PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

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

Postby PeterMollenburg » Thu Sep 03, 2015 10:34 am

Expugnator wrote:Since this has become the spot for evaluating French accents, I hope PM doesn't mind my sharing of my own record (also posted at my log)>

http://vocaroo.com/i/s0QlzuQsHP4D

Thanks for sharing Expugnator,

Sounds very good to me Expugnator. From my experience with French phonetics and being a non-native I'll say the following... Natives have great experience to draw on as having naturally acquired the language in a way that instills the 'real' language into their brain from exposure and usage, but they don't necessarily study the intricacies of their own language (although perhaps they do in French?) I wouldn't be fantastic on English phonetics by any means, so maybe this is something unique to the Anglo world. I'm not saying in anyway whatsoever Arnaud isn't qualified to provide input here, I'm just saying that I can add a different perspective too, which may also be of some value, or not.

I can also hear that your pronunciation of essayer sounds like /esaje/. Arnaud mentions that it should sound like /esɛje/ (if not familiar with phonetics think French "ai"), which I agree with. He may also know what I"m about to say too, but it can also sound like this: /eseje/ more often than not perhaps. Strictly speaking it should be /esɛje/, but in reality it often is /eseje/ (Arnaud would know that 'reality' better than myself- i'm basing that on my focus on phonetics sitting at my desk in Australia and from other background reading).

My 'Dictionnaire de la langue française basé sur le TLFi, le Trésor de la Langue Française informatisé' which draws from three sources including 'Centre National de Ressources Textuelles et Lexicales' states this for the pronunciation of essayer: [esεje] ou, p. harmonis. vocalique, [eseje] which can also be found here ("prononciation et orthographe" found near the bottom of the page in this link): http://www.cnrtl.fr/definition/essayer

I remember reading something about this in my old Collins Robert 5 inch thick old dictionary that went something like this if I recall correctly: when /ε/ is followed by a consonant or semi-vowel then /e/ immidiately after, that the initial vowel sound of /ε/ has a tendency to become /e/. ie essayer /esɛje/ becomes /eseje/ for smoother speech with a succession of open syllables requiring closed vowel sounds /e/ (/ε/ is usually heard in closed syllables, with being French of course many exceptions). You may have already been aware of this stuff, but the "a" in essayer threw you. The last comment on this sound is that often as the first "e" gets altered in everyday speech to sound more closed /e/ these two sounds can almost merge or meet in the middle perhaps nearly sounding indistinguishable as one has a natural tendency to alter the sound to be more like /e/ but doesn't quite get 100% of the way from /ɛ/ to /e/.

Sometimes but not always (a couple of times only) I think your nasal vowel sound /ɔ̃/ "-on" is not being quite deep enough ("intonation" at 20 seconds, "leçon" at 22 sec), but this is really really minor, as it seems very good elsewhere.

I also hear in that same pronunciation of "leçon" (at 22 seconds) the 'e' as /ɛ/ instead of /ə/. As the sllable is not closed which would render it /ɛ/ it should not be pronounced /ɛ/. It shouldn't be pronounced /e/ either as it does not become /e/ because there is no accent aigu (é) present over 'e'. That leaves unstressed e /ə/. Phonetically then it is like this /ləsɔ̃/.

The other word I noticed seemed a little odd in your pronunciation was "bien". It sounds like /bjɑ̃/ whereas it should sound like /bjɛ̃/ (the nasal vowel to me seems a little off)

It might seem like i'm picking your recording apart. These a minor things in my opinion. I honestly think your French sounds better than 99% of other foreigners I've heard speak French and for the remaining 1% equal to them (I've not heard better).

