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19 avr 2008

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FREE Italian newspaper? Awesome.

I meant to post this a LONG time ago, but you see, I'm a university student. For the past couple weeks, I've practically been MIA from the real world, huddled in my own corner of nothingness trying to furiously finish my semester.

Well I'm done now...and hopefully, that means that I get to devote more time to improving my knowledge of some languages (and maybe learning a new one or two).

First, to the main event! I found out recently that the city of Guelph (and the surrounding tri-city area) has a free Italian newspaper. I found a copy of it at the mall, and decided to take a few pictures of it for your enjoyment.




From what I gathered of the newspaper, the front page article du jour was about how young actors from Hollywood (like Heath Ledger) have faced tragic deaths. It also talks about drug abuse in Hollywood. It was certainly an interesting read, as I tried to comprehend it using my basic Italian from last semester.




It has a horoscope! "Oroscopo della settimana" = Horoscope of the Week

I tried to focus on my star sign. I'm a scorpio. Here's what it says for us scorpios.Réduire )



And of course, Nova decided to help me read the newspaper. Thanks, kitty.
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24 mar 2008

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Oh, Russian.

Oh, Russian.

I want so badly to learn Russian, but it's such a large challenge. I've tried getting Russian penpals, but you see, my Russian is at the most absolute basic level.

I'm still learning the Cyrillic alphabet.

I bought The Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning Russian at the beginning of last summer, with the intention of going through the book and being able to speak like a conversational MASTER.

By assuming that, I made quite the rookie mistake. You can't learn a language without hearing it or reading it spoken by a native speaker. It's just too complex of a language.

Today, I had a small epiphany. The internet may be a series of tubes, but I can think of one Tube that may actually help me hear and see the Russian language in action. That's right, I decided to look for Russian language videos on YouTube.

My first foray onto YouTube to find such videos was successful. I found a good video of a Russian speaker saying the alphabet. Her pronunciation is clear, and it's just plain awesome actually *hearing* the language being spoken.

Without further ado, enjoy this short film on the Russian alphabet.



Oh, YouTube. I never would've thought that it would be so useful for learning languages. Now I know, and of course, knowing is half the battle.

PS: The user that posted that video has a small series of videos on basic Russian. Check them out here.

To help me with the Russian alphabet, I've also been using this website. Once I actually, you know, figure out the alphabet, I'll likely be using that website in tandem with my book to tutor myself in the Russian language.

До скорой встречи. See you later! Oh yeah, like I can actually pronounce that right now. Oh well. ^_^

23 mar 2008

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Worksheets part 2 and promise of newspaper scans.

I haven't updated in AGES. Oops.

Really, I haven't updated because I honestly haven't had time to pursue my hobby of learning languages. Silly school tends to get in the way. :(

First of all, I made more worksheets to send off to T and her family while they're on vacation. I know they come back this week, and I already sent off an explanation about why I haven't had a chance to send worksheets before today.

In this set of worksheets, I included:

  • A wordsearch made using Puzzlemaker.com about "-re" verbs

  • Instructions on how to start making the dictionary we're going to be keeping up together.

  • An information sheet about how Easter is celebrated in France, as well as a crossword puzzle with French words from that information sheet.



Yay!

I also found out that the community of Guelph has an Italian newspaper! It's a free newspaper, which is the best part. Once I get some time to upload the pictures, I'll make a post to show everyone what I found. It's fantastic...the front page article was about Heath Ledger.

01 mar 2008

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Weeeee!

I've mentioned this a couple times already, but I tutor a young girl who's struggling with French Immersion. We have a blast. It's probably my favourite time of the week.

At the end of our session last Sunday, her mother comes up to me and announces that they will be spending the month of March in Arizona. They want to keep up with T's tutoring, so they asked me to draft up something for her to keep practising her French.

I'm excited. :3

So far, here's what I've assembled for her:

  • One formal worksheet on 'er' verbs, which is what we've been working on together (I'll be emailing every week with a new "marked" worksheet to do, but in the package they're getting just one for now).

  • A wordsearch (made with Puzzlemaker.com, an awesome resource for making puzzles).

  • An activity to practise her oral French ("tell a story outloud about these pictures", basically).

  • An activity to practise her written French -- writing me a letter about her trip.



That's it for now, though like I said, I'll be emailing more to them over the coming weeks. I just think that this will be a good "starter pack" for their trip.

21 fév 2008

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Flash Cards (with pictures!)

