hour to figure out how to use, which was a bit ridiculous. The secret:

1. Go to the program guide.
2. Select a channel.
3. Hit the yellow button to skip back 24 hours.
4. Scroll up and down until your find something promising.
5. Hit "OK" and cross your fingers for luck.

I wasn't able to load Stargate SG-1 on NRJ-12; it just hung there for several minutes trying to download and failing. I had much better luck with Canal+: I skipped back a day, scrolled around, and picked out "How to Train Your Dragon 2", which was "Dragons 2" in French. My wife and I started from the beginning of the movie, and watched a good hour before heading upstairs to bed (we're both early risers, so weeknight movies usually take a couple days to finish). It's definitely a fun movie, and the French dub was both enjoyable and moderately challenging. For the first 20 minutes or so, I missed a fair bit of dialog, but then things clicked and I was getting all but a few lines per scene.

I think we're going to use the Francophone TV box a lot more, now that we have better channels and we can go back several days to find a good program. It's usual TV dilemma—there's plenty of awesome stuff on TV in the course of a week, but typically there's nothing on right now that's worth the trouble of watching.

At least in French the ads are fun. I can't buy any of the products, and there's a lot of great cultural details in the ads.
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patrickwilken
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 Message 1260 of 1317
11 June 2015 at 12:21pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
Part of this is that you've watched like a zillion more movies than me, and that makes a huge difference. :-)


It is a really interesting question how modality specific language learning is (i.e., writing only helps writing; listening only helps speaking etc) and how generalizable such skills are.

It's very hard to know, but from what you say my receptive skills (reading and listening) seem to be at least as good as yours (despite the lack of a romance discount), and perhaps better, which wouldn't be totally surprising as I've read a lot more (about 25000 pages) and as you say watched a ton of films (+900). On the other hand your understanding of grammar, your ability to speak and to write are clearly far superior.

I guess the interesting question is how fast we will catch-up in the relatively weaker areas of our L2s.

Edited by patrickwilken on 11 June 2015 at 3:18pm

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emk
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 Message 1261 of 1317
14 June 2015 at 10:09pm | IP Logged 
Back from Montréal!

I just got back from Montréal from my first Montreal run in a long time. I met up with sctroyenne to sack and pillage the bookstores along Rue Saint-Denis. And she introduce me to the Librairie L'Échange, which has used French books and BDs in excellent condition! We also visited Renaud-Bray, Planète BD, the Librairie Michel Fortin (which has awesome foreign language books). And taking particular advantage of the used book prices, I made it home with a large haul:



This will be enough to keep me busy for a long time. From top to bottom, and from left to right:

Le Canard enchaîné. The classic newspaper of French political satire.
Charlie Hebdo. I've never read a complete issue, and I feel like I should.
Science et avenir and Science et vie. Two science magazines. I want to pick one and subscribe. :-)
Sept guerrières. One of seven volumes. This looked fun. EDIT: It isn't. Oh, well.
Expérience mort, volume 2. I already have volume 1, which had some fun visuals.
Sur la route de Banlung. A Franco-Vietnamese UN worker visits the cradle of the Khmer Rouge.
Jason Price, volumes 1 and 2. Something involving mysticism. Marked down, so I'll try it.
Catharsis. Luz was friends with many of the people killed at CH; this is his reaction.
Paul à la pêche. Another volume of the awesome, slice-of-life BD about a young boy growing up in Québec. Always a treat.
La Crise. Short pieces about the economic crisis, by different writers and artists.
La Zone du dehors, by Alain Damasio. Award-winning science fiction by a very challenging author.
Dans les bois éternels, by Fred Vargas. Because a Vargas mystery is always an excellent choice.

As usual, I was blown away by sheer volume of amazing and interesting things published in French. I could read full time for years and not run out of things I want to read—all the more reason to figure out how to hook up a Kindle to Amazon.fr. I want access to all the cool stuff; not just the tiny assortment that's available in the US.

Speaking in Montréal: A really good day

This went really well this time. During the drive up to Montréal, I listened to podcasts and popular French songs from the 70s and 80s (more on this later). Before reach Montréal, I also spent some time singing along with a few fast MC Solaar songs, which is an excellent way to warm up my ability to string French phonemes together quickly.

When I was parking my car, an older lady walked up to me and asked me (in French, with nice Quebec accent) to explain the bizarre parking system. This went very smoothly, and it's always nice to start the day out on the right foot. After that, I spent all day speaking French with sctroyenne, and in various shops and restaurants, and after a brief warmup period, everything was working exactly the way it was supposed to: I could explain complicated ideas, or discuss politics, or talk about why certain books were interesting, or complain about stereotypical French films.

I really love the days when the words arrive quickly enough to don't have to pause and look for them, and when I can talk about nearly all the things I want to talk to about. It's days like this where I feel that with a little more work to polish off the remaining rough edges, I'm really close to being able to function like an educated adult.

The first French film I ever understood in a theater

In the evening, I watched a film at the Cinéma Excentris, which is one of the cleanest and classiest movies theaters I've ever seen. (They do seem to lean towards art films.) And for the first time, I actually watched a French film in a theater and understood 90+% of the lines of dialog!

