Robierre’s French C2 log

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PeterMollenburg
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Re: Robierre’s French & Italian C1/2 journal

Postby PeterMollenburg » Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:41 pm

Robierre wrote:Today I read an interesting information (I don't know if it is true):
[...] l’anglais élargit constamment son vocabulaire: il croît de 5% par an, et viendrait de dépasser le million de mots. Or le français – déjà «de toutes les langues des peuples civilisés du monde (celle) possédant le plus petit nombre de mots», comme gémissaient les frères Goncourt – s’est doté d’une ceinture de chasteté légale et culturelle qui le contient bien en dessous des 100.000 termes.


I have heard similar things. It is apparently a result of the way the two official language dictionaries are compiled. English is always adding new words and never deleting old ones that are no longer used (the everyday English dictionary would only contain a limited number of these- the 'official complete' dictionary would have them all). French constantly deletes words that have become obsolete due to no longer being used for a certain period of time. In the end no-one has a vocabularly of one million words. Is French actually being more practical here?
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Re: Robierre’s French & Italian C1/2 journal

Postby extralean » Thu Sep 10, 2015 2:59 am

Robierre wrote:PS.
Today I read an interesting information (I don't know if it is true):
[...] l’anglais élargit constamment son vocabulaire: il croît de 5% par an, et viendrait de dépasser le million de mots. Or le français – déjà «de toutes les langues des peuples civilisés du monde (celle) possédant le plus petit nombre de mots», comme gémissaient les frères Goncourt – s’est doté d’une ceinture de chasteté légale et culturelle qui le contient bien en dessous des 100.000 termes.


I think the difference is the ease in which the literary society 'accepts' words as official words. The French Acadamie, and Royal Spanish Academy, aren't what you'd call 'easy' in accepting official words. Theoretically, all verlan, bainlieu slang, ch'ti, quebeqois, etc words "Don't count" in "Real French" so obviously the pool of 'real words' would be smaller.

English, as far as I am aware, doesn't discriminate as harshly or attempt to preserve itself as a bastion of purety to such a degree. Must be because it's such a glorious bastard child of a language.

Personally, I enjoy the despotism and rigidity. A language, like a garden, should be tended to - not left to abandon and decay. Also, it's not the size that counts. ;)
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Re: Robierre’s French & Italian C1/2 journal

Postby Robierre » Sun Sep 13, 2015 1:01 pm

@PeterMollenburg and extralean:
The linguistic despotism should make our language learning easier, it's "just" 100.000 words :mrgreen:

Week 10

French
Prepositions are the trickiest part of grammar; often I use one and then I question it. Before my holidays I said to a laundrywoman :
"Je pars en vacances et je reviens dans dix jours"

The sentence was perfect though; later I read here an interesting explanation about the difference between en 10 jours and dans 10 jours.

Sometimes I read aloud a text just to detect my weak points in pronunciation. What surprises me is that some sentences go very smoothly while the others cause me more problems. Here is an example:
"Vous devez faire le plus de bruit possible."

The first part is easy [vudəve'fɛʀ]; in the second part I have to pronounce "le plus de bruit" as one word but the combination of three consonants makes it sound weird how I pronounce it [lply'dbRɥi]; I guess it should sound more like [ləplydəbRɥi]? I noticed that I tend often not to pronounce the [ə] but in sentences like this one it sounds badly.

Another comment concerning phonetics: I had a lot of problems with the pronunciation of French vocals in the past; as a result, my pronunciation became too concentrated on vocals. Now when I distinguish (more or less; it is a work in progress) those subtle differences between phonetic vocals, I might start to concentrate more on consonants: I noticed that it really makes a difference in pronunciation.

Finally, I want to share with you something funny: Paris avant les hipsters
It is more about pictures then about text, but I learned at least two cool words: le panais - parsnip, le gombo - okra. :D

Italian
Il Marchese del Grillo, a 1981 Italian comedy directed by Mario Monicelli, starring Alberto Sordi. The film depicts early nineteenth-century episodes in the life of a nobleman in Rome. 2h20min of pure pleasure in dialetto romanesco - the dialect spoken in Rome (much easier to understand than Naepolitan, IMHO)
[the link has been removed - try to find the film on youtube]
Last edited by Robierre on Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Robierre’s French & Italian C1/2 journal

Postby Robierre » Sun Sep 13, 2015 5:12 pm

Update
The second season of Il giovane Montalbano starts tomorrow on Rai1, at 21.15
L'uomo che andava appresso ai funerali
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Re: Robierre’s French & Italian C1/2 journal

