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Slow Learning: FR, HI, ancGR TAC 2015

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Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3018 days ago

2151 posts - 3960 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Hindi, Ancient Greek, French, Sanskrit, German

 
 Message 137 of 164
22 March 2015 at 11:52pm | IP Logged 
My gosh it's been an awfully long time since I've updated my post. First of all, I must apologize to Team français for my low activity, and secondly to my friends following me. I think I mentioned getting a new puppy about 4-5 weeks ago. After that my school had an inspection (I did fine when an inspector observed me, but my school didn't fare quite so well overall). And it's just been one little thing after another. I have kept up with my French and Hindi every day, but just haven't had the spare time to visit HTLAL. Then this week I was getting an error when trying to visit HTLAL. It turned out that it was caused by the fix we had a while back when we had the DNS error. I hadn't undone the fix, and it seems the website is at a new IP address, so the old fix now caused my browser to look for a server which no longer exists.

Anyway, I'll give a brief summary of my activities for the last 6 weeks or so:

French

As mentioned in a previous post, I've slowed down my French studies by dropping all of the textbooks and courses I was using, and I've stopped listening to French podcasts. Nevertheless, I've still done something in French every day, mainly listening to music and watching TV shows.
Assimil Le Hindi sans peine has been a great proving ground for my French. I was a bit intimidated by the long introduction, and all of the grammatical notes, but I've found that there have only been a handful of French words I didn't understand, and reading French translations of Hindi has helped me see some nuances in French usage I hadn't noticed before. Initially, I wasn't reading the French translations of the Hindi, since I understood the Hindi well enough, but I realized that reading the French side is helping my Hindi to detach from my English as well as improving my French, so I'm carefully studying both sides now.

I really have to recommend using a French based textbook to study another language. It stretches your language in unexpected ways, it's fun, and most of all you keep practicing your French while learning another language. This made me think of PM. I know you have another language or two to learn whenever you master French. Perhaps you could start on one of them sooner rather than later by using French based texts? It might be useful to review your Dutch with Assimil Le Néerlandais, for example.

I was really happy that Caïn on TV5 Monde, which I had seen before, continued on to the second series, which I hadn't. The series had changed in interesting ways, some for the better, some for the worse. The most noticable difference was that the two main female characters (Cain's wife and his lieutenant) suddenly had boobs on show, pushed up more and with noticably deeper neckline plunges. Obviously a cheap attempt to attract viewers. Fortunatly, the story and character development were up to the standard of the first series, possibly even better. In one notable episode, Cain has to confront his anger with the doctor who saved his life but condemned him to life in a wheelchair. I was disappointed when the series ended.

**(Minor spoiler alert!!)** I also thoroughly enjoyed Engrenages, but the ending was absolutely awful. It would have been impossible for that character to fall over that railing, so they had to change the camera angle and just show them falling. It was the first time I would say they really let their production values drop for a cheap plot element. And my wife nearly threw the TV at me when she realized that most of the threads were still unravelled! Anyway, I'm happy that there is going to be another series, but now we play the waiting game again.

The other show I've watched was a made for TV film, Meurtres au pays basque.

A police woman sees lights in a cave, goes in and gets hit from behind. She wakes up next to a mutilated corpse and the mystery begins. It ties in a bit with Basque history and folklore, particularly locals who were tortured for being witches. I was pleased that it didn't take the anti-church line so common on French TV, but pointed out clearly that the locals were declared witches solely because they wouldn't cooperate with the French king. It wasn't "great" but I really enjoyed the story and the setting, and I would like to see the sequel Meurtres à Guérande if it comes on TV5 Monde. In fact, there seems to be a whole load of recent TV movies called "Meurtres à..." so maybe it's a larger series. Or maybe it's just a coincidence since "Meurtres à" is hardly an unusual title.

Other than the notes in Assimil Hindi, I haven't read much in French and I'm beginning to miss it. La planete des singes wasn't really doing it for me, and that's part of why I let my French reading time slip. I think I'll re-read one of my Petit Nicolas books to get me back into the habit. Until the summer I won't be reading as much French as Hindi, but I don't want to let it go entirely. Plus, I still have 45.1 books to complete for the Super Challenge.


Hindi
I mentioned I'm going to India for a month this summer; I bought my ticket last weekend and I'm getting very excited. Recently Hindi hasn't been a big priority because I didn't see much likelihood of visiting India in the near future.

