Zelda's French Log (+ Modern Greek)

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zjones
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby zjones » Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:10 pm

Morgana wrote:
I had no idea French had so many vowels!


Yes, it's been so fun to learn the new vowels (such as œ and y) but it's also a struggle to remember to pronounce them properly when I'm reading aloud. I have to slow down a lot!

April 23, 2018

I found this great French show on Netflix called Wakfu. It's for pre-teens, so it isn't as boring as watching, say, Pepe the Pig. However, I still have major issues understanding what's going on. I do catch phrases and words here and there though, which is encouraging.

I completed the phonetics playlist from the U of Michigan, but I'm going to go through it at least once more. It was absolutely fascinating to learn that the pronunciation of E depends on the number of consonants that follow. This was a major break-through for understanding French spelling of words like télévision and élèves. Turns out the És and Ès aren't just random. ;)

My Easy French book has an exercise to write eight yes/no questions that one might ask a seat partner on an airplane flight, using varied question forms. Since there isn't an answer key, I thought I'd throw them out here. If anyone has corrections, I'd love to hear them. And yes, some of the questions might be weird, as I didn't much like being restricted to yes/no questions, and I wrote these questions without being able to rely on a dictionary or Google Translate.

- Est-ce que vous avez un épouse/un mari ? (I am hoping that épouse translates to "wife")
- Est-ce que vous parlez l'anglais ?
- Êtes-vous professeur ?
- Vous avez une voiture ?
- Est-ce que vous jouez le violon ?
- Avez-vous un animal ? (Not sure if this is an okay way to ask if someone has a pet. I've never learned the word for pet.)
- Est-ce que vous avez mal à la tête ?
- Aimez-vous mes cheveux ? ("Do you like my hair?" is what I was going for. I'm socially awkward, so it's plausible that I would actually ask this question.)
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zjones
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby zjones » Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:24 pm

An email notified me this morning that my Assimil course has been shipped. It should arrive on Thursday morning, coincidentally the same day I get my new running/gym shoes... so, tomorrow is apparently Zelda's Self-Bought Presents Arrival Day, Finally. Should put that in my calendar as an official holiday.

/y/, /ø/, and /œ/ are still kicking me in the pants. It feels nice to know the correct pronunciation of these French vowels, but it feels not-nice to discover how sloppy my French pronunciation actually is. (I blame my parents and friends for telling me that my French accent is good simply because I can pronounce the French R and throw some nasal sounds around.)

Language-learning takes a lot of self-examination and adjustments. I love studying on my own, but it's turning out to be difficult to stay accountable or even to know if I'm making progress! I've adjusted my learning schedule a little bit, so right now I'm focusing on just three things:

1. Exposure to French, even if I don't understand what's being said. I'm trying to balance both pure audio exposure, and audio-with-subtitles exposure. My main goal is to be able to notice how words sound when they are in a sentence, where they begin and where they end. This is where I'm really challenging myself, because it's not very fun to be listening so closely to something that doesn't make sense to me. However, when I do understand a phrase or small set of words, I get a HUGE dopamine rush. Thanks brain!
2. French grammar with the Easy French book. I'm doing about 15-20 minutes a day. Nothing intensive. I want a solid foundational knowledge in basic grammar concepts.
3. Pronunciation practice, mostly to aid listening comprehension.
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zjones
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby zjones » Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:51 pm

April 26, 2018

Assimil French has arrived! I must admit to being surprised at the size of the Assimil book... it is about the length of my hand, like a guidebook. It's shorter than Strunk & White Elements of Style. I wonder if Assimil books are all this way, or it's just the 2016 version. Also, the typeface looks nothing like the old French With Ease books that I've seen online -- the typeface in my book is sans serif, which isn't my favorite but that's a minor niggle.

Overall I'm excited to get started. I haven't been able to complete the first lesson or listen to the audio, since my MacBook doesn't have a CD drive (I would blame Apple, but this is the first time I've ever needed to use a CD in like 3 years). I'm using my partner's computer to move the first 10 lessons to a thumb drive which I can then transfer to my MBP. Should take an hour or so.

I also got my copy of English Grammar for French Students, which looks like it's straight out of the 1960's. The book is used and someone made sloppy notes in it with a black pen that had a propensity to bleed through the pages. Many of the notes are riddled with spelling errors, and most are complaints about the book being too hard/not making sense. To say I'm annoyed is an understatement. Thank the gods, it looks like this person quit when they were about nine pages into the book.
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Carmody
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby Carmody » Fri Apr 27, 2018 12:18 am

Bon Courage!

I thought I was the only one who used Strunk & White Elements of Style :P
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jeffers
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby jeffers » Fri Apr 27, 2018 6:57 am

Nice to see another enthusiastic learner log!

Does your Assimil course include the mp3 CD? If so, the files have embedded subtitles. If your audio player supports subtitles, you have the means to do pretty good work listening to Assimil while reading all on the go.