Postby garyb » Sun Sep 13, 2015 7:49 pm

Robierre wrote:Update
The second season of Il giovane Montalbano starts tomorrow on Rai1, at 21.15
L'uomo che andava appresso ai funerali


Perfect timing, I've just finished watching the first :)
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Re: Robierre’s French & Italian C1/2 journal

Postby Robierre » Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:22 pm

Week 11

Italian

Listening+reading: Carlo Levi - Cristo si è fermato a Eboli, episodes 1-8, pages 1-73/259
I discovered a nice podcast with various novels on Rai Radio 3 (public radio station specialized in culture and classical music), called Ad alta voce. Every day Italian actors read famous classics; a lot of them can be found in the archives section and I still have to explore it (Pirandello, Proust, Hemingway, Čehov...). Currently Elio de Capitani reads Cristo si è fermato a Eboli by Carlo Levi. Not an easy book; Levi writes about his year (1935) spent in the villages of the Lucania region and the people he encountered there; very dark atmosphere, if you are looking for bright sides of the world, you won't find much there :mrgreen: except the excellent style of writing, that's for sure. I am listening these tracks and simultaneously using the text that can be found here (use google to find other texts). Benefits of this activity: you are more focused on text when you hear it pronounced (no time to think about other things; however, the reading is often interrupted by very nice music and you will have enough time to search in the dictionary few words that may be crucial for the understanding of the context), it is good for pronunciation and stress/accent, you learn new vocabulary from the context etc. The eighth episode finishes on page 73, so I plan to continue to follow new episodes every day.

The new season of "Il giovane Montalbano" started on Monday on Rai 1. As I mentioned before, I know Montalbano (popular series based on the detective novels) only from French TV and I read one of the books written by Andrea Camilleri, also in French translation; so this was my first Montalbano in original language. I must say that I was a bit surprised by the language because it was not always easy to follow; a lot of Sicilian dialect requires more attention than dialogues in standard French. Looking forward to see the next episode.

French

A lot of conversations this week, most of them in professional context but I was decently fluent and spontaneous.
Last edited by Robierre on Sat Sep 19, 2015 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Robierre’s French & Italian C1/2 journal

Postby Iversen » Sat Sep 19, 2015 10:05 am

The French may characterize some words as obsolete, but it is not my impression that they have stopped using them. However you do have a point: since the French Academy was founded it has been the ambition of the powers that be in France to kill dialects, other languages on French territory and everything that isn't sanctioned in a few officially approved grammars and dictionaries (although the dictionary of the Academy itself is probably never going to be finished). However the French are a rebellious lot, and the Academy and the evil powers that support it haven't got any real influence on the spoken language. And therefore a French person can almost be said to speak one language and write in another. Well, it isn't quite like that because some stuffy Frenchmen try to emulate the written language in their speech, and some (other) Frenchmen can't quite live up to the lofty standards of the Academy, but the actual span of registers/styles - not words - for a Francophone person might actually be wider than that of your average Anglophone Joe. And they probably know more varieties of cheese..

Besides the size of the biggest dictionary in a language may be a dubious guide to the size of the vocabularium used by its speakers and writers. My largest dictionary with around 200.000 headwords is actually Spanish (the one of Bratli), with Websters unabridged being no. 2 with around 160.000 headwords according to my own estimates (which I trust more than the things you can read in/on the dictionaries themselves). And according to the same estimates my Swedish-Danish dictionary has around 80.000 words, just to take an example, and I have seen larger dictionaries. But at the end of the day even the largest dictionaries aren't sufficient - even an ordinary newspaper article may contain words which haven't entered the monster dictionaries yet. And a toddler may have picked up something in the Kindergarten which never will enter there.
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Re: Robierre’s French & Italian C1/2 journal

Postby Robierre » Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:00 pm

@Iversen
Great remarks. Actually, I was comparing two dictionaries on my table - Le Petit Robert and Lo Zingarelli; Robert looks like a little baby comparing to the Italian Zingarelli. :D And still everyone will say that Italian is "easier" then French. Interesting paradox.

Week 12

Italian

A lot of listening this week. As I mentioned in my last log, I am reading/listening simultaneously the novel Cristo si è fermato a Eboli by Carlo Levi. So far I reached the episode 12, which is the page 108/259 in the book. Audiobooks can be found on Rai Radio 3, podcast Ad alta voce.

