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TAC ’15 French Spanish Celtic Adv Study

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sctroyenne
Diglot
Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3788 days ago

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

 
 Message 177 of 336
14 December 2013 at 9:13am | IP Logged 
TAC 2014

I'll go ahead and make this my introductory post to the TAC 2014 just for the sake of
being able to easily point to the current portion of my log.

So my definite study plans for this year, in order of when I'll be giving each language
the most focus, are Irish to an intermediate level, Spanish to an upper
intermediate/advanced level, and continuing to make progress in French at the
advanced level. I'm interested in Portuguese but I probably won't get to
studying it seriously this year. So I'll be a member of the French team, Team Celts,
and Team Iberia.

In addition, I'm teaching ESL to a Burmese refugee who speaks Karen so
I'm also on the lookout for ESL techniques and I'm interested in acquiring a bit of her
language - if only to be able to read/write the Burmese script which is awesome.
Therefore I may be following the rare languages group closely for techniques on how to
learn when there aren't dozens of courses to choose from.

Some of my major language projects this year: finally take the DALF for French (I say
it every year, let's see if I do it this year), a potential two-week immersion trip to
Guatemala, and a 5-day Irish immersion with Language Hunters (a trip to the Gaeltacht
is on the list but that won't be realistic to even think about until at least Summer
2015).

I'm definitely interested in trying some challenges and getting more conversational
practice over Skype or Google Hangouts. Also, I'm working on incorporating Language
Hunters techniques into my study to be sure I'm learning active language from the
start. If anyone's interested in trying the method, let me know (I can use guinea
pigs).

To all teammates and others reading my log, thank you for joining me and good luck on
your language endeavors for 2014!
1 person has voted this message useful



renaissancemedi
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Greece
Joined 2755 days ago

941 posts - 1308 votes 
Speaks: Greek*, Ancient Greek*, EnglishC2
Studies: French, Russian, Turkish, Modern Hebrew

 
 Message 178 of 336
14 December 2013 at 9:23am | IP Logged 
Good luck to you as well!
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Swift
Senior Member
Ireland
Joined 3005 days ago

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

 
 Message 179 of 336
15 December 2013 at 1:48am | IP Logged 
Thanks for the compliment sctroyenne. But I think I'll still leave my French as "studies" until I've got a DALF C1 under my belt. So hopefully before I leave for France in September! I see "speaks" for languages that one has at least basic fluency in, and I don't feel like I'm quite there yet with French. But that's just the way I see things for myself. I guess I am very much of the "always learning" mindset.

Your log looks great in any case. Good luck with all your goals, including the DALF!
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Hekje
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3100 days ago

842 posts - 1330 votes 
Speaks: English*, Dutch
Studies: French, Indonesian

 
 Message 180 of 336
16 December 2013 at 10:27pm | IP Logged 
Hi sctroyenne! I look forward to following your progress in French this year. I also very much enjoyed reading your
account of how you learned French, especially the bit about practicing it while going out on dates. So funny!

Bonne chance avec les études. :-)
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sctroyenne
Diglot
Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3788 days ago

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

 
 Message 181 of 336
18 December 2013 at 5:26am | IP Logged 
Have reached lessons 11 and 12 of Learning Irish which can be dubbed "Fun with numbers". I think I'm going
to make one of those decision tree infographics summing up Irish morphology. I'd be interested to see how
convoluted it gets (I already feel like I'm running through one of those every time I try to write a word down in
a sentence).
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sctroyenne
Diglot
Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3788 days ago

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

 
 Message 182 of 336
19 December 2013 at 7:33am | IP Logged 
For all you French learners, I've been inspired to write up a breakdown of a French song as I love it so much I don't want lack of comprehension in French to stand in the way of others loving it too!

So it was announced that my company's annual employee party is going to have karaoke and I've been listening to a lot of Stromae wondering if he would be popular enough internationally to show up in their catalog so that I could mask my tone-deafness with my language skill. And that is how I came to listen to Tous les Mêmes much more closely than before after catching glimpses of him performing it. And I have to say the song is pretty damn brilliant. It has a lot of wordplay and just the right amount of slang so as to not be overwhelming for someone still learning.

