dimanche 1 février 2009

TAC Log for Jan 30/31 and Feb 1

Lazy weekend. Friday I don't remember if I did any studying so I probably didn't. Saturday I pretended to study, but any French I did do was chatting on sharedtalk. I did some busuu lessons which I'm actually starting to like. The beginner ones are too easy, but the intermediate ones have some new vocab to pick up. I watched episode 3 of "Les Invincibles" and took notes. It wasn't as disruptive as I thought it would be, and now I have some stuff to add to my flash cards.

The timezone difference between Montreal and Paris makes finding Skype partners hard. At 6 hours, it means that only the weekend is doable for exchanges. Mostly what I've been getting from the sites are non-Francophones who want to practice their English with me, and their English seems to be at a much lower level as to make conversation awkward. (I have a cut and paste response now which is "if you're not a native French speaker, I'm not interested in a language exchange"). There are surprisingly few Francophone Canadians on these Skype exchanges .. clearly they all already speak English :P

Also, up till now I've just been "passive" on these sites. Searching, but not actually trying to initiate a conversation. I think I'll try to change that next weekend.

I need a post-it note on my monitor that says SLOW DOWN. I've heard this a couple times now, and I know it's just 'cause I'm nervous: I speak too fast. Or rather, once I've figured out what to say, the words come out too quickly. I did try to force myself to slow down, and it did help. It's just hard for me (I think) because I have a lot in my brain I want to try to get out, and I speak relatively quickly in English too.. So, on top of the nerves .. (since rushing is a common symptom of people who are nervous when public speaking too .. And of course, I don't get nervous when speaking in public in English...) I could also do with some fillers. "umm.., yeah, you know .." that sort of thing. I think one of my books has some lists of those, so maybe I'll try to become more comfortable using them while speaking.

Also, I think I need to tone down my Rs. Hopefully that'll be fixed when I start going through "Savoir Dire".

Fluency. I try not to talk about this too much because generally it's a crazy can of worms, especially on the forum. But, do we appear fluent to other people before we feel fluent ourselves? It's totally possible to have to people who don't internally feel fluent, but "appear" fluent out outsiders. Which can lead to the strange situation of two speakers during a language exchange both saying "Your L2 is better than my L2", and believing it. Sure, I might "appear" fluent because the things I want to say, when they come out, are correct, and my accent is fine, and what not, but if inside my head, I'm nervous, sweating, struggling for words, brain racing a mile-a-minute, I might not _feel_ fluent. How do we judge how fluent other people are? I don't know what's going on inside their heads, I can only evaluate their speech and how hey interact. And is it possible for us to impartially apply those same levels when attempting to evaluating ourselves? Or do people artificially inflate (or deflate) their own levels based on their own self-confidence or simply low-standards?

Okie, enough rambling. Sunday so far I've done 200 flash cards and am about to go to a lang-8 post as promised.

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