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Old 03-04-20, 09:29 AM
  #76  
hfbill
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I started studying French with "Fluenz" which I found to be a great way to get started. It took me about 9 months to get through all five levels which brings you to a beginner/intermediate (A2) level. After I finished Fluenz, I moved on to "Coffee Break French" level 3 and after about 2 years, I just finished CBF level 4. Both Fluenz and Coffee Break offer courses in German, Spanish, Italian and other languages. I've been at it for almost 3 years now & I can read French reasonably well & carry on simple conversations well enough, but I still need subtitles when I watch French language movies and forget about the TV / Radio news etc. They just talk too damn fast for me and there are so many idiomatic expressions to learn. My point here is that you can indeed learn a language well enough to get by, but even reaching that level takes a sustained commitment over a significant period of time, months at least, but more likely years. So though it would be better than nothing, you shouldn't expect that a few weeks effort is going to get you very far, even if you do have a gift for language. There's just so much to learn!
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Old 03-04-20, 01:52 PM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by hfbill View Post
I started studying French with "Fluenz" which I found to be a great way to get started. It took me about 9 months to get through all five levels which brings you to a beginner/intermediate (A2) level. After I finished Fluenz, I moved on to "Coffee Break French" level 3 and after about 2 years, I just finished CBF level 4. Both Fluenz and Coffee Break offer courses in German, Spanish, Italian and other languages. I've been at it for almost 3 years now & I can read French reasonably well & carry on simple conversations well enough, but I still need subtitles when I watch French language movies and forget about the TV / Radio news etc. They just talk too damn fast for me and there are so many idiomatic expressions to learn.
Me too. I find it very difficult to pick up irony and whit, and the French themselves seriously lack staccato in the sense that they make every word flow into the next one. I noticed that Canadian French or West-African is much easier to follow because they speak in seperate words more. But I usually struggle more with simple conversations because of all the different words for daily stuff, while the 'academic' words are easy to recognize and translate.
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Old 03-04-20, 05:03 PM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by Connell View Post
Yes, No, Please, Thank You, Beer and Toilet. That will get you through most situations.
Yes, No, Please, Cheers, Bitter, WC
__________________
Genesis 49:16-17
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Old 03-04-20, 05:25 PM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Yes, No, Please, Cheers, Bitter, WC
There you go, see. You could almost pass for a native.
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Old 03-05-20, 02:58 PM
  #80  
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I can almost hold a conversation in French… at least in the dialect of French spoken in the French communities of Ontario, Canada. I am excited to go to another French speaking country at some point to see how much ridicule I get.
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Old 03-06-20, 08:25 PM
  #81  
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My French is a mash-up of "le parler parisien" (the French we were supposed to be learning in school) as spoken by my high school teachers (who were mostly from Morocco and Algeria), joual (the dialect I heard on the streets of Montreal), overlayed with the linguistic influences of places I've visited (e.g., Burgundy, Alsace, Romandy (the French part of the Switzerland), Charlevoix, Saguenay, Chaudière-Appalaches, etc.) Despite my exposure to various forms of French over many decades, my grasp of the language -- and my ability to communicate in it -- is fairly basic. Using the framework of Alliance Française (through whom I took one course), I refer to myself as being at "niveau S" -- Level S -- just enough French to survive!

I don't remember ever being ridiculed for speaking English-accented meh! French. My experience has been that the overlaps between French languages/dialects are greater than the differences between them, and that communication, wherever I have been, has been relatively easy, despite the occasional puzzled look!
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Old 03-07-20, 04:11 PM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
Me too. I find it very difficult to pick up irony and whit, and the French themselves seriously lack staccato in the sense that they make every word flow into the next one. I noticed that Canadian French or West-African is much easier to follow because they speak in seperate words more. But I usually struggle more with simple conversations because of all the different words for daily stuff, while the 'academic' words are easy to recognize and translate.
My French is fluent, but I find Quebecois French and some African French much harder to understand than European French. It's true, however, that the French language has a "liason" between words which results in one word often flowing into the next. The difficulty I sometimes have with Quebecois French is a combination of accent and vocabulary. Quebecois French has a lot of words which now have a different meaning there versus Europe. There is also quite a bit of slang, much of it from American English. And then there's Acadian French. I first encountered that in a few francophone pockets of Nova Scotia. It was virtually incomprehensible to me. I have also known several folks who came from French-speaking countries in Africa. Those who grew up speaking French in their own homes I find easy to understand. But those who only spoke French at school and spoke an African language at home, were much harder for me to understand because they typically had thick African accents.

I'm fascinated by accents and imitating sounds. I think I have a pretty good ear & tongue for hearing and imitating foreign sounds, but I also benefited from a college phonetics class which forced me to listen carefully to foreign sounds and to my own efforts to imitate them. I was recently in Mexico and every single American or Canadian I heard speaking Spanish had a thick North American accent, even those who were quite fluent in Spanish.

I've never had someone in France respond to me in English. I'm told that I have a slight accent which is unidentifiable. On recent trips, when French people have asked me my nationality (they routinely do this in tourist information offices, because they keep statistics), I've started asking them to guess. The most frequent guess is "Belgian", and I assume they think I'm a native Flemish speaker, though next time I'll ask.
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Old 03-07-20, 07:49 PM
  #83  
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re France French, I have lived in the french part of canada now for 35 years and I still find France French to be hard sometimes because of that "flowing into each other" thing going on.

and yes, as axo says, words and terms are diff, so its the other way around and I dont get stuff that is only in France, and is confusing sometimes.
On all of my bike trips in France, I've often playfully made people guess where I am from, and have won some free bananas or whatever from market stall people who got a laugh out of my challenge of making them guess.
All good fun, and I clearly find most French people to have good senses of humour, which I like a lot in people.
I think my spanish accent isnt too bad, but like you axo, I like listening and imitating accents.
and I think too, i have never had a french person france, respond in english, but thats probably because hardly any french people speak english, in my experience, or very very badly. Maybe more nowadays...
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Old 02-17-21, 09:29 AM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by Prowler View Post
When preparing for trips to Sweden and Italy I've tried Duolingo, Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur. Pimsleur is the only one that worked for me. After about a week on DuoLingo I could say "my cat ate the window on your table". Rosetta Stone was not effective for me as it was emmersion and I would look at a picture and wonder what part of the content I was supposed to pay attention to. Us engineers are a PIA to teach.

Pimsleur, however, scratched the itch: I wanted to be able to start every conversation in the native language, be civil and courteous then admit that I did not speak their language well and did they or someone speak English. And I wanted to say "thank you VERY much" a lot. That's was Pimsleur's approach too. And their degree of new words and repeating of previously taught words was just right. For me there is some gap between taught and learned so repetition and reuse of words and phrases is needed. Pimsleur CDs were very effective for both svenska and l'italiano. I'll use them again when I learn German.
Seconding this.

Pimsleur is great. I got pretty far into learning Mandarin, eventually went to China for a month (no bike) then kept it up once I got back. In addition to the reasons above, I also like Pimsleur because you don't need a phone, computer, or book. I had little 64kbps mp3 files loaded on an mp3 player and was able to sit in my car running through the lessons in privacy no matter where I was. I supplemented this with ChinesePod - which taught some more current slang/real-world phrases.

I also think it's important to get a ton of input, just listen to all kinds of audio (tv, music, newscasts) in your target language as much as possible. You might not be able to understand any of it at first but you get used to the cadence/inflection/pronunciation.

Last edited by surlylhtfan; 02-17-21 at 01:12 PM.
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