After 389 days of Duolingo (and counting) and 11 months of Lingvist (I finished the app last Thursday, doing Lingivst Spanish now), I think I’ve become fluent in reading short declarative sentences in French nonfiction.
From last summer (now retrieved from the Drafts stash):
As I was Googling dictée web pages, it occurred to me that listening to dictées at various levels could be good listening practice.
I wonder if the dictées at tv5monde are good ?
Hi everyone – long time, no see – it’s so frustrating not to have more time to write (!)
I’m putting this post up on the fly.
A couple of days ago, Ed’s brother was mugged waiting for the train to Versailles.
He was standing on the platform when a group of young men surrounded him, ripped his wallet out of his pocket, then pushed him onto the train and took off running.
Just back from watching France beat Belgium — fantastically exciting — it’s astonishing how hair-raising a 1-0 game turns out to be. I had no idea.
Crowds are massed on the Champs-Elysées and cars are streaming down Avenue Maine, where we are, honking their horns and flying the Tricolore — yet, strangely, no one is turning parked vehicles over, stripping down to their underwear, or setting anything on fire.
If this were England, things would be different.
If this were Philadelphia, things would be completely different.
C. and Ed are watching the post-game coverage ….
C.: “They’re climbing light poles! I’m so proud of them!”
He came home with a big gash on his leg, which he says was worth it.
(Wifi and privacy restrictions are funky here, so we’ll see if the videos load. Preview isn’t working at the moment.)
I can’t believe I’m missing the 4th of July (worse yet, I’m missing the 4th in Tarrytown, which has a fantastic celebration) — and I’m going to be missing Bastille Day here in France, too, because we fly home that day.
I have no idea what Bastille Day is like here, and now I’m not going to find out.
Oh, well, c’est la vie !
(Progress report: I’m on the cusp of knowing why it’s C’est la vie, not Il est la vie.)
Happy 4th !
I guess the good news is that I got halfway through the sentence before it turned into gibberish.
I’m going to keep doing this one once a day until I can hear the “bonne annee” at the end.
Plus I like listening to Charles DeGaulle wish the nation a happy New Year.
I had been wondering whether homeschoolers use dictée. Turns out they do.
Fwiw, many classical homeschoolers do dictee. (Writing with Skill, the writing program by Susan Wise Bauer of Well Trained Mind fame emphasizes it, for instance.)
But it’s more for training kids to hold larger and larger chunks of information in memory.
I do a version of this with my freshmen students. I’ll post an example later. In my case the idea is to help them absorb the phrase-and-clause structure of formal prose. I ask them to write the sentence chunk-by-chunk instead of word-by-word.
I wonder whether dictée exercises are common in foreign language classes.
French L2 classes use dictée. At least, French classes do here in France. I don’t know about French classes in the U.S.
Ed learned French in France, and one of the standard classroom exercises was to listen to a sentence on a filmstrip, then write it from memory. He said it was incredibly hard to do, and incredibly useful, too.
Speaking of, I did my first dictée today.
Or are we talking about dicter, dicté, dictée, dictai, dictais, dictait, dictaient, dictez, …
Now I’m depressed.
This makes perfect sense:
I’ve often wondered how the level of French mastery you need to make sense of oral French compares with that for other languages. French is my best language, but, when it comes to rapid speech, I often find it easier to follow oral German.
One area where things that sound the same in French–and complicate things for native and nonnative speakers alike–are verb endings. All of the following endings, for example, share the same “close e” sound: -er, -é, -ée, –ai, -ais, -ait, -aient. So the following forms of the verb “to walk” all sound the same:
marcher: infinitive of “walk”
marché: past participle of “walk”
marchée: feminine singular of the past participle of “walk”
marchai: first-person singular past historic of “walk”
marchais: first and second person singular imperfect indicative of “walk”
marchait: third person singular imperfect indicative of “walk”
marchaient: third person plural imperfect indicative of “walk”
Because of this, the French dictée is as much an exercise in grammar as it is in spelling.
I often drop in on Camille Chevalier’s French Today website. (I’ve also bought her first book).
I recall her saying that French parents “are always teaching their children grammar” or words to that effect.
I wonder if this is what she was talking about ?
btw, she has a fabulous post about teaching French to a woman with memory problems that I’ll link to as soon as I get to it. Very interesting.
My good friend Debbie Stier was just here for a week — !
Debbie brought Donald C. Smith et al’s Learning to Learn with her and spent part of each day working her way through the text. It sounds fantastic. Using his techniques, she was easily remembering all of the salient points.
When I get back, tackling L-to-L is next on my list.
I just re-read the post about listening in French & discovered that the section on the reason French children write dictees makes no sense.
Should be fixed now.
UPDATE 6/17/108 re: le dictée
It’s really hard to understand spoken French.
I don’t understand spoken Spanish at all well, either, but still. With Spanish, it seems like I could understand a person speaking Spanish if I put my mind to it. Which I intend to do the minute I get back to the U.S. All these years studying Spanish, off and on, and still not fluent — arrgghh.
French is a different kettle of fish.
In case you’re wondering, I heard “Laurel.”
Then I walked across the room and heard Yanny.
Implicit learning (“information integration” learning) requires immediate feedback. You can’t do 10 items then find out which ones you got wrong. You have to do one at a time and get the answer before you move on.
Speaking of immediate feedback, this is the most important research on learning I’ve ever read.