https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

One hundred days and one tree down!

Today marks my 100 days on Duo and also the day I conquered my french tree. Now I have a golden owl to show for it. Yay! I also got to level 10 of Spanish. So that's a bonus.

I'm still weak with the last 15-20 skills of the french tree. So for the rest of the month that's probably what I'm working on. After that, probably a lot of immersion from French to English and English to french. Unfortunately, this account doesn't have immersion, so this means I will probably never reach level 25 with this account.

A few things I learned in french:

"Oi" sounds more like "wa." So oiseau = wa-zu, voiture = v-wa-ture, boire = b-wa-r, soir = s-wa-r.

The lone "e" in the middle of the word is often silence. So devenir = dev-nir, promenade = prom-nade, médecine = mid-cine.

If the e is pronounced, and it's next to n or m, it sounds like o. So comment = com-mon, pense = ponse.

"i" is pronounced like "e" at the start of a word. So infirmier = enfirmier.

Figuring these things out does help a lot with the pronunciation.

I would like to personally thank Sitesurf, jrikhal, and a couple of other people for their help. Without them I couldn't have thoroughly understood what I 'm learning.

April 16, 2016

47 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Usagiboy7

Congrats on finishing your tree and landing on 100 days. (leveling up too! It's like a birthday party!) :D

April 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

Merci, merci! It's a great day!

April 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lento_Rodriguez

Congratulations!!!

April 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

Merci, merci!

April 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PlanNine16

Congrats! Glad you've learnt something new. À plus tard!

+Here's a lingot!

April 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

Merci, merci. Thanks for your lingot. Wait, are you a french native?

April 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PlanNine16

I'm actually from Canada and English is my native language. But I have started learning French at a fairly young age, then I went to French immersion school. So, I can speak French.

April 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

Oh, thanks for all the lingots. i didn't expect that, but with those, I'm 3 lingots shy from another milestone of 500. It does feel good finishing it.

Thanks again for all your support.

April 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/davidthompson

Epic. 100 days. What's the plan now?

April 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

There are a lot of plans. The question is whether I have time to follow through.

  1. As I mentioned above, I have about 20 weak skills. Tenses are a major part of it. I have until May 8th to straight them out. So 3 weeks.

  2. There is an A2 french course taught in french starting on May 9th at FUN-MOOC. I want to take it. Really hope I can make it through the end.

  3. kwiziq has a writing challenge series where I can translate a story from English to French, with all grammar lessons related to the story included. It has stories for A1, A2,... all the way to C1. So I can go up as far as my skills allow me to.

  4. FluentU has videos where it has captions that comes with a dictionary and the words link up to other videos so you can see and hear how a sentence is used and sounds in real life in various scenarios. I think it's a great tool for comprehension.

  5. Of course, there's immersion. I need to translate from English to French much more than from French to English. So hopefully I can give it some time.

Looking forward to the next 100 epic days. How's about you? How far are you on your tree and any plans?

April 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/davidthompson

Cool, nice links I will check them all out, thanks.

I am level 13 and on a plateau! I have no major plans just to keep chipping away on the side, do my bit everyday. I have some italian friends so hopefully i can talk to them soon and practice.

What is immersion that everyone mentions? How do you use that?

April 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Laykilibre

Don't assume you can't hit level 25 without immersion. Some of us did just that. And congrats on the tree!

April 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

How long did it take you to hit 25 and did you find the time well spent doing that?

April 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Laykilibre

Took me about 10 months. I tested ahead as far as I could when starting Duo, so I wasn't beginning from scratch. Some days, I did only 10 or 15 minutes' worth, other days I hit it harder. I had also been doing German from English and alternating German and French for part of that 10-month period (French on four days per week and German on the other three), so that definitely slowed me down; I would have hit 25 rather sooner otherwise. There were days on which I thought it was a bit too easy - the lessons for that day were not very challenging - but they did introduce new terms and phrases along the way, so it wasn't all like that. And I was determined to get that 25 after my username!

I would certainly advise you to give immersion a try and see if it is useful for you. I didn't find it very useful re: what I wanted to work on most, but YMMV. Just don't want anyone to think that Level 25 cannot be done without immersion, is my point!

April 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

I think immersion would be useful to translate from English to French. Instead of using what's available in there, I will find materials that match my level to upload. So I think it should be good.

I heard German is hard. How do you feel about it? I tried a couple of lessons but the words are so different that I don't have a reference point to remember the words.

April 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Laykilibre

German is more challenging than French IMO because of some of the grammar elements, particularly the cases and the inflection endings on adjectives preceding their nouns.

April 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/traket999

There are five levels on learning a language. German is in level 2 and French is in level 1

April 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Beau travail, bravo !

When it comes to pronunciation, I would advise you to work on nasal sounds (an, on, in, un) with forvo.com or acapela-group to get your ear accustomed to distinguishing them. Repeating them (with exageration) often enough will enable your mouth to reproduce them faithfully.