I have a podcast suggestion: Balades, on podclub.ch http://www.podclub.ch/fr/emissions/balades-f. These are free fortnightly podcasts aimed at students between A2-B1, but are much easier to follow than the Jounal en francais facile. The best thing is that there is an active transcript, by which I mean the sentence being spoken is highlighted. In addition, they came out with a free app last year, and the app allows you to download your podcasts to listen offline. The app also has the active transcript feature. What's great about the podcasts is they talk about a lot of different topics and are quite interesting.
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Fresh new progress bars for the 2018-19 Super Challenge:
Fr books: 14 / 100films: 24 / 200
Hi books: 0 / 50films: 0 / 50

renaissancemedici
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby renaissancemedici » Fri Apr 27, 2018 8:55 am

Zelda, I had a fatal coup de foudre myself with French when I was ten, and I haven't recovered yet. In fact it's the only language I feel guilty I haven't done more with, and I regularly feel the need to stop everything else and simply master French.

Not to mention Chanel and the rest of all the dreamy French things... (sigh).

Try Les Petits Meurtres d'Agatha Christie on YouTube. If you like that sort of thing you'll enjoy them a lot.
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I use Assimil right now as a starting point, but at the same time I am building the foundation for further studies of German.

Assimil German with ease: 8 / 100

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zjones
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby zjones » Fri Apr 27, 2018 9:16 pm

jeffers wrote:Does your Assimil course include the mp3 CD? If so, the files have embedded subtitles. If your audio player supports subtitles, you have the means to do pretty good work listening to Assimil while reading all on the go.

I have a podcast suggestion: Balades, on podclub.ch http://www.podclub.ch/fr/emissions/balades-f. These are free fortnightly podcasts aimed at students between A2-B1, but are much easier to follow than the Jounal en francais facile.


Hi Jeffers, thanks for stopping by and for the podcast recommendation! My Assimil course does include the mp3 CD, but I never would have thought to look for embedded subtitles if you hadn't mentioned them. After a little rooting around, I discovered the transcripts under the iTunes Lyrics button. I am keeping all my mp3 in iCloud, which means I can access them on both my computer and my iPhone. It's super handy. Thank you so much!

renaissancemedici wrote:Zelda, I had a fatal coup de foudre myself with French when I was ten, and I haven't recovered yet. In fact it's the only language I feel guilty I haven't done more with, and I regularly feel the need to stop everything else and simply master French.

Not to mention Chanel and the rest of all the dreamy French things... (sigh).

Try Les Petits Meurtres d'Agatha Christie on YouTube. If you like that sort of thing you'll enjoy them a lot.


French is an amazing language, isn't it? The French culture fascinates me, too. Somehow, it strikes a balance between traditional and non-traditional, dreamy and cynical, reserved and sacrilegious. I hope you'll get a chance to work on French a little more. Thank you for the recommendation too, I will certainly check out that show!
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zjones
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby zjones » Fri Apr 27, 2018 9:42 pm

April 27, 2018

I keep writing 2017 instead of 2018. Then I realize that I don't really care what year it is, it's just a number. Am I getting old? :(

Assimil is awesome, you guys. I started out with the Premier Leçon yesterday, just to get a taste of the course and see what it's like to work with the book and audio. The audio quality blew me away. It doesn't matter if I'm listening on my MacBook, my iPhone, my speaker or my fancy headphones -- on all of them, the Assimil audio is crystal-clear. Obviously, the voice actors and actresses have lovely voices. I wonder... if I shadow the audio a million times, will I sound as sexy as they do whenever I choose to speak French? That would be amazing. I'd have a super smooth, enunciated French accent, and still have an awkward, smooshed American accent.

As is noted everywhere on the internet, the Assimil dialogues themselves are humorous. This is a huge boon for me, as I enjoy dry, witty humor.

Today, I tackled four lessons (through the Cinquième Leçon), because I'm finding myself too advanced for the first several lessons. I'm feeling pretty good about my French right now. Even though I complain about my listening comprehension, I know I've been making progress. All that matters is that I'm better than I was a week ago!
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zjones
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby zjones » Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:01 pm

I found this thread today: LIE to a Polyglot https://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=5071. I agree with the initial post as well as many of the observations in the replies. This just solidifies my recent conclusion that I need to focus more on listening, especially pure listening.
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zjones
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby zjones » Sun Apr 29, 2018 3:36 am

I recorded myself speaking a short, sweet French introduction. The sentences are very simple beginner sentences, but I hope that recording myself will help me get over my fear of speaking French in front of others. I also would like to have a voice recordings so I can keep track of my speaking progress.

Before recording, I wrote a short blurb about myself and our pets on a piece of paper, practiced speaking it aloud once, and then recorded myself immediately. Therefore you will notice some lapses in rhythm, and poor pronunciation. I did not check any of my grammar or vocabulary so that I wouldn't get caught up in analysis paralysis.

If you are interested, here is the clip: https://vocaroo.com/i/s0Kswz8B9SVV.

Note: I was told that "ronronner" means "to purr", I hope this is the case. Also, that is not my true age nor my true name.
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