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Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3071 days ago

2151 posts - 3960 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Hindi, Ancient Greek, French, Sanskrit, German

 
 Message 1065 of 1317
21 July 2014 at 5:48pm | IP Logged 
I envy the position you've built for yourself, but I also understand the frustration. You're at the point where "progress" from week to week or even month to month won't be all that evident.

I'm guessing you're exaggerating about only being able to buy English ebooks. But just in case, go to Amazon.com, go to Kindle books, go to the bottom of the topic list to the left, and click on Foreign Languages. Now the topic list on the left lists French, with 135,893 books. A quick look through the list doesn't look all that promising, but having said that, I just found "Histoires à lire le soir" by Mark Thil and bought it for myself.

EDIT: I think you're right, Patrick when you write:
patrickwilken wrote:
I wonder if language progress, rather than being a linear relationship to the time we spent, is more like a square-root relationship to time spent: so that we have to spend increasing amounts of time to get the same noticeable forwards progress.

The first few months of learning you can go from nothing to begin able to do a lot of basic things. As time continues, your progress becomes less noticeable. Partly, perhaps, because you are adding a little to a lot rather than a little to a little. As a beginner, if you learn 100 words, you probably double your vocabulary. After a few years, 100 new words won't make much difference because you probably know 3000 already.

Edited by Jeffers on 21 July 2014 at 6:03pm

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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3694 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 1066 of 1317
21 July 2014 at 6:25pm | IP Logged 
patrickwilken wrote:
I recently read a comment by a professional translator that it would take about 4-5 years to get to a reasonably fluent stage in German, which made me feel much more relaxed about my progress. I just can't expect to get better as fast as I would like, but so long as progress is being made I am pretty happy.

As far as I can tell, it's surprisingly easy to reach a basic conversational level, and surprisingly difficult to try to meet native, well-read adults on roughly equal terms.

Jeffers wrote:
I'm guessing you're exaggerating about only being able to buy English ebooks. But just in case, go to Amazon.com, go to Kindle books, go to the bottom of the topic list to the left, and click on Foreign Languages. Now the topic list on the left lists French, with 135,893 books. A quick look through the list doesn't look all that promising, but having said that, I just found "Histoires à lire le soir" by Mark Thil and bought it for myself.

Yeah, if you're looking for a couple of really interesting books to read as an intermediate, the US Amazon site can be pretty useful. But at this point, I want more than merely "a big list of books in French with one or two buried gems." I want "a huge selection of modern, high-quality books in French that are good enough to compete with what I could be reading in English," and that makes things more difficult. These books exist, and I can get most of them for the French Kindle, but nobody has US electronic rights.

For example, compare these two lists:

French science fiction for the Kindle, US
French science fiction for the Kindle, France

The former is basically public domain classics that I can get for free from Gutenberg, plus a bunch of self-published stuff, some of which is really awful. I can see one or two modern books that are currently popular in France. The second list gives me a list of personalized recommendations based on my favorite authors, and has a much larger number of current, interesting books. Or to choose a more specific example, Le Déchronologue—the best alternate history novel that I've read in years, in any language—is not available for the US Kindle. And this is the rule, not the exception.

In the long run, stuff like this matters to me. I'm not going to give up reading really good, interesting modern books for the rest of my life. But that means that French book selection needs to be at least semi-competitive with what I can buy in English.

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Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3071 days ago

2151 posts - 3960 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Hindi, Ancient Greek, French, Sanskrit, German

 
 Message 1067 of 1317
21 July 2014 at 6:52pm | IP Logged 
I guess I'm at the point where a gem or two is all I need. I've recently bought 6 Petit Nicolas books, La Planète des singes, Un sac de billes, the Bible and L'etranger, all on Kindle, so I have enough for the next few months. (I also downloaded about 6 free Harlequin novels, figuring they ought to be quick and easy, but haven't gone near them). But I agree it's a problem in the long run. I'm sort of thinking I'll start reading French classics sometime, although I never read classics in English.

In the meantime, how have you ignored item 3 in the US list you posted?
Dem et Sven

On a more serious note, may I recommend two promising ebooks which are free on kindle (I've checked the US site):
50 micronouvelles Each story is told in 140 characters. Reviews on Amazon.fr are mixed, but obviously stories of this nature are going to provoke a variety of opinions.
Florilège SF - Volume 1 This one has two positive reviews on amazon.fr. (There is also a 2nd volume, and a volume of fantasy).
I can't personally vouch for any of these, but they look to be a step above most of the free stuff you find for Kindle.


