PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

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PeterMollenburg
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Re: Pete Mollenburg's Adventures in the Matrix in French and Dutch

Postby PeterMollenburg » Thu Dec 13, 2018 6:03 am

Exasperated wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:
Thank you Exasperated. I truly appreciate the positive feedback.

How is your language journey/learning going if you are on one? (if you want to comment, if not, no probs).

I'm surprised sometimes when I read that people are actually interested in reading even some parts of my log. It makes me think, okay, maybe I have something useful to say after all from time to time (other times, perhaps not), and maybe it's worth sticking around. I say that in part because I often harbour feelings of just pissing off into oblivion and some of those reasons are probably attention seeking while others are more attention avoidance. Anyway, inspiration is certainly a positive thing, I feel.

I'm currently attempting to get back into a little bit more of a serious routine again. As I type this I was contemplating doing some more Fluenz French 5, and I think I've just decided to go to sleep early and perhaps read a few pages of a French book as I wind down instead since I'm somewhat exhausted.

You know in some ways I do feel I missed my mark, as I didn't obtain the C-level certificate(s) I was chasing (yet?), but in other ways I'm so impressed with where I am at, particularly in relation to my children who speak only French with me. No, I'm not perfect, but it's certainly not an easy feat to take yourself up to a high enough level with extremely little native speaker interaction and then have your children speak to you in this language all day every day (okay when I am around). I'm not boasting, honestly, just stating it how it is, and that is pretty content, but oddly still not quite satisfied.

Anyway thanks again Exasperated, I hope your language learning is indeed going well. As iguanamon often points out being consistent is one of the most important ingredients in language learning. So 10 seconds a day, and you'll be right :shock: Hmmm, maybe 11.

Throw a chook over your middle shoulder.


It's been a fascinating read - I've personally gotten a lot out of it. It would be a real shame for you to leave, there are any number of people (both silent and vocal) who are invested in your continued success - I think sharing the ups/downs/backflips of such a big endeavour gives a back a great deal to the community; even with the occasional controversial opinion thrown in for good measure :D


I'm glad to hear you've got something beneficial out of it, and that others perhaps might as well is a bonus.

Exasperated wrote:The C-level certificate is an interesting question - would it scratch the itch/ grant some closure (a terrible term to describe a perpetual learning process)? Maybe? I have the same thoughts about German, I'm in such a great place with the language, can do virtually everything I would like; yet there is the slightest lingering sense of unfinished business. Yet at the same time the necessary preparation, time and financial investment just don't seem to justify the payoff. Not to mention, I suspect those feelings stem from a comparison of the native language to L2 which will always throw the discrepancy into contrast; and a piece of paper is unlikely to do much about that - beyond the initial surge of (well justified) pride of course.


Some pretty insightful reflections there, I don't believe I disagree.

Exasperated wrote:In regards to my language learning - I've begun Italian in the last couple of weeks - still in that tranquil honeymoon phase before the annoying quirks become too apparent :lol: Previously I learned German, though I use the term learn rather loosely, as in contrast to this current project it was a rather laissez faire endeavour. This more structured (though still not quite up to your standards) approach is most unlike the me of old, but objectively has to lead to better results - if through nothing more than the consistency you (and iguanamon) mention.


Well good luck with your Italian endeavour! And keep up the German!

Exasperated wrote:You've done so much already mate, getting to share it with your children is another really interesting side adventure - I really hope you do continue to check in, I'll certainly be following along!


Thanks for the kind words again Exasperated. I'm more likely than not to stick around, I'm still undecided as to whether a new log is order once I'm in Saudi (late Jan/early Feb).

Anyway, thank you again and keep up the consistent study!
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: Pete Mollenburg's Adventures in the Matrix in French and Dutch

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:46 am

2018-

A year of loads more French, but certainly not as much as I had hoped. A mixture of resources utilised, French becoming more natural and automatic (ingrained), a ditched C1 attempt, reintroducing Spanish and Dutch, starting Norwegian, readying myself for Arabic, dropping Norwegian and Spanish and continuing with French and Dutch here at the end of the year.

