Euskara (berriro)

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nooj
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:05 pm

I found a French woman who is working here as an au pair! We talked and we agreed to have a language interchange next week, so that she could learn English and I could practise my French.

I'm happy, but I'm not sure how to best help her with her English, and vice versa. I reckon we should decide on a topic beforehand, so that there is a bit of structure around which we can be spontaneous.
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby rdearman » Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:10 pm

Don't know if it will help you, but when I used to do language exchanges, we used to pick 5 pictures each which we'd give to the other person who'd have to explain what they see in the picture. Always found that useful because each week was a lot of different photos and information exchanged and it wasn't always the same old tired, "what did you do this week" conversation.
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nooj
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:24 pm

That's a brilliant idea! Can I steal that idea?

Of course I will report back here on how it goes. :)
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby rdearman » Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:29 pm

nooj wrote:That's a brilliant idea! Can I steal that idea?

Of course I will report back here on how it goes. :)

No problem. :)
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nooj
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:00 am

Well today was my first meeting, but I didn't put your recommendation into practice. Instead it was a meet and greet...that lasted 3 hours. :lol:

I feel like she and I are around the same level for our respective languages. We talked about a load of things in French and English, I got some good vocabulary tips, and so did she, as well as lessons in pragmatics, why French people make those odd sounds that they do, and in what contexts (tak, uf, op), and also hand gestures etc, things that I was aware of but when someone explains it to you like that, it's valuable. I feel comfortable one on one speaking French. That means nothing though, I'm under no illusion that it will mean anything when I have to talk with 4 French people at the same time.

We're going to meet again tomorrow. Why so soon? Well, there's a jazz band playing and both of us like jazz, so we'll listen and talk again. And TOMORROW, I will put into practice your methodology rdearman! .

Having a determined partner is a great motivational boost.

On another note. I almost haven't touched Spanish in several months, and yet it feels as comfortable to me as slipping into a warm bath to talk or listen to Spanish. That is my kind of model for my other languages. I want to learn languages to a sufficient point where I can leave them for months at a time and come back without having lost too much.

I know that's too ambitious to aim for with my French or Catalan, seeing as I lived in Spain whereas I am artificially learning French and Catalan in Australia, but it is the kind of model. Last month was entirely Catalan, this month was entirely French. Out of boredom I listened to a Catalan talk without subtitles the other day and it was very comfortable for me, so I know it's working.

I feel like I am force feeding my brain French at this point, it's too much and I'm honestly getting bored of the language. I told this to my French partner today, I don't really like French as a language or French culture or even French people much (a shockingly ignorant comment, I know, I hope I can change). French Canada produces things that interest me more than France itself. So I'm going mostly based on momentum. I'm too far in to stop now.

She recommended me some books by Marcel Pagnol, and there's apparently some great movie adaptations of his works, so I'll read and watch those.

I want to continue on trying to advance to a new level in French for perhaps a month more, then keep it at a maintenance level (talking with my partner). I want to focus on Basque entirely the coming months. Basque just appeals to me far more as a language, and as I plan to go live in the Basque Country next year, it's really a necessity.
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:16 pm

Just randomly I remembered this Moroccan Arabic idiom, one of the first I learned when living in Morocco. Two days ago it was the Amazigh New Year. I miss Arabic.

وريني حناه يدك
Lit: Show me the henna of your hands
Meaning: Show me what you're made of.
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby emk » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:35 pm

nooj wrote:I feel like I am force feeding my brain French at this point, it's too much and I'm honestly getting bored of the language. I told this to my French partner today, I don't really like French as a language or French culture or even French people much (a shockingly ignorant comment, I know, I hope I can change). French Canada produces things that interest me more than France itself. So I'm going mostly based on momentum. I'm too far in to stop now.

Things will get a bit easier soon, when you can understand a larger variety of native media. Then, it becomes possible to take "breaks" from official studying, where you mostly just focus on an interesting French book or TV series, and you worry less about specifically learning French. Cool French media has carried me through many spells where I didn't want to study.

If you like stuff from Quebec, you might really enjoy the Paul series of bande dessinées. These are about a young Québecois boy growing up during La Révolution tranquille. They're incredibly nostalgic looks at everyday life. Don't ask me how I can possibly feel nostalgia for growing in Quebec, when I obviously did no such thing. I have no idea. But these books are pretty amazing if you like "slice of life" books, and they should be readable at your level.

Also, Bon cop, bad cop and Bon cop, bad cop 2 are both available for free on US Netflix at the moment, with either French or English subtitles. This is a hilarious, bilingual "buddy cop" film that switches between Quebec French and English mid-phrase. And the second film is tight and professional—they actually raised their game for the sequel. I would expect that you'll need subtitles for this.

Also—though this is probably still above your level—Radio Canada publishes a weekly science podcast called Les Années Lumières. This is about two hours long, and it's full of all kinds of interesting science stuff. Or, since you're interested in politics, you might enjoy this 4-part documentary on La Révolution tranquille. Ditto for the classic poem Speak White (text here). Both of these are too political to actually discuss on the forum (it just makes work for the moderators), but I think you might enjoy them. They certainly provide an interesting perspective on Quebec history.
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:54 am

First of all, I met my partner again.