Assimil Le Hindi sans peine I'm on lesson 13 of this course, but I've been listening to the audio until it's been coming out of my ears. I have the mp3s in my car and it's about all I listen to when I'm driving alone these days. In terms of vocabulary and grammar, there are only a few things I don't already know, but I'm focusing on assimilation, and I think it's going well. It is an odd course compared to New French with Ease. At the end of every 6th lesson there's an odd musical interlude, some hymn to Vishnu or something, but there are really no discernable words. And the lessons tend to be longer; wheras NFWE tends to have 2-3 minutes per track, these lessons are generally 4 minutes. Between the longer tracks and the musical interludes, the course only has 55 lessons. If you were new to Hindi, I think the learning curve would be extremely steep, far steeper than NFWE, but it's actually quite good for my purposes.

For reading, I've been reviewing The Routledge Intermediate Hindi Reader, which has been going well, and टिनटिन तिब्बत में (Tintin in Tibet). I haven't looked up many unknown words in the Tintin, although there are several on each page. I plan to read it a few times more and take a slightly more intensive approach. On the next pass I'll underline any unknown word, and then look them all up together. After that I'll read it again, crosschecking the list as needed. Hopefully on a fourth pass the vocabulary won't be a problem at all.

For listening, I've listened to over 20 hours of podcasts by Rupert Snell (author of TY Hindi) and Neha Ladha, which I've mentioned before. Glossaries Alive are podcasts discussing Hindi vocabulary for each chapter of Teach Yourself Hindi. The discussions are about 50% in Hindi, and last for around 20 minutes on average. After a couple passes through those, I turned to their Spoken Thesaurus, to which I've listened through 9 times since the beginning of February. The Spoken Thesaurus are discussions on vocabulary by topic, and the discussions are about 95% in Hindi. Unfortunately, most of the podcasts are below 15 minutes, and so don't count for the Super Challenge, but I've posted for the longer ones a few times. Again, my approach here has been assimilation, and the repetition has been good.

Of course I've watched a bunch of Bollywood films. Mardaani was a pretty good film about a female cop who uncovers ring kidnapping and trafficking young girls. Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year was surprisingly fun and enjoyable. But the best Hindi film I have watched recently was The Lunchbox, about a relationship between a lonely wife and a widower when her husband's lunches are misdelivered to him. She realizes that it wasn't her husband who got the meal when it was actually finished for once, and they begin to pass notes back and forth. An engaging story and a lovely insight into a few people's lives. I'd recommend it even to anyone not interested in Hindi.




So there you have it. I am on Easter break in a week, so hopefully I'll be able to step up my Hindi reading while putting French reading back into my rotation.

Edited by Jeffers on 23 March 2015 at 12:08am

3 persons have voted this message useful



luke
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5314 days ago

3133 posts - 4350 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Esperanto, French

 
 Message 138 of 164
23 March 2015 at 1:15am | IP Logged 
I'm glad to see you back Jeffers. Glad to hear the inspecteur saw you in a favorable light. You've also tickled me about going back to Perfectionnement Espagnol. I'm also intrigued by your move from courses to the real deal. You set a good precedent.
2 persons have voted this message useful



PeterMollenburg
Senior Member
AustraliaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3585 days ago

821 posts - 1273 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: FrenchB1

 
 Message 139 of 164
23 March 2015 at 5:18am | IP Logged 
I second luke's notion... I'm also glad to see you back Jeffers.

It seems like you've covered a lot of ground with Hindi lately. I guess that was a given
during the 6WC (provided you put the required effort in, which you did). Meutres au pays
basque sounds interesting.

Anyway good work and glad you're back!

As for your comments on learning another language via French as L1. Well I agree it's a
good idea, but I don't want to do it just yet, but certainly food for thought.

PM
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Mohave
Senior Member
United States
justpaste.it/Mohave1
Joined 2116 days ago

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

 
 Message 140 of 164
23 March 2015 at 12:26pm | IP Logged 
Jeffers wrote:

I really have to recommend using a French based textbook to study another language. It stretches your
language in unexpected ways, it's fun, and most of all you keep practicing your French while learning another
language.    


Jeffers - Great update and glad to see you post!

