finally forced through the "questions" lesson in french, but still feeling anything but confident
is there some trick here to the sentence format that i'm missing? I feel like we had a bunch of contractions thrown at us all at once with that lesson with minimal practice on just hearing the different contractions first.
French is hard, we have many different ways of asking the same thing, it has many subtlety that you'll understand only after reading and listening to French for years. Duolinguo is great, but you'll have to read newspapers, listen to the radio, watch French series and movies, read modern books... it's the only way to learn.
Some example of French questions :
Aime-t-elle les chats ?
Est-ce qu'elle aime les chats ?
Elle aime les chats ?
They all mean "Does she like cats?" AND "Does she like the cats?"
If it makes you feel better, most French people struggle with their own language because the grammar is so hard.
So... it's not just French - but many languages are hard to learn at first. When I really stop to think about my first language - English - I wonder how people manage to ever speak it at all, never mind fluently.
For example - the same question in English could be said like this: - Does she like cats? - She likes cats? - She does like cats? - Is it cats she likes? That introspection has helped me with my French!
I'm figuring out that I do much better when I look holistically at the meaning of the sentence instead of each word, as, just like in English, there are hints in the whole sentence about conjugation, plurals etc. I also try to really use the tools DuoLingo provides (like when I hover over and underlined word and read all of the possible uses, look at the conjugations on verbs etc.) It took me a while to figure out all of the info DL provides. And of course I use other resources that I've found perusing the discussion groups too. One of the main ones I use is http://french.about.com/. For a little bit of reality on English, check out these poems. :-) http://www.spellingsociety.org/news/media/poems.php
It was tricky when I learned in school. The first way we started with was "Est-ce que". It just means "Is it that". You can formulate the question with that. "Est-ce que tu manges la pomme?" Remember that if you use a form that starts with a vowel that you must put the ' in there. "Est-ce qu'elle mange la pomme?".
The second way, we learned was to mix up the pronoun and the conjugated verb. "Manges-tu la pomme?" That is all you have to do. Switch up the conjugated verb and the pronoun and put a dash in there. Again, if you have a vowel, it will be "Mange-t-elle la pomme?" French doesn't like those double vowels!
Hope this clears up some of your confusion! : )
I think that's right. It seems like the further up the tree you go, the more challenging the lessons are. For me, if I work through a lesson two or three times, it sometimes clicks. If not, I switch to the computer (if I've been on my iPhone), go through the lesson again and read the discussions for each answer. And then I do the lesson again. So far, that has been enough to be able to get me through. (Has anyone else noticed that, if you're doing a lesson for the second time, the questions seem easier? I've wondered if - the first time through a lesson - the program is testing just how much you already know?)
Tell me about it, questions and contractions are two of the hardest parts of this language, took me forever to finish the question lesson and I still think it was just luck -ugh!