Zelda's 2019 French Log

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Cavesa
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Re: Zelda's 2019 French Log

Postby Cavesa » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:02 pm

zjones wrote:In good news, I've started taking classical singing lessons again for the first time in 10 years, and my teacher is encouraging me to keep up my spoken French for singing songs in the language.

Awesome! I haven't been taking classes for half a year and I miss it. Enjoy your classes!
It is just funny, that the French classical singing sometimes requires the exact opposite of the normal pronunciation (such as "r"). It takes some getting used to.
zjones wrote:So far I've only had two lessons, and we are working on the Alexander technique and the song Smoke Gets in Your Eyes from Roberta. The first week I couldn't really figure out how to relax my lower back, but this week we figured out a trick or two to get me to let go. Apparently I just walk around with my back and abs contracted all the time... :lol:

Yes, actually relaxing is a hard thing to do :-D My most problematic part was the jaw. I probably speak with my jaw tightened a lot, and learning to relax it was not easy at all. The back and abs could be tricky too. But perhaps it is less of a problem than being used to them being too relaxed all the time.

I'm curious about your progress in some non English songs! Will be fun!

zjones wrote:In December I put a stop to my phone addiction and regained a lot of that extra energy. I got back into reading (in English), working out, watercolor and yoga. I clawed my way out of my current job position, got assertive with my boss, and I'm now hiring my own replacement so I can be promoted.

Wow! You're my hero.

Any recs for B2+ French programs/courses would be awesome.

There are only 3 classroom aimed courses going up to C1, as far as I'm informed. I like Édito the most. Have a look at the B2 and C1 books, perhaps you'll like one of them. The other two are Alter Ego and Tendances.
The Progressive books are excellent. Either Avancé or Perfectionnement.
The CLE books on the individual skills are not bad, but not sure, whether they are worth the money.
There are several DELF/DALF preparation books with great exercises.
As far as digital resources go,Kwiziq is good, Speakly may still be valuable at your level (even though it is the best for intermediates, in my opinion), and +French courses by Eunoia on decks.memrise might serve you really well, if you use the ignore button on too easy words.
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zjones
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Re: Zelda's 2019 French Log

Postby zjones » Sun Apr 05, 2020 9:33 pm

I hope that everyone is healthy and safe.

I am working from home now, and my husband is furloughed. I'm finally in the job position I longed for, so that is nice, although I wasn't expecting to have my entire work life upended just as I started training! We are in a US state that has a "Stay Home" order, which we are following as best we can.

This morning, an hour into his coffee, my husband announced, "Let's learn Spanish." Intrigued, I pried a little bit and it turns out he was completely serious. I'm the only one who has made a semi-serious foray into a language other than French, but that didn't go so well due to lack of resources and time. (Assimil Le Grec is still sitting on my shelf, mocking me.)

I ordered the current version of Assimil Spanish with Ease on Amazon, since I enjoyed the French Assimil so much. With Spanish I am more optimistic for various reasons, many of which are easy to guess, like exposure to Spanish and the relation of the language to French. Besides, without classes and driving commutes eating up my evenings, I have a lot more free time on my hands. Somewhat sheepishly, I admit I have been using most of my free time playing Animal Crossing New Horizons. MY EYES ARE SO SQUARE NOW. :cry:

Anyway, I don't have grand plans for Spanish. It will simply be a part of my day -- like meditation and reading -- that helps distract me from news, stress and social loneliness. I'm curious to see if I experience any cross-over or confusion with Spanish and French.

Bye now!
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Iversen
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Ahem, not yet: Norwegian, Afrikaans, Platt, Scots, Russian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Albanian, Greek, Latin, Irish, Indonesian and a few more...
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Re: Zelda's 2019 French Log

Postby Iversen » Sun Apr 05, 2020 9:42 pm

Hurray - I have learned a new English word: "furloughed".
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zjones
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Re: Zelda's 2019 French Log

Postby zjones » Thu Apr 16, 2020 2:16 am

I received Assimil Spanish in the mail today and completed the first lesson.

During the wait for Assimil, M. did his own studying with Language Transfer Spanish. I did a few lessons as well, but it's hard for me to remember to study if there isn't a physical reminder lying on my coffee table. Now M. can speak short phrases in Spanish, and I admit to feeling irritated when he replies to me in Spanish as if I can understand him. :roll: Overall, I am happy he has time to practice and one-up me in Spanish, since I got to do that to him with French.

OK. So, we are at a fork in the road and trying to decide whether we're going to follow the Spain or Latin American pronunciation of the letter "c". We are both partial to the Latin American accent - and I prefer the Mexican accent in particular - but Assimil follows the Spain pronunciation. So we are trying to decide if it's worthwhile to listen to the Spanish accent but practice speaking in a Latin American accent, if that makes sense. If we do learn the Spain accent, will it be difficult to switch to the Latin American pronunciation? Advice from other Spanish learners/speakers is appreciated!
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eido
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Re: Zelda's 2019 French Log

Postby eido » Thu Apr 16, 2020 2:25 am

I don't think it should be difficult to switch pronunciations if you have a good base in one. As in, if you know the rough outline of the language, it should give you grounding for a nice springboard.

