Isa's French Log + Mandarin Recovery Summer Project 2019

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I_likes_languages
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Re: Isa's French Log 2018

Postby I_likes_languages » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:18 pm

Reading: 250 pages for the Super Challenge, not including Réveil Courrier which I read almost every day (I discovered Courrier International in 2005 and have been a subscriber to their online version on and off since then). Still reading Germinal and Le Roi de fer. I also finished Miss Marple au club du mardi last week, which was waaaaay easier. I remember receiving Miss Marple books in German for my 10th or 11th birthday, so that's not too surprising.

Listening: Au coeur de l'histoire is quite good, I also listened to one episode of Grand bien vous fasse! (found this on someone's log?) and really liked it. Awesome choice of topics. I've also watched a couple of videos to try and improve my running, I liked Gilles Dorval, but it may just be because he looks a lot like my old PE teacher. He mumbles a little and the quality of the audio is worse than for the avarage young popular youtubers.

Pronounciation: I recently went through the exercises on http://phonetique.free.fr/ and realized that I can't distinguish between different nasales. Vent and vont or coupons and coupant sound the same to me. I'm working on this with one of my tutors (which makes her laugh a lot...hm..), and I'm planning to do some shadowing next week.

Grammar: I looked at the passé simple, but only just now and because I said I would :lol:



I signed up for the a half Super Challenge in Italian and Japanese. That may be insane, but it's supposed to be a challenge after all. I'm not planning to abandon French (only 1/3 done with the double SC), but I do want to experiment with adding a second and even third language. I figured that I'd have to somehow learn how to maintain (and subsequently study) more than one language in addition to German and English eventually, so I might just start now. Both Italian and Japanese are languages which I've learned to a high level before. I can comfortably listen to podcasts and watch series in both, though my Japanese reading is much worse than my Italian. Also, some weeks ago a new and quite active Japanese language exchange popped up about 10 min from where I life, and ignoring it is getting harder and harder. Aaand I've been wanting to listen to Veleno and Risciò for a couple of weeks now.
2 x
~ Mühsam nährt sich das Eichhhörnchen ~
French: Double SC Movies: 200 / 200 Books: 200 / 200 Output Challenge Writing: 6957 / 50000 Speaking: 17 / 3000
Italian: Half SC Movies: 12 / 50 Books: 0 / 50

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eido
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Re: Isa's French Log 2018

Postby eido » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:48 pm

I see your Monty Python and raise you Laugh-In...


(Good luck with your Japanese and Italian! I don't mean what's said in the video, haha. Also, sorry for the poor video quality. It's the only one I could find on YouTube.)
1 x
"He's satisfied with himself. If you have a soul you can't be satisfied."
- Graham Greene (given to me by @reineke)

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Re: Isa's French Log 2018

Postby I_likes_languages » Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:23 pm

@Eido: Thanks for the encouragement. I'm still trying to recover from their accents though. I will never be able to shake the fear of sounding like them :lol:

French
Listening: My current routine is to listen to at least one longer podcast every day, so every evening, I pick one (or two) podcast episodes to listen to the next day and download them onto my phone. Then I listen to them whenever I find the time during the day, so for example 10 minutes while preparing in the morning, 15 minutes during lunch break, 15 minutes during grocery shopping etc..., so on most days I don't need to use any "study time" for listening and this also reduces the time I spend in front of screens.
This week, I've tried a couple of new podcasts:
- Sur les épaules de Darwin: Seems to be a mix of science, history, literature and culture; pretty diverse topics and an interesting approach. Not my cup of tea though.
- Varennes (La fuite): Retells the failed attempt of Louis XVI and his family to flee from the French Revolution and the aftermath. It's by the same presenter as Au coeur de l'histoire. I only listened to the first episode so far, but I liked the way it was presented. The French revolution is not a topic that has me screaming for more, since we studied and compared different revolutions for about two years back in high school. In every episode, the podcast's narrator takes the perspective of different characters (the king, the queen, a moderate revolutionary, a more radical one...), which sounds interesting. I think I'll listen to all of them.
- À la Hussarde: Recent changes in the political landscape of France, by Thomas Legrand (also presents L'édito politique). The podcasts mixes interviews, comments and editorial notes.
- Les braqueurs: Different robbers tell their story in long monologues. It took some getting used to, but now I like it.

