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kujichagulia
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Japan
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 Message 313 of 1317
05 December 2012 at 2:21am | IP Logged 
Expugnator wrote:
emk, I'd like to share this video: it's about my home state (though not my hometown). I haven't given it a full try yet, just played it a bit and could figure out some words.

Vivre Bahia


Ah, I only dream about going to Bahia someday!
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emk
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 Message 314 of 1317
05 December 2012 at 11:07pm | IP Logged 
Expugnator wrote:
emk, I'd like to share this video: it's about my home state (though not my hometown). I haven't given it a full try yet, just played it a bit and could figure out some words.

Vivre Bahia


Oh, wow, do you live in a pretty part of the world! That's some really pretty countryside.

Of course, I shouldn't allow myself to be overcome with envy: I grew up here, which is as spectacular a corner of the world as anybody could ask for. The swimming, however, is much colder. :-)

As for the French in the video, I could understand most of it, even though some of it was slightly disjointed advertising copy. Thank you for the listening exercise!
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emk
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 Message 315 of 1317
09 December 2012 at 10:04pm | IP Logged 
(comprehensible input + the need to communicate + feedback + a curiosity about the details) x time = language acquisition

Children may be able to dispense with one of two of these ingredients, but they also need huge amounts of input and time, or they'll wind up as heritage learners and not typical native speakers. And kids are good at accents.

This is my current best guess.

Edited by emk on 09 December 2012 at 10:15pm

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Sterogyl
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 Message 316 of 1317
12 December 2012 at 8:30am | IP Logged 
A very, very interesting log. It's great to see what you have accomplished in such a short period of time. Your tools and methods of learning are interesting, I have almost the same (but I'm always trying around).

Quote:
but they also need huge amounts of input and time,


Absolutely. I remember trying to read Stephen King's "It" at the tender age of eight (or nine) and not understanding it. I could read, yes, but I didn't get it. After 8 years of daily input. lol

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Expugnator
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 Message 317 of 1317
12 December 2012 at 3:35pm | IP Logged 
emk, I've come to a point at which I realized that I can understand very little of spoken French, even though I am close to a reading fluency (even considering lower registers). That's something I'm really worried about because it's a rule regarding language-learning. People say that, when you know the words but you can't understand the spoken language, it's a matter of getting used, and it will happen with exposure. Even so, I kinda panic when I play a videoclip or a soundclip and I can't get clearly what people say, I tend to think I've donje wrong with all my studies.

So, now I need to find a source interesting enough to keep me in touch even though I won't be able to get more than 30%. I thought of one of those older French sitcoms one can find at Youtube, as I can play it even here where I am at this part of the day. I don't have time for more elaborated strategies like subSRS and I think audiobooks aren't what I need right now. Any recommendations?
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emk
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 Message 318 of 1317
12 December 2012 at 5:19pm | IP Logged 
Expugnator wrote:
emk, I've come to a point at which I realized that I can understand very little of spoken French, even though I am close to a reading fluency (even considering lower registers). That's something I'm really worried about because it's a rule regarding language-learning. People say that, when you know the words but you can't understand the spoken language, it's a matter of getting used, and it will happen with exposure. Even so, I kinda panic when I play a videoclip or a soundclip and I can't get clearly what people say, I tend to think I've done wrong with all my studies.


Good question. I've always struggled with listening comprehension, because most of my input is at the slow end of conversational speed—my wife is the only native French speaker in the house, and she speaks the way French parents typically speak to their preschoolers: She enunciates a bit more clearly, and doesn't try to discuss complicated things at warp speed. I can understand this stuff without making any effort; it's almost completely automatic 90% of the time, and the rest usually just requires me to pay attention.

But when we visit my wife's sister, and they start talking about old times, it's a whole different ball game—pretty much the way French people speak in modern movies. When I'm listening to a conversation between native speakers, or I'm watching a movie, I really need to focus and I still miss a lot. Seriously, it's embarrassing how much trouble I have understanding parts of Amélie or Taxi or Intouchables.

I guess that if I have one piece of advice to give, it's that ordinary conversation varies enormously in difficulty, and you shouldn't worry if a lot if remains opaque for quite a while. Subs2srs has really been an eye-opener here. Some things I get the first time through. Other things I have to listen to 4 times, and then do my first two weeks of Anki reps before it becomes automatic. And then there's the stuff that I can listen to 20 times while reading a transcript, or even slow it down considerably, and still not figure out what's going on.