Arnaud wrote:Perhaps it would be better to open a dedicated thread to the subject...
Expugnator wrote:Since this has become the spot for evaluating French accents, I hope PM doesn't mind my sharing of my own record (also posted at my log)>

http://vocaroo.com/i/s0QlzuQsHP4D

Good accent, easy to understand, so nothing special to say, as native speakers of romance and slavic languages have generally less difficulties than our friends speaking english: the R is a little eaten here and there, and the "ay" group in essayer (0'.12'') is not pronounced correctly: it's not "a+yer" but "ai+yer".
A little trick often taught to children is that the letter y works like a double i when placed between 2 vowels: so essayer is like "essai+ier"->"essaiier"->"essayer". (the words from the root "pays" are also pronounced with the "ai" sound)

Image


Feel free to move any of these posts Arnaud. For the moment i'm happy to reply here on the existing posts by Expugnator, but if the topic grows (more users were to add more sample recordings) I'd prefer it elsewhere. Thanks for sharing guys!
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Re: PM's TAC 2015 crazy? French course mission

Postby Arnaud » Thu Sep 03, 2015 10:56 am

deleted
Last edited by Arnaud on Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PM's TAC 2015 crazy? French course mission

Postby Expugnator » Thu Sep 03, 2015 11:11 am

Thank you guys for the feedback and I'm really happy with the ongoing discussion here, PM made his previous post on accent perfection a benchmark for the whole forum. I believe /essaje/ and /lεsɔ̃/ are really slips of tongue, I mean, it's not like I don't know in theory how they should be pronounced. There is no background for pronouncing the e in leçon open even considering my native language. I know that in French and Italian the e and the εare practically in free variation but in Brazilian Portuguese they are fully distinguished in stressed position and they help distinguish dialects in pretonic position. But even in my native dialect where we tend to render pretonic e's as ε's I'd find no underlying motive for this ε.

I believe the 'recording pressure' adds up a lot of fuel for messing up phonemes. I recorded directly at Vocaroo, and even though I'm not 'spending' anything, any money if I just allow myself to relax in the beginning and it doesn't hurt to have a little silence, I still feel anxious about saying all at once so as not to leave any blank periods in the recording. Were it a conversation or even a recording at an audio software, with a separate microphone instead of one built-in to the headset, I'd feel much more "à l'aise" when recording. Those are details but they can affect our performance even in our native languages while recording something, let alone in a foreign language at which you struggle to improve your accent.
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Re: PM's TAC 2015 crazy? French course mission

Postby PeterMollenburg » Tue Sep 08, 2015 12:47 pm

With 66 hours of study in August (top 2: 24 hrs of audio coursework & 19hrs TV), a slow start to September, and feeling like I've been moving slowly in general (but surely), I have a growing feeling of impatience/it's time.. to step up my game.

I'm really loving Assimil of late. Bloody awesome courses, so with the end of my passive wave of NFWE almost done, I'm simply going to carry onto lesson 1 of Using French as if it were the next lesson of NFWE (continuing the active phase with NFWE while doing passive wave of Using French)...

But on the whole I'm aiming to improve my routine/time management with a target of 400hrs study from here to the end of the year (today I reached 600hrs of French for the year).

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

Postby Mohave » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:35 pm

PeterMollenburg wrote:With 66 hours of study in August (top 2: 24 hrs of audio coursework & 19hrs TV), a slow start to September, and feeling like I've been moving slowly in general (but surely), I have a growing feeling of impatience/it's time.. to step up my game.

I'm really loving Assimil of late. Bloody awesome courses, so with the end of my passive wave of NFWE almost done, I'm simply going to carry onto lesson 1 of Using French as if it were the next lesson of NFWE (continuing the active phase with NFWE while doing passive wave of Using French)...

But on the whole I'm aiming to improve my routine/time management with a target of 400hrs study from here to the end of the year (today I reached 600hrs of French for the year).

Peace up


Hey PM! You are still doing an AWESOME job! Slow start, 66 hours, etc.... I think most people would be thrilled with those numbers! Don't be too hard on yourself, and remember to have fun on this journey! 400 hours of French between now and the end of the year - what an awesome goal! I too feel like I need to step-up my game, but I am also starting to ask myself the question "how good is good enough?" I know our answers will probably be different as you have dreams of moving to a Francophone country, and I am learning mainly for travel, for the literature, films, etc. .... Anyway, your efforts truly set a standard around here!
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM's TAC 2015 crazy? French course mission

Postby PeterMollenburg » Tue Sep 15, 2015 5:26 am

Mohave wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:With 66 hours of study in August (top 2: 24 hrs of audio coursework & 19hrs TV), a slow start to September, and feeling like I've been moving slowly in general (but surely), I have a growing feeling of impatience/it's time.. to step up my game.