Reading: I finished le Roi de fer last week. I'm still fighting through Germinal, I find it hard to read but still rewarding enough to stick to it. I'm somewhere in the middle of the story and therefore the miners' strike now, and all the bleakness, hunger and destitution are helping me to appreciate the easy comfortable life I live. Which definitely also applies to Petit Pays, a short book by Ga:el Faye which I picked up at the library. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone. The main character is a 12-year-old half-french-half-rwandan kid who lives in a privileged area of Bujumbara (Burundi) with his family. The story is set during the early 90s, so you can kind of guess where it's going. Since it's all in the words of a 12-year-old, the language is not too hard. I'm also reading Le soleil sous la soie, a historical fiction about a surgeon at the end of the 17th century. This book doesn't live up to the marketing ("Le meilleur roman historique depuis Les Piliers de la Terre"), but the language is mostly simple and after each chapter of Germinal reading this book feels almost relaxing. With 180 pages of Germinal and 600 pages of this one to go, I will probably finish them at the same time.

Actual studying: Much less of course. Shadowing some Assimil lessons to work on my pronunciation; more vocabulary in Anki; two grammar points in my Grammaire progressive; one italki lesson; and I write 5 sentences of incoherent French everyday in my notebook.

Italian
Listening: I listened to all the episodes of Veleno, and half of Risciò (350min). Risciò is good, but Veleno is in a league of its own. It may be the best podcast series I've listened to so far, including Serial and Death in Ice Valley. I have four more episodes of Risciò to go, then I'll move on to Lo stato dell'unione after which Da costa a costa seems like the logical next step. I remember looking for good italian podcasts in 2014 or 15 and not finding any that interested me, but that has definitely changed.
Reading: None yet, but I have Cheryl Strayed's Wild on my nightstand. I picked it up on a trip to Italy some time ago, but abandonned it because the first chapter hit a little too close to home. My plan is to finish this book before the end of the year.

Japanese
Listening: Only one episode of Midnight Diner so far. I had thought that there were a couple of good shows on Netflix, but other than The Many Faces of Ito and Midnight Diner nothing looks interesting yet. I discovered a Ronja Röversdottar/Räubertochter anime that the kid in me really wants to watch (first hero of just about every German girl maybe? Her or the Red Zora). I haven't looked at podcasts yet, but hopefully I'll find something interesting there.
Reading: Keeping it boring: I'm going to read Harry Potter first. I only own 3 Japanese books, so I'll stick with them for now.

I'm trying to adhere to strict rules regarding time allocation to different languages, but with Veleno I've broken them several times becasue I got so addicted. I've set myself some intermediary goals for the Super Challenge, and I've calculated the amount of minutes and pages per day I need to reach these goals. I've also decided on a clear hierarchy among languages, which will change quaterly. For now until the end of 2018 (or the DALF exam at least) French always comes first. I won't listen to Italian before finishing my French minutes for the day, and I won't listen to Japanese before finishing Italian. For reading, the hierarchy is French - Japanese - Italian, because if I don't put Japanese before Italian, I'm worried that I might never read any Japanese, because it's much harder for me than reading Italian. But my Japanese goals are much lower than my goals for Italian to compensate for this. I want to finish Harry Potter in Japanese within the next 6 months, but Wild within the next 3 months (all the while reading about 30 pages of French each day).
3 x
~ Mühsam nährt sich das Eichhhörnchen ~
French: Double SC Movies: 200 / 200 Books: 200 / 200 Output Challenge Writing: 6957 / 50000 Speaking: 17 / 3000
Italian: Half SC Movies: 12 / 50 Books: 0 / 50

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I_likes_languages
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Re: Isa's French Log 2018

Postby I_likes_languages » Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:49 pm

I finished Germinal! I’m pretty proud of myself right now 8-) , one week ago I was still in doubt whether I could make it or not. In the end then the plot just kept me going (+ someone preordered the book from the library, so I’ll have to bring it back sooner than I thought and work has been slow this week).

