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akkadboy
Triglot
Senior Member
France
Joined 3515 days ago

264 posts - 497 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Yiddish
Studies: Latin, Ancient Egyptian, Welsh

 
 Message 425 of 1317
22 January 2013 at 4:30pm | IP Logged 
Congrats on your 1000th post emk ! I can only second what iguanamon said.

I agree with your post on "kanly" and "renegade Houses". Unless I am unaware of some weird/archaic use of renégat, "être renégat à" doesn't sound French to me and being similar to "être traître à", it seems to mean a different thing than the English text : that people betrayed the Houses rather than the fact that whole Houses turned into renegades.

However, "Révérende Mère" seems perfectly fine to me. That's how abbesses are (or were) called.

All this makes me want to read Dune again :)

Edited by akkadboy on 22 January 2013 at 4:37pm

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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3639 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 426 of 1317
22 January 2013 at 5:38pm | IP Logged 
Thank you, iguanamon and akkadboy, for your kind words! I've learned so much from everybody on HTLAL and I'm glad I that I've been able to give something back.

akkadboy wrote:
I agree with your post on "kanly" and "renegade Houses". Unless I am unaware of some weird/archaic use of renégat, "être renégat à" doesn't sound French to me and being similar to "être traître à", it seems to mean a different thing than the English text : that people betrayed the Houses rather than the fact that whole Houses turned into renegades.


Thank you for reassuring me! When I find something weird in a translation, I normally assume that it's me, but those two were really bugging me.

akkadboy wrote:
However, "Révérende Mère" seems perfectly fine to me. That's how abbesses are (or were) called.


Yeah, I really didn't explain myself very well here. The original text read "La Révé [linebreak without hyphen] rende Mère", and the accents on "Révé" were blurred into near-illegibility. So I spent a good two minutes trying to figure out whether the translator was using the subjunctive of rendre, and if so, how "The Reverend Mother" became some very confusing title involving dreams. What can I say? I can be pretty thick-witted sometimes. :-)

(If anybody still doubts that gender is useful in noisy communication channels, I would have figured this out much faster had I paid more attention to gender of "La", which meant that the illegible word couldn't possibly by Le Rêve. But as a non-native reader with a lot of studying to do, it's pretty rare that such a gender mismatch would jump off the page at me during extensive reading. I'm still working on that, and will be for quite some time, I expect.)

And now, another review…

Planète terre (French version of the BBC's Planet Earth)

Yesterday evening, I watched some more Planète terre with the kids. This is a well-done French translation with 5 DVDs of spectacular nature documentaries. The speech is clear and slow, but there's some nicely complicated grammar and vocabulary here and there, so I don't get bored.

Given the clarity of the speech, and the endless stunning pictures, this might be useful for A2ish students who want to try some extensive listening. If it had optional subs, it would be perfect. But there's lots of stuff you could pick out just from knowledge of Assimil and English/French cognates, and like most documentaries, it's considerably slower and clearer than news radio (which is in turn vastly easier than TV shows and movies).

I've linked to the more expensive Canadian version of these DVDs, which appears to know the difference between manchots and pingouins (though maybe I missed a mistake somewhere, and in any case you can't take French speakers to a penguin exhibit without a lively discussion about the difference). There's also a "Making Of" which is narrated by a different actor with a noticeable Quebec accent. It turns out that some poor cameraman had to spend 3 years living all alone in a stone hut in the Himalayas to capture a snow leopard on film.

Edited by emk on 22 January 2013 at 6:55pm

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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3639 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 427 of 1317
23 January 2013 at 2:58pm | IP Logged 
Wow, yesterday was a good day for French. Here's what I did:

- Woke up and did my Anki reviews, including French, Egyptian and the geography of France. My reviews are less than 10 minutes these days, because it's been a while since I've bothered to learn new cards. (I cut back on Anki so I could spend more time reading and watching TV.)

- Read a chapter or two of Dune before the kids woke up. It's actually easier reading than I would have guessed.

- Did some reading online in the afternoon.

- Watched President Hollande address the Bundestag on VoilaTV while I cleaned up after dinner. This was supposedly a commemorative occasion, but Hollande spent some time trying to convince the Germans that it was important to include all of Europe in a solution to la crise. I'm finding it quite easy to follow this sort of speech provided I actually pay attention.

- Opened up my package from Amazon.fr, which contained 3 books. One of these was L'étrange vie de Nobody Owens, which is a high-quality translation of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. This is an oddly sweet story about a young toddler who escapes the murder of his family and winds up being raised by the ghosts in the local graveyard. The hardest thing about the first few pages was the "ambiance"-related vocabulary. I'm not so good at dark and moody French yet.