I am still amazed with how many gaps there are in my French, but at the same time I have this internal excitement on how ingrained/fluid/natural my everyday French has become, and I think speaking with my children exclusively in French and reading them stories has helped a lot. My listening still has some pretty decent holes in all honesty, and in reading I’m not exactly reading Tolkien, but hey it’s still improving, and that’s certainly the main aim.

Currently I have been working on Fluenz French 5, which is helping me re-tweak my pronunciation. I’d mentioned recently that my French ‘r’ was too strong and I believe I’m already successfully watering it down. What’s helping a lot is the audio of Fluenz French 5, that is all the sentences I am shadowing, attempting to mimmick as closely as possible, pronunciation, tone etc, albeit I have had to listen particularly hard.

Around a week ago, while using some noisy power tools, I used some earplugs. After I took them out, it still felt like my left ear was significanty blocked (with wax). Finally I went to the doc yesterday and the result was that I could hear so much better out of my left ear, that I had to readjust to hearing details that had progressively disappeared over a previous extended period of time (possibly years). The power tools was the final straw. Now when I hear myself speak I can more clearly hear the differences between the nasal vowels in ‘un’ and ‘hein’, and produce them with more confidence. So I ought to when you consider that after returning home from the doc, the rustle of a plastic bag sounded too loud!

I’ve also been very slowly working through Practis Makes Perfect: The French Subjunctive. A good balance with the Fluenz, as here I’m looking at more advanced grammar as opposed to a lot of shadowing of sentences that don’t stretch my brain’s capacity, but train my brain/phoneme production coordination.

In Dutch, a rather recent language to get into the serious nature of my routine, I’ve been using some courses I’ve previously completed but quite a number of years ago now-

Collins Gem Dutch Phrasebook
Very very easy stuff and took very little effort to go through. This isn’t really a course as such, more of phrasebook audio essential phrases. There were perhaps a couple/few words I couldn’t recall and I didn’t really care. Why do it? To repave those nueral pathways, and why not since I have it on hand.

Teach Yourself Dutch Conversation
Kinda similar to above but a little longer, also completed very quickly.

Michel Thomas
I’ve completed the beginner’s level of 8 CDs. I’m onto the Advanced level now of 4 CDs. I don’t do any of these audio programs at home. If I’m driving, my time is shared between French and Dutch, so that’s when these courses feature.

Pimsleur
Started it, but pretty quickly opted for MT instead. I’m likely to do a quick run through of just the conversations to see if any one lesson warrants further attention, otherwise it’s a big waste of time, because it’s just far too easy. Well, at least that’s impression I’ve had from the first lesson. Perhaps by lesson whatever I may feel like I can stomach going through the whole lesson as will be useful.

One thing Dutch has over my study of French, is that time on accent/pronunciation is FAR less with Dutch. This is because I’ve gone beyond B1 before in Dutch and because I find the pronunciation requires less focus.

VocabuLearn
A good deal of the way through level one.

Hugo Dutch in 3 Months
Another course again I’ve completed before. I’m up to week 10 out of 12, so great progress. A few grammatical rules i’ve had to re-embed on my memory, but it’s not as if I’m learning it from scratch.
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: Pete Mollenburg's Adventures in the Matrix in French and Dutch

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:57 am

Right near the end of writing that last post, something was brought up with me I thought was dead and buried. The contentious issue of using French with my children around my in-laws.

Here’s a little reminder-
While living with my in-laws back in 2012, my wife and I were informed that while living under their roof, there’d be no Dutch spoken (my wife and I had a tendency to use it a bit as we’d be living there in NL in 2011 studying the language) and that only English should be used. I accepted their stance as it was not my house. Their house, their rules.