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the book yet. The plot is definitely not a joyride, just when you think it can’t possibly get worse for the Maheus, there is yet another level of misery that follows. The characters are extremely well written, and Zola describes everything in the environment very precisely, that really helped me imagine the surroundings and the mine (I’ve never been in a mine) and brought everything alive. The verbose style can get annoying sometimes but I wonder whether it may be good for acquiring specific batches of vocabulary by reading. He always uses a large amount of words to describe everything and the vocabulary is often very specific to the context. There were many words that I didn’t know and didn’t look up, but I still managed to enjoy the book, although I probably missed a lot.

I spent an hour last night researching all the books of the Rougon-Macquart cycle and the family tree, to see what their specific topics are.
Basically Zola had two things in mind when writing the cycle: an outdated theory of heredity, where everyone is highly influenced by their environment and inherited traits; and giving a full picture of the Second Empire (1852-1870). So the books are set in different milieus and have different foci: politics/power, the church/catholicism, workers/misery, the bourgeousie, financial speculation, the railway, department stores vs small traders, war, arts, science, farmers, everyone gets a book.

All in the cycle are descendants of Adelaide Fouque’s three children: Pierre Rougon, Antoine Macquart and Ursule Macquart.
The Rougon-line is the “legitimate” line, most members belong to the upper class and are more successful than members of the other lines (money, power, education).

The Mouret-line, descendants of Ursule Macquart are somewhat in the middle, that part of the family is apparently the one with the most fragile mental state, but they are mostly middle class people.

The Macquart-line gets the worst of it (Alcoholism, prostitution and homicidal tendencies), but they also get more books, 9 of the 20 I think. Workers, soldiers, farmers, lots of illegitimate children (last names change a lot too) etc. Although many of Zola’s characters seem to die or fail in some way (financial ruin, jail…), the books whose main characters are descendants of Antoine Macquart seem to have the most misery, alcoholism and violence in them.

I’ll continue with Au Bonheur des Dames once it arrives. Octave Mouret is both a grandson of Ursule Macquart and Pierre Rougon.

-----
This is the current list of all the books I’ve read since June 2018. I marked the ones I liked best with a star.

• Ahmed Kalouaz - La première fois, on pardonne - 90 pages
• José Frèches - L'imperatrice de la soie - 1. le Toit du monde - 550 pages
• José Frèches - L'imperatrice de la soie - 2. les yeux de Buddha – 160 pages (abandonned)
• Georges Simenon - La première enquête de maigret – 180 pages
• Georges Simenon – Maigret Voyage – 180 pages
• *Véronique Bizot - Un avenir – 90 pages
• Isabel Allende - La Cité des dieux sauvages – 330 pages
• Jeanne-Marie Sauvage-Avit - Perline, Clémence, Lucille et les autres...- 820 pages
• Georges Simenon - Maigret: Le Pendu de Saint-Pholien – 180 pages (not kidding, they’re all the exact same length)
• Agatha Christie - Miss Marple au club du mardi – 175 pages
• Maurice Druon - Le Roi de fer – 292 pages
• *Gae:l Faye - Petit Pays – 206 pages
• Émile Zola - Germinal – 387 pages (this book has about 450 words/page, other editions have more than 500 pages.)
• Éric Marchal - Le soleil sous la soie – 296 pages (of about 900)


Sum :3944 pages/50 = 78,88 Super Challenge books
5 x
~ Mühsam nährt sich das Eichhhörnchen ~
French: Double SC Movies: 200 / 200 Books: 200 / 200 Output Challenge Writing: 6957 / 50000 Speaking: 17 / 3000
Italian: Half SC Movies: 12 / 50 Books: 0 / 50

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Re: Isa's French Log 2018

Postby I_likes_languages » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:45 am