How did it go? Rather well, I think.

The planned subject today was music and the celebrity world. We discussed about the ideal of feminine beauty in France vs the ideal of beauty in Australia, which was wide ranging and went from models, the rise of red-hair as a figure of beauty, to the French stereotype (that I didn't know existed!) that Asian women have flat busts.

There was also improvised things. We were sitting by a lake and there was a seagull. She didn't know how to say it in English, so I told her the name, and then I asked her to describe what it was doing, why it had one leg curled up like that, that lead onto what kind of animal she would like to be if she was reincarnated, she said sea animal because she liked the sea, I asked why the sea and not the mountains, she told me about her childhood trips to sea. All of it lead to a good 25 minutes of her talking in English, starting from a seagull of all things.

The opposite way around, this time in French, I also learned a lot about animals that one would meet on French roads (hérisson, cerf, biche), on the basis of me talking, in French obviously, about how it is more dangerous to actually stop for a kangaroo on the road than to run it over!

I have to revise my previous assessment, I actually think I speak better French than she speaks English, but we are close enough in level that neither of us are losing out. In fact, it probably benefits me, because she reverts back to French more often than I do to English. So today's discussion was like 60% French and 40% English, but that's not going to be good for her, it should be more even. Personally I would be happy if it was 100% French, but I'm not being a good partner then am I. :mrgreen:
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:00 pm

emk wrote:
nooj wrote:I feel like I am force feeding my brain French at this point, it's too much and I'm honestly getting bored of the language. I told this to my French partner today, I don't really like French as a language or French culture or even French people much (a shockingly ignorant comment, I know, I hope I can change). French Canada produces things that interest me more than France itself. So I'm going mostly based on momentum. I'm too far in to stop now.

Things will get a bit easier soon, when you can understand a larger variety of native media. Then, it becomes possible to take "breaks" from official studying, where you mostly just focus on an interesting French book or TV series, and you worry less about specifically learning French. Cool French media has carried me through many spells where I didn't want to study.

If you like stuff from Quebec, you might really enjoy the Paul series of bande dessinées. These are about a young Québecois boy growing up during La Révolution tranquille. They're incredibly nostalgic looks at everyday life. Don't ask me how I can possibly feel nostalgia for growing in Quebec, when I obviously did no such thing. I have no idea. But these books are pretty amazing if you like "slice of life" books, and they should be readable at your level.

Also, Bon cop, bad cop and Bon cop, bad cop 2 are both available for free on US Netflix at the moment, with either French or English subtitles. This is a hilarious, bilingual "buddy cop" film that switches between Quebec French and English mid-phrase. And the second film is tight and professional—they actually raised their game for the sequel. I would expect that you'll need subtitles for this.

Also—though this is probably still above your level—Radio Canada publishes a weekly science podcast called Les Années Lumières. This is about two hours long, and it's full of all kinds of interesting science stuff. Or, since you're interested in politics, you might enjoy this 4-part documentary on La Révolution tranquille. Ditto for the classic poem Speak White (text here). Both of these are too political to actually discuss on the forum (it just makes work for the moderators), but I think you might enjoy them. They certainly provide an interesting perspective on Quebec history.


Hey thank you for the recommendations for the films, which I've heard so much about, and the podcast, which I haven't. That kind of science podcast is right up my alley of interests! And it's interesting how the BD is so well developed as an industry for Francophone countries, it's something that they definitely rival with English speaking countries.
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby emk » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:49 pm

nooj wrote:And it's interesting how the BD is so well developed as an industry for Francophone countries, it's something that they definitely rival with English speaking countries.

Oh, the BD situation is just awesome. Here's a picture of just one corner of Planète BD in Montreal:

Image
And this is only maybe 20% of the BDs they carry! Even better, they actually have a carefully curated selection: It's mostly a combination of things which are really popular, and things which are genuinely good, and they don't carry much "filler."

Of course, BDs are expensive, and it's hard to get a good selection unless you live in a French-speaking country. One possible option is to buy digital BDs using Izneo, which offers a 9€99/month subscription plan that allows you to choose among over 3,000 titles. They have reader apps for web browsers and tablets. It's much, much cheaper than buying physical BDs, and it can provide many hours of French entertainment per month. (They accept US credit cards, and last I checked, there weren't any geographical restrictions.)

Especially as intermediate student, I highly recommend looking into BDs. They're easy, they're fun, and the pictures help a lot. But also, there's actually really a lot of genuinely good BDs, with actual literary value. Or if you prefer fluff, there's plenty of that, too, in many genres.

I have some lists of my favorite media for intermediate French students on SensCritique. This list, in particular, has notes about which are easiest, and has links to sample pages of many BDs. If you're interested in politics, you might particularly enjoy Persepolis (an autobiography about growing up in Iran and moving to Europe) or Immigrants (real stories of French immigrants) or possibly Le Chat du rabbin (an Algerian rabbi living in Europe). Some of these are probably too political to actually discuss in the General Discussion subforum, but there's no problem with mentioning them in your log if you read them. If you prefer science fiction or thrillers or some other genre, well, there's lots of awesome choices there, too, and people will be happy to make recommendations.
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