It's essential in the case of this song to see Stromae perform it in order to understand the context (the official video was recently released but what he's doing is a bit clearer in some of the other videos of him performing). Here's a collection:

Tous les Mêmes Official Video
A sort of teaser(with English subtitles, though you'll see it definitely loses a lot in translation and which is why I gave up trying for this post)
Live performance on Le Grand Journal(which totally confused me when I first saw it because I didn't realize the woman that came out was actually him - you'll see why).

So in Tous les Mêmes, Stromae is actually singing a duet with himself that portrays a fight between a couple (which should immediately make a lot of the lyrics much clearer if you were confused before). His costume is divided in half - half woman, half man - and he alternates sides as he sings.

Quote:
Vous les hommes êtes tous les mêmes
Macho mais cheap
Bande de mauviettes infidèles
Si prévisibles, non je ne suis pas certaine, que tu m'mérites
Z'avez de la chance qu'on vous aime
Dis-moi "Merci"


He starts out here as the woman complaining about men in general, basically accusing her boyfriend/husband of being a "typical man".

mauviettes: wimps (potentially stronger insults)

Quote:
Rendez-vous, rendez-vous, rendez-vous au prochain règlement
Rendez-vous, rendez-vous, rendez-vous sûrement aux prochaines règles


This is brilliant in French and I can't think of a way to translate it without making it really ugly and "inelegant" (not the best word choice given how it's a little mean/vulgar but it's very clever all the same).

Here he's portraying the man who's basically saying, "Here we go again, another fight, it's probably that time of the month again."

règlement: referring to un règlement de comptes which in this sense would be an argument but is commonly used to describe murder for vengeance and crimes of retaliation between gangs/mafia ("settling the score").
règles: period (not the kind you find at the end of a sentence or a measure of time)

Quote:
Cette fois c'était la dernière
Tu peux croire que c'est qu'une crise
Mate une dernière fois mon derrière
Il est à côté de mes valises
Tu diras au revoir à ta mère, elle qui t'idéalise
Tu ne vois même pas tout ce que tu perds
Avec une autre, ce serait pire

Quoi toi aussi tu veux finir maintenant?
C'est le monde à l'envers!
Moi je le disais pour te faire réagir seulement
Toi t'y pensais


Here he's the woman again. And at the end you can see why his male side would be frustrated as she's threatening to leave him, he agrees, and she says, "Moi je le disais pour te faire réagir seulement."

crise: in this sense means a fit/outburst
mate: slang for look, check out (I think I learned this one through Kaamelott)
c'est le monde à l'envers the world's turned upside down (I find this expression gets used a lot in French, actually)

[refrain]

Quote:
Facile à dire, je suis gnan-gnan
Et que j'aime trop les bla-bla-bla
Mais non non non, c'est important
Ce que t'appelles les ragnagnas
Tu sais la vie c'est des enfants
Mais comme toujours c'est pas le bon moment
Ah oui pour les faire, là, tu es présent,
Mais pour les élever y aura des absents
Lorsque je ne serai plus belle,
Ou du moins au naturel,
Arrête je sais que tu mens,
Il n'y a que Kate Moss qui est éternelle

Moche ou bête, c'est jamais bon!
Bête ou belle, c'est jamais bon!
Belle ou moi, c'est jamais bon!
Moi ou elle, c'est jamais bon!


Again, as the woman, expressing that while he dismisses the issues she brings up, they're important. She wants kids but he's not committed, "pour les faire, là, tu es présent Mais pour les élever y aura des absents" and then bringing up her insecurities about aging:

gnangnan: cheesy, overly-sentimental (learned this one when explaining that Lifetime Movies are my guilty pleasure)
blablabla: easy enough to understand though I would note I find that it's used a fair amount and as a noun.
ragnagnas: a sort of quaint way of referring to having your period (Aunt Flow). New to me!

[refrain]

Quote:
Tous les mêmes, tous les mêmes,
Tous les mêmes et y'en a marre x3


And here he sings as both characters at once, "Men/Women - they're all the same! And everyone's fed up/we're all fed up."

I love his word play and I love his characterization. I think so many people can relate and find themselves in these characters he plays. Really great artist!