Life got in the way. I won't be taking the DALF this year. My mother has been sick for a while, but her condition has deteriorated significantly since mid-September. As we all deal with this situation, I've suspended most of my short-term projects for the time being. Consuming large amounts of French literature and podcasts has been great to distract me and keep my brain occupied though, and I finished the first half of the double SC for French about a week ago. I've found two new podcasts that I would recommend: Superhéros (everyday heros, trigger warning for some episodes) and Chasseurs de nazis.
---
This is a list of all the books I've read since last month. I spend a lot more time on trains now and go out a lot less, otherwise I'd never have managed the insane amount of pages. My reading speed has improved to about 1 p/min though. The books I liked best/would recommend are marked with a star. There are a lot of them :)

Philippe Claudel - La petite fille de Monsieur Linh - 115p
Louis Malle - Au revoir, les enfants (Scénario) - 60p
*Christelle Dabos - Les fiancés de l'hiver (la passe-miroir 1) - 553p
*Patrick Modiano - Dans le café de la jeunesse perdue - 151p
Aimé Césaire - Un saison au Congo (théâtre) - 80p
**Nathacha Appanah - Tropique de la violence - 173p (really really good book, but prepare for violence. It says so in the title, but I was definitely not prepared)
*Sarah Barukh - Elle voulait juste marcher tout droite - 390p
*Christelle Dabos - Les disparus du clairdelune (la passe-miroir 2) - 653p
10 x
~ Mühsam nährt sich das Eichhhörnchen ~
French: Double SC Movies: 200 / 200 Books: 200 / 200 Output Challenge Writing: 6957 / 50000 Speaking: 17 / 3000
Italian: Half SC Movies: 12 / 50 Books: 0 / 50

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Re: Isa's French Log 2018

Postby MamaPata » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:47 pm

Really sorry I hear about your mother. Look after yourself!
2 x
Corrections appreciated.

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Re: Isa's French Log 2018

Postby I_likes_languages » Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:27 pm

Hi everyone :)
I hope everyone has had a good start into 2019! I still like languages, but the longer I went without posting the more pressure I felt to post a looong update, so that never happened.

French:
Anyway, I'm still working on my French daily. I couldn't take the DALF C1 in 2018, so I'm eyeing the test date in May 2019 atm. I'm about 80% done with the double Super Challenge in French (84%/169 books, 74%/148 movies) and I hope to finish by the end of April. I mostly watch arte or France 2 documentaries on Youtube right now, and france culture has recently adapted and published several Tintin comics as radio plays. I didn't read as much as I'd have liked the last three months. I read Emile Zola's Au bonheur des Dames in October, and I loved it. But then I got firmly stuck in "Le ventre de Paris" which I kind of enjoyed too, but eventually I got overwhelmed by all the descriptions of food (ever wonder how they made sausages back in 19th century Paris? Zola has a step by step description you can follow...). The next book I tried was Romain Gary's La promesse de l'aube - this book is hands down one of the best books I've ever read, in any language. But I felt it was also quite dense and it left me a little burned out. After I finished it I tried to read Alain-Fournier's Le Grand Meaulnes, also kind of a classic I guess, but I really don't understand what that was about. I abandonned it after the first part ended - should I continue? Is there a lot of good stuff still to come? After fighting a little more with the Zola (chapter 3 features an eloquent enumeration of just about every fish you could imagine, nicely sorted by salt water and fresh water :roll: ) I finally gave up two weeks ago. I decided to pick up Patrick Pécherot's La saga des brouillards (Les brouillards de la Butte, Belleville-Barcelone et Boulevard des Branques) again. I had tried to read one of the books last April, and it seemed much to difficult, but I think I improved enough to understand them now. Just like the Zolas, they are a treasure trove of new obscure vocabulary. Pécherot uses a lot of argot or words that were maybe popular back in the 1930s (so like macchabée instead of cadavre, bigopohone instead of téléphone or poulardin instead of police) as well as colorful and ironic descriptions (such as "caresses viriles" instead of coups, or "Yvette entamait un nouveau mouvement de sa sonate pour Remington." instead of just saying "Yvette started to type again") and nice new expressions (avaler son bulletin de naissance, phosphorer) for me. You can probably tell that I'm a bit in love with the authors style. I still have the last book in the series left to read this week:) I also signed up for the Output Challenge in French, but I haven't started yet.

