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TAC ’15 French Spanish Celtic Adv Study

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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 33 of 336
17 May 2012 at 11:55pm | IP Logged 
@Swift Not disappeared, just have spotty internet access :p And that's the big question
right now: waiting to see if I'm renewed for the program which I'll find out anytime
between now and September. In any case I'll have to go back to get a new visa anyway.
Let's just hope it's not the end of my French adventure.

Went to another TV taping: On n'est pas couche hosted by Laurent Ruquier. As I said the
only announced guest was Franck Provost. Once we were in the studio (sur le
plateau
) someone asked the warm-up guy the others. He read off a list the first
political guest: Harlem Désir, founding memeber of SOS Racisme and currently #2 in the
PS. He didn't announce the second political guest he just reiterated his instructions
to give a warm welcome including a standing ovation to each guest when they come out
and especially to not boo them (though we were free to boo during the interview). Well,
turns out the second political guest was Louis Aliot, vice president of the Front
National and Marine Le Pen's boyfriend. The interview was certainly exciting... The
show airs Saturday night and hopefully there'll be some clips online afterwards.

Worked on some Spanish using Madrigal's Magical Key. I'm getting into the real "meat"
of the book: verbs, verbs, verbs. And I have to say that Spanish verbs are all at once
systematic and logical, even with the irregulars (which seem to all have their own
logic) and so "simple" in that sense, yet quite difficult. What's difficult is just a
change in accent and switching verb endings from one person in one tense to another in
another tense is what differentiates them from each other (talking about past preterite
and present here). Except for irregulars which are different than present but keep the
same stress as in present. Of course Michel Thomas went over a lot of these but he
didn't introduce some of the complexity.

And it's here where I'm starting to really feel the difference between getting a base
in a language slowly in classes versus starting from scratch on my own. I can
understand a lot so it's tempting to go really fast but then it's easy to get really
overwhelmed. And there's a big difference between understanding the language
intellectually which is possible to do quickly, especially with experience and a
related language under your belt, versus being able to actually use it which takes
practice. And there are no real shortcuts to practice. Also, learning vocabulary before
was pretty effortless. We had a unit in a text book which had a theme, we got
vocabulary based on that theme, we stared at the words and the pictures while repeating
them after the recording, we did exercises for homework which incorporated the new
words and we just lived with the words in general for a good week to two weeks (or
longer) and we were tested. So I just learned the words through regular exposure, no
memory tricks necessary. With Spanish there are all the related words of course, but
there are also words that have no obvious relationship to French and so they're brand
new. And now I have to come up with a system for actually remembering them so I can
actually say something in Spanish rather than just conjugate verbs. And some of the
basic vocab is easy to get excited about (especially the "grammar" words which are just
glue in sentences) but I'm not as psyched about learning articles of clothing and such.
Or the inevitable train station/airport/hotel/restaurant series of tourist vocab.
Necessary, yes, exciting, no.
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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 34 of 336
18 May 2012 at 5:20pm | IP Logged 
Worked through some more Madrigal's Magical Key. The verbs are piling up but
there's a verb review chapter coming up soon so I'm going to plough through the next
one, Spelling Changes in Verbs, and use the review chapter to make everything
stick. I find that I get tripped up when I feel like I have to review previous
chapters/lessons before moving on - I end up never moving on. I'll also do the whole
chapter both orally and written - it's been easy enough so far that I've done most
orally but it'll be good to develop some written muscle memory.

I also just wrote my first composition in Spanish and I posted it on Lang-8! It's
nothing flashy but I played with some verb tenses. It'd be nice if Madrigal's...
proposed some simple writing prompts so I'd have ideas of what I could write about
using what I know thus far. Easy Spanish Reader had some so maybe I'll work
through those.

I also did a French composition based on a reply to a friend who asked me about my
opinion of Obama coming out for gay mariage and did I think he did it just for
strategic reasons. I edited it to take out some of my more potentially controversial
statements as I don't want to get in a heated debate or alienate people but it was a
good writing exercise (I'm for, BTW which I do say).

http://lang-8.com/121496/journals

Edited by sctroyenne on 18 May 2012 at 5:21pm

1 person has voted this message useful



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 35 of 336
19 May 2012 at 4:31pm | IP Logged 
Just discovered something that may change my life (or at least have an impact) - the
"book making" feature of Wikipedia. I don't know if anyone else has spotted it before,
but it's in the left-hand column along with the print options. It lets you assemble all
the articles you like by simply clicking on them into a customized "book" you can
download as a pdf or in Open Office format. As I don't have great access to the
internet this lets me assemble every article I want on a topic in French (and
evenutally Spanish) and have them available for offline reading and in a printer-
friendly format. This should help me plug many "holes" in my knowledge.

I watched my Les Inconnus DVDs. If you're studying French and don't know Les Inconnus,
look them up. They were a comedy sketch troupe that had a show in the early 90s which
has become a major cultural reference. All the sketches are basically parodies of TV
programming and music videos so there's quite a bit of clear speech but there's more
difficult speech as well.

A selection:
Isabelle a les yeux bleus http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7qq71FYT_8
Journal Télévisé Bretagne http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMKbZy6sQZQ
Roxane http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D39A-jVADgw
A l’hôpital http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESIiX4xn5wE
Enseignement http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OhvWT9UK64
Emission sportive http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iz0Y04LZzG0
Les Miséroïdes (Jean Claude Van Damme est Jean Valjean)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCICA_C955U

Edited by sctroyenne on 19 May 2012 at 4:35pm

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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 36 of 336
06 June 2012 at 11:43pm | IP Logged 
Got sick again which sort of derailed my formal work (focusing on anything made me
naseous). Then we got some good weather so wanted to just go out and lay out in parks
all day, which is sort of the point of being in Paris so I won't feel guilty about it.

