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emk
Diglot
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United States
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2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 241 of 1317
15 October 2012 at 10:43pm | IP Logged 
Expugnator wrote:
emk, I've browsed backwards through your log and I'm considering reading Voltaire as my 2nd book in French (I'm about to finish a translation of a Brazilian book and I'd going to read Le Petit Prince in parallel Georgian-French). What do you think? Is there another one you'd recommend instead?


kanewai posted a nice list of classic French books recently, which might be worth a look. And it's worth adding Jules Verne to that list. Le tour du monde is a really fun book, even though the language is slightly dated.

If you have access to a French library or bookstore, then you might want to look for some bandes desinnées. The best of these are actual literature, and they have plenty of natural, conversational language. And a BD is a much smaller commitment at the intermediate level than a real book. (They're often the equivalent of 20 to 40 pages.) The only downside is the price.

One excellent choice would be Persepolis, which is about a young girl who grows up in Iran and eventually moves to France. The conversational language in this book is very similar to what I actually hear from French speakers.

Another good choice would be Tintin. It's full of adventures and cliff-hangers and a surprisingly large number of words.

Of course, you'll want pleanty real books, too. But it's worth taking a look at the available BDs.

Edited by emk on 15 October 2012 at 10:44pm

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Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
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Speaks: Portuguese*, Norwegian, French, English, Italian, Papiamento
Studies: Mandarin, Georgian, Russian

 
 Message 242 of 1317
15 October 2012 at 11:07pm | IP Logged 
Asterix is easy to find and Tintin might be as well. I'll have a look at Persepolis.

I haven't made up my mind, I just see these as two different activities, i.e. reading books and reading comics.

I'm quite curious about reading Jules Verne and that was one of my plans when I started French, but I'm probably gonna read parallel texts in Georgian/French as well.
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emk
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 Message 243 of 1317
16 October 2012 at 12:18am | IP Logged 
Expugnator wrote:
I haven't made up my mind, I just see these as two different activities, i.e. reading books and reading comics.


Fair enough. :-) I actually spend more time reading real books than BDs, if only because I can finish the BDs way too quickly these days, and I can't justify spending $200+ to buy all of Les Mondes d'Aldébaran as fun, light reading.

But BDs really are one of the great things about French. There's a title for every taste, including plenty of stuff that qualifies as actual literature. There's plenty of natural, adult dialog (which can sometimes be hard to find in French novels). The pictures provide tons of context. And because the text is relatively short, you can take the time to read it closely and carefully.

As an artistic medium, BDs have more in common with movies than they do with books. And the French are good at movies. So it's definitely worth the time to look for interesting BDs and add them to your reading pile.
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sctroyenne
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Speaks: English*, French
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 Message 244 of 1317
16 October 2012 at 5:56am | IP Logged 
Other popular options for stepping into reading in French are the Le Petit Nicolas
books and L'Etranger.
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sctroyenne
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739 posts - 1312 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish, Irish

 
 Message 245 of 1317
17 October 2012 at 9:17am | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
Or maybe I'll cough up $40 for an imported copy of Intouchables with
French subs.


See if you can hit up Amazon or FNAC when there's a sale then you can get the DVDs for
a song which will take the edge off the price of shipping. So frustrating that French
movies released here rarely have the native subs.

I was watching Harry Potter Prisoner of Azkaban which is the first in the series to
have a French dub included for the Region 1 release. Your methods in "hacking" DVDs
into audio materials could be of great use for some more advanced listening exercises
as well. I could use it to try transcribing the movie in little chunks. I've tried
transcribing direct from DVD play but I lose interest quickly when I have to keep
rewinding the DVD over and over. If I break it up into smaller chunks it'll be more
manageable and easier to repeat. I might try it after this month of focusing on Spanish
as I feel I'm losing my French (not really but it definitely suffers when I switch).
I'll need to try something with Kaamelott as well.
1 person has voted this message useful



Just a Dreamer
Groupie
Egypt
Joined 3118 days ago

59 posts - 62 votes 
Studies: English, French

 
 Message 246 of 1317
17 October 2012 at 5:10pm | IP Logged 
Hi,
I'm really admire what you've done about both French and Egyptian languages:)

I just don't want to hijack your fascinating log, but I'm really need to ask about how did you do the anki deck using sub2srs program :)
1 person has voted this message useful



Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 3273 days ago

3335 posts - 4349 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, Norwegian, French, English, Italian, Papiamento
Studies: Mandarin, Georgian, Russian

 
 Message 247 of 1317
17 October 2012 at 5:35pm | IP Logged 
emk, do you keep record of all the French material you read/watch at this log? I'm considering doing this since I'll be dropping textbook lesrning. Speaking of which...is there any advanced French textbook you'd recommend besides Living Language, Assimil and Hugo (the ones I've used) that are a must?
1 person has voted this message useful





emk
Diglot
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United States
Joined 3639 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 248 of 1317
17 October 2012 at 7:38pm | IP Logged 
sctroyenne wrote:
See if you can hit up Amazon or FNAC when there's a sale then you can get the DVDs for a song which will take the edge off the price of shipping. So frustrating that French movies released here rarely have the native subs.