The worst are the fast background conversations in Amélie. You'll have an elderly person mumbling quickly with hints of a patois and non-standard vowels, and it's just impossible. Even at C2 you're allowed time to get used to that stuff. :-) And the reductions get crazy—Amélie sometimes says something like "iaime" instead of "j'aime" in fast speech, and the "ce" in "ce que" is amazingly elusive—it's usually a ghost of a consonant attached to the preceding word. When two natives are talking to each other, the hardest 20% of their conversation may be loaded with this stuff, and stuff that's even worse.

So what does this mean? Start with the easy stuff, cheat and then repeat.

Do you like the news? If so, you might have luck with news radio, which is copious and free and which uses tons of vocabulary that should be obvious to anybody who speaks English or a Romance language. This works best if you read 2 or 3 stories in Le Monde or Le Figaro every day, so you already know what they're talking about.

Documentaries are always great, especially the ones use lots stock footage and voice-overs. The voice-overs are slow and clear, and you can pick up a lot from context. I mean, we all know how the dinosaurs went extinct, right? Having lots of context is amazingly useful. There's a French Canadian channel called Explora that does a ton of these, and I've seen one or two of them on French channels over VoilaTV.

Even if audiobooks are a little easy for you, you might consider doing some listening/reading. The goal here would be to take stuff that you already more-or-less understand, and to make it automatic, not to break new ground. Or if audiobooks aren't your thing, then take anything else you can understand 90% of when you're listening carefully and play it a lot.

The good folks of HTLAL have created a long list of French movies and series with subtitles. Don't feel bad about using the subtitles at first, but use them actively—if you can't follow the audio, go ahead and rewind 2 or 3 times to see if you get it. Then when you've understood the movie, go ahead and rewatch it without subtitles, or play it repeatedly in the background.

Series are awesome because you have time to get used to the actors and the vocabulary. I haven't been watching much Buffy lately because I've been fooling around with VoilaTV, and when I switch back to Buffy, the voices are instantly familiar and easier to understand. So check out the list of series and look for something that's easy and that has subs.

Anyway, I'm definitely no expert on this subject, and I'm sure there's people around here who can boost their listening comprehension much more quickly than I can. I mostly want to let you know that even inefficient, aimless struggling will eventually get you somewhere, as long as you switch it up on a regular basis and push yourself a bit. :-)
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emk
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 Message 319 of 1317
12 December 2012 at 5:31pm | IP Logged 
Sterogyl wrote:
Absolutely. I remember trying to read Stephen King's "It" at the tender age of eight (or nine) and not understanding it. I could read, yes, but I didn't get it. After 8 years of daily input. lol


Yup. It's almost like all those years of school assignments, library books, and leisure reading actually taught us something. :-)
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geoffw
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 Message 320 of 1317
12 December 2012 at 6:37pm | IP Logged 
Expugnator wrote:
emk, I've come to a point at which I realized that I can understand very little of spoken
French, even though I am close to a reading fluency (even considering lower registers).


I'm going through the same thing as Expungator right now-while maybe I wouldn't say reading "fluency" just yet,
after 7 months studying French I can generally read news articles and miss almost no words, and I'm finding
Tolkien to be a pretty easy read so far. Properly following the dialogue of a TV show still seems like a distant goal.

And yet, I started studying Italian just 2 weeks ago, and already I feel like I can understand the football announcers
in Italian about as well as the ones in French!!! I think it's just objectively harder, especially as an English-speaker,
to translate reading skills in French into listening skills, compared to other languages (e.g., Spanish, Italian,
German). I may just have to accept that many more hours of grinding work will be required to improve listening
and speaking skills for me than my reading suggests.

Reviewing my 6WC scores, I figure I've put in 150-200 hours so far with French at most, which
this suggests should put me at
no better than A2+. I'd estimate that's where my listening skills are (speaking and writing maybe lower), but
reading is pushing B2. The challenge as I see it for now is to be excited about my higher-than-normal reading
skills (and the opportunity that presents for enjoying a wider range of comprehensible input), rather than being
disappointed with my perfectly normal progression with other skills.


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