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songlines
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Canada
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729 posts - 1056 votes 
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 Message 201 of 1317
18 August 2012 at 5:57am | IP Logged 
emk wrote:

Montreal and language switching

And one fascinating problem in Montreal: I want to speak French, but I always feel
silly doing so when the other person speaks fully native English. The locals have a
clever and unobtrusive dance they do to figure out which language to use. This dance
often starts with the classic "Bonjour/Hi!", or a word perfectly balanced between
"Hello" and "Allô". And they're remarkably gracious about it, even if you flub the
dance steps. So I'm torn between using my French, and learning the dance.

Bonjour-Hi: Decoding Day-to-Day Bilingualism

Last weekend, I mistakenly started speaking English to a clerk at Renaud-Bray after he
greeted me with "Hello". He was happy to hold the conversation in English. But when it
became apparent that he had some holes in his vocabulary, we switched right over to
French and stayed there. He took me all around the store and showed me all the books
about Egypt.

The next day, I was buying some pain au chocolat and carrying a book of short
stories in French. The young man behind the counter was speaking to his coworkers in a
mix of fluent English and French. As it turns out, he knew the author, and asked me
some questions about the book in very fast French. My brain sort of seized up: Do I
answer his questions in French, and "drop the ball" once or twice during the
conversation? Do I switch to English? So I answered him briefly and politely in French,
and left with my pastry before I was forced to figure out which option Miss Manners
would have recommended.

What a gloriously polite problem. I've never seen anybody from Montreal get
upset about language choice.



Thanks for the link and post. The comments thread for the FYQ post is also quite interesting, with an
unexpected twist described in this one:

http://rljd.tumblr.com/post/26632995077/bonjour-hi-decoding- day-to-day-bilingualism



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emk
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Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 202 of 1317
22 August 2012 at 5:37pm | IP Logged 
FR: Merci, Swift, sctroyenne et songlines pour vos commentaires ! Je suis
toujours heureux d'avoir vos commentaires sur mon journal.

Je continue à regarder excessivement de Buffy, et ça me fait du bien. Après une long
journée de travail (et après que les enfants se couchent), je regarde un ou deux
épisodes de « Buffy contre les vampires » avec ma femme. Et je peux comprendre de plus
en plus au fil des semaines.

Et maintenant, un texte que j'ai
écrit sur lang-8. Je trouve que je fais de plus en plus de fautes d'orthographe. Mais
ça sera assez facile à corriger à l'avenir, et je préfère passer mon temps à lire, à
parler et à écouter du français.

...


Une version plus grande

Aujourd'hui, j'ai plus de hiéroglyphes pour vous ! La phrase d'aujourd'hui vient du 22e
jour d'« Assimil : L'Égyptien hiéroglyphique », et je l'ai révisée ce matin sur Anki 2,
un logiciel qui me permet de réviser des cartes avec des phrases dont je veux me
souvenir. Vous pouvez voir la phrase en hiéroglyphes dans la capture d'écran.

D'abord, une traduction :

iw (i)m(j)-rA pr wr mrw sA rnsj
("Vraiment") / chef / maison / grande / Mérou / fils / Rensy
Le grand intendant Rensy, fils de Mérou,

xrp=f DAt.t tn
administre=il / domaine / ce
administre ce domaine.

Comme vous pouvez voir, la grammaire de l'égyptien n'est pas trop similaire à celle du
français (ni de l'anglais). Mais il y a plusieurs choses très intéressantes ici. Je
vais en expliquer deux.

* Le mot « iw » est une « particule » utilisée pour indiquer que ce qui suit est un
fait. En français, il y a des particules similaires. Par exemple, si on commence une
phrase avec « est-ce que », ça veut dire que ce qui suit est une demande.

* Le mot « (i)m(j)-rA » veut dire « chef », mais les détails sont intéressants. On peut
le construire en commençant avec le mot « m », qui veut dire « en, dans ». Par exemple,
« m mw » signifie « dans l'eau ». Si on utilise un pronom après le « m », il faut
ajouter un « i » : « im=f » veut dire « dans lui ». Mais en égyptien, on peut
transformer une préposition en adjectif en ajoutant un « j ». Donc, « (i)m(j) » peut
être traduit par « celui en qui est ». Est « rA » veut dire « bouche » ou « parole ».
Le mot « (i)m(j)-rA » veut ainsi dire « celui en qui est la parole ». Oui, c'est
compliqué, mais c'est un peu cool.

