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emk
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 Message 353 of 1317
24 December 2012 at 6:26pm | IP Logged 
geoffw wrote:
I would guess that this is perhaps a fairly common expression, such that one might be able to guess from context that this is what he's saying, given enough practice?


That's definitely part of it. But I think that another part of the trick is convincing your brain that there's a real difference between 'on' and 'onne', 'u' and 'ou', 'u' and 'eu', and so on. I can hear the different sounds, but I don't really rely on them to identify words (except things like 'vu' and 'vous'), so I'm not using all the available information yet.

An Asterix calendar

My wife has a perpetual Asterix calendar. Saturday was pretty amusing:



For those of you who never studied Latin, check out the Wikipedia entry on Veni, vidi, vici (en français). Asterix, of course, is a marvelous bande dessinée, and you should take a look if you haven't tried it yet.

Grammaire progressive du français : niveau perfectionnement

The first time I ever looked at a French grammar book, my level was about B1, and I was speaking French full-time with my wife. I'm not against grammar, as such. It's just that I prefer to put grammar off until I've built some intuition about how the language works, so that reading the grammar book is mostly a sequence of "ah-ha!" moments and not brute-force memorization.

But lately I've been feeling like it's time to buy another grammar book. Several people on HTLAL recommended Grammaire progressive du français, and the CLE website said that if my French was between B2 and C2, I should buy their Niveau perfectionnement. I received it on Sunday from the Librairie de France, a mail-order bookstore in New York.

I couldn't find a table of contents or sample pages online, so I took some pictures for you:

Grammaire progressive du français : niveau perfectionnement — Table of contents and sample pages

This is pretty good stuff, actually. As you can see, it covers both intermediate and advanced topics, and it goes into quite a bit of detail. The explanations are as good as anything I can find online, and there are lots of exercises. It says "avec 600 exercices" on the cover, but most of those exercises include a half-dozen questions. There's a separate book with answers to the exercises.

So if you feel a craving for a French grammar book, I concur with all the other HTLALers who've recommended Grammaire progressive du français. I doubt that I'm ever going to sit down and work through this one exercise at a time, but it's pretty awesome.

Links! Links! Links!

Today's links are French blogs:

Top 10 des blogs francais: An excellent list, which helped me find half the blogs below.
L'actu en patates: Comics about current events.
Idées reçues et corrigées: Comics correcting common myths.
Chez kek: More cartoons!
girls and geeks: Covers a lot of subjects. What I've read is well-written and interesting.
Abstrait ≠ Concret: I haven't looked at this yet, but it seems to be long-form posts on a variety of subjects.
docteurjd.com: Medicine in France.

Enjoy!
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emk
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 Message 354 of 1317
27 December 2012 at 6:18pm | IP Logged 
I have very cool in-laws. They've supported my efforts to learn French, and this Christmas, they worked with my wife to track down some very cool bandes dessinées.

First, Les mondes d'Aldébaran (flash) (wikipedia), book 1. This is really fun intermediate-level science fiction, with cool aliens.









There's currently about 25 books in Les mondes d'Aldébaran. As usual, the problem is the price. The French make so many awesome BDs, but at $15 to $20 apiece, it adds up very quickly.

And on a more serious note, there's Moi René Tardi, prisonnier de guerre au Stalag IIB. This is a real-life story which was told by the author's father. Interestingly, the conversation is usually between the father and son, and not between the people illustrated in the panels. I think that this book would be fairly challenging reading at the intermediate level—there's lots of older idioms and soldier's profanity.





Stalag IIB is a thick volume: 188 over-sized pages with lots of text.

I actually received one other BD, but it was last seen in the hands of an enthusiastic child who was looking carefully at the pictures. This one was a compilation of À boire et à manger, a pretty funny BD blog with lots of French recipes. I'm sure it will turn up as we clean house. This one uses lots of extremely slangy and casual language.

I hope that somebody can find some good ideas here!

Edited by emk on 27 December 2012 at 11:47pm

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garyb
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 Message 355 of 1317
27 December 2012 at 7:40pm | IP Logged 
From the CLE site there's a function to preview a few pages of the Grammaire Progressive book, although it doesn't always work correctly. After seeing it recommended in the "where are all the advanced learners" thread and flipping through the table of contents on there, I've also ordered it.

Edited by garyb on 27 December 2012 at 7:42pm

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tastyonions
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 Message 356 of 1317
27 December 2012 at 10:47pm | IP Logged 
Les mondes d'Aldébaran looks awesome!
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geoffw
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 Message 357 of 1317
28 December 2012 at 12:03am | IP Logged 
tastyonions wrote:
Les mondes d'Aldébaran looks awesome!


Definitely! BTW, I see that they're available as livres numériques at fnac.com. The first volume is 5 euros (~$6.80, I
think). Anybody tried BDs like these in electronic format before?

link, maybe?
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emk
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 Message 358 of 1317
28 December 2012 at 2:18am | IP Logged 
geoffw wrote:
Definitely! BTW, I see that they're available as livres numériques at fnac.com. The first volume is 5 euros (~$6.80, I think). Anybody tried BDs like these in electronic format before?

link, maybe?


Oh, wow! That's a great find. Thank you. I've had good luck reading American comics on a 10" tablet. (i.e., a big Android tablet or a full-sized iPad.) You can more or less see the whole page and you usually don't have to zoom in too much to read the text. 7" tablets and smart phones are really too small, though.

Oh, and an update on Moi René Tardi, prisonnier de guerre au Stalag IIB. I read the first 60 pages this afternoon, and I was really impressed. It's a true first-hand account of the German invasion of France. In the eyes of the narrator, the French army was defeated by a lethal combination of arrogance and utter incompetence. Their radios didn't work, the units at the front didn't seem to be under any kind of centralized command, and there was rarely any resupply. Basically, the narrator was told to go kill the enemy and was left to his own devices.

This is a part of French history that we don't learn about in the US (except for the Maginot line). It's really interesting to hear what this part of the war looked like to a soldier on the ground.

As for the difficulty, see the sample panel upthread. I can read it, but it's definitely harder work than something like Tintin. Of course, that just means there's more interesting vocabulary per page!
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geoffw
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 Message 359 of 1317
28 December 2012 at 2:43am | IP Logged 
BTW, I've had difficulties with fnac.com before and haven't been able to buy from them (I got a message telling me
to make an international phone call to France to complete my order, which was totally not happening). I searched
around and found that there's a competitor, http://www.epagine.fr, and they have a lot of the same eBooks,
including the Aldébaran series, for the same prices.
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songlines
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 Message 360 of 1317
28 December 2012 at 4:08am | IP Logged 
geoffw wrote:
I searched around and found that there's a competitor, http://www.epagine.fr, and they have a
lot of the same eBooks, including the Aldébaran series, for the same prices.


For printed (that is, "dead tree") editions, I don't know how the prices compare (and might there also be
customs/import duties?), but Amazon Canada also has both Aldébaran and Moi René Tardi.



Edited by songlines on 28 December 2012 at 4:10am



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