The great push to C2 (Extra French Edition)

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Ogrim
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Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?t=873
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Re: The great push to C2 (French)

Postby Ogrim » Fri Dec 16, 2016 4:31 pm

whatiftheblog wrote:3. I hope this isn't prohibited speech, but I'm just loving this French election season. I'm fairly certain I have now seen every video in which Macron has made so much as a cameo appearance because I'm just totally fascinated by this man. And all of the frontrunners speak so well - I remember being absolutely mesmerized by Valls' speech in parliament after the Charlie Hebdo attacks when I watched it live, it felt like I was in some sort of trance. It's an absolute delight professionally (the politics) and personally (the extremely refined level of French used).


I won't enter into a political debate, but I just wanted to make two comments of a more neutral nature, which should not be against the forum rules. Macron has certainly made some waves in French politics, and it will be very interesting to see how things work out for him in the months leading up to the first round of the presidential elections. It will also be interesting to follow the primary of the left, the first vote taking place on 22 January. With nine candidates having entered the race, it is still hard to single out the favourites - Valls is obviously one of them, but his problem is that he is closely associated with Hollande, and for many in the SP he is not leftwing enough. Who the Socialist candidate will certainly influence the support Macron can muster in the end.

You mention how they are all speaking so well. True enough, most of them dominate the higher register of the French language very well, and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that the art of rethoric is still very much appreciated in France and many politicians are very adept at using rethoric figures. They also adapt to the circumstances, whether it is a presidential campaign speech or a speech in memory of terrorist victims.

I can recommend this Youtube chain called Aequivox. They analyse the speeches and rethorics of famous French politicans. I find the videos very informative.
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Re: The great push to C2 (French)

Postby whatiftheblog » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:10 am

Ogrim wrote:I won't enter into a political debate, but I just wanted to make two comments of a more neutral nature, which should not be against the forum rules. Macron has certainly made some waves in French politics, and it will be very interesting to see how things work out for him in the months leading up to the first round of the presidential elections. It will also be interesting to follow the primary of the left, the first vote taking place on 22 January. With nine candidates having entered the race, it is still hard to single out the favourites - Valls is obviously one of them, but his problem is that he is closely associated with Hollande, and for many in the SP he is not leftwing enough. Who the Socialist candidate will certainly influence the support Macron can muster in the end.


I made an entire bus full of people very uncomfortable last week when I sort of shriek-snorted in spontaneous laughter while listening to this: https://www.facebook.com/PageGuillaumeM ... 4485797175 "Manu le poète, Manu l'ophthalmo", "comme tous les Felix Baumgartners de la politique" :lol:

You mention how they are all speaking so well. True enough, most of them dominate the higher register of the French language very well, and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that the art of rethoric is still very much appreciated in France and many politicians are very adept at using rethoric figures. They also adapt to the circumstances, whether it is a presidential campaign speech or a speech in memory of terrorist victims.


Indeed. I think this is what initially made me really fall in love with French/France.

I can recommend this Youtube chain called Aequivox. They analyse the speeches and rethorics of famous French politicans. I find the videos very informative.


Oooh, thanks! This looks great!
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Re: The great push to C2 (French)

Postby whatiftheblog » Sat Dec 24, 2016 6:07 am

Time for another update! We're finally off for the rest of the year starting tonight, which means I have a whole lot more free time now. The plan through New Year's Day is to maximize "immersive time" to 10-12+ hours a day - currently, I'm averaging about 4-6. I also have specific goals to achieve, like finishing my CV and finishing the first draft of my personal statement (both in French, yay writing!), as well as reading (hopefully finishing) 2084. The story continues to be incredibly interesting, but the density of the language is sometimes frustrating, so it's progressing at a pace of about 4-5 pages a day, ugh.

I've already selected a few teachers for Italki lessons, which I'm planning to start in January. I've been talking to myself / my cat / my phone more and more to prepare for those. I'm also organizing all of my review/reference material into fiches, and some of these 1-2 page "primers" already contain outlines of topics I'd like to discuss with my teachers (my academic background, professional experience, future plans, etc). The goal is basically to prepare for an hourlong job interview in such a way that I am confident enough in my language skills to express myself with some degree of elegance. We shall see how this goes!
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Re: The great push to C2 (French)

Postby whatiftheblog » Tue Dec 27, 2016 1:17 am

A little update so I don't forget to share this: I've found a lot of good TEDx talks in French recently, but this one was particularly enjoyable:



I also got myself a little Christmas present in the form of the first season of Bureau des Légendes on iTunes. So far, it's quite interesting, the only problem is that I can't seem to disable English subtitles on it no matter which settings I adjust on my Apple TV. I have to really focus on the top portion of the screen to avoid being distracted by the subtitles, which is in itself quite annoying.