(When I have some spare time, I want to actually make a map of this neighborhood for fellow HTLALers who have an extra afternoon to spend in Montréal—there's lots of excellent food, and a ridiculous number of first-rate bookstores. I always think of songlines when I visit here; she gave me lots of advice the first time I went book shopping in Montréal.)

All in all, an excellent weekend. It really is blast to be to go to Montréal, help people sort of their traffic tickets, hold long conversations in French, buy lots of awesome books and then go watch a movie. I've come a long way in the last three and a half years—go back and look at the first couple of posts in this log, when I figured that I was almost ready for a B1 exam. :-)


Edited by emk on 15 June 2015 at 12:19pm

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patrickwilken
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 Message 1262 of 1317
15 June 2015 at 11:39am | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
Back from Montréal!
In the evening, I watched a film at the Cinéma Excentris, which is one of the cleanest and classiest movies theaters I've ever seen. (They do seem to lean towards art films.) And for the first time, I actually watched a French film in a theater and understood 90+% of the lines of dialog!


Although I watch most of my films at home, there is something really special about seeing a film in your L2 in the wild (ideally with popcorn and drink).

Sounds like you had a great trip to Montréal. I visited about 20 years ago, had a fantastic time, and have been meaning to get back since then! Time flies...

Edited by patrickwilken on 15 June 2015 at 11:45am

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emk
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 Message 1263 of 1317
15 June 2015 at 8:31pm | IP Logged 
patrickwilken wrote:
Although I watch most of my films at home, there is something really special about seeing a film in your L2 in the wild (ideally with popcorn and drink).

It definitely feels like a real milestone. French films are one of my last great obstacles, along with being able to speak intelligently and fluently about anything I want with no warm up. So I was happy even though Une nouvelle amie was a ridiculously stereotypic French film—"Hmm, let's make a funny film about an important social issue, and do so using clever little character sketches, and at the same time, let's fill it with a whole bunch of stereotypes that are stale enough to have 20,000-word entries over at TV Tropes. But the cinematography and acting will all be very good."

How to buy lots of books in Montréal: A guide

Do you have a spare afternoon in Montréal? Do you want to spend way too much money on French books, BDs, and other media? Here's a guide to one of my favorite book-shopping neighborhoods. This map is based on lots of advice from the late—and greatly missed—songlines, who helped me plan my first book-buying adventure here. And the recent additions are largely due to sctroyenne, who talked me into walking a bit further than usual. :-)


View on Mapbox

Librairie L'Échange, 713 Avenue du Mont-Royal Est. This is a really great used bookstore, with a large selection of used books and BDs. Prices are about $5–6 for a paperback, and $12 for a BD.

Renaud-Bray, 4380 Rue Saint-Denis. A major chain bookstore. This is a large Renaud-Bray store, with multiple floors of books, and a wide selection of periodicals. Pricey, but sctroyenne can tell you that I just stood at the top of the escalator and gazed in shock and delight at the sheer number of books.

Crêperie Bretonne Ty-Breiz, 933 Rue Rachel Est. A very nice crêperie, with proper Breton crêpes. Good for a sit-down lunch. Don't take it personally if they switch to English; they seem to want to bend over backwards to be welcoming.

Brûlerie St-Denis, 3967 Rue Saint-Denis. A hard-core coffee shop, with a wide selection, including Jamaica Blue Mountain and a coffee of the day. I had a delicious café au lait glacé, which was very refreshing after traipsing around in the hot sun.

Librairie Planète BD, 3883 Rue Saint-Denis. This is my favorite source of bandes dessinées, for two reasons: (1) they have a huge selection, and (2) the vast majority of titles they carry are either classic or good. In other words, I don't have to spend all my time digging through trash. Instead, I can focus on choosing which of the cool BDs I can't possibly live without. However, it's expensive, with most BDs between $20 and $30.

Librairie Michel Fortin, 3714 Rue Saint-Denis. Language books! They have huge numbers of resources for English speakers learning French, and French speakers learning English. They have a large selection of Assimil courses, mostly with French bases, and plenty of textbooks and dictionaries for even obscure languages. This is a dangerous store for the average HTLAL reader.

Parking, 457 Rue Cherrier. A parking lot with a paper slip machine. Plenty of space on a Saturday morning.

Cinéma Excentris, 3536 Boulevard Saint-Laurent. Extremely clean and classy cinema. They seem to specialize in high-end art films, for those of you who are into that sort of thing.


Edited by emk on 15 June 2015 at 8:35pm

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patrickwilken
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 Message 1264 of 1317
15 June 2015 at 11:39pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:


Cinéma Excentris, 3536 Boulevard Saint-Laurent. Extremely clean and classy cinema. They seem to specialize in high-end art films, for those of you who are into that sort of thing.


While I am sure that's true, as an Australian I think I can say that this film they are currently showing is neither high-end, arty or classy: Wyrmwood - Road Of The Dead though it does look like fun and I do want to see it. I just wish it was dubbed into French. :)

Edited by patrickwilken on 15 June 2015 at 11:43pm



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