When I was learning Spanish in high school, we learned both accents at the same time for the sake of teaching a broader/wider view of the language that would make us well-rounded students. You could try that approach if it would help in the ultimate goal of fluency. For, after all, getting a "certifiable" [ ;) ] level of Spanish requires knowledge of all accents to a degree... or so I've heard. But I'm still a novice.
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jonm
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Re: Zelda's 2019 French Log

Postby jonm » Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:48 pm

zjones wrote:OK. So, we are at a fork in the road and trying to decide whether we're going to follow the Spain or Latin American pronunciation of the letter "c". We are both partial to the Latin American accent - and I prefer the Mexican accent in particular - but Assimil follows the Spain pronunciation. So we are trying to decide if it's worthwhile to listen to the Spanish accent but practice speaking in a Latin American accent, if that makes sense. If we do learn the Spain accent, will it be difficult to switch to the Latin American pronunciation? Advice from other Spanish learners/speakers is appreciated!

I'm in a similar situation with Portuguese. I might go to Portugal when travel is an option again, so it would make sense to learn European Portuguese, but I already have the Assimil for Brazilian Portuguese (and also, there are so many speakers of Brazilian Portuguese, and I like the way it sounds, and I can't go to Portugal right away anyway), so I'm starting out with that. I'm hoping to learn both varieties, though I haven't worked out the best way to do that without mixing them up. So if you do learn more than one variety of Spanish, I'll be interested in how it goes.

Here's what I can say about Spanish. For context, I'm probably a low C1, or maybe it's rusted into a high B2, and I mostly learned Spanish in Madrid and other parts of Spain that do make the distinción between /θ/ ("c" and "z") and /s/, so I do too.

First, if you decide not to distinguish between the two sounds, I don't think it will be a big impediment to understanding and being understood by speakers who do. Forum members from Spain could maybe give a fuller perspective than I can, but I think speakers who make the distinction will be fairly accustomed to hearing speakers who don't. (And even if they weren't, it wouldn't be a bigger barrier to communication than when non-native speakers of English pronounce /θ/ as [s] and /ð/ as [z] in English "th" words, which is pretty common and not a big deal, I don't think.)

And then this would only matter if you decide you want to distinguish between the two sounds in your own speech at least some of the time, but if you did start out following the pronunciation of the Assimil speakers and making the distinction, I think it would be easy to switch, but harder (not impossible) to do the reverse. The first way, you would be learning words with /θ/ in some places and /s/ in others, and you could fairly easily switch to pronouncing all the /θ/ sounds as [s] and switch back again, because you'd have categorized them separately in your mind as instances of a distinct phoneme. Whereas if you start out with a single phoneme /s/, it's harder to recategorize some instances of it later.

The wonderfully transparent spelling makes that fairly easy to do on the (probably rare) occasions when you're reading out loud, but for conversation, you kind of relearn a word at a time, making that little adjustment to the way you pronounce it. At least that's how it was for me when I got to Spain and switched from the pronunciation I'd learned in school in the US. (Also, even if you distinguish /θ/ and /s/ from the beginning, there will probably be a bit of that word-by-word adjusting because of cognates in English and French that don't have the /θ/ sound.)

But again, it's only an issue if you want to distinguish the sounds in your own speech, and if you decide not to, that won't really get in the way of talking to people who do. And it can be motivating to learn the accent you like best, or the accent of people you know or places where you might travel.

Hope that helps, and good luck with Spanish!
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zjones
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Re: Zelda's 2019 French Log

Postby zjones » Mon May 04, 2020 12:27 am

Thank you all for sharing your opinion on Spanish pronunciation! We've chosen to use the typical Spain pronunciation, which means using the /θ/ sound (thank you jonm for the IPA), and we will switch further down the road if necessary. I've warmed up to the Spain pronunciation and I enjoy hearing and saying it now.

I stopped using Language Transfer, so the only resource I'm using to learn Spanish is Assimil Español, and let me tell you... 15 lessons in and I am struggling with grammar and conjugation a lot. The lack of personal pronouns is confusing for me. With French, I got two pieces of information (personal pronoun and conjugated verb) to help me understand the sentence, but with Spanish I'm floundering. I'm not sure if I'll stick with Assimil as a single learning resource -- as a sort of test -- or if I'll buckle and start using a grammar book or website.

I'm only studying for about 15 minutes a day, following the Assimil method. That's the most I can give to active language study right now, especially considering that I don't feel extremely passionate about Spanish.

I've started birding seriously. This time I am trying to make it a habit by going out and doing "patch work" (studying birds in my local area) every evening after work. I am also trying to learn bird calls and songs to assist with bird ID and observation, and I wonder how closely that will parallel language/sound learning. My ear is not very attuned to bird song since I have only ever relied on visual identification. It's not as simple as knowing the song of a species, because there are regional and individual variations, so things can get very fuzzy very fast. For example, the Mountain Chickadees in my area tend to make a three note song "fee-bee-yee" in a minor key, with each note descending in pitch, which also closely resembles the initial notes in the song of a White-Throated Sparrow and a Golden-Crowned Sparrow.

In my birding notebook I am trying to keep track of the sound a bird makes and its corresponding behavior, but much of it is a mystery. Besides, I am garbage at memorizing or remembering which bird makes which song. I guess that is what makes it fun. :D
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Carmody
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Re: Zelda's 2019 French Log

Postby Carmody » Mon May 04, 2020 11:32 pm

If you are really serious about birding, Welcome Aboard!

You may wish to check this out also:
https://www.youtube.com/user/LesleytheBirdNerd
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