A couple years back a 1 hour car ride (myself, father-in-law and my daughter) led to an argument between myself and my father-in-law. He told me he didn’t want me speaking French around him with my daughter, citing reasons of exclusion and such things that to me point to paranoia and control issues. I said no, it wasn’t going to happen, that i’ll be speaking to her in French and basically he wasn’t going to stop me.

Current situation. We are staying with them for a few weeks prior to going to Saudi. I’ve just been informed that while staying with them that they do not want me speaking French to my children. Okay, some perspective here. I have never spoken a full sentence of English directly to my children. My daughter is 4 and a half years old. Wtf man. I’m angry. I don’t feel that I should have to compromise my values so they can have their f**ng paranoia or control issues appeased. :x
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Re: Pete Mollenburg's Adventures in the Matrix in French and Dutch

Postby Fortheo » Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:04 am

PeterMollenburg wrote:Right near the end of writing that last post, something was brought up with me I thought was dead and buried. The contentious issue of using French with my children around my in-laws.

Here’s a little reminder-
While living with my in-laws back in 2012, my wife and I were informed that while living under their roof, there’d be no Dutch spoken (my wife and I had a tendency to use it a bit as we’d be living there in NL in 2011 studying the language) and that only English should be used. I accepted their stance as it was not my house. Their house, their rules.

A couple years back a 1 hour car ride (myself, father-in-law and my daughter) led to an argument between myself and my father-in-law. He told me he didn’t want me speaking French around him with my daughter, citing reasons of exclusion and such things that to me point to paranoia and control issues. I said no, it wasn’t going to happen, that i’ll be speaking to her in French and basically he wasn’t going to stop me.

Current situation. We are staying with them for a few weeks prior to going to Saudi. I’ve just been informed that while staying with them that they do not want me speaking French to my children. Okay, some perspective here. I have never spoken a full sentence of English directly to my children. My daughter is 4 and a half years old. Wtf man. I’m angry. I don’t feel that I should have to compromise my values so they can have their f**ng paranoia or control issues appeased. :x


I'm not married so I can't imagine having to compromise on my morals for in-laws like that, but frankly I feel second hand frustration for you. Unlike your in-laws, I don't want to tread into a subject where I don't belong--your relationship with your kids and french-- so I won't say anymore about it, but honestly I'd be feel the same way as you do in your situation. I hope you can find some type of solution.
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Re: Pete Mollenburg's Adventures in the Matrix in French and Dutch

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:53 am

Fortheo wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:Right near the end of writing that last post, something was brought up with me I thought was dead and buried. The contentious issue of using French with my children around my in-laws.

Here’s a little reminder-
While living with my in-laws back in 2012, my wife and I were informed that while living under their roof, there’d be no Dutch spoken (my wife and I had a tendency to use it a bit as we’d be living there in NL in 2011 studying the language) and that only English should be used. I accepted their stance as it was not my house. Their house, their rules.

A couple years back a 1 hour car ride (myself, father-in-law and my daughter) led to an argument between myself and my father-in-law. He told me he didn’t want me speaking French around him with my daughter, citing reasons of exclusion and such things that to me point to paranoia and control issues. I said no, it wasn’t going to happen, that i’ll be speaking to her in French and basically he wasn’t going to stop me.

Current situation. We are staying with them for a few weeks prior to going to Saudi. I’ve just been informed that while staying with them that they do not want me speaking French to my children. Okay, some perspective here. I have never spoken a full sentence of English directly to my children. My daughter is 4 and a half years old. Wtf man. I’m angry. I don’t feel that I should have to compromise my values so they can have their f**ng paranoia or control issues appeased. :x


I'm not married so I can't imagine having to compromise on my morals for in-laws like that, but frankly I feel second hand frustration for you. Unlike your in-laws, I don't want to tread into a subject where I don't belong--your relationship with your kids and french-- so I won't say anymore about it, but honestly I'd be feel the same way as you do in your situation. I hope you can find some type of solution.


