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TAC ’15 French Spanish Celtic Adv Study

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Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish, Irish

 Message 145 of 336
21 October 2013 at 10:30pm | IP Logged 
I have some stuff to report for Karen, Irish, and maybe French but I just wanted to
post quickly some French music. My friend freaked out when he found out I hadn't heard
Papaoutai de Stromae yet.I
discovered that Stromae is the same artist who released a medicore (might even say bad)
song, Alors on danse, that got played to death while I was there so I was surprised
that I really ended up liking this song.

The reason I bring him up, other than to share a catchy French song, is that I think
several of his songs are excellent for French learners. The lyrics are clear and catchy
(I have them almost memorized and I haven't even looked at the written lyrics yet), he
uses quite a bit of slang and spoken informal register but not too much - it's still
all really common stuff you'll hear once you start speaking to young people and
watching native film/tv. Plus I've noticed some good grammatical structures that would
be beneficial to study. And some of the lyrics are quite beautiful and elegant such as
the chorus in Formidable :


Formidable, formidable.
Tu étais formidable.
J'etais fort minable.
Nous étions formidables.

(more impressive when you hear it sung)

Edited by sctroyenne on 21 October 2013 at 10:31pm

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Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 146 of 336
22 October 2013 at 12:15am | IP Logged 
I actually rather liked Alors on danse, but I've heard it less than 20 times, which helps. :-) These other songs are great, and thank you for the links. Those are going onto one of my permanent rotation playlists.

I'm still quite fond of MC Solaar, especially things like Un Coup d'Œœil dans Le métro and Clic clic. I've probably listened to that album hundreds of times now, and it just hasn't gotten old. I use some tracks like Ben oui and Da Vinci Claude as high-speed shadowing drills. (Especially this bit.) This will basically force my spoken French to fully activate, which is handy before things like Meetups, or when my brain is trying to go into shutdown mode.
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Senior Member
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Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish, Irish

 Message 147 of 336
24 October 2013 at 1:54am | IP Logged 
So I've been looking into how to fit taking the DALF into my general language learning
plans. I've been thinking that I ought to see a tutor since so much of the test is
being prepared for the structure and the further I get from my full time student days
the less patience I have for figuring that kind of stuff out on my own. I contacted
emk's tutor to see if that would be a possibility. She confirmed what I thought about
the tasks of the DALF - that beyond raw language skills it requires a lot of literary
skills that even native speakers would have to practice before taking it. I like the
flexibility of the TCF (especially since you don't have to choose a level to take it
at, they'll evaluate you and rank you) but it's only good for two years and from what
it looks like on the local test center's site (the Alliance Française) it's quite a lot
more expensive than the DALF if one wants to be evaluated on all skills.

I've been listening to my podcasts giving more of an ear to things I should be
concentrating on for the purposes of the test. From what I've seen from example tests
the evaluaters LOVE all the coordinating locutions and idiomatic speech so I'm going to
concentrate on moving more of those to my regular active speech. I asked an interpreter
friend if he thinks learning the note-taking method for conference interpreting would
help for the test and he heartily recommended it saying that one of his colleagues did
so and was able to refer to all the information in detail in his response. So I'll be
looking into that.

I think I'll stress myself out if I take it in June with all my other projects going on
so I'm thinking December. We'll see, though, as June's registration date approaches.
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Senior Member
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Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish, Irish

 Message 148 of 336
25 October 2013 at 11:31pm | IP Logged 
Due to the BART strike earlier this week I had to leave for work in the wee hours of
the morning which meant I arrived an hour early. No problem when you're studying 4
languages! I came prepared with some flash cards I had made while reading a guide to
the Karen language and a page out of the Karen translation of
Animal Farm (I just learned
that Orwell learned Karen while in Burma!).

