Mostly Arabic with Maiwenn

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Maiwenn
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Location: Grand Est, France
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focusing on: MSA & Moroccan Arabic
backburner: German
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Re: Mostly Arabic with Maiwenn

Postby Maiwenn » Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:21 pm

November Recap:
* Read La vérité sort de la bouche du cheval by Meryem Alaoui. Hilarious, if painful at times.
* Began L'insomnie by Tahar ben Jelloun.
* Began موسم الهجرة إلى الشمال by Tayeb Salih. Very good.
* Began لا أنام by Ihsan Abdel Quddous. A tale of the Electra complex. Gripping (so far anyway).
* Binge-watched ما وراء الطبيعة (Paranormal) on Netflix. I'd been looking forward to this for a long time and was not disappointed. Well, I was a bit disappointed that it was only 6 episodes. The were just two "hics" for me: the CGI in episode 3 (if you've watched, you'll know what I mean) and Maggie, the Scottish woman who falls into the usual trope of "ohhh I don't speak the language, but wait, let me follow these complex conversations in varying dialects" (see also: Aziz Ansari's character in season 2 of Master of None).
* I can also recommend Netflix's Mosul. Set in Iraq, it's actually centered on locals (rather than foreigner X comes in to save the day).

The past couple months, my Arabic reading has passed some threshold. I can now read most contemporary texts (with varying levels of comfort). I started reading موسم الهجرة إلى الشمال on a lark, not expecting to be able to follow along. Now here I am over a third of the way through still understanding. I am resisting the urge to test out these new skills on other books until I finish at least 2 of the 4 books I'm currently reading (also still reading ساق البامبو but taking it slow to do the accompanying exercises and ستشرق الشمس ولو بعد حين).

I also tried out a new Arabic teacher recently who estimated my speaking level at C1. I don't think that's accurate (based on the CEFR guidelines), but I do think I'm comfortably in the B2 range now. Given that I tested B1 in speaking June 2019 with very little actual speaking practice and given the amount I've done since January this year (+allll the reading for vocabulary enrichment), B2 seems reasonable. C1 not so much.

December Goals
* Finish one of the aforementioned Arabic books.
* Study for the upcoming exams.
* At least one Arabic journal entry per week.
10 x
Full SC Arabic Reading: 3582 / 5000
Double SC French Reading: 5747 / 10000
Half SC German Reading: 392 / 2500
Arabic Output Writing: 4671 / 50000 Speaking: 171 / 3000

Corrections are always welcome. :)

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Ogrim
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Re: Mostly Arabic with Maiwenn

Postby Ogrim » Wed Dec 02, 2020 1:32 pm

Maiwenn wrote:The past couple months, my Arabic reading has passed some threshold. I can now read most contemporary texts (with varying levels of comfort). I started reading موسم الهجرة إلى الشمال on a lark, not expecting to be able to follow along. Now here I am over a third of the way through still understanding. I am resisting the urge to test out these new skills on other books until I finish at least 2 of the 4 books I'm currently reading (also still reading ساق البامبو but taking it slow to do the accompanying exercises and ستشرق الشمس ولو بعد حين).

I also tried out a new Arabic teacher recently who estimated my speaking level at C1. I don't think that's accurate (based on the CEFR guidelines), but I do think I'm comfortably in the B2 range now. Given that I tested B1 in speaking June 2019 with very little actual speaking practice and given the amount I've done since January this year (+allll the reading for vocabulary enrichment), B2 seems reasonable. C1 not so much.


Congratulations Maiwenn, that is really an achievement! You also inspire me to work hard and persistently on my Arabic, because you show that it can be done, and I really want to get past the beginner stage and start diving into Arabic literature myself.

تهانينا
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Maiwenn
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Location: Grand Est, France
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Re: Mostly Arabic with Maiwenn

Postby Maiwenn » Tue Jan 05, 2021 8:06 pm

Yes! You can do it, Ogrim! :)

Happy New Year, everyone!