Hi Fortheo,

Thanks for dropping by again, Fortheo. You've been dropping in now and again for a good deal of time, thank you. Yes, the situation is extremely frustrating. In the past I'd be happy to be 'flexible'. Nowadays, I'm more about standing my ground (I think :? ), but again, i'm not going to do so. To keep the peace I have to compromise here because they are simply absolutely not willing to even consider things from my angle. It's a real shame. I actually genuinely would like to be closer to my in-laws, but they seem to be that introverted and unwilling to accept differences in people that they are driving me further away. I couldn't give a shit about speaking English myself, but forcing me to speak English with my children really digs at me and I find it very hard now to find peace in the relationship I have with my in-laws. Well actually peace is attainable, but from my side i'm less and less willing to invest energy in my relationship with them. It frankly has my ego imagining several egocentric reactions that really won't help better the situation. Never have they seemed to ever want to understand me, my interests, what drives me, but always have they wanted me to be something I'm not. This is another example and if it was't for me wife's request to keep the peace, I frankly would not be (keeping the peace).
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: Pete Mollenburg's Adventures in the Matrix in French and Dutch

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:29 pm

Dammit, this really is a frustrating situation...

I thought, okay, yeah, alright, get over it, English it is. But then I think, no, why should I be forced into speaking English. Then I think, okay, their house.... dammit!! I then think, okay, do everything I can to avoid using English with my children, so don't spend time with my in-laws and my children at the same time. But then am I being childish or am I being myself and standing my ground? If it affects the relationship my children have with their grandparents is that my fault or theirs? or both even? .... soooo frustrating. If anyone feels they do have any suggestions, by all means suggest away.

I was thinking stuff it, i'll just speak French and they can (beep) throw me out if they want, then who's got the issue? But my wife doesn't want to rock the boat. Meanwhile, I do (regrettably, honestly), want to rock the boat, because my hand is being forced, well no, I'm being told what to do. Do I speak French anyway and translate. That would be cumbersome, and likely lead to tension, but do I attempt it? Or do I just speak English and resolve myself to rarely ever returning to their house? Idiots, they've no fucking idea that they are driving me to want to distance myself from them all the while they are trying to convince us to not go to Saudi. Stupid stupid stupid... or am I just stubborn?
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Re: Pete Mollenburg's Adventures in the Matrix in French and Dutch

Postby Skynet » Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:11 pm

DISCLAIMER: I am neither married nor have children.

PM, how did your in-laws become so aggrandised to the point of dictating how you are to speak with your children? I can empathise (barely) with their aversion to your Dutch misdemeanours with your wife (Oh, the temerity of speaking privately with your wife!), but they have absolutely no right to say anything about your relationship with your children. If anything, they should be picking up French so that they can find something in common with them! It's not as if you were clandestinely speaking in French, it was obvious and they knew this prior to their accepting you before your KSA departure! Do they really want to be debriefed on a private chat between a dad and a 4 year old? This kind of brinkmanship only succeeds in creating an insurmountable chasm between you and the overreaching in-laws. I was under the impression that one only had presumptuous governments trying to redefine what constitutes an acceptable relationship with one's children to contend with, but impertinent in-laws!? They are not to be tolerated at all.

Oh, and about trying to convince you to give up on your KSA adventure? Well, they can only give gentle suggestions (as we all have here when you brought it up), but that's it. Ultimately, you and your wife decide what is best for your children, not the children's grandparents.

Methinks you should talk to them politely (after all, they are your wife's parents and children's grandparents) and tell them that you will continue to speak to them (children) in French and that they are more than welcome to learn French or simply continue to speak to them (grandchildren) in English. Keeping quiet since Dutch-gate is what emboldened them to dictate these terms to you.
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Re: Pete Mollenburg's Adventures in the Matrix in French and Dutch

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:30 pm

Skynet wrote:DISCLAIMER: I am neither married nor have children.