Thank you for the tip! But to be honest, I've had no more luck with Region 2 DVDs from France than I've had with American releases. There's no edition of Taxi or OSS 117 with French subs available anywhere in the world, as far as I can tell. Fortunately, new releases seem to have subs these days.

sctroyenne wrote:
Your methods in "hacking" DVDs into audio materials could be of great use for some more advanced listening exercises as well. I could use it to try transcribing the movie in little chunks. I've tried transcribing direct from DVD play but I lose interest quickly when I have to keep rewinding the DVD over and over. If I break it up into smaller chunks it'll be more manageable and easier to repeat.


I usually do Anki reviews on my phone. Instead of trying to transcribe the dialog, I try to repeat it aload. This is generally enough to keep me honest.

The main advantages of using Anki for listening comprehension are:

- You can repeat the current sound clip with a single tap.
- Your comprehension of a tricky sentence will usually improve noticeably when the card matures.
- You can skip over all the car chases and montages when reviewing.
- You can delete and reschedule individual clips very easily.

Just a Dreamer wrote:
Hi,
I'm really admire what you've done about both French and Egyptian languages:)

I just don't want to hijack your fascinating log, but I'm really need to ask about how did you do the anki deck using sub2srs program :)


Thank you for the kind words!

Looking for subs. To use subs2srs, you first need to visit Open Subtitles and try to find French subs for the movie you want to watch. If you're having trouble finding subs, check out the HTLAL's list of French movies with good subs. And while you're there, look for the English subs, too—they're useful even at advanced levels.

Downloading subs. When downloading subs, the best format is ".srt". Make sure the zip file is 50–100K in size. If the sub file is only about 3K, then it's probably French subs for foreign-language dialog in the original film. When you find some promising subs, download the zip file, open it up, and take a look at the subs in Notepad or another text editor. (If you have subs on the DVD, but you can't find an SRT file online, keep reading.)

Get a video file for the movie. I prefer to extract the video directly from the DVD using a DVD ripper. If you don't know how to do this, Google "DVD ripper" and either "Windows" or "Mac", as appropriate. (If you're on Linux, I recommend ffmpeg's dumpstream option.) You need to make sure that you grab the right "title" (i.e., the movie itself, and not the special features or the copyright warning!) and the right sound channel. If you have a lot of disk space, or if you need to extract subs using SubRip, then it's best to output everything in "*.vob" format.

(Optional.) Create an *.srt subtitle file using SubRip. If you couldn't download subtitles in *.srt format, you may be able to make them from a *.vob file using SubRip. There are tutorials online if you do a Google search.

Run subs2srs. Again, use Google to find a tutorial. Basically, you need your two sub files and your video file. Configure as follows: 1000ms of padding on each audio clip, volume normalization, and images from the film. Then use the preview window to make sure that the subtitles are properly synchronized with the audio. If not, there's an option for specifying a sound offset.

Import the newly created *.tsv file into Anki. Your best bet is to first import one of my sample decks, delete all the cards, and then re-use the card template for your own import. Note that you if you use my template, you will need to reverse the order of the first and third fields in the import dialog.

Realistically, this will take you most of a day for your first movie. In return, you'll get over a 1000 Anki cards for one of your favorite films. And your second movie or TV show will be much easier to import, particularly if you took notes the first time around.

And when using subs2srs decks, DELETE! DELETE! DELETE! You want to average at least 50% deletions during your first review, and then some more deletions on each subsequent review.

Expugnator wrote:
emk, do you keep record of all the French material you read/watch at this log? I'm considering doing this since I'll be dropping textbook lesrning. Speaking of which...is there any advanced French textbook you'd recommend besides Living Language, Assimil and Hugo (the ones I've used) that are a must?


You can find a list of my recent books and DVDs in my Super Challenge log.

I don't actually use textbooks any more. Instead, I spend a lot of time paying close attention to what I read and hear. I'm always looking for weird little things that I wouldn't have expected.

For example, a week or two ago, I saw an expression similar to this example from VDM:

Quote:
Aujourd'hui, étudiante à Barcelone pour quelques mois, je consulte un médecin qui, par chance, parle plus ou moins bien français. Une fois la porte fermée, je me retrouve seule dans la pièce avec lui, et il me dit avec son accent : "Allonge-toi, je vais t'explorer." VDM


This is weird, because fermée isn't a conjugated verb here. It's a participle. And French doesn't allow you to build a phrase out of a subject and a participle, so my first reaction was "Huh? Is this a typo or some weird idiomatic thing or what?"

Once I notice a weird construction like this, I'll inevitably run into it again. And after I've seen it two or three times, it will become completely normal. If I want to learn more, I can always use Google, french.about.com, WordReference, and various native-speaker websites to learn more. Here's a discussion. Apparently, this is something called the ablatif absolu, which further Googling suggests that French inherited from Latin.

At some point, I may buy an advanced grammar book and flip through it. But mostly I rely on native media, curiosity and online grammar references. This allows me to make my own textbooks out of bandes dessinées, silly movies, science fiction novels and kayaking books.


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