Edited by sctroyenne on 20 December 2013 at 2:56am

3 persons have voted this message useful



sctroyenne
Diglot
Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3788 days ago

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

 
 Message 183 of 336
20 December 2013 at 9:28pm | IP Logged 
I had my first session doing an exchange of French for Irish over iTalki. I think this
is promising for me as I get the benefit of having Irish instruction and I get to
practice teaching French. I'm anticipating teaching is a great way to review basics and
almost "re-learn" the language the way I would have wanted to learn it had I known then
what I know now.

I think I need to make a syllabus for myself to clarify my short term goal and
procedures. It's not enough to say, "Do Learning Irish Lesson X" as the material is
very dense and requires a lot more work in order to really absorb it. It would involve
looking at the learning objectives of the Lesson, splitting them up, and finding or
coming up with ways for me to work on it. Here I'm really fighting my urge to just plow
through the material. Sure, I can gain a general overview but with an advanced
knowledge of the language but no fluency/ability, it's torture going back and working
on the basics, which will just translate to sloppy Irish down the line.

With French, the need for clarity in my goals is even more important at the advanced
level. It's really easy to just rest on my laurels, especially since I'm no longer in
France and don't need it in my everyday life. Plus, there are very few guides for
learning at the advanced level so developing my self-teaching skills is that much more
important.

With Spanish, the temptation to just stay at the overview, "getting the gist" level is
high since I can passively understand so much already. Just because I can read pretty
well doesn't mean I can skimp on working on building concrete skills.

I'm perusing the ACTFL scale to see if it gives more of a guideline than the CEFR
scale. 1999 standards can be found here. It looks like
the 2012 standards split Advanced into Low/Mid/High like the other categories. It
already has more levels which makes it a bit more precise, though certain skills still
seem a bit vague. It would be great to see a grading rubric for speaking, for example,
based on the ACTFL scale.
2 persons have voted this message useful



sctroyenne
Diglot
Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3788 days ago

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

 
 Message 184 of 336
23 December 2013 at 7:53am | IP Logged 
Had another iTalki exchange between Irish and French. It's funny, one Irish speaker from Dublin told me I sound like I'm from Donegal, this one told me I sound like I'm from Kerry, and I'm currently learning Irish from Connemara/Cois Fharraige. I imagine I sound like a mishmash. Oh well, if I at least sound like something out of Ireland I must be on the right track.

I was leafing through Alter Ego 5 to see if there were any writing prompts I wanted to try. The one I landed on was this:

"Rédigez une réflexion sur le thème suivant : un intellectuel doit-il s'engager en politique et dans la vie sociale ? Dans quelles circonstances ? (300 mots)"

And this is my problem with trying to prepare for the DALF. I've reached a point where I've lost all tolerance for these kinds of school writing assignments. I used to be pretty good at them but I think I've reached my limit on the amount of BS I can generate. I plan on asking my French friends how they approach these sorts of things. I know with the French writing system I can basically choose anything I want to write about on this theme so I guess I just need more practice turning a writing prompt into something I actually would be interested in writing about.

Otherwise for writing and speaking, I think I'll start keeping notes of things I talk about with my colleagues in English (as well as some of my word choice) and see if I don't have some holes in French. I've gotten to the level where I'm able to effectively use workarounds so well that I'm not even aware of what I can't do.

I was browsing the site that holds the ACTFL standards and stumbled on some .articles on language learning that were published there. They look pretty interesting. One, by Carol J. Orwig, Managing Your Language Learning Program offers suggestions for what to aim for at each of the proficiency levels. Let's look at taking different skills from Advanced to Superior to Distinguised:

Listening

Advanced

     
If you want to study, work, or live in a country for any length of time, you will need this level of proficiency. In a limited way, you can
     
    -understand most face-to-face conversations as a participant
    -get along pretty well socially, and
    -understand basic information relating to your work.


     
Here are some of the things you can understand people say at Advanced level:

      
    -An account of an event that happened in the past
    -Events someone expects will happen in the future
    -A description of a simple process
    -A brief summary of facts about a subject
    -Oral instructions on how to do something
    -Advice
    -The advantages and disadvantages of a course of action
    -A description of a place you have never visited
    -Someone comparing or contrasting two objects or places
    -Familiar topics beyond your immediate situation
    -Most news broadcasts and factual reports on television and radio
    -Information someone asks you in an interview
    -Short lectures on familiar topics


Superior

The superior level learner can function at a full professional level in another language and understand what is happening in situations where people do not come out directly and say what they mean. You will have to spend some time in a country where the language is spoken before your understanding reaches this level. You will have to experience language use in a variety of real communication situations.

