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TAC ’15 French Spanish Celtic Adv Study

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sctroyenne
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Senior Member
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Joined 4079 days ago

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

 
 Message 273 of 336
09 June 2014 at 8:07pm | IP Logged 
I'm still working on La civilisation française de Georges Duby and I'm really enjoying
it. I recommend him to all the history buffs on here.

I met up with the weekend Irish study group and it's really clear how much progress
I've made since I started going back in October. I could barely say anything then and
now I'm the "advanced" one of the group.

I got my reading excerpt for the other group and for the first time, launched into
reading it without using a Google translated version as a guide (though the group
leader does make a little glossary, which helps a lot). I was actually able to get
through it! There were a couple sentences/passages that I'll need to verify, but on the
whole, I survived. I was also reading out loud and reading out loud abilities have
progressed as well. Though I still want to work some more on pronunciation if anyone
has any suggestions for pronunciation/phonology resources.

I made an executive decision to skip unit 3 of GGGS2 for now. It's about housing, and
just like in GGGS1, there's tons of vocab that's not really pertinent to me ("Do you
live in a detached or semi-detached house?"). Units 4 and 5 are about work and
vacation/holidays which will be much more useful to me conversationally, especially
with the Benny/Irishpolyglot meeting coming up next month. Never hesitate to skip
content that isn't immediately useful to you!

I'm trying to brainstorm a card game for Irish. I had made some flashcard sets that
could be adapted but it gets quite complicated. One of the study group leaders is also
planning on an immersion weekend session which we're brainstorming for. Any suggestions
of what we ought to cover are welcome!


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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 274 of 336
18 June 2014 at 1:00am | IP Logged 
So now I'm in a quandary. I was thinking of Central America for a Spanish immersion
vacation as I've mentioned before. But a French friend who just bought a new apartment
offered to let me stay if I ever visit again. The Central American trip would be all in
total a little over $1000. I just checked airfare for Paris and there are round trip
flights for around $900 so plus whatever else I would want to spend money on (he works
for the SNCF so maybe I could get deals on train fare).

I'm incredibly indecisive...
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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 275 of 336
24 June 2014 at 4:59pm | IP Logged 
So I've just been officially accepted into the migraine sufferers club :p A really nasty
one this weekend knocked me out from being able to do much. Fortunately we already have
the main trigger identified - caffeine withdrawals on the weekend. But it's a reminder to
keep things balanced for the sake of my health (don't want to discover other triggers the
hard way). Like with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - tending to my corporal needs are the
foundation to being able to flex my brain power to learn languages. I have a tendency to
overdo it, but it's a good reminder to stop and get my sleep, plan my meals, tend to my
environment (aka clean my space every once in a while), and even meditate/exercise.
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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 276 of 336
26 June 2014 at 7:23am | IP Logged 
I joined an "expert" class at the Alliance Française just to mix things up and the first session was tonight. We went through some of La Rochefoucauld's Maximes. I wasn't feeling on top of my French game (felt like there were many words that were on the tip of my tongue) but I could tell that my "brilliance" was limited when compared to the richness of my English vocabulary. I think I'll start writing responses to select ones in English and and then try my hand at translating them. He didn't send us home with homework (I think he was asked to take the class at the last minute so prepared the session à la hâte) but I think he said he would be sending something. I hope that's the case so I can take the time to really throw myself into making some tangible progress (I'm paying AF rates so I want that dollar amount of extra French knowledge/skill).

I finished the main portion of L'Economie de la Révolution française de Florin Aftalion (there's a large appendix consisting of a collection of primary documents). The crux of his theory of how the Revolution turned into the Terror is the hyperinflation of the Assignat (paper currency issued as an "advance" on funds that were to come from selling off the Church's land) and price caps on wheat. He lays it out as simply as he can but "theory" of currency is hard for me to grasp so it was fairly challenging once he got into the details.

I'm now working on De la Révolution à la Chouannerie de Roger Dupuy. I thought this would be an easier read but boy was I wrong. This is dense and detailed. It's like a macrohistory of a bunch of microhistories if that makes sense (macro being large overarching trends and micro being super detailed history of one particular village during one particular event). After the introduction, I was struggling for the first 50 pages or so. But either the latest section I read was easier or I've gotten into the hang of it so I'm doing better - even if I gloss over at parts. Granted, this is the kind of book that I would gloss over in a college course in English and just wait for the professor to point out the key ideas and quotes.

I can say that I really do feel myself expanding my capacities through extensive reading of challenging material, meaning that the Super Challenge does work at the advanced levels.

I noticed while browsing the library today that they have a small collection of Alain Finkielkraut's (Finkie) books - the philosopher that I love to hate. Once I'm done with my little pile I currently have checked out I think I'll try one (and write a diatribe about why he's wrong and how he's just clutching his pearls over the fate of French identity).
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Mohave
Senior Member
United States
justpaste.it/Mohave1
Joined 2695 days ago

291 posts - 444 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: French

 
 Message 277 of 336
26 June 2014 at 6:35pm | IP Logged 
sctroyenne wrote:
One cooking-centered show I like is Un dîner presque parfait where 5 people take
turns throwing a dinner party and they rate each other. Reality TV poses many challenges but I
think it's good to test the waters a bit with more challenging material (no need to go
full hog and devote yourself to a "reality TV method" or anything). Plus aspects of
reality will be less challenging - plenty of narration, endless recaps, a set structure,
and the same old familiar reality tropes that we've all come to know should make it easy
to follow despite all the rapid, informal speech.


