French: Fresh, fun native media at my fingertips

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zenmonkey
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Re: French: Fresh, fun & effortless media

Postby zenmonkey » Tue Jul 28, 2015 7:16 pm

emk wrote:
zenmonkey wrote:I don't think that with Krashen it is a question of hardness. If you understand and it is above your current knowledge base - if it is somehow contextualized then it is i+1.

if a learner is at a stage 'i', then acquisition takes place when he/she is exposed to 'Comprehensible Input' that belongs to level 'i + 1'. We can then define 'Comprehensible Input' as the target language that the learner would not be able to produce but can still understand. It goes beyond the choice of words and involves presentation of context, explanation, rewording of unclear parts, the use of visual cues and meaning negotiation. The meaning successfully conveyed constitutes the learning experience.

Yes. The key insight that I tried to convey in "Cheating and Consolidating" was that this Krashen quote, as far as I can tell, describes a language-learning loophole big enough to drive a truck through. If the meaning is conveyed, and if you understand what you hear, it's good enough.


Agree - it reads quite as a n obvious statement or as the French say, he spends time to enfoncer des portes ouvertes.
If you add a little material and you learn it, then you learn it. duh. :roll: It's descriptive at a very basic level but accurate. Yet essentially useless.

  • Do you only understand the movie because you turned in into earworms one line at time using sub2srs and bilingual subs? No problem.
  • Do you only understand the book because you've read it twenty times in English? It's going to work anyway.
  • Do you only understand the graphic novel because it has pictures? That's still totally legit.
  • Do you only understand the lecture because it's about one of your favorite subjects? Again, no problem.
Once you can decipher the meaning, all you need to do is add sheer volume. That volume can come from lots of places: repeating Assimil lessons, doing more lessons, watching another episode, reviewing SRS sentence&audio cards, or picking up another book.

Or to put it another way, at B1, don't worry about using the "right" materials in the "right" way. Optimize for understanding (even if it's mostly artificial) and fun (so that you keep doing it and get consolidation). Then mix in bits of whatever else seems helpful: a grammar book, or some vocab study, or whatever. And if you want to produce output, then put yourself in situations where you need to communicate, and hang in there until some of that passive understanding activates.


I'd say that it is useful to optimize for (1) understanding, (2) fun and (3) volume of newness. It isn't sufficient that it's fun and easy to understand - ideally you want to do it a way that brings a maximum of new content. It becomes a challenge of balancing that out - often volume isn't that much fun for someone. I am able to do systematic frequency lists (I find advancing through them 'fun') but often verbs and adjectives are poorly contextualized in this manner. Fun, lots of volume but not enough contextualizing.
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Re: Bob Morane

Postby rlnv » Wed Jul 29, 2015 3:06 am

emk wrote:
A week or two later, I'm browsing on Amazon (US), and I stumble across a book of Bob Morane stories for the Kindle. And a little searching reveals that there are many more volumes available for US Kindles! Here's a short excerpt:

Lorsqu'il reprit connaissance, le professeur se garda bien d'ouvrir les yeux. Il resta étendu sur le sol glacé du laboratoire, à l'endroit même où il s'était écroulé lorsque Sergio l’avait assommé. Sans faire le moindre mouvement. Les nerfs tendus et tous les sens aux aguets. La première chose qui le frappa, tandis que son esprit revenait à la conscience, ce fut l'odeur. Une odeur forte insistante, presque suffocante et qui prenait à la gorge Une odeur qui était aussi un signal d'alarme. Et ce signal d'alarme hurlait: « Danger! »



That's a really good find! Thanks for pointing it out. I purchased that very edition, and have it in my reading queue. I can't wait to get to it.
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Re: French: Fresh, fun & effortless media

Postby sfuqua » Wed Jul 29, 2015 5:29 am

emk, these are the most profound and true words I've heard about language learning in a long time.
I see this as an explanation of how L-R works. I even see this as a way that explains how studying word lists, or grammar work. You don't actually learn until you recognize the i+1, but there are many things that might help one understand that i+1.

emk wrote:Thank you for your kind words! And, yes, if I were a teacher in school, I would probably choose different terminology. :-) I was mostly addressing older self-learners who've successfully made it through the A1/A2 stages.

