PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

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Mohave
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Re: PM's TAC 2015 crazy? French course mission

Postby Mohave » Sun Aug 23, 2015 12:24 pm

PM - That is a CRAZY AWESOME accent!!! I wish I had an accent like yours!! Congrats! In all seriousness, can you share your "secret of success"? I am currently focusing on improving my pronounciation/reducing my accent!
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garyb
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Re: PM's TAC 2015 crazy? French course mission

Postby garyb » Mon Aug 24, 2015 8:23 am

I'll second everyone else, excellent accent.
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM's TAC 2015 crazy? French course mission

Postby PeterMollenburg » Mon Aug 24, 2015 12:03 pm

rlnv wrote:Hey PM. That was crazy good! Have you been hiding the usage of D'accord La Prononciation Du Français International Acquisition et Perfectionnemnet from us? :D It's that good. I suspect your B1 is starting to betray your true level. Excellent work.

I really appreciate you sharing that. One day I hope to share something a fraction as good as that.


Hey rlnv,
Thanks for the awesome comments dude-en-burg. No hiding of anything here btw, aside from my 3rd arm protruding directly out of lumbar spine (it's ok I cloack it most days with Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility I bought off ebay). Appreciate the most excellent feedback as Bill and Ted would/did/will have/migh have/could have/indeed most definitely did/likely absolutely didn't/coulda/shoulda/woulda/will have said. Great work on the 6WC btw! keep it up!


1e4e6 wrote:I thought that the accent was excellent. You should consider the B2 if you have not already.

Someday I will make a recording and see how it goes..


Thanks 1e4e6 (I feel like saying R2D2 or C3PO)... anyway cheers dude. Although I've worked my accent a lot, I know I still have serious gaps that might betray the sense that I could pass a B2. It's one thing to reproduce a text reading it loud... Put it this way, Benny would think I'm a nut case (and I know he's got some valid points.. but where are all the French people dammit!). I'm nudging you btw to do a sound recording even if just for your own benefit. The occasional self-feedback from a 'listener's perspective' including yourself is worthwhile, but I'm sure you know. Thanks again! Hope you're studying is coming along well :)


zenmonkey wrote:
Quote me and you can see the tags used.

It should look like this:

Code: Select all

[soundcloud]the sound cloud link goes here[/soundcloud]


Hmm - can't get the first link well-formed.

Anyway - your accent is beyond good. It's excellent. Truly!!


Thanks for your help zensinge, I much appreciate-ola it (i'm working on adding new suffixes to the English language). I had the same result as you, I couldn't seem to make the first soundcloud clip appear as pretty as the 2nd, thus it remains a link-en-burg.

Like the rest of the fantastic comments here, thanks for attaching the service station tyre pressure hose to my head and setting it to major 'inflation for real, thanks, yep'. Okay so I'm chuffed with the great feedback, but it's not actually going to my head, it's a nice 'zen' addition to my French 'sense'. It gives me a peacful feeling, contentment, that I'm doing something right while studying away at my desk, cheers :) Let's hope I take it out in the real world at some point.


Fortheo wrote:I have found this forum and I have found your log and I've realized that your French "R" is far better than mine! I honestly can't tell much difference between your accent and the actual speaker on the Assimil recording.


Hey Fortheo,
I was only thinking the other day "I wonder where a heap of French learners have disappeared to, including Fortheo". Great to see you back! I hope your French journey is going well and youre planning another exciting trip like your one to Nouvelle Calédonie (thanks for sharing your experiences when you went). And that's some very nice feedback on my recordings, thank you very much Fortheo :)


garyb wrote:I'll second everyone else, excellent accent.


Hi garyb,
Thank you kindly :)
I did listened to your Italian clip a while back and decided not to comment as my experience with Italian is very limited at best. Still for what it's worth you sounded great from my perspective. Take out the neverousness of producing such a clip as you mentioned and your flow would be sounding truly authentic indeed. Good work, I hope your prounciation is going well. I know you've had some really helpful feedback from Italians so it's great to see you applying those changes to sound even better. Keep up the excellent work!
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM's TAC 2015 crazy? French course mission

Postby PeterMollenburg » Mon Aug 24, 2015 12:42 pm

Mohave wrote:PM - That is a CRAZY AWESOME accent!!! I wish I had an accent like yours!! Congrats! In all seriousness, can you share your "secret of success"? I am currently focusing on improving my pronounciation/reducing my accent!