I sort of dropped Engrenages after finishing the second season - I couldn't really get into the plot anymore, and the characters were a little bit too caricature-y for me by that point. I guess I'm just a picky consumer of television? I also started Les Revenants on Netflix, which is okay so far, but I'm not a huge fan of the genre, so we'll see how that goes.

Separately, I have my first Italki lesson scheduled for tomorrow morning! I'm sort of excited and terrified about it at the same time. I'm continuing to talk to myself at home whenever the mood strikes, though I don't always record myself; I was a little disappointed in the fact that today my speech seemed more stilted, whereas yesterday I was able to practice with pretty good speed and almost no mistakes. Meh. We'll see how tomorrow goes!
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Re: The great push to C2 (French)

Postby whatiftheblog » Wed Dec 28, 2016 3:38 am

Another update, as it's been a day full of excitement:

1. Had my first italki lesson today and it went pretty well - there were times when I felt perfectly comfortable and at ease, and there were other times when I sort of got lost in what I was going to say (in terms of meaning, not necessarily vocabulary) and realized I don't yet have the capacity I do in English/Russian to elegantly extinguish a line of thought. I really like the teacher I chose, she seems really nice and engaged, and she gave great feedback, so that's all good. I ran a little calculation and realized that June is 22 weeks away, and if I only do 22 hours of speaking-with-a-native practice between now and June, ain't no way that's going to cut it, SO! The current plan, which flies in the face of everything I said about not wishing to track anything anymore, goes something like this:

- 1 italki lesson / week between now and March
- 2 italki lessons / week March - June
- separately from italki, at least 4 hours a week of concentrated speaking, working off my long list of potential interview questions/etc - this may be recorded
- arrive in France 1 week before the interview, do 2 hours of one-on-one prep work with an Alliance Française teacher daily
- not fall flat on face during interview
- collapse in exhausted heap, finally read something in English for pleasure like a normal human

2. I'm about halfway through the first season of Bureau des Légendes. So far it's pretty good, the only thing is a quarter of the dialogue is now in Arabic, which is great and all, it's just that... when I'm listening to Arabic, reading subtitles in English, then concentrating on the French dialogue, and then my mom's trying to have a text conversation with me in Russian, and my email client keeps popping up with subject lines in Spanish... my brain eventually just implodes. But otherwise we're going solid here :D

3. Totally off topic, my friend and I just booked tickets to Cambodia and we're super excited. If anyone has any tips, je suis preneuse (I'm all ears)! We're thinking Angkor + Koh Rong. I have a number of trips I want to take before France, and one of them is a Céline Dion concert in Vegas, because I love her. A close friend is also a huge fan and is a native French speaker to boot, so my hope is that we get to spend an entirely francophone weekend together. I wish it were in Montreal, but that's just me being picky.

Hope everyone has a lovely Réveillon!

ETA: Here's something I forgot to mention, but it should definitely go here. There's a great Peruvian chicken place in my neighborhood. It operates almost entirely in Spanish. As I'm standing in line, I acknowledge to myself that I have more than enough Spanish capacity to place my order in Spanish without any issues. Once it's my turn to order, I freeze and switch to English. Ugh. Anyway, as I'm sitting there waiting for my pollo delicioso, another American guy comes up and orders entirely in broken, mispronounced, but comprehensible Spanish. And that's when I realize that he's what I want to be - the just-freakin-do-it-er of language learning. Pollo Sabroso Guy, you're my hero.
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Adrianslont
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Re: The great push to C2 (French)

Postby Adrianslont » Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:57 am

I enjoyed a week in Siem Reap (Angkor Wat area) a few years ago and really enjoyed it.

Tips? There are a lot of other beautiful temples in the area that I found even more beautiful than the truly impressive Angkor Wat and a bunch should be visited! Entrance is via an "Angkor Pass" and these can be single day, two day or three day and the three day didn't have to be used on consecutive days.