"Cheating" was deliberately provocative, and I used it for two reasons:

  1. I remember back when I was A2/B1 for the first time. Language learning was an unknown and mysterious process, and I tended to be a bit obsessed with the "right" way to use Assimil, to use native media, etc. And I've seen lots of other A2/B1 people in the Advice Center who were really struggling with perfectionism regarding methods, and it was holding many of them back from making the leap to B2. I wanted to encourage people to take a ruthlessly and creatively pragmatic approach to the B1->B2 transition: Don't worry about following another textbook step-by-step, just do whatever works.
  2. As I mentioned in the original post, "cheating and consolidating" is essentially just Krashen's "i+1 input" theory, but with a minor twist. Krashen suggests finding material that's just slightly above the student's level. My claim is that it's highly useful to create "artificial" i+1 input via various underhanded strategies. For example, Avatar is definitely not i+1 input for somebody who has never studied Spanish. But by using bilingual subtitles and a memory tool that was optimized for "earworm" creation, I was able to create an enormous "fake" comprehension boost and then consolidate that directly into automatic knowledge. And in a ridiculously short time, I was able to watch the easiest and most familiar episodes of Avatar without subtitles, and actually sort-of follow the plot. Granted, my French helped a lot, but Sprachprofi pulled the same thing off with Japanese. (OK, she's an amazing polyglot—do not expect to get her results. I didn't.)
So, for example, if somebody says, "You know, I find it a lot easier to read graphic novels than real books, because the pictures help," my response is, "Good! Have fun!" Similarly, if somebody says, "I've read Harry Potter a hundred times in English, and that makes it easy for me to understand in French, but shouldn't I be reading real French books instead of indulging myself with an old favorite?" My response would be, "Nah, use an old favorite if you want. It will just speed things up a bit!" My hypotheses, if you will, is that if you use underhanded and sneaky methods to boost your comprehension, and if you expose yourself to enough volume, then you'll be able to "lock in" that artificial comprehension boost via sheer exposure.

My claim here is stronger than Krashen's, in one minor way. But it's weaker in others: I believe that many students will need more than just comprehensible input to round out their skills. But a solid base of input will certainly make everything else far easier in my experience, and even today, most students get far less than the optimal amount of L2 input, IMO.
Last edited by sfuqua on Fri Jul 31, 2015 5:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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astromule
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Re: French: Fresh, fun & effortless media

Postby astromule » Fri Jul 31, 2015 2:22 am

Hi emk! I've listened to L'Étranger and right now I'm listening to Le Petite Prince. Could you recommend me more audiobooks to listen?
Do you know if other Camus books are on the same level as L'Étranger?

Merci beacoup!

Astromule.
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emk
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Re: French: Fresh, fun & effortless media

Postby emk » Fri Jul 31, 2015 9:45 am

astromule wrote:Hi emk! I've listened to L'Étranger and right now I'm listening to Le Petite Prince. Could you recommend me more audiobooks to listen?
Do you know if other Camus books are on the same level as L'Étranger?

Try Audible.fr! You can log in with a regular Amazon account, and the French store works from the US using a US credit card, so I suspect it will work from Argentina. Unfortunately, I don't have a good idea which audio books would work best at B1, because I generally found audiobooks to pretty hard at B1. Audible charges €20 for an Audiobook, but since the few US bookstores with French audio books start at US$35 for a pair of Agatha Christie short stories, it's the best price I've found.

Right now, I'm listening to L'alliance des trois (Autre Monde 1), which appears to be a post-apocalyptic(?) fantasy novel with teenage protagonists. It has only a few major characters, the narration is fairly clear, and if you miss a short section, you probably won't lose your place in the larger story. Cavesa recommended the paper version of this series in my other log. It's pretty decent so far, though it feels a bit slow as an audiobook to me.

But I've been really busy with work and forum stuff, and audiobooks sometimes make me fall asleep, so my progress has been slow. Let's try out the progress bar feature and see if it works. :-)

Autre Monde audiobook chapters: 8 / 50

If that's not to your taste, the French version of the first Harry Potter audiobook is a bit hard for B1, but many people are already familiar with the text. If you're one of them, that might be a good option. The aforementioned Agatha Christie audiobooks are probably too hard for B1, in my option, unless you've already read those stories before in another language.

