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TAC ’15 French Spanish Celtic Adv Study

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sctroyenne
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Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish, Irish

 
 Message 17 of 336
18 April 2012 at 7:37pm | IP Logged 
It's pretty easy as far as language learning goes (though learning a language to fluency is always a
challenge no matter how "easy" the language is). You'll probably find like me that you'll have a high level
of passive knowledge that just needs to be activated and converted. Though I think the challenges you'd
have going the other direction would be spelling/pronunciation which isn't as immediately accessible as
with Spanish (so be sure to have audio for any written material you have until you get used to what is
and isn't pronounced). Also past tense can get quite complicated what with two axillary verbs and the
rules of agreement of the past participle. Though the agreement issues are mostly a pain for writing -
they rarely affect pronunciation. But definitely worth taking the language discount, especially since there
are some great language materials in French.
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emk
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 Message 18 of 336
18 April 2012 at 8:06pm | IP Logged 
sctroyenne wrote:
fort mal en points: The French lose points on their licenses for
each infraction, so it's saying that he has very few points left on his figurative
permis


You probably noticed this, but my wife suggested that this may also be a play on "mal en
point", a somewhat formal way of saying "in a bad state". I found a good example in the
WordReference forums: "Elle est mal en point: il lui faut un médecin."

And thank you for recommending Le Canard Enchaîné. At least some of the humor is
accessible to intermediate students (say, solid B1) who are already gorging on current
events. If you've struggled through enough news articles to find Sarko's hyperactivity
wearying, then you'll definitely get some of the jokes. :-)
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sctroyenne
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739 posts - 1312 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish, Irish

 
 Message 19 of 336
18 April 2012 at 10:53pm | IP Logged 
Sweet! I suspected a play on words there but I had looked up "fort mal" and didn't even think of "mal en
point" so thanks to your wife! The puns can really get quite deep like that - I'd love to see a video of
some sort of the journalists at work. And yeah, while linguistically it's challenging you can get by if you'
re up on French politics and news. Without that it's hopeless. I've already filled a page front and back
with new vocab from just the front page of the new one.
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sctroyenne
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739 posts - 1312 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish, Irish

 
 Message 20 of 336
19 April 2012 at 2:26pm | IP Logged 
French
A new Wednesday, a new Canard! On the King Juan Carlos of Spain elephant hunting story:

Juan Carlos tue un éléphant à la chasse… …ça fait barrir les Espagnols !

Barrir : un barrissement is a cry of an elephant so, to emit      a cry
of an elephant

The title: Des abus du Bourbon: I had trouble figuring this one out until I got
to the last line of the article and together I think I got them both: Et les abus
des Bourbons nuisibles aux elephants…
– The king is part of the Bourbon dynasty and
the only other major linguistic meaning of Bourbon in French is the Kentucky whisky. So
here there are two uses of the word abus: a sort of abus de pouvoir and
abuse of a substance that can produce ill effects, as in l’abus d’alcool est
nuisable à la santé
.

« On ne sait pas si Juan Carlos, roi d’Espagne et des chasseurs de gros gibier, est
capable de manquer un éléphant dans un couloir. Mais les Espagnols, eux, ne l’ont pas
raté. »


Gibier : In hunting: game or prey. Gros gibier would be big game (such as
an elephant). There’s also a potential double meaning here with the word’s figurative
meaning: someone who is prey to being fooled or scammed. Also, found another expression
when I looked up the word: gibier de potence which means literally gallows prey,
meaning a criminal who deserves to be hung or more figuratively a person who could be
considered part of the “bad element” or who is shady (you wouldn’t be surprised if you
heard s/he committed a crime worthy of being hung).

Manquer (or rater) un éléphant (or une vache) dans un couloir: an expression to
describe someone who is a bad shot – couldn’t hit a large animal in a small space
(couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn). I imagine this could be used in a figurative
sense as well…

Others
Du meilleur effet: a sure-winner, a hit
Faire sortir des piques et les bonnets phrygiens du placard : pikes and Phrygian
bonnets (the red caps typical of the French Revolution, now worn by Marianne, which
come from Roman times and symbolize liberty). In short, inspire revolutionary
sentiment.
Avaler sa couronne de travers: Speaking about a royalist newspaper…no idea. It’s
possible to swallow a dental crown and it’s possible to wear a crown “de travers” or
off-center or maybe swallow a crown the wrong way (which would be more painful). Other
than that I’ve got nothing.

It’d be nice to have a better level in Spanish right now to be able to read all their
satiric press over the issue.

And another one worth mentioning:
Vous cassez pas, pôv’ cons ! :
Reference to the infamous incident where Sarkozy was caught on film saying « Casse
toi alors, pauvre con »
to someone who refused to shake his hand, which loosely
means “Get lost asshole/dumbass/etc” and which has probably been used in literally
thousands of ways since. [Casser] here in a political/legal context means to
cancel/break a formal agreement (as in a marriage, contract, etc). So the headline’s
having him tell his followers to hold up their promise to vote for him (which I guess
would make them idiots? Or just shows the disrespect Sarko has for people in general?).
Sometimes the spelling of au can be changed to ô (I’ve seen bôcoup). Not
sure exactly what it means but I think it tends to make it more “folksy” or maybe it’s
just texto speech (any Francophones who know are welcome to chime in here).