"comment" and "pense" have the "an" nasal sound (derived from A, ie very close to how 'Oxbridge' Brits pronounce "France).
"infirmier" starts with a nasal sound, not with an "i/e" sound.
the mute "e" in the middle of a word is a Parisian thing: in the rest of France, most people pronounce them [ə].

April 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

Oh, does Duo use Parisian french? Because I hear distinctly the absence of "e" in "dev-nir", "med-shun", and "prom-nade."

April 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

The man's audio has 'shwas' everywhere (he is probably from the South of France), but the woman does not have an accent at all (as far as I can tell, being a Parisian myself...).

April 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hivemindx

Don't forget "oie", it's the ultimate example of "oi" = /wa/

April 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

Well, I didn't forget. I just didn't know. Thank you for bringing it up.

April 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Spyrunner

Congratulations on finishing your tree. I'm at day 107 and I have completed only half the skills.

Your observations are quite helpful. Thanks, have a lingot.

April 20, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

Oh, thanks.

The only reason I finished it quickly is because I'm in a hurry. I didn't plan to study another language at all. I found Duo by accident and decided to give it a try for three days. tThen three days became one month, and one month became three months. Now I have tons of plans to study further. So this entire year is basically devoted to french.

Glad you found those helpful. I have a couple more but didn't want to bore people who weren't interested.

April 20, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Spyrunner

I too decided to make 2016 my year to learn French. I started a couple of days before the New Year but missed a day this year when I logged in after midnight a few days later.

I've started reading the Bible in French (several E-versions have a verse in English and then again in French). I'm hoping to tackle Harry Potter in French when I finish my tree.

April 20, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

When you're ready to do Harry Potter, let me know. We'll do it together.

April 20, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Beware, it's tough! The books include words that were "frenchized" from Ms Rowling's inventions and many names were changed as well.

April 20, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

Thanks. Frenchized or not, I won't know the difference :-)

I have a plan :-) I'm going to take the A2 course at FUN-MOOC in May first, then start translating stories like La Belle et Le Bête, Petit Nicholas, and other easier books. I think I should be ready for Harry Potter either by the fall or the end of the year.

If we could form a Harry Potter book club to support each other, that may make things easier.

April 20, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

What do you think of Sans Famille? Is it easier than Harry Potter?

April 20, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

An extract from Sans Famille for you to gauge its level of French:

Tu as le coeur gros, continua Vitalis, je comprends cela et ne t'en veux pas. Tu peux pleurer librement si tu en as envie. Seulement tâche de sentir que ce n'est pas pour ton malheur que je t'emmène. Que serais-tu devenu? Tu aurais été très probablement à l'hospice. Les gens qui t'ont élevé ne sont pas tes père et mère. Ta maman, comme tu dis, a été bonne pour toi et tu l'aimes, tu es désolé de la quitter, tout cela est bien ; mais fais réflexion qu'elle n'aurait pas pu te garder malgré son mari. Ce mari, de son côté, n'est peut-être pas aussi dur que tu crois. Il n'a pas de quoi vivre ; il est estropié ; il ne peut plus travailler, et il calcule qu'il ne peut pas se laisser mourir de faim pour te nourrir. Comprends aujourd'hui, mon garçon, que la vie est trop souvent une bataille dans laquelle on ne fait pas ce qu'on veut.

April 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Now, an extract from La Belle et La Bête:

Il y avait une fois un marchand qui était extrêmement riche. Il avait six enfans, trois garçons et trois filles ; et, comme ce marchand était un homme d’esprit, il n’épargna rien pour l’éducation de ses enfants, et leur donna toutes sortes de maîtres. Ses filles étaient très-belles ; mais la cadette, sur-tout, se faisait admirer, et on ne l’appelait, quand elle était petite, que La belle enfant ; en sorte que le nom lui en resta ; ce qui donna beaucoup de jalousie à ses sœurs. Cette cadette, qui était plus belle que ses sœurs, était aussi meilleure qu’elles. Les deux aînées avaient beaucoup d’orgueil, parce qu’elles étaient riches ; elles faisaient les dames, et ne voulaient pas recevoir les visites des autres filles de marchands ; il leur fallait des gens de qualité pour leur compagnie.

April 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

Wow, I know the exact locations of those two paragraphs. Thank you, Sitesurf. For Sans Famille, it's right after he was taken away from his home. He stood on a hill in the distance watching his mother running around looking for him. It's heart-breaking. For La Belle et La Bête, it's the opening paragraph.

For Sans Famille, the sentences are much more sophisticated, but it pulls me in more. Hopefully I can handle a couple chapters.

I don't know the past tense well, so La Belle et La Bête would be a good training exercise.