Another great Italian radio station is Rai Radio 6, sort of archives channel with a lot of interesting programs. I am particularly focused on Damascus (somebody has mentioned this podcast on the forum) where Italian writers present their five favorite novels in a really serious way (5x45 minutes for every writer). So, they have all the time in the world to speak slowly, relaxed, interrupted from time to time by some very nice classical music and readings; and it is not just about books - Gianrico Carofiglio, for example, starts his story with first pages of his favorite book and suddenly he can't stop speaking about his dog! I also loved the episode where he is talking about Il piccolo principe by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. A lot of excellent writers to discover: Roberto Saviano, Dacia Maraini, Melania Mazzucco etc.

This was definitely the week of Italian literature. I finally found some time to read ten printed pages from the novel Le piccole virtú by Natalia Ginzburg. We read it once during the course and I promised myself to spend more time with this text someday (chapter "Io e lui"). It was an easy reading but still fun.

Self-learning from the textbook Un giorno in italia 2, p. 70-72. Just two pages.

French

Some Guillaume Apollinaire's poetry to spice up this week. Well those were, officially, my first three poems in French. I guess it isn't very romantic when you read Apollinaire with a dictionary and your notebook and pencil - but hey - I enjoyed it very much and at least I learned some new sorts of birds and flowers. :mrgreen:
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Re: Robierre’s French & Italian C1/2 journal

Postby Robierre » Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:55 pm

Week 13

French

I love museums and enjoy very much audio tours. This week I was in Pantheon, one of the Parisian monuments I always wanted to visit. Museums can be really inspiring: standing in front of monumental frescoes, that morning, my curiosity was growing; Clovis, Charlemagne, why I now so little about these famous kings?; who was Sainte Geneviève? Jeanne d'Arc?; huge tombs of Voltaire and Rousseau; the heart of Leon Gambetta; Henri Bergson? he must be a philosopher, no?; Victor Hugo, "plus grand pour les Français que Dante, Petrarque et Bocaccio ensemble pour les Italiens"; I know that Les Miserables count some 1900 pages - but what is it about?; Iena, Austerlitz, Pyramides - at least I know that it has something to do with Napoleon... The next day I spent on wikipedia. Now I am ready for more.

Practical French. This week I was not just contemplating about the history; yesterday, I was witting an e-mail, it was 17.01 and I wanted to finish my message with a relaxed "bonne journée". Or should I rather put "bonne soirée"? 17.03. When is the right time to say "bonne soirée"? 17.07. I still remember my shocked reaction in Italy when I heard "buona sera" right after lunch. :o 17.12. What about "bonne après-midi"? 17.15. OK, my final choice is: Bonne fin d'après-midi. :D

Buying clothes. I used the expression "une taille plus grande" to ask for bigger trousers; "I should go a size bigger". I still have to do a research on the internet but probably it's broken French.

Italian

Listening+reading: Carlo Levi - Cristo si è fermato a Eboli, episodes 12-19, pages 73-186/259

TV: Che tempo che fa, Sunday evening talk show in prima serata on Rai3 (classiche conversazioni 'one to one' tra Fabio Fazio e i grandi ospiti nazionali e internazionali)
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Re: Robierre’s French & Italian C1/2 journal

Postby sctroyenne » Wed Sep 30, 2015 10:45 pm

Robierre wrote:Week 13

French

I love museums and enjoy very much audio tours. This week I was in Pantheon, one of the Parisian monuments I always wanted to visit. Museums can be really inspiring: standing in front of monumental frescoes, that morning, my curiosity was growing; Clovis, Charlemagne, why I now so little about these famous kings?; who was Sainte Geneviève? Jeanne d'Arc?; huge tombs of Voltaire and Rousseau; the heart of Leon Gambetta; Henri Bergson? he must be a philosopher, no?; Victor Hugo, "plus grand pour les Français que Dante, Petrarque et Bocaccio ensemble pour les Italiens"; I know that Les Miserables count some 1900 pages - but what is it about?; Iena, Austerlitz, Pyramides - at least I know that it has something to do with Napoleon... The next day I spent on wikipedia. Now I am ready for more.


My last visit to Paris was the first time I finally visited the Pantheon. There was a huge exhibition on John Jaurès and I remember most of the people you mentioned plus Aimé Césaire, Toussaint Louverture, and Marie and Pierre Curie. Also it seems a lot of people died on my birthday. :(

I recommend you visit the Basilique Saint-Denis whenever you get a chance.
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