Why am I struggling so much with these?
Ceci, Cela, Celui, Celle, Ceux, Celles. Is it just me? I keep going over it but it just doesn't sink in and every time it comes up on my strengthening I give a little groan. I just cannot get it :(
I would think ongoing usage/ hearing how the words are used you'll get it down eventually. Just like a native speaker who may not think about the actual rules of their language but they've heard the words used in specific ways time and again and then in turn have repeated the words and phrases using the same context. It will just " click" eventually. : ) * it's better of course when we understand the "reasoning" / rules on word usage for consistent accuracy but for some of the more elusive words my previous statement applies.
Firstly, don't worry about it. Ceci and cela are basically this and that, but I've watched quite a lot of French videos on YouTube and I can't even recall hearing them much at all, so I would advise not to overthink those two words for now. The others, you will come across more often, so they're a little more important... but it's as simple as masc. sing, fem. sing, masc. plural and fem. plural.
My advise: keep reading, listening, speaking and even thinking to yourself in French, let the words cycle through your brain, and soon it will naturally become automatic to you. The pronoun subject in particular was an absolute casse-tête for me to learn and correctly reciprocate, but it slowly happened, just with practice. For this particular subject, here's a screenshot that I used a lot to help me remember, and it's actually in the notes of the lesson itself: http://imgur.com/a/nX2ae
Thanks for all your help with this. The way you break it down above has helped me understand it a bit more clearly and the screenshots are really useful too, I use the app most of the time so don't get to see some of this. I'll have to log into the full site more often I think!
Lots of extra work. I can help you practice your French, I listened and read Books in French using 'The French Experiment', I listened and practiced dialogues in French with Siri,(it's really helpful to put your Siri in French if you have an apple device) and ya, I thought in French I said things in both French and English and I got a French journal where I write anything and everything in French, on the plane I watched movies in French with French/English subtitles... You're the point. I just made French part of my daily life. Good luck! If you would like us to speak together in French, I would be happy to!
That's when -ci and -la comes in, which is actually the next step. ''Ce, ceci and cela'' alone can be ambiguous whether they mean this or that, so sometimes we add -ci to indicate ''this'', and -la to indicate ''that''. We often add them to the aforementioned words, and as such they translate like this:
Celui-ci - this one (male)
Celui-la - that one (male)
Celle-ci - this one (female)
Celle-la - that one (female)
Ceux-ci - these ones (male or mixed)
Ceux-la - those ones (male or mixed)
Celles-ci - these ones (female)
Celles-la - those ones (female)
I would suggest looking at the link provided by Duolingo. It has the same screenshot that I'd already sent, but you can also put it to use with some examples. https://www.duolingo.com/skill/fr/Demonstratives-3
Celui and the others obviously do not always have -ci or -la after, so here are some other examples of their common use, again taken from the demonstratives lesson on Duolingo, though this is actually the previous one: http://imgur.com/a/UY5Kb
It may seem like a lot to remember, but it's not uncommonly heard and with time it does become more automatic. Am sure all of us use our English equivalents all the time!