I was asking about the difficult level between Harry Potter and Sans Famille though. I knew La Belle et La Bête is much easier.

April 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Harry Potter will be difficult in terms of vocabulary since many words are not in any dictionary. For instance, "un moldu, des moldus" = non-maj'

April 22, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/traket999

Congrats!!! I am now learning French! You should try German and Polish. It is very cool

April 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/traket999

Some of my friends are from Germany and poland

April 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

I'm going to Germany this fall, so I do want to learn it, but that's very much the extent of German I'm going to use. Spanish would be much more useful where I live.

Is there a reason you picked french?

April 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/traket999

Not Really

April 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/philly17

Good on you. I am on level 23 soon to be 24 and have not done any immersion. Cannot see the point of it. I have got here by doing the lessons, timed practice and strengthening weak skills over and over. About an hour each day now for 108 days. I also each week do the Lingot paid test. Keep going.

April 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

Can you have a conversation either in writing or verbal? My problem is that I know the words but cannot produce when I need them, especially when it comes to tenses of verbs. I think immersion would help me write real life sentences and hopefully would get me used to producing words in a timely manner.

April 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hivemindx

I think that practice is the key to being able to produce things quick enough for a conversation. Work on fluidity and don't worry too much about using the correct tenses to start with.

Even if you are not able to find anyone who speaks French you can still find opportunities to practice during your normal day. While queuing in a shop figure out what you would say to the clerk in French. When walking away work out what your side of the conversation would have been in French.

I make a lot more mistakes when I speak (wrong tense, misuse of words like depuis and pendant) but I think it is better to make mistakes quickly than to go silent for 30 seconds while you work out the correct language. Obviously the goal is to improve accuracy eventually too, so actually knowing the correct vocabulary and grammar is important too.

April 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

hivemindx is right and I would also suggest you to figure out what your posts here would be like if you had to write them in French with what you know, no more no less.

You will most probably find out that you can be simpler in your expression and more quickly get to the essence of what you need to communicate.

This is one of the benefits of learning another language: the intellectual effort to synthesize your thinking and articulate it in fewer words.

April 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

Peut-être je devrais écrire toute mes réponses en francais à partir de maintenant :-)

April 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

Did you get to level 23 in 108 days or just daily practice after finishing the tree?

April 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/philly17

I actually got there in 107, had to go into hospital for a day so used ligots to cover that day. I started by trying to learn every unit until I moved on, but it did not work. You go over words in lessons further on and by then it was all making more sense and so easier to retain. So I did every unit and then started again, then did it backwards. Now going over it again and timed. Still have the odd word I trip up on during the Weak Skills Tests, but I would say I am about 98% accurate every time.

I stuck to Duolingo an hour a day and read and learn some verbs each day - now up to 380. I did nothing else. I do live in France but do not speak French much in the winter - the French are not as sociable as most people think... I can now easily write emails, letters etc. in French and can read written French well. What I have learnt through Duolingo is that it has made me confident when I do speak because I can adapt the conversation to suit me.

I am bilingual from birth English and Welsh and did Latin at school and so there are so many similar words (not all mean the same) which does help. When you try to sit and think of a conversation it is at first difficult. But set a goal to learn, for me it was 30XP a day and if more time do more. Do Duolingo every day and you will be able to write and read French well and have good basic conversation skills which only improve by speaking it every day. I have had paid teachers here and they were hopeless compared to Duolingo. I also paid for Memrise and Babbel but this free method of learning works around my life and so works well for me. Hope this helps and if I can do it so can anyone. I have a short boredom level and am prone to give up things.

April 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

Oh, you live in France. That's not fair :-)

Can I give you a trick? French may not be sociable but people who work in shops are always willing to talk to potential customers, right? Try to browse the shops, window shopping sort of things, and talk to people who work there. If you're lucky, you will run into someone who's friendly and keeps the conversation going.

April 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/philly17

Sorry but must disagree - staff in supermarkets and small French shops do not speak to any customers. I am amazed each month when I go to the hairdressers by the silence. French women do not speak to their hairdresser. In fashionable cities and with younger people it is very different. Most of our neighbours are French and apart from bonjour etc do not have any social dealings with their neighbours. We never see them shutters closed every day. It is a total fallacy that the French greet newcomers with aperos and welcome parties! However life here is such an improvement on central London and we can nip to Spain in a couple of hours.

We have this week rented our cottage in the garden to a young French couple and so hopefully all will improve. He was impressed by my emails and says that they are grammatically great and not Google Translate. So I am pleased

April 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LanguageButcher

Really? Because I went to a car store (Toyota I think) once on Champs-Elysées just to go to the restroom downstairs and the sale lady came over and talked to me for over 15 minutes, very friendly, even though she knew I was there for the restroom.

I think I have to switch to the reverse tree, because I have no problems translating from french to English but English to French is problematic.

April 19, 2016
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