Japanese:
I have withdrawn from the half SC for Japanese. I've decided to put Japanese in maintenance mode for the time being. I bought a tear-off calender with small daily Japanese lessons for 2019, and that is all I'll be doing.

Italian:
I still have to do my half SC in Italian, but I want to get French out of the way first. So the current plan is to start this in May. But we'll see.

Spanish:
My big goal for 2018 was to not add another language. Two weeks ago I was told that I could go to Spain on a work trip in the second half of February. So here I am, scrambling to get the basics into my head before the 13th. I've picked Assimil, Language Transfer and a premade anki deck for now, put I'd love to get more suggestions?!

Edits: Typos.
3 x
~ Mühsam nährt sich das Eichhhörnchen ~
French: Double SC Movies: 200 / 200 Books: 200 / 200 Output Challenge Writing: 6957 / 50000 Speaking: 17 / 3000
Italian: Half SC Movies: 12 / 50 Books: 0 / 50

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Re: Isa's French Log 2018

Postby I_likes_languages » Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:52 pm

French:
It's been a while. I'm done with the listening part of my French Super Challenge, I finished yesterday. I still have 600 pages to read, but I'll have a 4-day weekend next week (Easter) so I might make it before the end of the month. I'm glad that I'm almost done, because doing a double SC at this pace was, to me at least, more stressful than motivating. I have benefitted a lot from listening so much, and harder material that was not accessible to me before now seems almost easy. Listening to podcasts has changed from being work to being entertainment. I'll revise everything I listened to and read and try to post my favorites later this month.

I found a new tutor on italki some weeks ago. I occasionally book lessons with different people just for the variety so I've talked to about 15 different tutors so far, but I'm still figuring out what makes a good or a great tutor. I’ve found a couple of good ones, but she might be a great one.
I’ll just describe the experience a little, because I really liked her style: I had booked a one-hour conversation lesson with her, but she interrupted let me talk for only 15 minutes to go over mistakes I had made. She was very thorough and had even caught a lot of smaller mistakes that other tutors don't seem to take the trouble to point out (le/la; lots of phonetics like liaisons, pays/paie, correct pronunciation of the female ending in adjectives). She noted every mistake (grammar, vocab, phonetics) in a table in a google doc and had me write/pronounce the correct version besides it. She made me figure out everything by myself, only using questions to direct me to the correct grammar rules or vocabulary. I had told her that I'd probably heard every grammar rule at least once in my life but sometimes tutors will just repeat the rules anyway, wasting our time, because for them, making a mistake seems to equal not knowing the rule. Her timing turned out to be quite good, with all the corrections and some chatting it took us almost 45 minutes to get through the list.
I should also mention that my focus during italki lessons has also shifted during the last year. In the beginning, it was more on speaking confidently and without to many interruptions, so I was looking for encouraging, easy to talk to people. Now I have improved enough to get out of many corners that I've talked myself into, but there is still so much room for improvement (especially with regards to vocabulary).

I will also start a C1/C2 conversation class at our local institute franc,ais later this month. I’ve been working in home office a lot lately and it has been a little lonely, so I’m trying to push myself to make my hobbies more social to balance this a little. I don't really like group lessons, but I'm looking forward to meeting new people with a love for languages.
2 x
~ Mühsam nährt sich das Eichhhörnchen ~
French: Double SC Movies: 200 / 200 Books: 200 / 200 Output Challenge Writing: 6957 / 50000 Speaking: 17 / 3000
Italian: Half SC Movies: 12 / 50 Books: 0 / 50

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Re: Isa's French Log 2018

Postby I_likes_languages » Mon Apr 22, 2019 2:20 pm

I did myself a huge favor last week – I put a pretty profile picture on italki. I didn't have a profile picture before and I'd never gotten any messages - now I get several a day and one of them has already turned into a language exchange, and I have 2 more coming up this week.

