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Sunja
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Senior Member
Germany
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Speaks: English*, German
Studies: French, Mandarin

 
 Message 9 of 1317
24 February 2012 at 11:40am | IP Logged 
I've been reading your log and your degree of motivation is inspiring!

I have to be in a special place to learn conjugations. French conjugations are really hard! I don't bother to memorize either and I also try to pick out tenses when I read.
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emk
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United States
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 Message 10 of 1317
24 February 2012 at 4:33pm | IP Logged 
Sunja wrote:
I've been reading your log and your degree of motivation is
inspiring


Thank you! I really appreciate your kind words. It's great to be part of HTLAL, where
people understand. :-)

I just finished reading chapter XXI of Le Tour du Monde, which tells about a
ferocious storm at sea. I loved reading this, because I come from a family of sailors,
and I've stood at the helm of a sailboat with the mains'l double-reefed, the deck
pitching hard beneath my feet, and a heavy sea breaking on a rocky leeward shore.

Sailors have their own language, filled with the romance of the sea. You can find it
John Masefield's classic poem Sea Fever. And you can find it in Le Tour du
Monde
:

Quote:
Le jour reparut. La tempête se déchaînait encore avec une extrême fureur.
Toutefois, le vent retomba dans le sud-est. C'était une modification favorable, et la
Tankadère fit de nouveau route sur cette mer démontée, dont les lames se
heuraient alors à celles que provoquiat la nouvelle aire du vent. De là un choc de
contre-houles qui eût écrasé une embarcation moins solidement construite.

De temps en temps on apercevait la côte à traverse les brumes déchirées, mais pas un
navire en vue. Le Tankadère était seule à tenir la mer.


That's how the sea feels to a sailor: It occasionally mixes terror with an unearthly
beauty.

Of course, I didn't know any of this nautical vocabulary. But amazingly enough, it's
all in the Kindle dictionary, marked "(Marine)". And I want to be honest: it took me
four or five tries to translate the phrase "les lames se heuraient..." because I kept
wanting to read "que" as "qui".
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emk
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United States
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 Message 11 of 1317
01 March 2012 at 4:15pm | IP Logged 
On the 26th:

I was exhausted yesterday, and reading Le Tour du Monde was pretty
painful. I pushed ahead anyway, and reached the 66% mark, somewhere in the
streets of San Francisco. But after struggling for a while, I switched to
Asterix, which helped me forget my headache.

I've been suffering from a weird effect for the last few days. Normally,
I'm much more fluent with the "tu" forms (because I speak almost
exclusively with my wife and her family), and I have to think a bit to use
"vous" forms. But lately, the vous forms have become semi-automatic, and I
have to deliberately override them. I have no idea why this is happening,
unless it's all the dialog in Le Tour du Monde. I suspect that 80%
of my French gets learned at a subconcious level, and much of the other 20%
consists of forcing myself to notice things.

For the next few days, I'll be busy with work, so I won't be able to spend
much time on French.

...

And now it's time a French writing exercise. It's my weakest skill by far,
because I learned French via Assimil's L/R method, informal conversation,
and consuming native materials. I probably haven't written 5 pages of
French in my life, and 2/3rds of that was in online chat.

Here's how I would speak in French, transcribed with my "best guess"
spelling:

Quote:

Je dois écrir plus en français ici. C'est plus difficile
pour moi à écrir en français que pour moi à parler. Je ne suis pas
encore doué avec la dictée! Mais si je voulait passé l'exam pour niveau
B1, je dois apprendre comment à épeler.

Vous pouvez me corriger, si vous voulez!


After a spelling and grammar check, and one small fix by my wife:

Quote:

Je dois écrire plus en français ici. C'est plus difficile
pour moi à écrire en français que pour moi à parler. Je ne suis pas
encore doué avec la dictée! Mais si je voulais passer l'examen pour niveau
B1, je dois apprendre comment épeler.

Vous pouvez me corriger, si vous voulez!


I have a copy of Assimil's Using French that I started 3 years ago.
I bailed on it sometime around lesson 15, when I started struggling, and I
switched to easier native materials. Maybe it's about time to try it
again, once I finish Le Tour du Monde? I'd like to shadow some more
advanced texts, in hopes of developing a more natural French syntax. (And
how is Assimil's Business French, anyway?)

So much French left to learn. Oh, well, at least it's fun.