Hi Mohave,
I wrote a nice lengthy reply about an hour back only to lose it has the website had been on idle too long and I neglected to copy the post in case of such an incident. Let's see how I go this time round...

Thank you very much for the very positive feedback :)

Okay... so how do I work/learn pronunciation.

I'm going to try not to waffle on as much as my previous lost version... i'll go for clarity. (edit: I waffled anyway). Note that my approach to other languages is the same with regards to phonetics but with French I've had to put a LOT more effort in consistently to feel like i'm on top of the pronunciation.

* Learn the phonetic alphabet (as it relates to French sounds) and know exactly how to write any newly learned words phonetically with the IPA symbols (eventually mostly becomes instictive due to habit/predictability except for 'stranger' words)

* Learn the matching sounds that go with those symbols and really thoroughly investigate/practise difficulte ones until 'settled' on how to reproduce those sounds. This in the beginning meant some many sessions completely devoted to sound reproduction (not all in a row or I'd become a massive lobotomized fuzz ball bouncing from wall to wall) until settling on the 'right sound'

* Ensure sounds that are closely related are being pronounced as they should be and understand how they differ so as not to mix them up. eg /ɔ/ and /o/, or /e/ and /ɛ/, or the nasal vowels /ɛ̃/and/œ̃/and/ɑ̃/and/ɔ̃/. With nasal vowels i paid very very particular attention to tongue and lip positioning as taught in French in Action, and wrote a short sticky label with a summary on the 4 nasal vowel sounds, where the tongue and lips should be, some examples and some try hard English equivalents- tricky as we don't really have them, but i described different kind of groans for some until i got it 'right'. /ʀ/ still proves tricky (as do many sounds), I find it tricky to flow well into the next sound when focusing on /ʀ/ to produce it right without over emphasising it. /l/ is also a bit 'thicker' than English /l/ and I often forget/become lazy focusing on tongue position with this one. Again for me, FIA (mainly workbook and audio CDs) was good with the mouth,tongue,lips when producing the sounds.

* Be ALWAYS acutely aware of how I am pronuncation each and every syllable. Note this is now relaxing somewhat as my speed picks up but I'm trying to remain focused as I don't want my sounds to become lazy.

* Remain flexible and ready to alter any sounds that I feel need further work as I progress (try not to become too 'set')

* Note that most of my pronunciation work is a 'as I go along approach'. ie I pronounce every word as I feel it should be correctly pronounced from what I've learned/hear and while I might be doing a course, or reading for example, while focusing on pronunciation I might come across an unfamiliar word, or feel I could be pronouncing something little off, so I stop, look up phonetics for clarification, or relisten to audio of a sound over until I feel confident i'm reproducing the same sound. This happened more in the beginning and less nowadays. Often now I find it tricky to distinguish depending on open and closed syllables whether and /e/ or an /ɛ/ should be used, sometimes either being acceptable.
eg.
interroger
[ɛ̃tɛʀɔʒe] (in one dictionary)
[-te-] (in another)
/o/ and /ɔ/ is also tricky at times. I'll often note multiple IPA representations from different dictionaries.
eg
autoroute
[otoʀut]
[otɔ-]
[ɔtɔ-]
I sometimes learn one way and be aware of the others. Being aware of the others means you become aware of how speech may be altered by region or by the way a person may speak.
In short a LOT of emphasis on phonetics and reproducing those sounds as close to exact as possible, but I don't always get it right, but I make sure I correct myself as soon as I'm aware something is incorrect.

