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Beginning French - 2013 TAC - Team PaX

 Language Learning Forum : Language Learning Log Post Reply
64 messages over 8 pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next >>
fezmond
Groupie
Korea, South
Joined 3155 days ago

72 posts - 78 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Korean, French

 
 Message 1 of 64
15 November 2012 at 2:07am | IP Logged 
I am attempting to learn French over the next year to see how far I can get and
hopefully put it into practice.

Why?
I love the sound of the language and used to spend my summers there when I was younger.
I'd like to head back on holidays and converse with the natives next time. Maybe even
live there in the future.

How?
I will try to use the following:
Assimil: New French With Ease
Pimsleur French 1 (maybe 2 and 3 too)
Michel Thomas (basic course)
FLI basic French course
Some Simpsons/Breaking Bad episodes without the subtitles.

I'm pretty much a beginner. I recognize some words from the days of studying French at
age 12/13 in school (mostly food vocab) but have no handle on the language at all.

Hopefully Assimil and Pimsleur will provide my daily lessons and I will supplement it
with the FLI course. I've got a lot of time to commute to work so it'll be useful to
spend that time wisely.

Issues
These are the current issues I'm having: my language abilities are pretty poor and my
accent is horrible. I live in Seoul, South Korea so my chances to meet natives are
rare. I should also be learning Korean and find myself answering some of the Pimsleur
in Korean rather than French.

Current status
Will start lesson 5 of Assimil today. The course is quite enjoyable so far but I forget
a lot of little things. The pace of the speaking is nice at this stage.

Pimsleur lesson 6. Not so much fun but it's easy enough for the most part.

FLI basic. Still on unit 1, copying every sentence out by hand and listening to the
tapes (starting 1.4 now). Boring but drilling isn't too bad. The speed of the
recordings is a bit fast for me.

RFI podcasts. These are the easy ones but don't seem to be for me. I can pick out some
words and ideas but very few. Mostly about the US election and Syria.

Wish me luck. If anyone has any tips on how they use FLI or DLI feel free to share.

Thanks

Edited by fezmond on 18 December 2012 at 4:45am

1 person has voted this message useful





emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3761 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 2 of 64
15 November 2012 at 3:41am | IP Logged 
Welcome to HTLAL! You've chosen some excellent resources.

fezmond wrote:
RFI podcasts. These are the easy ones but don't seem to be for me. I can pick out some words and ideas but very few. Mostly about the US election and Syria.


Don't worry if you don't understand RFI Français Facile yet. They're not actually all that easy.

1 person has voted this message useful



fezmond
Groupie
Korea, South
Joined 3155 days ago

72 posts - 78 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Korean, French

 
 Message 3 of 64
16 November 2012 at 3:51am | IP Logged 
Thanks. I've been following your log, hopefully someday I'll be at B2 level.

Little things still confusing me - when to use c'est or est but I'm
guessing that will come with time.


1 person has voted this message useful



garyb
Triglot
Senior Member
ScotlandRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3436 days ago

1468 posts - 2411 votes 
Speaks: English*, Italian, French
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 4 of 64
16 November 2012 at 12:46pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
Welcome to HTLAL! You've chosen some excellent resources.

fezmond wrote:
RFI podcasts. These are the easy ones but don't seem to be for me. I can
pick out some words and ideas but very few. Mostly about the US election and Syria.


Don't worry if you don't understand RFI Français Facile yet. They're not actually all
that easy.


I've never noticed much difference between the Français Facile podcasts and "normal"
radio news. Both just seem like standard radio news: similar register, similar
vocabulary, similar speed and clarity; I don't think it's much easier or harder to
understand than the news on France Info for example. Radio news is radio news is radio
news... difficult for a beginner but once you've built up some solid basic vocabulary
and grammar you should suddenly find yourself understanding a reasonable bit of it. Of
course the advantage of Français Facile is the transcripts, which can help you reach
that level of knowledge and comprehension. I find that radio is a good in-between stage
from learning materials to media like films and TV.
3 persons have voted this message useful



fezmond
Groupie
Korea, South
Joined 3155 days ago

72 posts - 78 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Korean, French

 
 Message 5 of 64
16 November 2012 at 2:18pm | IP Logged 
The speed of the podcasts seem to be slowing down a bit but I generally can't
understand much of what's going on. Still, it's only day 6. I tried the regular podcast
and didn't find too much of a difference, it seems the women speak much faster than the
men all the time.

Assimil is going well for the most part though some sentences just keep screwing me up
when I try to shadow the mp3s. I feel like I'm tripping over my own tongue...

Vous etes sur qu'il sont toujours gentils? (sorry, no French keyboard) I keep screwing
up the middle of this sentence, it's driving me crazy.




1 person has voted this message useful



geoffw
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2917 days ago

1134 posts - 1865 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Yiddish
Studies: Modern Hebrew, French, Dutch, Italian, Russian

 
 Message 6 of 64
16 November 2012 at 3:31pm | IP Logged 
My best guess is that the "Français facile" broadcasts might be ever so slightly slower than the standard RFI news
and use an ever so slightly narrower, but still sophisticated, vocabulary. The difference is pretty subtle, though.
1 person has voted this message useful





emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3761 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 7 of 64
16 November 2012 at 5:32pm | IP Logged 
fezmond wrote:
Little things still confusing me - when to use c'est or est but I'm guessing that will come with time.


The ce in c'est means something like "it" or maybe an extremely weak form of "this" or "that". You can find a nice introduction at french.about.com.

Which leaves us with the question of when you say "est" versus "c'est" versus "il/elle est". Sometimes this is mostly a stylistic choice:

Quote:
1. La vie est mal faite.
Life is badly made.

2. La vie, c'est comme un arbre.
Life, it's like a tree.

3. C'est difficile, la vie.
It's difficult, life.

4. La vie, elle est comme elle est.
Life, she's like she is.


In English, we prefer (1). The French love to use (2) and (3) when speaking naturally.

This whole subject can actually get pretty complicated. But as with a lot of French grammar, it will seem fairly obvious once you've been exposed to enough Assimil lessons, podcasts and books.

And please don't get frustrated if podcasts are still mostly gibberish after a few weeks! Podcasts will start making a lot more sense at the intermediate level. If you want to listen to them now, it can definitely be fun to try to figure out what people are saying. But it's not cheating to use a transcript and listen repeatedly, just like you would with an Assimil lesson.

EDIT: If you really love puzzling things out by ear, you might be interested by French in Action. I've never used it, but some people around here found it to be lots of fun.

Edited by emk on 16 November 2012 at 5:35pm

1 person has voted this message useful



tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 2936 days ago

5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 8 of 64
16 November 2012 at 5:40pm | IP Logged 
C'est / il est isn't really a particular grammatical distinction but often it's just
idiomatic use. You'll get used to it, it takes a while to get it right and even people
who have been speaking and learning French for years can fail at recognising the correct
sentence phrasing at certain points in time.

I speak French all right and I don't always get the distinction right either. These are
minor things that you should start worrying about once you have the "grandes lignes" of
the language under control. Most of it you will assimilate automatically by pure
exposure, and the rest you can fix when the time comes :)


1 person has voted this message useful



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