I went through the page with my flash cards to start identifying and highlighting
particles I could recognize. The whole language seems to be built on particles which
seems really intuitive. The great difficulty, though, is deciphering a text without any
spaces between words (any suggestions for that)? I was able to see how often certain
particles were used and could deduct if the word(s) before/after them (depending if
it's a suffix or an affix) were a noun, verb, or adjective. I believe I even identified
a word or two, which is a start. Now just need to learn the alphabet...

Edited by sctroyenne on 26 October 2013 at 8:17am

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Senior Member
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739 posts - 1312 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish, Irish

 Message 149 of 336
27 October 2013 at 9:57pm | IP Logged 
I've been marathoning the show Aifric a bit on TG4. It's a teen drama all in Irish with
English subtitles. It's not bad at all - think of My So-Called Life only far less emo
and not quite as edgy (the actress even bears a slight resemblance to Clare Danes IMO).

This is my first experience diving into native materials in a language I don't have an
extensive background in (I count my knowledge of French as being enough of a background
to watch TV/movies in Spanish and have some understanding). I'd have to say even with a
small vocabulary this is a useful exercise. I'm managing to pick out things I've
learned here and there and see how they're used in context, I can pick up some simple
sentences, and I'm getting an overview of how the language sounds when spoken by and
for natives. While I doubt I'd become fully fluent by watching Irish on TV alone, it's
definitely worth scheduling in some time to watch even at this early stage.

Other than that, I found my copy of Assimil's Irlandais de poche. I've been
flipping through the grammar section getting a better idea of how it all works, and
I've created flashcards for all the "modal verbs". I put modal verbs in quotes because
for the most part Irish doesn't have an actual verb to express the same ideas the modal
verbs do. Instead they use idiomatic constructions with a "conjugated" prepositional
pronoun such as Is féidir liom which corresponds to "I can" but more literally
means "It's possible with me." The guide explained that this system actually eliminates
the need for a lot of irregular verbs, which when explained in that way doesn't sound
so bad.
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 Message 150 of 336
27 October 2013 at 10:39pm | IP Logged 
Regarding Assimil's Irlandais de poche - how is that one compared to Gaeilge gan Stró, Teach Yourself Irish etc.? Could you give an overview of topics covered (grammar or content)? I think I read that Benny Lewis thought it was OK, and while we all know that it's good to have several views on a certain topic, there comes a point when you simply have too many textbooks, dictionaries, grammars etc.
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Speaks: English*, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, French
Studies: German, Italian

 Message 151 of 336
27 October 2013 at 11:08pm | IP Logged 
Re Assimil, I've read that the pronunciation guide isn't the best, having been devised by
a non-native speaker. For example, the pronunciation of R is given as the same as in
English, while "ch" is notated with a hard K sound. Having said that, I haven't a notion
about the content itself.
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Senior Member
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Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish, Irish

 Message 152 of 336
27 October 2013 at 11:16pm | IP Logged 
Irlandais de poche isn't a course of any kind, just a concise overview of the language
(kind of like a glorified phrase book). It's 180 pages in a small-sized book and has
tables of grammar and vocabulary, example phrases, and some explanations and context.
It doesn't have any dialogues, exercises, or audio so unless you're very good and
experiences at breaking down language study on your own it's not a comprehensive
resource. But it is a good grammatical guide that isn't too difficult to understand to
supplement a course such as Gaeilge gan Stró which is designed to not overwhelm the
learner with all the twists and turns of the language presented at once.

It's divided into 3 sections:

Introduction (Avant-Propos): Intro/history of the language, pronunciation, spelling,
introduces lenition and eclipsis.

Word order, articles, nouns (plus each of 5 cases), adjectives (3 groups), comparatives
and superlatives, adverbs,personal pronouns, verbs (general introduction then the
different groups in detail), "special" verbs and how they're expressed in Irish (to be,
to have, to like/to want, to be able to, to know), prepositions, yes/no, questions, and

Conversation: various topical vocab lists with some phrases showing usage which covers
most basic vocab (not sure how many words).

Then there's a short French<->Irish dictionary/glossary in the back.

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