* Recently borrowed foreign words (often English) usually require particluar attention as you can't necessarily predict how they will be pronounced.
eg
bulldozer
[byldɔzɛ:ʀ]
[byldozɛ:ʀ]
[byldozœ:ʀ]
[buldɔzœ:ʀ]
I used to write : (semi-colon) but don't so much anymore as not all dictionaries have it (basically the last syllable of a rhythmic group or a single word will be lengthened, writing the : symbol for that is unnecessary). So anyway, 'bulldozer' above is still a shit of a word for me. Too many representations. I'm aware of them and amost always recheck it if I come across it, so it's a case of too many variations confusing my brain. I prob should settle on one and forget the rest/delete them, but as you see foreign words can be unpredictable.

* It's a work in progress and always will be, it's constant. I never feel like I'm not focusing on pronunciation. Do it properly and out loud EVERY time. Any new words (as I pronounce everything) even if reading (i almost always read out loud) must be pronounced correctly as I'm a firm believer in solid foundations- don't reinforce errors in pronunciation from the very first time you see a word.

* When I first began learning French I used to imagine myself as literally being French. So strong was this it was almost as though I was a French person who had forgotten how to speak and and to relearn it, or prove that I was indeed French.

*Note my hearing is not fantastic. I have always had difficulties with certain kinds of pitch before and after I perforated my left ear drum many years ago. Although since my left ear will often 'distort' in loud ambient noise settings like bars (one reason why I don't like them). I've learned 99% of my foreign language vocabularly etc post that incident. Thus less than perfect hearing (although still pretty good) from my perspective probably doesn't matter depending on the issue I guess.
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM's TAC 2015 crazy? French course mission

Postby PeterMollenburg » Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:05 pm

Off topic a little...

Yesterday while working in ED a Spanish speaking orderly who I often say hi how are you kind of things in Spanish but am reluctant to go beyond that lately as I feel my Spanish is atrocious and I feel really intent on focusing on just French at the moment.. anyway he introduced me to another Spanish speaker- an Aussie doctor. It was strange- us two Australians having a lengthy conversation in Spanish. He was very keen to not speak English and actually seemed like someone who really understands what learning languages is about.

Too bad it wasn't French but it was still a nice experience. He had spent a good amount of time throughout Latin America and some time in Madrid as well. He now lives with a Mexican and another Latin American, and said he is always speaking Spanish at home, as that's all they speak. I was envious. Too bad I'm not in a position to be able to do that with French (our household would not currently suit bringing in French speakers to live with us, but it's certainly something my wife and I are open to in future as our kids are a little older and our location and situation evolves). Food for thought :)

PM

PS
I've not been as active on here lately, and not responding as much to other people's logs (but I am following along as best I can) I'm struggling for time lately and with a new job and so on it's a bit challenging lately to get everything done (which I'm not). I'll try to pay a visit and reply to more logs when I can. As it is I should be alseep as I have another early morning tomorrow.
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garyb
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Re: PM's TAC 2015 crazy? French course mission

Postby garyb » Mon Aug 24, 2015 2:21 pm

Thanks for the comprehensive post, especially as you had to make the effort to type it out again. Seems like your "secret" really is just hard work and attention to detail. It's great and reassuring to see that somebody can learn good pronunciation with a systematic approach rather than just by being lucky enough to have a talent for it or a good ear, especially for a very phonetically tough language like French. Also I hadn't realised that FIA was such a comprehensive resource for pronunciation; I've watched the videos but never looked at the accompanying materials.

I appreciate the encouragement for my Italian pronunciation. It's a bit of a simpler nut to crack than French but the intonation and certain sounds are still tricky to get right. The hardest part for me is applying it when conversing. On a good day I can read aloud with a decent accent; when talking to myself or to a camera it's a bit harder but I still manage fairly well; but once somebody is in front of me it often all goes out the window and the bad habits come straight back. I'm wondering if you have similar experience with reading aloud versus more spontaneous speech? I think it's because when I'm speaking spontaneously I have to use more mental energy to consider what I'm saying so I have less to dedicate to pronouncing it well, and then in conversation there's the further task of following the discourse and the pressure to keep up. I have to constantly remind myself to slow down. Maybe after enough careful practice like what you're doing it just becomes habit and you don't need to think about it - that's what I'm hoping!
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Re: PM's TAC 2015 crazy? French course mission