PM, how did your in-laws become so aggrandised to the point of dictating how you are to speak with your children? I can empathise (barely) with their aversion to your Dutch misdemeanours with your wife (Oh, the temerity of speaking privately with your wife!), but they have absolutely no right to say anything about your relationship with your children. If anything, they should be picking up French so that they can find something in common with them! It's not as if you were clandestinely speaking in French, it was obvious and they knew this prior to their accepting you before your KSA departure! Do they really want to be debriefed on a private chat between a dad and a 4 year old? This kind of brinkmanship only succeeds in creating an insurmountable chasm between you and the overreaching in-laws. I was under the impression that one only had presumptuous governments trying to redefine what constitutes an acceptable relationship with one's children to contend with, but impertinent in-laws!? They are not to be tolerated at all.

Oh, and about trying to convince you to give up on your KSA adventure? Well, they can only give gentle suggestions (as we all have here when you brought it up), but that's it. Ultimately, you and your wife decide what is best for your children, not the children's grandparents.


Perhaps I am in biased company here, however, because...

...A quick search of the internet provides me with a swathe of, I think predominantly monolingual English speakers, considering it rude for others to speak foreign languages around them when those same people could conduct a conversation in English (side note: it's not hard for 'the powers that be' to figure out what I'm thinking about is it? Isn't the internet just wonderful Mr PM, sure is Mr Puppet Master). Hell, if this ends up the unspoken international 'rule', before long everyone in the fucking EU will be speaking English to accommodate for all the insecurities of the monolinguals, or those with only ;) English plus whatever their native European language may be.

Yes my feathers are ruffled. I really want to stick it to them and continue to do WTF I feel is right, regardless of their insecurities. Yes you are onto something, lots of political talk with my 4 y/o and discussions on how we are going to overthrow the household in a military-style coup with sticks from the bush and leaves with scary drawings on them. In the end we'll have them all speaking French dammit... ahahahahahaha (evil laugh, of course) :?

I think by this stage in their lives they don't think much of me, because they know next to NOTHING about me... why? Because anything I might want to disucss leads nowhere much at all, since it would reveal too much of my character, a character they simply wouldn't like and would have to feel the need to change or worse call for psychological evaluation on, because I don't fit with how I should - i.e. a drone who thinks and acts as expected. It may sound as though I am ranting, or being harsh, perhaps I am, but the thing is, they judge everyone who does not live the way they do. It's bullshit and I'm f**ng pissed I seemingly have to comply with their insular xenophobic dictatorship. Grrrrrrrrr
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Re: Pete Mollenburg's Adventures in the Matrix in French and Dutch

Postby rdearman » Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:33 pm

Happy medium here I think. You make an agreement with them. While staying in their house you will speak in English only. When they visit your house in future, they will speak only in French or Arabic. Compromise right? So if they want to see their grandchildren, they learn another language or they butt the hell out of how you raise your kids. If they pick the first option, tell them about the forum. We'll be happy to help them learn another language. :twisted:

EDIT: If they argue that it isn't right for them to be forced to speak a language they normally wouldn't just to stay with family.... well, they really don't have a leg to stand on do they?
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Re: Pete Mollenburg's Adventures in the Matrix in French and Dutch

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:42 pm

rdearman wrote:When they visit your house in future, they will speak only in French or Arabic.


I wish! Years ago, prior to them visiting Europe (including France), I lent them Hugo French in 3 Months. They returned it not having done much, if any of it, perhaps a few weeks later as it was deemed too difficult. To be fair, it seems they were just after some tourist phrase-book style learn 5 minutes before you arrive kind of thing. I thought I would've at least gained some respect then (that what I 'do' takes some kind of effort, and imparting a language onto my children is no easy feat and requires certain strict boundaries). For them, taking the learning of another language seriously would be the perfect scenario, as they simply lack understanding. It's late, I need to get over my anger and go to sleep, attentive children with boundless energy await me in the early hours - and I must INDOCTRINATE THEM WITH FRENCH!!!!! :twisted:
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