I'm really loving Assimil of late. Bloody awesome courses, so with the end of my passive wave of NFWE almost done, I'm simply going to carry onto lesson 1 of Using French as if it were the next lesson of NFWE (continuing the active phase with NFWE while doing passive wave of Using French)...

But on the whole I'm aiming to improve my routine/time management with a target of 400hrs study from here to the end of the year (today I reached 600hrs of French for the year).

Peace up


Hey PM! You are still doing an AWESOME job! Slow start, 66 hours, etc.... I think most people would be thrilled with those numbers! Don't be too hard on yourself, and remember to have fun on this journey! 400 hours of French between now and the end of the year - what an awesome goal! I too feel like I need to step-up my game, but I am also starting to ask myself the question "how good is good enough?" I know our answers will probably be different as you have dreams of moving to a Francophone country, and I am learning mainly for travel, for the literature, films, etc. .... Anyway, your efforts truly set a standard around here!


Thanks yet again for your praise and kind support Mohave. As per usual after posting a goal I'm questioning my sanity, particularly as Summer approaches here and Spring is now bringing with it some nice weather, which makes me think it's time to rack up some kms and hills on my road bike (and bring down the priority of 3hrs desk study of French a day). I'm doubtful of reaching 400hrs now in that time frame. What I can improve on is simply getting down to business (study) asap after other committments are met (work, exercise, family) and not waste time with bullshit TV for example.

Although I tend not to watch it much nowadays unless in French, as I have priorities and I'm becoming increasingly jaded by TV as I see it predominantly as a fantistic tool for propaganda- a way to shape the masses, whether it be opinions or behaviour. TV DOES influence people. I'm not trying to come across as an advocate for strong censorship, rather an advocate for actual free thinking, not 'free thinking'. We are all under mass control and we know it not. We're too busy acting (programmed) like 9 to 5 robots in an economic beast, distracted when not working (me too) to give a turd about all the species being wiped out. Deprogram yourselves! And fuck carbon, what a load of BS.

I looked back on some old 6WC results and noticed you've had some pretty decent scores in the past yourself Mohave. Lets just keep (or discover) our sanity and be consistent with our learning.

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

Postby PeterMollenburg » Mon Sep 21, 2015 9:01 am

Now I'm back on the 400 hrs aim for the rest of the year. Actually it's more like 1000 hours for the year (currenty at 643). I've just got to bite the bullet and get my shit together. There really is a lot of room for improvement and not only will it benefit my language skills but also my health. One of the major ongoing issues I've had is deliberately fighting my tiredness at nice edit: "night" distracting myself with some form of entertainment- yes I'm just as rediculous as the rest of humanity- i'm well aware of it though. So improve my sleep patterns and those hours should be attainable, not easily though, I will have to push myself.

After reading bits of Benny's 'Fluent in 3 months' book I also collected a little motivation in the first couple of chapters. Most of it at this point in my journey is pretty logical stuff, but it did reinforce to me how important attitude is in determining your direction and achievements in life (not that I think 'achievements' make any one person better than another in any way whatsoever), how important consistent focused effort is (i'm dead against studying other languages currently). Okay so tick and tick so far for the most part... but the final point which rears it's ugly head again - speaking is VERY important. Yes, I need to speak more. I"m not sure how exactly I will go about this, but I'm thinking come 2016 at the latest I need to get started, ie I need to rally myself, get myself out there, on there (skype) and wherever else 'there' to increase my output and start to solidify all that input. I need some real life language use, and despite the apparent negatives I need to find ways around my personal road blocks and just do it!

à l'assurance de mes sentiments dinstingués,
votre premier ministre, Pitoeur Mollembourg
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM's TAC 2015 crazy? French course mission

Postby PeterMollenburg » Fri Oct 02, 2015 1:21 am

September proved to be almost imperceptably different in terms of study hours to August.

67 hours total for Sept or therabouts...

Like Cavesa said God laughs at those who make plans and it's insanely insano-burger how many times my plans change, but like emk (and almost every other experienced language learner on this site) says- consistency is what matters.

Advanced course
I've got into a really good routine this last week or so. Despite having said I was going to use Using French (Assimil) as my more advanced course I decided to change things up and get into Hugo Advanced French instead. I'm enjoying the change.

Easier course material
I'm also continuing the 2nd phase/reviewing of Assimil NFWE and still using Rocket French Platinum mainly during commutes.