I didn't want to hijack Luke's Log where you mentioned the above show, but I wanted to pass on my thanks
for letting me know about Un diner presque parfait. I will be in Belgium this fall, and I plan to take cooking
classes in French while I am there. This is perfect resource to help me prepare - with videos, recipes, etc! I
am working on getting cooking terminology into my SRS app to start practice. Thanks for sharing all of your
wonderful expertise with us!
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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 278 of 336
27 June 2014 at 8:39am | IP Logged 
Sounds fun! I think you'll find that the level of amateur home cooks on the show is quite high - they especially like good presentation. In Belgium you ought to be able to get some good cookbooks as well. I can say that in France, the prices were actually really good compared to the US (about 20-25 euros for a thick, hardcover book with tons of pictures).
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songlines
Pro Member
Canada
flickr.com/photos/cp
Joined 3897 days ago

729 posts - 1056 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: French
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 279 of 336
28 June 2014 at 4:05am | IP Logged 
sctroyenne wrote:
So now I'm in a quandary. I was thinking of Central America for a Spanish immersion
vacation as I've mentioned before. But a French friend who just bought a new apartment
offered to let me stay if I ever visit again. The Central American trip would be all in
total a little over $1000. I just checked airfare for Paris and there are round trip
flights for around $900 so plus whatever else I would want to spend money on (he works
for the SNCF so maybe I could get deals on train fare).

I'm incredibly indecisive...


You may already have made your decision by now, and it's your call (and your money!) of course. How much
was the focus of your trip is/ was intended to be of a language- learning focus? Or is is more of an "I'll take a
vacation -- anywhere, as long as it's a break...?" type of situation? If the former, then I guess you'd also have
to weigh your language learning priorities, and gauge which destination (and your activities / interactions with
others there) will give you the best chance to build on that.

About costs;
- Unfortunately, and especially for Paris (I haven't been to Central America), it's not a case of "whatever else I
want to spend money on". It'll be what you need to spend money on. The "incidentals" in Paris
can get very expensive, though having access to a kitchen where you can cook should certainly help.
Whether or not your friend can get you deals on train tickets, you'd still have to pay for other transportation,
meals, etc...

(I love Paris, and would fly there iin a flash if I could...!)



Edited by songlines on 28 June 2014 at 4:08am

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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 280 of 336
14 July 2014 at 5:35am | IP Logged 
Month End Report - June

So I had a really strong showing the first half of the month then I pulled back quite a bit the second half. I still have respectable times, though.









Total: 220:58

French: 185:42
Reading: 56:20
Listening: 111:31
Courses: 6:23
Speaking: 7:30
Writing: 3:58
Grammar/Vocab: 0

Irish: 31:30
Reading: 6:53
Listening: 7:58
Course: 14:52
Speaking: 2:47
Writing: 0
Grammar/Vocab: 0

Spanish: 0:05
Speaking: 0:05

Meta Learning: 2:40

My French reading time has gone way up (doubled/tripled from the previous months) thanks to the Super Challenge and the Alliance Française library! I gave up on La révolution à la Chouannerie which was massively slowing me down towards the end of the month. I got the main idea behind the book (mainly that views towards the revolution among different localities, different groups, even among the clergy, were very diverse) but the details were wearing me down and I was just slogging through it. When I started choosing other activities over reading, I knew it was time to throw in the towel. I made it to 50+ books in French - I wanted to make sure I hit that milestone before hitting 75+ films to make sure I maintain some balance.

I've now started in on one of Fernand Braudel's seminal works, L'Identité de la France and it finally happened - I had someone on the bus see what I was reading and commend me for it (the guy even "tipped his fedora"). This weekend I've looked into some study guides for tips on how to retain more from my reading. I'm doing university-level material but without the class discussion/lecture to back it up. I'd like to be able to talk about what I've read after I've finished so working on improving my retention. So I won't be pushing myself to read quickly.

I had a bunch of long form articles (5-10++ pages) queued up that I finally got to this weekend. I'm thinking of taking a subscription to Le Monde Diplomatique since it's not too expensive and it's practically required reading for C1/C2 hopefuls and translators/conference interpreters. I've also been reading a lot of the articles published on Acrimed.org which critiques the media (from a pretty Leftist point of view). There's a lot of good analysis and it's easy to navigate from article to article which makes for some addicting binge reading.

My new Alliance Française class is going well - we're covering a lot of rigorous material. Our last conversation on Voltaire's poem in response to the Lisbon earthquake was of a much higher quality than what I normally encounter at an AF class (there's always someone who takes even the most serious and historical of subjects and just constantly brings up personal anecdotes and wants to relate everything to the US and sends us off on tangents). The reading and discussions are pretty thought-provoking and so I'd like to do some written responses. I jotted down some "shower thoughts" so I don't lose my insight. But I think I need to establish a writing schedule for myself to make this happen. I'll start with going over some of the writing guides that were published at the time of the Bac and from the C1/C2 prep site my teacher pointed me towards.

While the conversations are satisfying, I really feel like I'm hitting against my capacities. I feel like I've somewhat regressed - which can mean one of several things. One - my speaking skills may have actually regressed and I need more practice. Two - I'm pushing my normal boundaries (though I've discussed these topics before, I'm usually speaking with someone in a natural context where they'll pick up the conversation where I trail off, as opposed to class where everyone waits and stares at you until you finish). Three - all the reading and listening I'm doing has caused a sort of bottleneck effect with lots of words swirling around my brain and I need to practice more active skills to unblock my spoken skills. I do experience a lot of the "on the tip of my tongue" effect when trying to speak which suggests that this is at least partly at play.

I'm wondering if I shouldn't try to do some deliberate vocab study again. Not too much, but some. I think working on my connectors will help build my spoken arguments as well.

A lot of my podcasts/shows are on summer hiatus :( This might be a sign to delve into other stuff, especially for Spanish.

I haven't done as much for Irish as I would have liked. I have a little immersion weekend coming up with my study group. We're going to drill a lot of verbs and prepositional pronouns.


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