Postby zenmonkey » Mon Aug 24, 2015 5:06 pm

Your approach makes me think that I do not place enough emphasis on pronunciation in my own language acquisition programs.
Food for thought, thanks!
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM's TAC 2015 crazy? French course mission

Postby PeterMollenburg » Mon Aug 24, 2015 10:27 pm

garyb wrote:Thanks for the comprehensive post, especially as you had to make the effort to type it out again. Seems like your "secret" really is just hard work and attention to detail. It's great and reassuring to see that somebody can learn good pronunciation with a systematic approach rather than just by being lucky enough to have a talent for it or a good ear, especially for a very phonetically tough language like French. Also I hadn't realised that FIA was such a comprehensive resource for pronunciation; I've watched the videos but never looked at the accompanying materials.

I appreciate the encouragement for my Italian pronunciation. It's a bit of a simpler nut to crack than French but the intonation and certain sounds are still tricky to get right. The hardest part for me is applying it when conversing. On a good day I can read aloud with a decent accent; when talking to myself or to a camera it's a bit harder but I still manage fairly well; but once somebody is in front of me it often all goes out the window and the bad habits come straight back. I'm wondering if you have similar experience with reading aloud versus more spontaneous speech? I think it's because when I'm speaking spontaneously I have to use more mental energy to consider what I'm saying so I have less to dedicate to pronouncing it well, and then in conversation there's the further task of following the discourse and the pressure to keep up. I have to constantly remind myself to slow down. Maybe after enough careful practice like what you're doing it just becomes habit and you don't need to think about it - that's what I'm hoping!


Many of the earlier lessons of FIA focus on one or two (maybe more at times, can't recall exactly) French sounds, their associated IPA symbols, how they are represented in French writing, and how to produce them. It is described in relation to English, and anatomically in relation to lip and tongue position in relation to the teeth the roof of the mouth etc, sometimes with a diagram. Example words are provided relative to and imbedded in the content of the story and exercises (which a lot of people I'd imagine wouldn't spend much time on as it can be tedious) in which you listen to audio/watch the video searching for examples of words with the relevent sound(s) being focused on.

I'm always thinking about pronunciation including when conversing. Similar attention to how I produce French sounds when studying/reading alone takes place when speaking with other people in French. I don't allow myself not to pay attention to my French pronunciation- in any situation. If I'm speaking it, I've got to pronounce it correctly. To answer your question, I don't believe my pronunciation drops off while speaking in conversations unless I try to say some new word I've just heard in that conversation and attempt to repeat it. Again I will avoid it if not confident (and perhaps make a mental note of looking it up later in my own time if I remember). and can't say it properly, but if I can't avoid it and need to use it to carry on conversing I will likely get the speaker to reproduce it slowly. That's a rare situation as I don't like slowing a natural conversion down to a lesson on phonetics. I honestly think it's rare for my pronunciation to 'derail' but I definitely do stumble with flow at times as I search for words or stuff up my grammar.

I focus on certain sounds more than others when conversing or speaking out loud to myself, and as time passes and I Iearn more French this is gradually becoming easier as many of the sounds become instinctive (imbedded) with some remaining as sore points or continue to demand focused production. To me its so important in French to be extremely vigilant in my approach to producing the sounds of French in a Parisian French manner (my chosen accent). Having said that I do try to produce the difference in sound between /ɛ̃/ and /œ̃/ which is generally just /ɛ̃/ in Parisian French, but due perhaps the majority of my learning materials being Parisian French I suspect that my production of those two closely related sounds are not as distict as they could be and are in say the south of France. Thus, these two sounds require a lot of focus for me personally. This is part of the reason I've been much more interested in spending more time in France before going further afield where French is widely spoken (I want to reinforce what I've worked hard on).


Back onto more of my methods...
Another important thing I forgot to mention was that particularly when starting out in French or when trying to perfect/improve/correct a particular sound(s), I would make sure to speak deliberately slowly but correctly until i felt confident enough to increase the speed of the sound(s). Rushing sounds can create bad habits.