Last month I had the pleasure of participating in a book club in Arabic. It was an exciting, humbling experience. There's a big difference between speaking with teachers and friends familiar with your level (and who cater to it) and paying close attention to speakers of varying accents/dialects who just want to express themselves. Also, it's been a loooong time since I've done any literary analysis. I don't think very critically when reading (mostly just "do I like this? I wonder what will happen next!" and occasionally "hmmm I wonder if this is foreshadowing something"). It was an enjoyable experience and one I hope to repeat. Now that I have an idea of what to expect, I'll be able to better participate. Sadly, the next meeting is the same day I have three exams and I just don't see myself being in the right headspace for that.

December recap:
*Finished out the last few days of 2020 by binge reading the French translations of the first 3 (and a half) Bridgerton series books. I thereby went from being 400 pages behind on the Super Challenge to 600 ahead. Yes, I was inspired to this after binge-watching the Netflix series. No regrets. I only wish there were an Arabic dub so I'd have an excuse to watch it again.
*Finished موسم الهجرة إلى الشمال (this was the book club read).
*Started إجاصة ميلا by فاطمة شرف الدين
*Watched various shows on Netflix.
Read 301 pages in Arabic and 1758 pages in French (thanks Bridgertons hahaha)

January goals
*Finish a book in Arabic.
*See 2021 goals.

2021 goals
*Output challenge in Arabic!
*Diary entry every day in Arabic.
*Complete the Super Challenge for Arabic (full) and French (double).
*Memorize something (poem, song, etc) in Arabic every month.

That last goal is directly inspired by spending the holidays with friends who had a baby this summer. They had learned a great number of baby songs in French and Italian. We're not expecting to follow them down that path this year, but it inspired me to start learning similar songs in Arabic. I started with this Arabic letters song, which has had the added bonus of getting me to finally learn their order:
9 x
Full SC Arabic Reading: 3582 / 5000
Double SC French Reading: 5747 / 10000
Half SC German Reading: 392 / 2500
Arabic Output Writing: 4671 / 50000 Speaking: 171 / 3000

Corrections are always welcome. :)

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Maiwenn
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Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 11:26 am
Location: Grand Est, France
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focusing on: MSA & Moroccan Arabic
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Re: Mostly Arabic with Maiwenn

Postby Maiwenn » Mon Feb 01, 2021 11:11 am

My partner will be away the next few months (boo), so I've decided to take advantage of a sad situation by immersing myself in Arabic. Let's see what some serious MIA can do. For radio streaming, I'm using radio.garden and BBC Arabic. I've also got my trusty membership with Kitab Sawti for audiobook listening. I'll be trying out new dishes from the Arab world (using recipes/videos in Arabic, of course). The original plan was to do one country/month, but that went out the window pretty quickly.

February goals:
*Read حي بن يقظان for book club. This will be my first foray into non-modern Arabic writing. Written in 12th century Andalusia, it's supposedly one of the inspirations for Robinson Crusoe.
*Read 500+ pages total in Arabic
*Daily journaling in Arabic (at least 30 minutes writing every day)
*20 (ideally 24) hours of conversation lessons.

January roundup:
*I missed one day of journaling.
*Read 561 pages in Arabic, 786 in French.
*Finished إجاصة ميلا

I'm apparently reading 9 different books in Arabic at the moment. I suppose I should make it a goal not to add anymore until the number is a bit more reasonable. :D At the very least a "one in one out" policy should be used.
6 x
Full SC Arabic Reading: 3582 / 5000
Double SC French Reading: 5747 / 10000
Half SC German Reading: 392 / 2500
Arabic Output Writing: 4671 / 50000 Speaking: 171 / 3000

Corrections are always welcome. :)

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Maiwenn
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Location: Grand Est, France
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Re: Mostly Arabic with Maiwenn

Postby Maiwenn » Mon Mar 01, 2021 4:27 pm

February thoughts
24.5 hours of conversation lessons was... a lot... especially given that I had 10+ cancellations/rebookings (including 3 no-shows). I think it's probably ultimately more beneficial to me to have 1-2 conversation lessons a week where I prepare/focus on a particular topic. A lot of the lessons ended up being general conversation where I didn't necessarily challenge myself. It'd definitely be more economical to only do 1-2 lessons/week. Still, it was fun to do the italki challenge.