I have been trying to decide if I will use French-based or Engish-based resources when I start Spanish later
this year. Since we have so many good English-based resources in the US, and I am more interested in
Latin-American Spanish, I was leaning towards going the English-based approach. After reading your
experience, I am re-thinking this! It is a little intimidating though!


Ps Congrats on having your inspection go so well for you!


2 persons have voted this message useful



Cavesa
Triglot
Senior Member
Czech Republic
Joined 3118 days ago

3277 posts - 6778 votes 
Speaks: Czech*, FrenchC2, EnglishC1
Studies: Spanish, German, Italian

 
 Message 141 of 164
24 March 2015 at 3:10am | IP Logged 
Great to see you back! Spending more time on the languages at the expense of the forum is a much wiser
decision than vice versa. :-)

Thanks for the info on Cain, it looks worth trying and I am always on the lookout for more material to devour
(after all, my foolish ASCR thing is still not finished). And thanks for the Engrenages warning. I haven't
watched season 4 yet so I can just wait and watch it later with 5. I hate the fact that the French tv creators
obviously find those US-like cliffhangers cool. The cliffhangers on Profilage are a hell, the last one got me feel
a bit betrayed and regret watching the season before the whole series is ended. And the same applied to les
Revenants. Those end-season-cliffhangers should be forbidden! :-D

Edited by Cavesa on 24 March 2015 at 3:11am

2 persons have voted this message useful



Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3018 days ago

2151 posts - 3960 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Hindi, Ancient Greek, French, Sanskrit, German

 
 Message 142 of 164
24 March 2015 at 1:47pm | IP Logged 
Cavesa wrote:
Great to see you back! Spending more time on the languages at the expense of the forum is a much wiser decision than vice versa. :-)


Yep, for once I had things the right way round!

Cavesa wrote:
Thanks for the info on Cain, it looks worth trying and I am always on the lookout for more material to devour (after all, my foolish ASCR thing is still not finished). And thanks for the Engrenages warning. I haven't watched season 4 yet so I can just wait and watch it later with 5. I hate the fact that the French tv creators
obviously find those US-like cliffhangers cool. The cliffhangers on Profilage are a hell, the last one got me feel a bit betrayed and regret watching the season before the whole series is ended. And the same applied to les Revenants. Those end-season-cliffhangers should be forbidden! :-D


One thing I have appreciated about the French TV is that most of the series I've watched don't rely on cliffhangars to keep the audience interested. Cain, Boulevard du palais, Un flic, and several others generally keep each episode separate, with some character development happening across episodes, so they have to rely on good writing and interesting personalities to keep viewers coming back. I really enjoyed Engrenages, but the series sometimes uses cheap tricks to keep it "edgy", and don't get me started about Braquo!
2 persons have voted this message useful



garyb
Triglot
Senior Member
ScotlandRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3316 days ago

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

 
 Message 143 of 164
30 March 2015 at 12:56pm | IP Logged 
I hadn't heard of Cain before, I'll have to check that out. I agree that particularly the latest season of Engrenages has been bad for cliffhangers and other cheap tricks! But at the end of the day it keeps me watching and makes me want to continue, which is important for language exposure.
3 persons have voted this message useful



Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3018 days ago

2151 posts - 3960 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Hindi, Ancient Greek, French, Sanskrit, German

 
 Message 144 of 164
11 April 2015 at 1:46am | IP Logged 
As mentioned before, I'm focusing on Hindi for the time being. I thought I should mention the purpose(s) of the visit. Besides teaching computery stuff, I also teach RE (Religious Education). A friend of mine who is teaching in India invited me to stay with him for the summer to do some "resource building" for RE lessons. We're going to visit a lot of important religious sites, take loads of pictures, interview pilgrims, etc. It should be fun, and hopefully it will be useful for lessons. In addition, we plan to take Sanskrit lessons at the Landour Language School. So I guess I have one more language to add to my "Studies" list.

So here's what I've been doing lately:

Hindi

In order to prepare for my visit to India, I'm preparing in a few ways. I'm working on Assimil to review main points of grammar, and improve my vocab. I'm doing a lot of listening to improve my comprehension, and I'm reading to improve all of it. I think the listening and reading will ultimately make the most difference, but Assimil is helping quite a bit as well.

With Assimil le Hindi I'm up to lesson 17 today. It is a good course, and it's been great to study via French. It's kind of funny that I'm using French, a language I started just under 4 years ago, to learn Hindi, a language I started learning in 1977! I don't know if I'll finish the whole course by July, but I don't think it's worth rushing through it. Instead I'm enjoying the course, and letting it sink in.