Je suis surpris de comprendre tout cela après seulement 22 jours de la méthode Assimil.
Je vais réviser la phrase ci-dessus dans deux jours sur Anki et cinq jours après ça et
de moins en moins souvent au fur et à mesure.

Je suis vraiment fasciné par l'égyptien. C'est une langue très intéressante (et plus
d'un peu inhabituelle), avec un beau système d'écriture.

EN: Here's a sample of one of my Anki 2 cards for Egyptian. The hieroglyphs are
on the front side of the card. There's also a hidden transliteration, which forces me
to read the hieroglyphs first.



How to set up cards like this

If you do one lesson per day, L'Égyptien hieroglyphique is actually a very
aggressively-paced course. After three weeks (one of them dedicated to the writing
system), you already have enough grammar to handle several major types of sentences.

Of course, I'm not following the instructions this time through. I learned 200+
characters before starting the course, and I'm adding all the interesting sentences
into Anki for periodic review. This takes more time, but I'm keeping most of the
vocabulary and grammar, even the really alien stuff. And I know that I can put the
course down for a long time without losing much ground.

But I'm pleased to say that, every once in a while, I can hear a sentence on the
Assimil audio tracks and simply understand it without thinking. Or I can glance at a
very simple sentence in hieroglyphs and read it directly without first transliterating
it (or translating it into French). So even after two weeks of real lessons, some of
this material is starting to sink in.

Once I hit lesson 30, I plan to slow down and devote more time to my French. Doing
Assimil has reminded me of the power of various forms of Listening/Reading, and how
much it helps to make an intensive pass through some material and then listen to it
repeatedly.

I have some listening comprehension cards in Anki, with a line of dialog on each one.
These are enormously effective, and I wish I could mass produce them somehow. But using
subs2srs would require the French to actually put accurate subtitles on TV and movies,
which just isn't going to happen.

Barring that, I wish I could strip a Buffy episode down to just the dialog, removing
all the dead space, and listen to it repeatedly, and then go back through with a
transcript. But again, the sheer toolbuilding and prep time is a drag.

EDIT: Fixed some random problems in my first couple paragraphs in French.

Edited by emk on 23 August 2012 at 3:44am

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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3637 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 203 of 1317
23 August 2012 at 9:18pm | IP Logged 
EN: I sent this as a private message to Swift. But it seems like it might be of
interest to other folks. We were discussing how to balance obsessive French study with
our lives in English.

...

I've been "emk the anglophone" my entire life. And for a while, I became "emk the
francophone", living my life almost entirely in French.

My current project is a subtle and tricky one: I'm trying to merge those two
identities, those two roles, into a unified whole. When do I use which language? How do
I entertain myself? What sacrifices and tradeoffs do I make?

This is one of the reasons I love visiting Montreal, with all of its varying degrees of
bilingualism. If I pay close attention, I can see how other people do it: The
firefighters who seem flawlessly bilingual in casual conversation. The bookstore clerk
who has enough English to serve customers, despite the occasional vocabulary holes. The
woman who speaks fast, fluent French but who assumes she can always patch the holes
with English, because everybody's bilingual, right? The bakery employees who switch
seamlessly between the two languages as they talk among themselves. The anglophones who
chat together in French for 3 minutes before realizing that they're both native English
speakers.

What's the protocol when I walk into a bakery carrying a book in French, and the
cashier breaks off a fluent conversation in English, turns to me, and asks me—in
French, of course—what I think about the book? I can respond in French, of course, but
I'll say "Pardon?" several times, and spend time searching for words. There's whole new
etiquette in a world where most people speak two languages with varying degrees of
proficiency.