I also never move on in my courses unless I feel I've mastered the sounds, or come close to mastering them and that moving on will help as I advance through more exercises/drills etc. This includes rhythmic group intonation, a particularly tricky aspect of French that I'm still working on but didn't notice or had little mental energy to focus on when starting out with French. Drills like those in FSI and Fluenz are really good for imitating tone and rhythm as well as pronubciation. Audio courses are excellent for pronunciation work (Michel Thomas, Pimsleur, Paul Noble, Rocket French, Linguaphone). All these courses are great for imitating sounds and rhythm and I always repeat phrases and conversations from these courses aiming for exact duplication of the audio initially after pauses or breaks, then either a split second behind the audio as a conversation plays (shadowing?) or right over the top of the sentence drills of Fluenz for example to match the recordings.
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM's TAC 2015 crazy? French course mission

Postby PeterMollenburg » Tue Aug 25, 2015 2:19 am

PeterMollenburg wrote:
Fortheo wrote:I have found this forum and I have found your log and I've realized that your French "R" is far better than mine! I honestly can't tell much difference between your accent and the actual speaker on the Assimil recording.


Hey Fortheo,
I was only thinking the other day "I wonder where a heap of French learners have disappeared to, including Fortheo". Great to see you back! I hope your French journey is going well and youre planning another exciting trip like your one to Nouvelle Calédonie (thanks for sharing your experiences when you went). And that's some very nice feedback on my recordings, thank you very much Fortheo :)


I realised I made a mistake there Fortheo. I had you mixed up with redflag. I haven't seen redflag about lately either. I did a quick read over your log to remember your journey (Québec French, Assimil, FIA, Easy French reader, seem to be the key themes). Once again I apologise. I haven't found your log, do you have one here on the .org site?

PM

Edit: and I remember your experiences with the dodgy language partners now too.. sorry (cringes)
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM's TAC 2015 crazy? French course mission

Postby PeterMollenburg » Tue Aug 25, 2015 5:36 am

I've decided to lay out my latest (desk) study plan here. I don't necessarily follow it strictly particlarly lately as I've been so busy and house-sitting for a week, but I'm trying to implement it more and more. We all know it's tricky balancing everything in life though.

Aim: 2 to 3 hours of desk study each day. (I also do 'extras' like audio during commutes, TV and so on)

FIRST HOUR
* 15min of FCs/FCs/Vocab (meaning flashcards or vocab, but flashcards 2 out of three study sessions including all study sessions)
* 45min of a course (currently Assimil New French with Ease)

HOURS TWO AND THREE ARE A ROTATION OF MULTIPLE THINGS LISTED HERE:

one hour:
* 15min FCs/FCs/Vocab
* 45min of Bien-dire French learning mag. (intensive reading with audio if needed)
----------------

one hour:
* 15min FCs/FCs/Vocab
* 45min extensive reading
* limit of 2 new words or phrases added to FC deck
---------------

one hour:
* 15min FCs/FCs/Vocab
* 45min of Think French French learning mag. (intensive reading with audio if needed)
-------------------

one hour:
* 15min FCs/FCs/Vocab
* 45min of Yabla (video learning program)
-------------

One hour:
* 15min FCs/FCs/Vocab
* 45min extensive reading again
* limit of 2 new words/phrases to FC deck

EVERY THIRD HOUR IN THE ROTATION ABOVE WILL BE:
* 15min FCS/FCs/Vocab (ie FCs or Vocabulary building)
* 45min of Nursing studies in French (anatomy, physiology, ECGs etc)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In summary
Every hour i do 15 min of FCs or vocab building followed by 45min of the 'activity' i'm up to.

The first activity of the day is always a (one) course (now Assimil NFWE)

The second and third hours (if I get to them) are made up of a rotation of different activities with Nursing studies being slotted in every 3rd hour within this rotation.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Let's see how I go. I'll start tomorrow properly on this plan

Fry a fry
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