I finished up three books this month:
لا أنام by احسان عبد القدوس Summary: Nadia doesn't like other people having things she doesn't have. She manipulates everyone around her, casually wrecking other people's happiness, and then is shocked when she ends up miserable and alone. I did not enjoy reading this, but I acknowledge that it was masterfully crafted. I was annoyed with Nadia the whole way through.
ساق البامبو (The Bamboo Stalk) by سعود السنعوسي (Saud al-Sanousi) I had initially started reading the abridged version of this by Laila Familiar and was making slow progress due to focusing on doing the accompanying writing exercises. Early this month, I decided to read some of the original version to compare with the abridged version. I ended up skipping over to the original and finishing it. Oops. I really love this book. It's heartbreaking and beautiful. Lots of food for thought. Summary: Jose/عيسى is a the son of a Kuwaiti man and a Filipino woman who had worked in the Kuwaiti grandmother's home. Born in Kuwait, he and his mother are sent away to the Philippines with a promise from the father that Jose/عيسى will return to his country, Kuwait, to his rightful place. ~Things happen. (no spoilers)~ And he eventually returns to Kuwait, where things are not quite as his mother promised. I will eventually go back and reread the beginning of the original version.
رعب رأس السنة (Slappy New Year) by R. L. Stine. Goosebumps. 'nuff said. Fun fact, the translator wrote "!كل عام وأنتم مع سلابي" for "slappy new year!" in the text. (Slappy is a haunted puppet and at this point he is terrorizing a group of kids at a new year party.)

I watched a bunch of Sudanese cooking videos, where I learned the Sudanese word دكوة (pronounced dagwa, basically peanut butter) and the Sudanese pronunciation of water. I made some سخينة (vegan and tasty!) and watched ستموت في العشرين (You Will Die at Twenty).



BEFORE I FORGET (for the zillionth time), I've been doing a lot of reading through https://www.abjjad.com/ . It's a subscription service for $6/month that gives you access to thousands of books in Arabic. I read لا أنام، إجاصة ميلا، and موسم الهجرة إلى الشمال through it, along with other books I'm still making my way through. There are tons of popular books on it. You do have to use their app to read (android or ios) and there's no desktop version, which is annoying at times, but it's definitely a cheaper option if you want to test about a lot of different books. There are a few free books if you want to test out the app without paying. Earlier this year they added an option to look up a dictionary entry and/or google translation on words. Kindle is preferable to me on that score (hello Oxford dictionary), but this is a welcome addition. Also annoying is that your reading is not shared across devices. I have the app installed on my phone and on a tablet. If I read on one, my progress is not saved on the other. Similarly, and notes/highlights you make are not saved (if you remove the book from your device, all that is lost foreverrrrr).

February Recap
*read 715 pages in Arabic, 162 in French
*finished 3 books in Arabic (but not حي بن يقظان, I got halfway through and decided I didn't feel like finishing it)
*wrote in Arabic every day (but not necessarily 30 minutes)
*24.5 hours of conversation lessons blablabla

March Goals
*keep it up readingwise
*write in Arabic at least 30 minutes/day (TIMED)
*do more recordings for the output challenge

OH!!! And Morocco has a version of Best British Bakeoff out this year: أحسن pِâtissier. I've been watching it live Tuesday evenings on the 2mtv app. It's fun. 2m hasn't put their episodes up on youtube, but, um, you can find them there anyway.