If you speak native English and B2 French, you can certainly choose to be a sort of
imperfect, half-formed francophone. I do this a lot. But if you look around Montreal
closely, you'll realize that half the people in street are native/B1–C2 or B1–
C2/native, and they deal with this every day of their lives:

Quote:
Most anglos I know in this city (myself included) are now bilingual, a radical
transformation from the English-speaking community of 30 (even 15) years ago in
Montreal. I'd hypothesize that anglophones really wised up, desirous to keep open as
many doors for themselves and their kids as possible, especially after two consecutive
Parti Quebecois govts and the 1995 referendum. In discussions with friends, it seems
that numerous anglophones feel that French (and Quebecois slang) even has become a part
of OUR identity, as we switch back & forth and think regularly in both languages.
(Maybe we should be called franglophones?)

Link


So the new, "franglophone" version of myself is still a bit of a mystery. But the first
post-immersion step is going well: My writing and oral fluency may sometimes come and
go, depending on how much French I'm using, but I don't think they're backsliding. And
my receptive skills continue to improve. I'm finding a balance, slowly.
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kanewai
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United States
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Speaks: English*, French, Marshallese
Studies: Italian, Spanish

 
 Message 204 of 1317
23 August 2012 at 9:45pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
I've been "emk the anglophone" my entire life. And for a while, I became
"emk the francophone", living my life almost entirely in French.

My current project is a subtle and tricky one: I'm trying to merge those two
identities, those two roles, into a unified whole. When do I use which language? How do
I entertain myself? What sacrifices and tradeoffs do I make?
One thing I
noticed overseas was that I had two 'identities' - the Micronesian-speaking islander
while at my post, and the English-speaking American while in the district center. The
two worlds were so far apart that I never did find a way to merge them. Sometimes it
would take me a few days to settle into one or the other.

I've always been intrigued by people who are truly bilingual, and who can switch
languages easily.
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geoffw
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Speaks: English*, German, Yiddish
Studies: Modern Hebrew, French, Dutch, Italian, Russian

 
 Message 205 of 1317
23 August 2012 at 10:04pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
So the new, "franglophone" version of myself is still a bit of a mystery. But the first
post-immersion step is going well: My writing and oral fluency may sometimes come and
go, depending on how much French I'm using, but I don't think they're backsliding. And
my receptive skills continue to improve. I'm finding a balance, slowly.


Not sure I follow: what's the "balance" you're finding? That just sounds like you mean you're continuing to improve your French (nothing wrong with that, of course).

I'm the first to say that language and worldview/identity are closely tied up, but do you have any further insights into what it means to you to be forging a new identity? Are you thinking of it in terms of primarily using French in certain spheres of your life (e.g., I'm someone who speaks French at home, but maybe not at work), or more of a cultural affinity (e.g., I'm someone who eats French food and cares about African politics because my overall identity includes an affinity to La Francophonie)?
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Teango
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Speaks: English*, German, Russian
Studies: Hawaiian, French, Toki Pona

 
 Message 206 of 1317
23 August 2012 at 10:25pm | IP Logged 
L'égyptien ancien est vraiment une language très intéressante, surtout la grammaire! Qui sait...peut-être il y aura quelques hiéroglyphes dans un grimoire dans un épisode de Buffy bientôt. :)
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montmorency
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United Kingdom
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Speaks: English*, German
Studies: Danish, Welsh

 
 Message 207 of 1317
23 August 2012 at 10:53pm | IP Logged 
I wonder if Brussels (and its environs) is another city with varying degrees of
bilingualism (and varying degrees of willingness to speak the "other" language), and with
an underlying political unease about the whole situation, although with a different
flavour to that (I imagine), in Montreal. (Almost trilingualism really, since English is
well understood and fairly widely spoken).
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kujichagulia
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Japan
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 Message 208 of 1317
24 August 2012 at 2:37am | IP Logged 
montmorency wrote:
I wonder if Brussels (and its environs) is another city with varying degrees of
bilingualism (and varying degrees of willingness to speak the "other" language), and with
an underlying political unease about the whole situation, although with a different
flavour to that (I imagine), in Montreal. (Almost trilingualism really, since English is
well understood and fairly widely spoken).

I never lived there, but I was surprised to hear French virtually everywhere when I went to Brussels in January. I went to a supermarket and a few stores and cafes in Brussels, and I don't remember hearing any Dutch/Flemish. Dutch was written on street and store signs, though.


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