- Got my first look at volumes 2 and 3 of Aldébarran, and read one and half of them. This is still a coming-of-age story involving lots of delightfully strange aliens, but it's moved from PG-13 to occasionally R-rated as the characters grow up. As before, the language is both straightforward and conversational, and there's only a scattering of unknown words.

- Read another half chapter of Dune before going to sleep.

All in all, an excellent day for French.
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tastyonions
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
goo.gl/UIdChYRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2772 days ago

1044 posts - 1823 votes 
Speaks: English*, French, Spanish
Studies: Italian

 
 Message 428 of 1317
23 January 2013 at 3:16pm | IP Logged 
I can actually follow political speeches, too, sometimes, because they're often spoken clearly and with lots of pauses. I've never checked out any documentaries in French before, though. I'll have to do that.

It's interesting what you wrote above about rêve and gender. It made me realize that what I often do when trying to remember the gender of a word is to search my memory and see if there's a particular *phrase* stuck in my brain that will reveal it. For example, with "rêve" I heard the phrase "la fin du rêve" on a radio show once, and that somehow became my way to check the gender of the word. :-P

Edited by tastyonions on 23 January 2013 at 3:17pm

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geoffw
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2795 days ago

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

 
 Message 429 of 1317
23 January 2013 at 4:29pm | IP Logged 
tastyonions wrote:
I can actually follow political speeches, too, sometimes, because they're often spoken clearly and with lots of pauses. I've never checked out any documentaries in French before, though. I'll have to do that.


I've noticed that as well. I actually was able to follow some of the rah-team speeches in Hebrew after the elections in Israel yesterday, and I really don't know Modern Hebrew that well. Nevertheless, it does require a decent vocabulary to really follow the policy arguments closely.
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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3639 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 430 of 1317
23 January 2013 at 4:32pm | IP Logged 
tastyonions wrote:
It made me realize that what I often do when trying to remember the gender of a word is to search my memory and see if there's a particular *phrase* stuck in my brain that will reveal it.


Yeah, that's super useful. When I was writing practice essays for the DELF exam, I wound up remembering genders by singing MC Solaar lyrics in my head. :-) It's really great that you're already using du as a gender cue. I really think that French gender is one of those things that's worth paying special attention to early on, just like pronunciation.

French gender is a little nasty, because it's not clearly marked on the words themselves, and because you often need to swap masculine and feminine forms around when the following word begins with a vowel (mon idée, un bel homme). Even adults who live and work in France for years will often pick up buggy versions of the gender system to one extent or another, but people who pay attention to the details allegedly do a lot better.
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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3639 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 431 of 1317
23 January 2013 at 4:34pm | IP Logged 
When I learn a word, it usually goes through several stages:

1. Incomprehensible. I have no idea what this word means.

2. Decipherable. I can figure out what this word means using some combination of context, cognates and related words, but it often takes a second or two.

3. Familiar. I've seen this word often enough to know how and when it's used, and I can understand it at a glance.

4. Active. I can use this word myself.

The trick is make sure words keep moving through these stages. Dictionaries can help with getting from "incomprensible" to "decipherable", or I can wait until context makes the word clear. Lots of exposure will take a word from "decipherable" to "familiar". I can force a word up to "active" by practicing it, or eventually letting the sheer weight of exposure push it up.

This is why I buy stuff that's above my level, and stuff that's below my level, and it's why I use that stuff in a whole bunch of different ways.

These days, if I pick up a random text in French, I've got a pretty decent chance of finding mostly "familiar" words, with much of what remains easily "decipherable". This is a pretty amazing feeling, and even those funky compound verbs with se, y and en are mostly old friends. (How many times have I seen J'y suis pour rien ! and Il m'en veut? A whole hell of a lot.) But given a different book, I might need to do a lot more deciphering.

And this is why I find the debates over extensive reading silly. For certain stages along the path described above, extensive reading is amazingly useful. But for other stages, I find it a lot easier to look a word up on the Wiktionnaire and make an Anki card. I'm not terribly impressed by the "one size fits all" fads that seem to sweep language learning once every 30 years, because they all seem to focus on a particular piece of the problem and ignore the rest. Better to treat these methods as tools, which might be appropriate to a specific problem or a specific mood.
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fezmond
Groupie
Korea, South
Joined 3033 days ago

72 posts - 78 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Korean, French

 
 Message 432 of 1317
24 January 2013 at 2:40pm | IP Logged 
Thanks for the heads up on Planète terre, I have the original BBC series on DVD already
but look forward to listening in French. I wonder if the French audio is on my version
already.

I agree with tastyonions too - political speeches are great. Not that I understand much
but Hollande has a particular and slow delivery that would make things easier if I knew
the vocab.

Congrats on the 1000th post



1 person has voted this message useful



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