But in general, I'm a much better source of recommendations for TV shows, bandes dessinées, web sites, science fiction novels, the occasional non-fiction, brainless French films, and B1-and-up course materials that I am for audiobooks. My big complaint with audiobooks is that they never stood really well on their own as learning tools for me until I could generally understand much of what I saw on French TV—if I don't know the story really well, or if I don't also have the text version of the book, audiobooks didn't offer many hooks to "cheat" and artificially boost my listening comprehension. Now I've reached the point where I can figure out most of the difficult bits from context, or safely ignore them without losing the thread of the plot. But maybe they work better for other people! This is just a word of reassurance to people around B1: At least some learners find audiobooks hard, so if you feel the same way, you're not alone. And obviously, if you enjoy audiobooks, you should go for it.
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Re: French: Fresh, fun & effortless media

Postby garyb » Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:33 am

astromule wrote:Do you know if other Camus books are on the same level as L'Étranger?


La Peste is in a similar style, fairly simple and straightforward language, although it's a longer book. I don't know whether it's available as an audiobook. I've also read La Chute, which is a more difficult read (it's in a deliberately literary style) but I really enjoyed it. I'm not familiar with any of his other work.
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Re: French: Fresh, fun & effortless media

Postby Mohave » Fri Jul 31, 2015 1:43 pm

astromule wrote:Hi emk! I've listened to L'Étranger and right now I'm listening to Le Petite Prince. Could you recommend me more audiobooks to listen?
Do you know if other Camus books are on the same level as L'Étranger?

Merci beacoup!

Astromule.


I hate to takeover emk' log with too many answers - maybe a separate subject??? Here are a few suggestions:

Vol Du Nuit - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Le Petit Nicolas - René Goscinny (the audiobook is fast, but great fun!)
Le Tour de Monde en 80 jours - Jules Verne

Here is a thread on the old HTLAL site that has lots of free and legal links to sites with audiobooks and books.

Edit: to correct link
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astromule
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Re: French: Fresh, fun & effortless media

Postby astromule » Fri Jul 31, 2015 6:44 pm

@ Emk, garyb, Mohave: Merci beaucoup à tous!
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Re: French: Fresh, fun & effortless media

Postby aloysius » Sat Aug 01, 2015 6:04 pm

garyb wrote:La Peste is in a similar style, fairly simple and straightforward language, although it's a longer book. I don't know whether it's available as an audiobook. I've also read La Chute, which is a more difficult read (it's in a deliberately literary style) but I really enjoyed it. I'm not familiar with any of his other work.


I've listened to La Peste and can recommend it. (There is also a good audiobook version in Swedish, if anyone is interested. "Pesten".) Long time ago I saw La Chute on cassettes but I don't know if its available any more and I haven't heard it.
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Middle Egyptian support & resources

Postby emk » Sun Aug 16, 2015 11:31 am

Yesterday, I ran a poll on what features we should add to the experimental site. Mostly as a joke, I included an option Support for entering hieroglyphics using Manuel de Codage conventions (Just kidding! Well, mostly.). This received 6 votes, which put in briefly in 5th or 6th place, so I went ahead and added a BBCode tag, which was surprisingly easy. And now we can write:

r:1-n-km-m-t:O49

Code: Select all

[mdc]r:1-n-km-m-t:O49[/mdc]

So to give the new feature a workaround, I'm going to try doing some Egyptian logging here on the experimental forum.

To help people follow along, here's my old resource post from the "Team Egyptian" thread, which lists courses, online reference materials, and plenty of good stuff to read.

emk wrote:Image

Transliteration: is.t n(j).t r n(j) km.t
Manuel de codage: iz-t:1-A1:1*1*1 n:t r:1 n km-m-t:O49
English: Team Egyptian

(Please feel free to suggest corrections to the team name! The is.t n(j).t part is probably unidiomatic.)

About This Team

We've decided that we're going to mess around with Middle Egyptian a little bit every week. Nothing strenuous. In fact, this is something of an experiment to see how far we can go without actually obsessing.

New members are welcome! It's OK if you want to study fast, or if you're just getting started. You can study anything from Archaic Egyptian to Coptic, if you can find the resources.

Team Logs

Teango
tarvos
vermillion
emk (previously here and here)

Courses & Reference Works

Things to Read

Technological Goodies

As we discover resources, these lists will grow.

Welcome! Let's have fun. And please feel free to correct any mistakes you find.

Many thanks to Teango, tarvos and vermillion for helping track down these resources!
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