     
Here are some things you can understand people say at Superior level:

      
    -Unspoken emotional nuances of speakers in most communication situations
    -A detailed description of a complex object or procedure
    -A discussion of an abstract professional topic
    -Hypotheses about what might happen in a certain situation
    -Debates on both sides of an issue
    -Personal points of view on a controversial subject
    -Reasons someone gives for acting in a certain way
    -Unspoken messages, when people hedge, evade an answer, or try to get out of a commitment
    -Speeches or academic lectures
    -The dialogue in films
    -Media coverage


Distinguished (near mother-tongue)

If you want to understand your new language almost as well as your own, you will have to get to this level. It will probably take years to attain this proficiency. At this level you can understand all forms and styles of speech, including

    -plays
    -films
    -academic and professional meetings
    -debates
    -jokes and puns.
    -the nuances of meaning and the background knowledge that native speakers bring to listening situations


I think I'll stop at listening for now. I think these three levels correspond pretty well to B2, C1, and C2. I think I have Advanced down. On the Superior list, some of these are tough. Being able to understand a speaker's nuance when hiding meaning takes quite a bit of cultural knowledge. It would be best to get more experience in a French office to really get a sense of how the office politics work (like most places it can be pretty cutthroat). While teaching in France I was split between four schools so I didn't really get to be immersed in the teachers' lounge gossip (though I did get some). And during my internship at the French consulate I wasn't there long enough to get a sense for the office politics (I knew there was something going on between a few of the departments but I didn't get to listen to a lot of gossip). Something to keep in mind - try to find a French office to work for if I can't get to a French-speaking country.

I've worked quite a bit on debates, media coverage, academic lectures, etc but it would be good to get more exposure (with perhaps some kind of assignment to make sure I get everything). I did get to attend quite a few tapings of C Politique while in France (including interviews with 3 of the presidential candidates) so I definitely experienced some hedging. But I admit that I wasn't able to keep my focus for a full 45 minutes of these interviews. I had the feeling of all the words going in one ear and out the other. And I know I didn't notice all the word sparring (I did notice that the host was particularly cruel with François Bayrou but I didn't catch all of it and that she was almost flirty with Eric Besson). It would do me good to keep watching these programs. It would be great to watch a show that does commentary on media coverage and politicians' public relations techniques, such as what The Daily Show does (though not necessarily in the same way). Maybe Zapping? Le Petit Journal? Any other suggestions?

At the distinguished level, I have some experience with plays - I attended a few plays and tons of improv. I wouldn't say I was 100% for plays, especially for the more literary ones that had tons of allusions (one play based on current events was pretty easy). It's easy enough to read, then digest what I've read, then think of the deeper meaning behind it all but when it's all being done live, my brain can't keep up as well. I went to a performance of Molière which I had never read (though I read quickly through a summary right before) and barely understood anything). My comprehension of improv fluctuated quite a bit. But that was a function of whether I understood what the sketch was based around in the first place and/or if it was well-executed. If the structure was very poor, even the French audience would be confused. If the whole sketch was based on a double-meaning of a word I didn't understand, then the whole room would be laughing and I would feel a little sad inside because I couldn't take part. But when I got it, it was great, and I even managed to catch puns that not all French people got. I attended a stand-up show, which I could understand almost all of (I should watch more), and I got the DVD of Les Inconnus, which I thought I understood all of but my friend pointed out a few word plays which I hadn't caught (which were really subtle, in my defense).

So I'm working at fully acquiring Superior level and chipping away at some things on the Distinguished list. I like this list because it gives me ideas of specific things I need to focus on - more debate shows, some news analysis shows, stand up, and plays. If I can't find a way to expose myself to some French office intrigue I can maybe watch a French soap or something to get better at seeing how to detect when someone is obfuscating meaning and hedging (that, and watch a lot of interviews with politicians).

Edited by sctroyenne on 23 December 2013 at 7:58am



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