Here's a teaser (including a guy who I've either erased from my memory or was erased from the show):


Lastly, the Gibert Jeune bookstores at the Place Saint-Michel in Paris are closing. The language bookstore was my absolute favorite. I went there when I was 16 during a month in Paris to buy my textbooks and abridged copies of Thérèse Raquin, Une Vie, and Lettres de Madame de Sevigné (with CASSETTES hahaha). A decade later, I went and bought Assimil Arabic there shortly after meeting my partner and thus began my Arabic learning journey. I always pass(ed) by Gibert Jeune when in Paris to check what deals they might have from used books (I have so many books with a yellow sticker on the spine designating it was a used copy purchased there). I will hopefully be going to Paris this month (but that depends on a lot of things out of my control) and will do a last goodbye visit.
5 x
Full SC Arabic Reading: 3582 / 5000
Double SC French Reading: 5747 / 10000
Half SC German Reading: 392 / 2500
Arabic Output Writing: 4671 / 50000 Speaking: 171 / 3000

Corrections are always welcome. :)

kundalini
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Re: Mostly Arabic with Maiwenn

Postby kundalini » Mon Mar 01, 2021 8:37 pm

Maiwenn wrote:Lastly, the Gibert Jeune bookstores at the Place Saint-Michel in Paris are closing. The language bookstore was my absolute favorite. I went there when I was 16 during a month in Paris to buy my textbooks and abridged copies of Thérèse Raquin, Une Vie, and Lettres de Madame de Sevigné (with CASSETTES hahaha). A decade later, I went and bought Assimil Arabic there shortly after meeting my partner and thus began my Arabic learning journey. I always pass(ed) by Gibert Jeune when in Paris to check what deals they might have from used books (I have so many books with a yellow sticker on the spine designating it was a used copy purchased there). I will hopefully be going to Paris this month (but that depends on a lot of things out of my control) and will do a last goodbye visit.


Very sad to hear that Gibert Jeune bookstores are closing. I absolutely fell in love with the bookstore when I went during a visit to Paris a few years ago. Multiple buildings stacked from top to bottom with used books! Entire floors dedicated to foreign language books! I, too, picked up a couple of Assimil books, and a few others as well when I went, but all too few. I entertained visions of returning to Gibert Jeune in a future visit to Paris, but I guess that won't come to pass.
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cjareck
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Re: Mostly Arabic with Maiwenn

Postby cjareck » Mon Mar 01, 2021 11:03 pm

I wouldn't know, but when I read about a yellow spine, I remembered something. And yes, Hausen's "Souvenirs de la Campagne de la Marne en 1914" with a preface from Charles Mangin has such a spine. I've bought it in Gibert Jeune when I was in Paris in about 2003. I'm pretty sure that I've bought there a book on the battle of Verdun also...
1 x
Please feel free to correct me in any language


HEBREW (27 Dec. 2020)
Listening: 1 (83% content, 100% linguistic)
Reading: 1 (83% content, 90% linguistic)


MSA DLI : 18 / 141ESKK : 8 / 40


Mandarin Assimil : 32 / 105

DaveAgain
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Re: Mostly Arabic with Maiwenn

Postby DaveAgain » Tue Mar 02, 2021 8:10 am

kundalini wrote: I entertained visions of returning to Gibert Jeune in a future visit to Paris, but I guess that won't come to pass.
Their Facebook page stresses that the company isn't closing, just a branch.
Parisiennes, Parisiens,
Merci pour vos messages de soutien !

La plus grande Libraire Gibert du quartier Latin ne ferme pas !
La librairie Gibert du Boulevard Saint Michel et ses 400 000 références est toujours là, au cœur du quartier latin. Et Gibert reste présent à Barbès, à Grande Bibliothèque, à Nation au sein de Printemps, sur la rive droite Boulevard Saint-Denis.

Ce que vous avez appris hier dans l’article du journal Le Monde, c’est le projet de fermeture de la libraire Gibert Jeune de la Place Saint-Michel qui marque effectivement un tournant dans l’histoire de Gibert Joseph/Gibert Jeune.

Nous savons combien vous êtes attachés à notre enseigne.
Gibert est une grande librairie, nous entendons le rester.

Gibert, c’est aussi des librairies installées en région, un site internet, une application.
Maintenant, sans vous, Gibert, ce n’est rien.