French:
Apart from the language exchange and all the messaging involved in setting it up I didn't do much, but being so close to the end of the SC has given me extra motivation for my reading. Since the beginning of April, I've read/finished the following books:

Romain Gary (Émile Ajar) - La vie devant soi - Told from the perspective of Momo, who lives with the old Madame Rosa, an aging former prostitute and holocaust survivor. Told in a kind of breathless manner through the eyes of a kid that never had any formal education. The language is not too hard, but Momo sometimes misuses words or spells them incorrectly. I loved this book just like I loved the last book I read by Romain Gary.

Madame de La Fayette - La Princesse de Clèves - A love story written in 1678 and set in 1558/59. The author really had a gift for observation and observing psychology. I had heard this was a must read for French students, so I decided to try it. The way the story is told differs a lot from modern novels, but it was surprisingly readable. The vocabulary is not too hard and definitely easier than anything from Zola. The many characters can get confusing, everybody seems to be a prince or princess of something and have at least two different names/titles which are used interchangeably. I l also read the shorter La Princesse de Montpensier (50 pages) by the same author.

I had been stuck in these two books since February so I’m really happy I could finally finish them!

Gilles Leroy - Alabama Song – also a Goncourt winner, it retells the biography of Zelda Fitzgerald starting from her first encounter with Scott Fitzgerald until her death. I liked the book, the vocabulary was a littles harder and the story often jumps between different periods in the past.

Tahar Ben Jelloun - Le dernier ami - Tells the story of two friends from Tanger, Morocco. The book is split into two halves, one written from Ali’s perspective, the other one through Mamed’s eyes. It’s a short book and I enjoyed it. I’ve been wanting to branch out a little and read more books from authors with a more diverse heritage I guess, so this was a good start.

Kéthévane Davrichewy - La mer Noire – Tells the story of a Georgian emigrant, now an old lady, who fled Georgia in 1918 as a 15-year-old. A good read and hard to put down. I picked this up because Nino Haratischwili got me interested in Georgia.

Italian:
I got some listening done. I’d almost forgotten how much work it was to find good podcasts for the SC in French, I’m still sifting through my podcast player’s library. I have a language exchange scheduled for Thursday.

Spanish or juggling 3 languages:
I finished lesson 49 of Assimil in March, and I’ve been taking a break ever since. I’m not sure whether I want to continue with Spanish this year. On the one hand I liked it a lot, and there ae soooo many authors that I’d love to read, plus speaking Spanish was a lot of fun. But on the other hand… time. I don’t seem to be one of the language teachers who can stick to a plan which allocates so-and-so-many minutes per day to each language or 25% to one, 25% to the next and so on. My language learning has always been a little chaotic and unbalanced. I was balancing French and Spanish well enough, but now I feel that I should give priority to Italian, and I haven’t figured out how to systematically make progress in 3 languages at the same time. I’m planning to experiment a little during the next week with: setting hard to fail, small goals for each day or week; and setting a main language for each day/time of day.
4 x
~ Mühsam nährt sich das Eichhhörnchen ~
French: Double SC Movies: 200 / 200 Books: 200 / 200 Output Challenge Writing: 6957 / 50000 Speaking: 17 / 3000
Italian: Half SC Movies: 12 / 50 Books: 0 / 50

DaveAgain
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Re: Isa's French Log 2018

Postby DaveAgain » Mon Apr 22, 2019 7:55 pm

I_likes_languages wrote:I did myself a huge favor last week – I put a pretty profile picture on italki. I didn't have a profile picture before and I'd never gotten any messages - now I get several a day and one of them has already turned into a language exchange, and I have 2 more coming up this week.
Ani wrote a few posts about getting language exchange partners that you might like to read:

https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 81#p117481

https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 73#p131273

https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 28#p119828
0 x


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