Edited by emk on 01 March 2012 at 4:15pm

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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3576 days ago

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 Message 12 of 1317
01 March 2012 at 4:18pm | IP Logged 
On the 27th:

I tried watching some French DVDs last night, with frustrating results:

* Ronin: A gritty spy movie starring Robert De Niro and Jean Reno.
It was shot in English, but it has a pretty native-sounding French
soundtrack. Result: I understood no more than 40% of the dialog in the
first 25 minutes, despite being familiar with the movie.

* The Battle for Algiers: A "docu-drama" about the French-Algierian
war, and the use of terrorism and torture. Result: Maybe 30 to 40%. I
had fewer problems with the audio, and more with the vocabulary.

* Caillou: An children's TV series from Quebec, aimed at kids
from 2 to 6 years of age. My older son watches this in French, and
he adores it. Result: I understood over 90% of the dialog the first time
through.

So I appear to have the listening skills of a French preschooler. It's a
start. :-) I need to find some other DVDs with clearly-spoken dialog,
which probably means shopping for a multi-region DVD player.

I flipped through Assimil's Using French some more. I think that I
may use this for a while, but I haven't yet decided how. An ordinary
"passive wave" wouldn't help very much at this point, but maybe I can
figure out something more intensive.

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geoffw
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2732 days ago

1134 posts - 1865 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Yiddish
Studies: Modern Hebrew, French, Dutch, Italian, Russian

 
 Message 13 of 1317
01 March 2012 at 4:32pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
On the 27th:

I tried watching some French DVDs last night, with frustrating results:

So I appear to have the listening skills of a French preschooler. It's a
start. :-) I need to find some other DVDs with clearly-spoken dialog,
which probably means shopping for a multi-region DVD player.


I know the feeling, especially when I try to watch movies. But I try not to worry too much about it, because for some reason I can never follow the dialogue in movies in English, either. I can hear fine, and my English is native--I can't explain it.
1 person has voted this message useful





emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3576 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 14 of 1317
01 March 2012 at 4:45pm | IP Logged 
geoffw wrote:
I know the feeling, especially when I try to watch movies. But I try not
to worry too much about it, because for some reason I can never follow the dialogue in
movies in English, either.


Thank you for the encouragement! I'll find something a bit easier and keep working at
it.

My wife and continue to speak in French most of the time. It's getting easier, and even
if we switch to English temporarily, we drift right back to French.

I've been too busy with work to spend much time reading Le Tour du Monde. I did,
however, listen to a lot of recorded audio and read small pieces of other books at
random. I also had a chance to pick up some new materials, including:

* Several science fiction books by Bernard Werber, including Nos amis les
humains
.
* The Assimil Business French course.
* Several books from a local used book store.
* A bande designée titled immigrants, by 13 authors. Looks well done.

I'm trying to find a wide range of books: New, old, academic, casual, business, and
anything else which catches my eye. There was a great piece of advice in the Assimil
Using French course:

Quote:
Especially at an intermediate level, the learning has the impression that
further progress is terribly difficult since he tends to see progress in terms of
piling bits of information on top of each other. How high can you build a castle of
playing cards? Real progress at this stage is made by broadening one's previous
knowledge and by making it more flexible (horizontal progress as against vertical
progress).


So rather than reading all of Jules Verne's stories (as tempting as that might be), I'm
going to mix things up a bit.
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songlines
Pro Member
Canada
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729 posts - 1056 votes 
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Studies: French
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 Message 15 of 1317
01 March 2012 at 5:27pm | IP Logged 
Quote:
Especially at an intermediate level, the learning has the impression that
further progress is terribly difficult since he tends to see progress in terms of
piling bits of information on top of each other. How high can you build a castle of
playing cards? Real progress at this stage is made by broadening one's previous
knowledge and by making it more flexible (horizontal progress as against vertical
progress).


That's a great quote. Thanks for posting it.

As far as the French DVDs go, I take it there are no French language captions (for the hearing impaired)
available to help you? Here in Canada, that's often an option: French soundtrack, and French captions. It's not
always guaranteed; some titles coming up from the U.S. have Spanish captions instead; and others have none at
all. But that's something I always check before renting or buying a DVD now.     
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geoffw
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2732 days ago

1134 posts - 1865 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Yiddish
Studies: Modern Hebrew, French, Dutch, Italian, Russian

 
 Message 16 of 1317
01 March 2012 at 5:30pm | IP Logged 
Here in the US it seems like almost every DVD has both French language dubbing and subtitles available. I've basically never seen German-language subtitles for ANYTHING, though. I don't even think my copy of Das Boot has them, though I'm not positive on that.


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