Extensive reading
I'm also reading The Power of Now in French for my extrensive reading and really enjoying it. I'm sensing a possible (could be wrong) imminent explosion of comprehension in reading and in French in general as I think all my hard work in rote lerning of new vocab, coupled with the fact i compiled an SRS deck of over 10,000 words (which I no longer use) and extensive slow focus on pronunciation and grammar... well now i'm speeding up and i think a lot of bridges are being constructed in the language area of my 'French brain' between all the isolated islands I had created. Reading = construction process. In some ways it's like I'm not just building bridges but reclaiming land from the sea. Okay I sound extremely positive here and I don't want to overstate things but I'm very excited lately with my French learning. It's like spring is arriving and the flowers are starting to bloom.

Intensive reading/nursing studies
While my intensive reading is using a book for my nursing in the emergency department that focuses on ECG interpretations. I have the book in English and it's translation in French. It's really awesome to use at it corresponds almost 100%. I can literally turn to page 106 in the English version and it will be the same as page 106 in the French version- paragraph by paragraph (translated by a French doctor too). It also begins very slowly and holds your hand along the way so to speak (no wonder it's been a best-seller and translated in 28 languages).

It's a very appropriate book for me for my work given recent change of role. I'm learning French and relating it to my work, which may even prove useful in potential future French employment positions. Also as I have to do a presentation in November, at work, so I made sure I chose ECGs as my topic (it was one of the options), thus I'll be motivated to learn more French!

Childrens materials
I've been reading a LOT of French childrens books to my daughter and she LOVES it. Of course i've been doing this for some time (not long after she was born- as well as only communicating to her in French). It's great for me and for her. Her comprehension of French is obvious- I ask her to do things, point out things in books etc and she does them. So she has a collection of French books almost as big as her collection of English books (prob 2/3 the size) as well as I loaded a heap of childrens ebooks books onto the 'household' iPad via my own itunes account in which I have a TON of childrens books I intended to use for myself as stepping stones in reading but it hasn't really played out that way. So now I've found use for them - over 70 books on the ipad for her- many interactive with audio and finding and touching the animals etc. I've also found some decent childrens material on youtube (mainly animals) and a French website with nursery rhymes and the like. All this is adding to my French exposure and vocabulary acquisition.

SRS
Lately I feel like I am suddenly learning so much more French than I was 6 months ago. I think my SRS had stagnated and wasn't being used effectively as well as many of things I was learning in courses seems like stuff I'd covered for the most part at some point or another over the years of stopping and starting my French studies.

Routine
So, like I said my routine is not what I intended it to be (as I planned it), but now it's really working for me.

Basically it's a four hour rotation in which I am to do 3 hours (hopefully) of desk study each day.

Those four hours are broken into 15min of flascard (SRS) work and 45min of the 'activity'.

My four activities are:

1. Advanced course (currently Hugo French Advanced).

2. Extensive reading (currently Le pouvoir du moment présent- The Power of Now).

3. An easier course or a course i'm trying to complete or review (currently shared between Assimil NFWE and Rocket French Platinum reviews posts commutes).

4. Nursing studies doubling as intensive reading (currently "Lecture accélérée de l'ECG" by Dale Dubin, translate from "Rapid Interpretation of EKG's).
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Re: PM's TAC 2015 crazy? French course mission

Postby rlnv » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:52 am

I've found myself on multiple occasions making plans for upcoming weeks, laying out a set of activities that I want or think I need to finish, and it never seems to end that way. For me its odd, if I set out a specific list of things to do, and especially if I state it in my log, it doesn't seem to get done. But for me that's cool. Plans always change, but the commitment to learning never does.

Speaking of commitment, I always enjoy your updates. You have certainly been a model of commitment and it sounds like its paying off in dividends. And hey, that's great that you are reading your daughter French books. She is receiving such an amazing gift by you doing that.
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Re: PM's TAC 2015 crazy? French course mission

Postby Elenia » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:50 pm

Reading your update got me all pumped up for you - your commitment and your progress are great to see and all that positivity is infectious! I like your analogy of building the bridges and reclaiming ground. You're using French in such a variety of different ways and, as you said, it is pertinent to your life and your needs right now, so I think you'll be seeing summer soon.
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