I did finally get the remainder of Kaamelott, except for Livre 6, which is okay for now
as it's a prequel. I've really been enjoying it and I feel like I'm getting better at
my oral comprehension which is helping with my OVS outings. I think I'm speaking better
these days as well - though these things come and go (I've just been through a rut
where I felt like my French was worse). Just came back from a play, Piège à Matignon
and I managed to catch some play on words before the other French audience members
(though I missed a few punchlines). I went to a pub quiz and one of the questions was
conjugate a series of 5 verbs (basic yet irregular ones) in imperfect subjunctive. My
team was pretty good but we got some of these way wrong so gives you an idea of how
(un)important learning to conjugate the imperfect subjunctive is for those learning
French as a second language.

No word yet on whether my contract will be renewed for next year or not. Not sure what
I'll do with myself if I don't but I've been thinking of moving from my hometown if I'm
not. I was thinking of all sorts of destinations and then I randomly looked into
immigration to Canada. Getting into Canada itself wouldn't be easy - looks like I'd
need to work a few years in a "skilled" career - but Quebec sets their own standards
and looks like I could get in thanks to my French level. I'd have to look into it
further as I don't know if meeting the points requirement makes you a shoo-in or if
there's still a decent chance of being turned down, but Montreal seems interesting to
me... Still hoping for another year in Paris, though.
1 person has voted this message useful



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 37 of 336
09 June 2012 at 8:59pm | IP Logged 
So news doesn't sound good for getting renewed in Paris for next year. I don't know
anything about my case in particular yet but I've heard that they're not going to renew
very many people in the region. It's hard to believe that my French adventure may be
coming to a close very soon. Which makes me grateful that I found out about Quebec so I
have a short term and long term plan. The advantage is that cost of living is lower
(the first time I've aspired to live somewhere that doesn't figure in the top 5-10 most
expensive places to live in the world). It's way easier to establish permanent
residency so I could finally settle down somewhere long term - which means I can buy
things without having to worry how I'm going to fit them in a suitcase in a few months
and I could maybe get a pet. And another good point is I would be a new transplant in a
place where there is a large community of French people who are new transplants as
well. When moving abroad it can be hard to break into the established community which
is why so many expats hang out with other expats - which in Paris means hanging out
with other anglophones. But in Quebec there'd be a whole community of French people who
are also new to the area who would be looking to make new friends which means I could
hang out with the other expats yet still be speaking with native French speakers. As I
said it's painful thinking my long term plans might not include France but I'm glad
that it could include French.

Getting back into Spanish - I ordered Gramática de uso del español: Teoría y
práctica A1-B2
with a credit I had on amazon.fr which is due to arrive Monday or
Tuesday. I love the idea of having one grammar book going from A1 to B2 - makes it feel
like it's within close grasp. And I'll have to get back to my poor neglected Irish.
1 person has voted this message useful



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 38 of 336
12 June 2012 at 3:34pm | IP Logged 
Got my Spanish grammar book! It has 126 units each spanning two pages and covering a
different grammatical topic from A-1 level to B-2 level. So it doesn't go into depth but
it covers a lot. I'm sure I can supplement with exercises I can find online and SRS and
it's supplementing courses anyway.

As I'll need to register for classes at community college to be eligible for the work
visa program for Canada I'll definitely take Spanish (too bad all the French is just
basic and intermediate). It'd be nice to see if I can test out of one or more semesters
before the fall semester begins. One semester should be definitely doable but more would
be a little confidence booster as well as a testament to the methods I've been using. So
I'll make that my short term goal.
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Swift
Senior Member
Ireland
Joined 3296 days ago

137 posts - 191 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: French, Russian

 
 Message 39 of 336
13 June 2012 at 10:42pm | IP Logged 
Hey sctroyenne, sorry to hear that your stay in Paris might not work out. I guess like
you've said, you at least have some sort of plan to continue your journey with French. If
living in a French speaking country is something you love and want to continue to do, I'm
sure you will find a way.

The note on the imperfect subjunctive was interesting, I was wondering how important the
tense was considering that there is no equivalent in English. I was thinking it was
unnecessary for my level; I guess it is unnecessary in general unless you are a
journalist?
1 person has voted this message useful



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 40 of 336
14 June 2012 at 2:16am | IP Logged 
Yeah, unneccessary in general basically. Even as a journalist. So just learn to
recognize it as well as passe simple (for reading literature and history) and move on
to more important stuff.

Worked through quite a bit of my new Spanish book (love playing with new toys). Got to
unit 15 working through all grammatical aspects of nouns and adjectives. I tend to want
to use uno, esto/eso and bueno when I should be using un, este/ese and buen. I guess it
comes from random exposure to Spanish I've gotten throughout my life that makes me
always want to use the -o sound.

Just for kicks I decided to try the placement test for community college (it's online
and just multitple choice). I did a LOT of guessing - some educated and quite a bit
random - and stuff that I knew I wasn't always sure on. But somehow I scored 488 which
would put me in 4th semester and beyond (min. score required 440). This doesn't really
count as I said I was doing a lot of guessing so I'll re-try later and see what I get
when I actually have an idea. I know very little vocab and I can barely speak so I
wouldn't want to start off in a 4th semester class (unless my materials bring me up
before then) though there is something to be said for taking a class that's slightly
above my level so that it'll be hard. Just at this point I think 2nd semester fits the
bill.


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