vendredi 21 août 2009

'Every' (all) and 'Some' in French

everything (all)



tout le monde (lit. 'all the world')


partout (par tout, lit. 'by/through all')

every time

chaque fois (lit. each time)

every day

tous les jours, chaque jour (lit. 'each day')

every week

toutes les semaines

every month

tous les mois

every year

tous les ans

every morning

tous les matins

every evening

tous les soirs


quelque chose


quelqu'un (quelque un)


quelque part (lit. 'some piece/portion')


quelquefois, parfois

someday / one day

un jour

The spacing between the two words is a bit annoying. Is it there, or not? Even in English I sometimes have problems figuring out if two words are supposed to be joined or not!

jeudi 20 août 2009

Books about life in France part III

1. Buying a piece of Paris : finding a key to the city of love / Ellie Nielsen.
2. Culture wise France : the essential guide to culture, customs & business etiquet / Joe Laredo.
3. Extremely pale rosé : a very French adventure / Jamie Ivey.
4. Words in a French life : lessons in love and language from the south of France / Kristin Espinasse.
5. My French connection : coming to grips with the world's most beautiful but baffling country / Sheryle Bagwell.

So I borrowed these books and here are my thoughts:

1. Pretty fluffy. I enjoyed it but definitely wouldn't recommend it, unless you fit the genre of the audience which is middle-class bored dreamy housewives.
2. Really interesting and useful. It's more of a guidebook and has coloured photos. Easy to read, you can just read the bits or chapters you are interested in. Talks a lot about French culture and society from a French person's point of view and Joe doesn't hold back either! He's not afraid to 'bash' his country, people, government, etc.
3. Haven't started reading this but I flipped through it and don't think I'll read it because I'm not interested in wine at all and I feel like the book won't interest me that much after I quickly scanned some chapters.
4. I started it but don't think I'll read it through. I don't find it that interesting and it's pretty much just a book version of her blog anyway. (French word a day)

5. I finished this the other day, over 2 days/sittings. I really enjoyed this book, written by yet another female Australian (Sydneysider) journalist. It was published in 2006 so fairly recent, although the author first went to France (Paris) in 1988. There, she met her future (Canadian) husband and then they moved back to France and went to live in Lyon. Now they are both around or over 50 and don't have any children and I got the feeling through them that you could have a very fulfilling and happy life without kids so long as you had enough money to keep you going and enough hobbies and interests to keep you happy and occupied and social.

The book was a bit similar to Sarah Turnbull's "Almost French" but not nearly as personal and not really that funny. Sheryle writes a lot about the historical, political, economical, and social aspects of France and the French people, which was quite interesting. She was obviously well informed, well read, and made some interesting observations. But I admit that for someone who is not an academic, towards the end I was getting a bit tired of reading about all the current affairs (of that time/year) etc etc and I wanted more meaty juicy details of her personal life there, and her relationship with her husband etc etc.

One of my favourite chapters is where she talks about her trying to learn French and failing and then when she started to get the hang of it they moved out of the country... She and her husband, Michael, criss-crossed over the world, came back to Sydney, then lived/worked in London for a few years as well. In 2006 they came back to Sydney.

There's also an interesting and slightly amusing chapter on dogs in France and how they are revered and noone but the tourists care about the amounts of dog excrement seen on the footpaths... I must admit, in my 2 days there last time I went to Paris I honestly don't remember seeing any at all. I think it's one of those things where if you keep thinking about it you just end up seeing it more often!

I enjoyed reading about Lyon and how it's the gastronomic capital of France... Incidentally, I met a family the other day on the train who come from Lyon. It's not often that I hear people speaking French in Sydney (although Chinese, Hindi, Arabic, Korean, Greek, Italian are common) and my ears pricked up when I heard them speaking. At first I thought I was imagining it but then I realised I was right. It wasn't until we were both about to get off (at the same stop, coincidentally!) that I started talking to the lady (mother). In hindsight she was polite and friendly but she did feel a bit cold and aloof and not all that warm... then after that I had read in the book that people in Lyon are seen like that, even by most people within France due to their location, and history and their rivalry with Paris (they are the second largest city in France), etc.

(You can read an extract here)

7 weeks of learning French

It's been 7 weeks since I started learning French and so far I have:

  • Done up to the end of CD 8 Lesson 4 (of 8 CDs, last lesson is CD8/L12) of Michel Thomas French

  • Done up to the end of Level II Lesson 6 (of 3 levels x 30 lessons) of Pimsleur French

  • Done up to Week 7 Day 3 (of 7 weeks x 7 days) of Teach Yourself Starter Kit French

  • Done up to the end of Lesson 15 of Coffee Break French (by Radio Lingua network)

  • Did FSI - French Phonology - Chapter 01 1.1

  • Started Assimil and did up to end of Lesson 6

Michel Thomas is coming to an end.. no.. I don't want it to end because I love his method of teaching so much. It feels like you have your own personal tutor so much. I don't think I'd get as much out of Pimsleur if I didn't do MT at the same time.

With Pimsleur this week - I found Lessons 1, 2, 3, 4 relatively easily and so far have had to play most lessons 1-3 times but when i got to Lesson 5 I had to play it 5-6 times before it sunk in.

I started the free FSI course. The voice is really scary. It sounds like something from the 30s or 40s during WWII.. like some kind of radio announcer voice. It's quite weird and funny though. The repetition was starting to get annoying towards the end but I guess I learnt something about pronunciation and learning to hear the sounds correctly.

I also started Assimil this week and I feel like the pace is too quick so I go over each lesson a few times, listening and reading several times (and repeating out loud) to make sure it sinks in. However, since I've only just started I already knew most of the vocab and grammatical structures but I'm sure it'll get much harder later on.

I did lessons 1, 2 and 3 straight after each other on the first day and my method was this:

1. Write out the story/dialogue (in French) and do the exercises (both written down, and orally).
2. Go to the previous lesson and looking at the French side only, translate it into English.
3. On the third day, write down the third dialogue, go back to the first dialogue (in French, from the book) and translate that into English, and translate the second one from English into French.

Hopefully that made sense. So you can see why I did the first 3 all in one go. And why I'm now up to lesson 6, because I was doing them in groups of 3s but now I'm just doing one per day, or maybe 2 if they are easy/short.

Early Childhood Education in Bilingual Language Acquisition

I'm fascinated by the subject of how babies and children learn languages.. these videos are pretty good:

Part I

Part II

Part III

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