Edited by Jeffers on 21 July 2014 at 6:53pm

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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3694 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 1068 of 1317
21 July 2014 at 9:26pm | IP Logged 
Jeffers wrote:
I'm sort of thinking I'll start reading French classics sometime, although I never read classics in English.

Some of the French classics are actually pretty awesome, even by modern standards. It's definitely worth reading the first few pages of any books that sound even remotely tempting.

Jeffers wrote:
In the meantime, how have you ignored item 3 in the US list you posted?
Dem et Sven


Hah! Here's a review from the Amazon.fr page:

Quote:
un F/M avec des vampires, c'est bien mais un M/M avec des vampires, il n'y a rien de plus chaud. Et là, je me suis régalée.
Pas de temps mort, pas le temps de s'ennuyer. Tout de suite dans l'histoire. Les deux personnages sont sexy, machos au possible et droles dans leur désir de refuser leur destinée. Une très bonne histoire que j'ai vraiment appprécié. Félicitations aux auteures.

L'amour et les vampires, c'est pas vraiment mon truc. D'accord, je peux supporter Angel et la Tueuse, et même Spike un peu, mais seulement pour l'humour, pas pour le je-suis-tombée-amoureuse-d'un-grand-méchant-avec-des-dents -pointus-qui-est-aussi-un-tueur-en-série.

And thank you for the recommendations! I'll take a look. If you're ever interested in buying Kindle books from Amazon.fr, it's actually possible, but you have to have a French street address, network address and method of payment. This can all be obtained legally, but it's a fair bit of work.

Edited by emk on 21 July 2014 at 9:31pm

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rdearman
Senior Member
United Kingdom
rdearman.orgRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3398 days ago

881 posts - 1812 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, French, Mandarin

 
 Message 1069 of 1317
21 July 2014 at 10:08pm | IP Logged 
You might want to consider using Kobo instead of Amazon. It is Canadian not American. You can find a lot of modern new ebooks in French. They don't charge an International Fee and the books are compatible with all ereaders.

Kobo Store French Search


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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3694 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 1070 of 1317
22 July 2014 at 1:05am | IP Logged 
rdearman wrote:
You might want to consider using Kobo instead of Amazon. It is Canadian not American. You can find a lot of modern new ebooks in French. They don't charge an International Fee and the books are compatible with all ereaders.

Kobo Store French Search

Thank you! Unfortunately, I only found 7 science fiction novels in their entire store. :-( UWhen I connect from a US IP address, most of the online stores hide everything but a handful of self-published French ebooks and the public domain classics. So you can go to a store, and see hundreds or thousands of awesome books; I just see a few leftovers.

It's kind of ridiculous that I can't legally buy these books anywhere, assuming I want them in digital format (which I do; my house already contains an insane number of books, and I've been giving them away by the boxful for years just to make space).

The good news is that French BD publishers have this totally sorted. Izneo is awesome.
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geoffw
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2850 days ago

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

 
 Message 1071 of 1317
22 July 2014 at 3:36am | IP Logged 
emk wrote:

Or to choose a more specific example, Edition/dp/2070437078">Le Déchronologue—the best alternate history novel that I've read in years, in any
language—is not available for the US Kindle. And this is the rule, not the exception.


FYI, it is available here: http://www.epagine.fr/listeliv.php?mots_recherche=St%E9phane %20Beauverger%20-
%20Le%20d%E9chronologue

I've successfully obtained ebooks in the US from this site before. Maybe they aren't as "complete" as you might like,
but they've got a lot. And I've started to see a bunch more stuff available at amazon in French (and German) just in
the last year or so. Let's hope the trend continues.

EDIT: I haven't posted to HTLAL for a while. Let's see if I can remember how to post a link...

LINK


Edited by geoffw on 22 July 2014 at 3:43am

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geoffw
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2850 days ago

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

 
 Message 1072 of 1317
22 July 2014 at 3:41am | IP Logged 
emk wrote:

It's hard to describe what it feels like, but I think this pretty amusing video will help:

Oops, I forgot my English! (Bloopers video)
...
Ah, yup, here's another video of other students, taken
about 20 minutes after they finished their immersion program
. You can see the same thing: they're thinking
in Portuguese, and translating back to English. This will happen to me if I spend several days in French, too—I'll
translate from French to English in my head for 5 to 30 minutes after re-entering the English-speaking world.


Nice videos. This happens to me all the time when I speak English and people must think I'm going senile in my
30s. The sad part is, I don't have the same speaking fluency in my TLs to match, just the awkward constant
interference with my L1 from having so much of so many L2s bouncing around inside my head all the time. But I
can speak a mean 5-way code switching melange, if only I could find someone who could keep up to talk to...


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