I hired a guide and a van with driver for several of the days. You need both if visiting temples because the driver needs to stay with the van. $30 US for each - pretty good value considering there were four of us. For two people a tuk tuk may be a more logical and cheaper approach.

Besides temples we really enjoyed a trip to Phnom Kulen (take a swimming costume and swim in the waterfall) and to a village on the lake called Kampong Phluk (hire a lady to paddle you around in a canoe when you get there).

Take US dollars, it's the de facto currency and small change will come back to you in Cambodian currency. Carry lots of small notes, worth cents, for beggars.

Siem Reap is quite nice but a tourist town and you will be harassed to buy things in the markets. If you want to see a real market and not be hassled, go to the huge one on the highway - Phsar Leu - though the tourist ones in town are probably better for souvenirs.

Cambodian food was a pleasant surprise - a bit like Thai but not as extensive. You can eat dirt cheap but we ate often and very well and with happy stomaches at the Khmer Kitchen near the Old Market for 25$ for four, including two drinks each - its hot. Fish is usually a better choice than chicken or red meats.

You have brought back memories of a very nice holiday. Enjoy.
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Re: The great push to C2 (French)

Postby whatiftheblog » Wed Dec 28, 2016 6:43 am

Adrianslont wrote:I enjoyed a week in Siem Reap (Angkor Wat area) a few years ago and really enjoyed it.

Tips? There are a lot of other beautiful temples in the area that I found even more beautiful than the truly impressive Angkor Wat and a bunch should be visited! Entrance is via an "Angkor Pass" and these can be single day, two day or three day and the three day didn't have to be used on consecutive days.

I hired a guide and a van with driver for several of the days. You need both if visiting temples because the driver needs to stay with the van. $30 US for each - pretty good value considering there were four of us. For two people a tuk tuk may be a more logical and cheaper approach.

Besides temples we really enjoyed a trip to Phnom Kulen (take a swimming costume and swim in the waterfall) and to a village on the lake called Kampong Phluk (hire a lady to paddle you around in a canoe when you get there).

Take US dollars, it's the de facto currency and small change will come back to you in Cambodian currency. Carry lots of small notes, worth cents, for beggars.

Siem Reap is quite nice but a tourist town and you will be harassed to buy things in the markets. If you want to see a real market and not be hassled, go to the huge one on the highway - Phsar Leu - though the tourist ones in town are probably better for souvenirs.

Cambodian food was a pleasant surprise - a bit like Thai but not as extensive. You can eat dirt cheap but we ate often and very well and with happy stomaches at the Khmer Kitchen near the Old Market for 25$ for four, including two drinks each - its hot. Fish is usually a better choice than chicken or red meats.

You have brought back memories of a very nice holiday. Enjoy.


Wow, thank you so much, this is all very helpful! We still have so much research to do, but this is a great start. Thanks again! :D
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Re: The great push to C2 (French)

Postby whatiftheblog » Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:13 pm

Happy New Year everyone! Hope everyone had fun and safe celebrations :)

I finished both seasons of Le Bureau des Légendes over the past few days, and I've got to say, it's actually quite an awesome show. I've found that spy shows are very hard to get right, and most of the time, the plot centers around very predictable, one-dimensional characters, or else they trot out classic tropes like "very intelligent but mentally unstable woman compromises national security by falling in love with terrorist" (glaring at you, Homeland). Eventually this just becomes unwatchable. This show, however, has an interesting script, there are unconventional and timely plotlines, they make educated cultural references that suggest they respect their audience's intelligence, they raise interesting philosophical questions, and they only messed up with their Russian script twice, which is pretty good compared to most other creations within this genre :lol: Anyway, there's a pretty dramatic cliffhanger at the end of season 2, so I'm really excited for season 3.

This is probably also a good time to mention that due to my professional domain, I'm really into tactical operations by various special forces units, intel agencies, and so on, especially when it's the French. I was sad to see that season 3 isn't out yet and was craving more, so I'm watching L'Assaut for the 10th time. It's so good! The real life story is even better. I need to find more material like this, particularly since it serves a professional purpose for me as well.