Spanish:
Started Michel Thomas Advanced. 9 hours in and I’ve seen subjunctive – only took 3-4
years to see it in high school French class  And I love how he introduced it by
linking it to the imperative form – I noticed on my own that some of the irregular
imperatives are the same as subjunctives in French (sache(s), sois). Of course it
doesn’t work with all of them (fais/fasses, va/ailles) but it’s worth noting anyway.
Checked out some Spanish novels at Gibert Jeune. I could kind of follow and get the
jist of some of the opening paragraphs of Marquez and Allende. I also looked at the
graded readers. While I could maybe kind of manage, I’m missing a lot of basic
vocabulary which would make diving straight into reading a pain. Also, none of the
books were available used so they were expensive. Given my desire to start reading soon
I think Assimil would be a good choice to continue. And I have a dual-language reader
to work with as well: First Spanish Reader: A Beginner’s Dual-Language Book by
Angel Flores.

Irish:
Didn’t do much of anything but I found a group on www.daltai.com that’s looking to
start a Munster dialect study group working through Teaching Yourself Irish and moving
on from there. It’d be nice to join them if they get something going.

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

 
 Message 21 of 336
20 April 2012 at 8:00pm | IP Logged 
Spent most of the day looking up vocab I noted from Kaamelott (je kiffe !). It feels
like I'm learning a whole secondary language - almost everything I look up is noted as
familier or très familier. Which is the source of the humor - very
anachronistic language contrasted with vouvoiement and applied to Arthurian legend.
And apparently sometimes they "make up" words or use words from Old French. I don't
know if this is visible from outside France, but here's Les tartes aux
myrtilles
: http://www.kaamelott.info/livre-1/10-les-tartes-aux-myrtille s.html

le purin : manure
un larbin : (fam, pej) a servant
se taper la tambouille : se taper in this case means to do unpleasant chores, la
tambouille means grub (or junk food) and faire la tambouille can be a familiar way of
saying to cook (sort of boring, everyday meals)
faire des ronds de jambe : to be overly polite, to kowtow
un chicot : un stump of a tree, or here, a decayed tooth
les dents de lait : baby teeth
colmater (une fissure) : to patch/fill in a hole/crack

Edited by sctroyenne on 20 April 2012 at 8:06pm

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sctroyenne
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Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4079 days ago

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

 
 Message 22 of 336
22 April 2012 at 1:25pm | IP Logged 
Went to a comedy club and understood mostly everything, including some new vocab that I just learned
from Kaamelott, except for the last comic's punchlines which were words I didn't know. Sometimes I
wish I could get rid of my accent if only to not have the same conversation with people here: where I'm
from, what I'm doing here, do I like it, aren't the French just awful at English, etc. But some of my bad
mood probably came from the fact that I was coming down with a horrible cold (which puts me at 4 for
4 for bad colds during vacation periods this year). Spent most of yesterday in bed not wanting to do
anything but watch DVDs. Just for fun I watched two episodes of Veronica Mars in Spanish and while my
listening comprehension has a long way to go I did catch some words and even phrases here and there,
including noticing some of the verb endings I've learned thanks to Michel Thomas. I think I'll try again
with an easier show.
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sctroyenne
Diglot
Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4079 days ago

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

 
 Message 23 of 336
22 April 2012 at 6:50pm | IP Logged 
Watched some Monk and Law and Order in Spanish and I'm getting used to it. Still picking out stuff that
sounds familiar and doing better since they aren't as slang-heavy. I find that English subtitles are both
helping and hurting. There's plenty that I would never make out without the subs there to help but
sometimes I find that they keep me from getting into the flow of the language, especially for longer
stretches of dialogue. A few times I managed to just glance down for a second to get the meaning of a
long line and then I concentrated really hard and managed to make out a full sentence give or take
(where I was familiar with the vocab either having learned it or with all unknown words being cognates).
I'll have to try some podcasts geared for my level and in the meantime stretching myself with tv shows
ought to help make the beginner stuff sound easy.
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sctroyenne
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Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4079 days ago

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

 
 Message 24 of 336
25 April 2012 at 9:19pm | IP Logged 
So it was hard to get motivated to study while sick but I did eventually start in on some intensive work
in Spanish. I started Assimil and got through lesson 12 so far. I imagine I'll have to slow down the pace
as I get further through the course. I did the first 15 chapters of Madrigal's Magical Key plus I thumbed
through the rest of the book. It's a little tiresome at the beginning but it looks like the chapters reviewing
verbs, the chapter on the irregulars and the subjunctive are worth their weight in gold.

I watched some more Law and Order and then I watched The Office in English with Spanish subtitles
(the only option). It turned out great - I noted tons of sentences which let me see how "concordance des
temps" works using lines I practically know by heart. I was surprised to see that even though Michel
Thomas presents limited vocabulary, what it does teach constitutes a huge percentage of what gets
used. Many lines were composed only of words that were in the course. Add in cognates and that
number goes up even higher.


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