नमस्कार भारत (Nakaskar Bharat) (Hello India) is a news podcast produced by the BBC, and I've been listening to it twice a day this past week or so. I have no problem understanding the broad sweep of each item in the episodes, but I'm still struggling with vocabulary and I think I will always struggle with fast speech (whether in Hindi or in French). In French, many of the obscure words are also English words; it's part of that language conservatism in which you innovate with commonly used words, but keep old forms of unusual words. Unfortunately, although Hindi and English share a common root, there's very little language discount in proper Hindi. On the other hand, many Indians use a lot of "Hinglish" and often enough that saves the day. But things are a bit more formal on a news podcast.

I've been mainly reading साम्राज्य हिला चुटकीभर नमक से, "The Empire Shaken by a handful of Salt". It's a chapter book for children, telling the story of Gandhi's salt march. I would reckon it's for children around 10-12 years old, but again the language is very formal, and there are a lot of words I just never heard before. I've only looked up words which have come up several times, in order to keep reading. The nice thing is that many of the words I've looked up have later come up on the podcast.

In other events, this week I was in London with my sons and made a visit to Foyles, where I got two more Tintin comics in Hindi: सूर्यदेव का मंदिर (Suryadev ka Mandir, literally The Sun God's Temple, i.e. Prisoners of the Sun) and ग़ुलामों के सौदागर (Gulamo ke Saodagar, literally Slave Traders, but in English it's The Red Sea Sharks). I look forward to reading them in the next few weeks, and then re-reading my other two Hindi Tintins. Unfortunately, Foyles only had one other (Tintin in Congo). I do hope they resupply before my next visit!


French
Détectives is a TV series being shown on TV5 Monde these days, and it's quite a good one. A family detective business (father, son, grand-daughter) merges with another more "professional" detective. There is obvious friction over methods, family relations, etc. But the characters are interesting, the cases are engaging and the acting is pretty good.

I mentioned a while ago that I bought 3 DVD boxes of Boulevard du palais. I watched most of the series from 2006-2014, but the first two boxes run from 1999 to 2005, so it's mostly new to me. If you do get the chance to watch any of the series, don't judge it by the first few episodes. They were clearly trying to catch an audience, and the first episode opens with a rear view of a roller-skater in hot shorts. The skater pulls up to the palais, and we find out that our sexy skater is a new judge transferred in. There are a lot of cheesy touches like that in the early days of the series, but you can still see the core of good character development and good stories, shining through the corny veneer.

The DVDs don't have subtitles, and at times it has been a real struggle to keep up. Generally I know what's going on, but I'm missing important details here and there. For that reason, and the fact I'm focusing more on Hindi, I've only watched four episodes so far. However, I can tell that my listening comprehension has improved since the beginning of the Super Challenge, and I know that carrying on with the series will help a lot. It looks like I won't finish all 24 episodes this year; I guess completing the series will be a goal for the next Super Challenge!

Finally, I have continued to enjoy listening to French rock every day. Jean-Louis Aubert remains at the top of my play-list. Here's a clip from Comme un accord, his album I listen to the most these days:
Jean-Louis Aubert - Milliers, Millions, Milliards [Official Music Video">

I've also recently bought my first Noir Désir album, Des Visages Des Figures which is supposed to be one of their best. They're as dark as their name, but I like it so far. They have quite a range of style and mood, as exemplified by these two songs from the same album:
Noir Désir - Le Vent Nous Portera
Lost


And finally... a new language to add to my "Studying" list:
Sanskrit
I received my copy of Assimil le Sanskrit today. I spent some time flicking through it, listening to the first few tracks, and reading a bit of the introduction (in French). It looks like a very well designed course, with excellent voice acting and a text which runs to about 840 pages. I'll be taking this course slowly, in order to prepare for lessons this summer in India. I totally love Assimil's mp3 CD's which come with their courses now. When you play the files the lyrics come up. They have a file for each chapter, and an additional folder for each lesson which has each sentence on a separate track, again with the lyrics. So if there are a few sentence you really want to work on, it's really easy to put them on a repeated playlist or something. The lyrics feature will make it really nice to review the audio + text on the go, whether on a phone or tablet.






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