For anyone else who might be interested in the show, here's a trailer for the first season:



And the second:

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Re: The great push to C2 (French)

Postby whatiftheblog » Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:04 am

Inspired by all you goalsetters, I've put together my own list of goals, with the understanding that the biggest one of all - passing the selection process and going to school in France - obviously has a lot to do with how well I progress in French. Since I'm also on a timeline here (application due by mid-April, interview in June), I've broken these up into digestible chunks for the first quarter of the year:

1. Finish all unfinished books currently in my possession. This includes 2084 (65 of ~270 pages read), Bertrand et Lola (30 of ~480), Lettres à Anne (0 of ~1,250), and Un président ne devrait pas dire ça (25 of ~670). I decided to stop torturing 2084 for the time being and pick up something closer to my professional domain (Un président ne devrait pas dire ça), and I'm flying through it; I'm going at a rate of about a page per 70 seconds, which is fairly close to average reading speed for a native speaker. Par contre, here, for example, is a particularly :shock: passage I bookmarked in 2084:

Son petit monde était au complet au pied de la forteresse, attendant patiemment, les ânes dans leur position préférée, deux part deux, tête-bêche, déjeunant d'une graminée de montagne rachitique, les porteurs acagnardés sous l'appentis mâchouillant de l'herbe magique, les gardes sirotant du thé brûlant en trifouillant la culasse avec une alacrité toute militaire, et à l'écart, dignement emmitouflés dans leur pelisse polaire autour d'un brasero ardent, le commissaire de la foi et ses servants (parmi eux, invisible et préoccupant, un V dont l'ésprit balayait télépathiquement les environs) qui se concertaient en égrenant leurs chapelets de voyage.


This is basically Tolstoy. I can make out the general sense of everything even if it's an unfamiliar word, but there's just a lot to unpack here. I'm really into the story, though, so I'll keep going.

2. Do both of the DALF C1 practice tests I have.

3. Determine a. whether a language certificate is necessary and b. when the next testing session is, and ideally pass the DALF C1.

4. As I'd mentioned prior, stick to this schedule:

- 1 italki lesson / week between now and March
- 2 italki lessons / week March - June
- separately from italki, at least 4 hours a week of concentrated speaking, working off my long list of potential interview questions/etc

5. Dial down on audiovisual material (the easiest for me) in favor of writing and speaking.

6. Work through my "binder" - it's basically a large planner I put together with separate sections for grammar review and practice, CV reference materials, speaking prompts, DALF materials, and so on. There's plenty to do in there already that would exercise all four skillsets, probably at least 40 hours worth of work. I hope to have this finished by mid-February.
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Re: The great push to C2 (French)

Postby whatiftheblog » Mon Jan 09, 2017 5:42 am

A quick little update: I'm about 110 pages into Un président ne devrait pas dire ça, and I love it. It's exactly the type of political intrigue + storytelling I live for, and hope to be done with it this week. I'm still keeping steady at about 6 hours of French daily (on average), the majority still being Youtube but that's fine. I do, however, have a confession to make:

... I'm having serious wanderlust for Afrikaans. :?

My primary wanderlust language has always been Portuguese, but as recent weeks have demonstrated, I actually have very little trouble reading Portuguese, and I can generally digest even complicated material. My story with Afrirkaans, though, only really began in 2015: ever since I'd learned of its existence, I've always been fascinated by the history behind it, but I only really heard it for the first time in 2015, while visiting one of my closest friends in southern Africa. She did her undergrad studies in Cape Town, and she's always had a complicated relationship with the language because of its loaded past. She & I did a road trip through Kruger Park & the surrounding areas, and I just couldn't help but fall in love with the language on the radio (mostly through song lyrics). I loved how some of the presenters would switch back and forth from English to Afrikaans, and we had a guide at a nature park that switched between the two as well, and I just loved the sound of it. I was totally smitten by Andriette's Sewe Oseane, for instance:



It's an entirely impractical language that will serve me literally nowhere - I mean, sure, it would give me a bit of discount in the Brussels region, but that's about it. For someone planning to move to Strasbourg, it would surely make sense to learn German properly, especially since I've already done the entire first Berlitz level and I basically spent my childhood in Frankurt airport, so I'm very good at "Achtung bitte! Passagiere gebucht auf Lufthansa flug LH vier drei null nach Chicago..." All of this setting aside the fact that I'm already trying to squeeze the maximum of all of the French I'm doing, and I really don't have any room for anything else. And yet... :cry: I think I'll stop myself at just trying to understand song lyrics with translations, and then maybe pick it up later.
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