Not too long ago, I was reading a community I frequent here on LJ, and came across an excellent article listing tips for giving yourself a language immersion environment. Go there and at least skim that article, if you're interested. It's a great read.

The first tip she mentions is to make flash cards and keep them on hand all the time.

When I read that, I thought it was a brilliant idea, so I started to plan out the creation of flash cards on my own.

And then this plan evolved, as does most plans I get into.

The girl I tutor (who for the purpose of confidentiality, will be refered to here as T) made flash cards for some of her vocab words in French...and then made *doubles* of those flash cards to play a memory game.

So, I've started making what I think will end up being some complicated hybrid of those two ideas.

For the heck of it, I've included pictures.

Flash cards, along with my plans for them.Réduire )

19 fév 2008

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Re-Learning French.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've always been able to pick up languages fairly easily, and though I have never been enrolled in any French Immersion program, French just seems to come to me the easiest. I decided to study French in university at the request of my mentor, my high school French teacher, Marchie.*

Though I may love the French language, and though it may come easiest to me of all the languages I've learned, I find myself needing to re-learn it.

This probably requires a bit more backstory.

Remember the part, three paragraphs ago, when I said that I never did French Immersion? Well yay for me, but not so yay for my poor first year French professor, when I wasn't fluent enough to communicate in class. Unfortunately for me, the learning curve going into my first university-level French class was incredibly steep. Most of the class already had a decent knowledge of the French language, and only enrolled in the class to get a review. For me, part of the class was a review, but the format in which it was taught was a whole new beast to tame. The closest I had been to a francophone environment was when I went to Québec City in grade 12...for a week. Thus, being able to communicate as well as understand a native speaker was a struggle for me from day 1.

Well, my French prof wasn't a native French speaker herself, but that's a story for another day.

Once again, long story short, I learned to adapt quickly to this new environment, and the steep learning curve decreased in its angle more and more.

Fast forward to today. I'm in my last semester of French Studies here at the University of Guelph. I'm only taking one francophone class--a research course, designed to prepare one for graduate studies in a foreign language or a similar discipline. I've chosen to write a research paper on the various adaptations of my favourite book, Les Misérables, by Victor Hugo. In particular, since that topic by itself is huge, I've chosen to specifically examine how the female characters are either preserved in personality, or changed with each adaptation. Needless to say, it's a great topic for me, and a blast to research.

But within this course, I have to tame my final beast with the French language: mastering the written word.

Sure, I can write French good.** But there are some grammatical errors that I make in every single paper I've ever written. Sometimes the errors are small, like using the incorrect definite article. Le versus la...every learner of French goes through that, especially when their native language doesn't differentiate based on gender. Damn English. In the past, I've resigned myself to those errors, shrugging them off, and continuing along my merry way. For this paper, grammar will be everything. That's not true, the content will be 90% of it, and the grammar will be 10%...but that 10% could mean the difference between a 79 and an 80 for the paper itself.

Thus, I'm (kinda) re-learning French. French @ About.com is a big help for this process...I get emailed newsletters from this site that talk about various grammatical details that even I, an advanced learner, need to review.

On that note, if anyone reading this wants to practise their written French with me, feel free to use the email on aeritone's profile to contact me.

Au revoir, for now. Time to get cracking on this paper of mine.

*Name altered slightly for his protection.
**Yes, bad grammar is on purpose, for emphasis.

13 fév 2008

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"First Post", or "Why create a completely separate blog for this?"

If you've come over here from my general journal, aeritone, you probably either know a thing or two about me, or you've at least read a thing or two about me.

And if you know a thing or two about me, that thing (or two) will be that I love languages.

It started innocently enough. My sister did the SEVEC program when I was 4 or 5, going on an exchange to Québec, and bringing home an exchange student in turn. I don't remember the exchange student at all, aside from the fact that she called me chou-chou (which I always remembered, because I thought she was saying choo choo, like a train), but she and my sister gave me my first real exposure to the French language. When I hit grade 1, I knew most of my colours in both French and English, thanks to my sister. I knew how to conjugate 'er' verbs by grade 3...and I didn't even take French Immersion.

To make a potentially long story short, I've always been a quick learner of languages. I've had exposure now to a handful of languages...English (being my native language and all), French, Spanish, Latin, Greek, and most recently, Italian. I want to learn Russian as my next language, but in the meantime, I'll be finding ways to improve upon my knowledge of other languages.

I made a separate Livejournal from my original one, so that I would be able to document things that many people on my current f-list would find very, very boring.

I'll be leaving all my entries public...because what I learn, I hope to pass on and share with anyone that reads this journal.