Notre combat de tous les jours est de continuer à vous apporter ce qui vous fait venir chez nous, des livres neufs, de l’occasion, des conseils, des coups de coeurs, des disques, des événements, de la culture, de la papeterie, du choix, de la passion.

Nous vous ferons savoir au fur et à mesure comment nous avançons et espérons que vous continuerez à nous accompagner dans cette formidable aventure, qui est bien celle de la culture, de la librairie indépendante, et surtout, celle du livre.

En attendant, vous pouvez nous suivre sur les réseaux sociaux, ou passer dire bonjour à nos libraires.

Quel que soit cet endroit, nous serons heureux de vous y retrouver.

« On vous attend »
Gibert

https://fr-fr.facebook.com/GibertOffici ... 860785803/
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Maiwenn
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Re: Mostly Arabic with Maiwenn

Postby Maiwenn » Tue Mar 02, 2021 9:32 am

Thank you DaveAgain! I should have been more clear that it was the bookstores at Place Saint Michel only that were closing (in particular the langues/V.O. store which is the one that was really special to me). I'll figure out where they move that section to and make my pilgrimage there. ;)

https://actualitte.com/article/98929/li ... ont-fermer

Quatre librairies de l'enseigne Gibert Jeune, situées place Saint-Michel à Paris, vont fermer leurs portes, consécutivement à un plan de sauvegarde de l'emploi (PSE) qui concerne 71 salariés du groupe. Les magasins du numéro 27 et du numéro 23 du quai Saint-Michel restent ouverts, ainsi que l'autre adresse parisienne, boulevard Saint-Denis.
1 x
Full SC Arabic Reading: 3582 / 5000
Double SC French Reading: 5747 / 10000
Half SC German Reading: 392 / 2500
Arabic Output Writing: 4671 / 50000 Speaking: 171 / 3000

Corrections are always welcome. :)

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Cavesa
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Re: Mostly Arabic with Maiwenn

Postby Cavesa » Tue Mar 02, 2021 1:05 pm

Oh NO! :-( The bookstores have been severely hit during the last year. A certain decline had been going on for some time, but the last year has really destroyed everything. The whole concept of going to bookstore and seeing many options to choose from, and encountering something by chance, is in peril.

When I moved to France, I hoped I'd get closer to such bookstores, like the GJ. Well, there came the travelling restrictions, and the everyday reality. I lived in a dumb culture-less village (officially a town, but not really), where people went for everything to nearby Germany, and vast majority didn't really demand much of culture in their everyday lives. But a German bookstore is useless to someone in love with the French books, and of limited use to a language learner wanting more than just German.

The bookstores in Nancy and Strasbourg were much better, but still extremely poor in the eyes of a language learner, and not too great for a fantasy/scifi lover either (pretty good at this compared to the small town bookstore, but still nowhere near GJ). Even the medical books sections are very poor nowadays these days, you are supposed to just buy online exactly what you were told somewhere, no option to just accidentally find something awesome you were not aware of. I did that all the time during my Erasmus in Bordeaux (moving all the books back was a challenge :-D ). No idea whether Bordeaux is really so much bigger, but my favourite bookstore definitely was much bigger and better. But it is also possible, that all the bookstores were different five years ago than now, after a year of pandemia

And now in Belgium, I am again rather disappointed. Even the bookstores in Brussels are rather disappointing, I had sort of hoped to find an equivalent of the GJ, as Brussels is the capital of Europe. Wrong. There are nice bookstores, sure, but they are mostly out of touch with all of my primary interests.

My last visits to Prague showed the same decline btw. It is a much wider spread phenomenon. But it will be worse in Prague and the rest of the coutry, as the government is much worse, and therefore the whole economy of the country is gonna be destroyed. People stop buying books, when they struggle to pay their rent.

So, I was looking so much to going to Paris after the pandemic precautions. To the museums and the GJ :-( And I don't know what I'll find.

Sorry about the bookstore situation rant, but it seems relevant to what is being discussed, and I'd be interested in hearing about other places. Perhaps I am too much of a pessimist and you see better bookstores in your area, and could share some hope.
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