Nyah Oct 18, Lesson 56 reading a story

Today I tried to use our newer words and so I started a “simple” story that wound up going on for over a page and a half. I didn’t record this session, so I want to highlight a few things she did well on and some she stumbled on. The story itself will be posted also. (Always, any faulty French reports would be appreciated. I am losing the trajectory of other projects in trying to make sure I use words right and observe some grammatical and spelling accuracy.) This story is in the past whereas earlier ones were in the present.
She stumbled over ‘suivait’ but when she connected it to ‘cours’, she got it. *
Medecin she had to think a minute but got it. These are all relatively new words that have been used only once or twice (unless otherwise indicated).
“L’hote” threw her in pronunciation but she knew it immediately I wrote it. **
“Un visage pas mal” Oddly, she got ‘pas mal’ right away but ‘visage’ eluded her. For some weird reason known only to the teenage mind she named the band in a story from several weeks ago ‘faceless’, which I put in French as ‘sans visage’ and that was the only context in which she had heard it and then only a couple of times.
She struggled with the girls running from Frank b/c he was ugly but finally picked up on it. She had forgotten ‘laid’. She had forgotten ‘nuit’ I thought but before I could point to it on a poster, she said it.

‘Jardin’ we had to learn, basically a new word, but I was surprised that when I said it had flowers, grass, and leaves on the ground, she understood all.

For ‘peinture’ I touched a painting on the wall and got ‘plant’ and ‘pot’, so we have to be specific.

‘vendre’ was new but she got ‘vendeuse’ right away. She seems to be able to deal with derivatives quite well, seeing the connection, as here, between the verb and the noun, like chanter & chanteur.

She got a kick out of guys going to a garden pour s’amuser, to have fun. I replied stiffly that they were ‘adultes’, ‘pas jeunes gens’.

I hope I used ‘davantage’ right, it is a new word for me. I repeated the phrase with ‘plus’ and she knew that.

She seems to be picking up on pronouns like ‘le’ and ‘la’ and ‘lui’.

She remembered the distinction between savoir and connaitre, like Spanish saber and conocer although connaitre is a new word for her.

She remembered ‘pain’ and we learned ‘tranche’ (new for me, too, as a French word)


This is not in sensu strictu a tprs activity b/c there was no circling and few gestures, but I did go slow and constantly checked for comprehension. Forgive my unreconstructed tendency to make my stories violent and sexist; I was raised on comic books.

Tomorrow we’ll finish and I’ll give her a written format to work with with some assignments at home. I’m not sure what I’ll do but it’ll be fun figuring it out. I think with French, b/c of the spelling issue, she needs to see the written form even though most of her input is spoken.

* The idea of context is violated so routinely in FL testing it is an embarrassment to the profession. I have yet to publish on this blog a couple of hundred citations I’ve made of various features of English I’ve observed over the years used by native speakers. One I just read in a great book called Lies My Teacher Told Me was using ‘inchoate’ for confused instead of ‘at the beginning of’. It happens. But the main point here is people often do not grasp a word when they hear it initially and they require a bit more context. Even more so in a language one is just starting to learn i.e. in an inchoate state.

** This works both ways, of course. Some words are grasped more easily when heard, others when seen. Given French’s chaotic (not inchoate) spelling, this is very understandable. Also, some people process language differently. I’ve put the story on this blog before about my friend who had studied Russian but could never grasp a Russian word I wrote down using the Latin alphabet. Once I rewrote it in the Cyrillic alphabet, he recognized it. Strange, I thought. Later I found out from him that he takes words directly off the page and does not process the phonetics. He reads very fast but when speaking often gives odd pronunciations like ‘dispah-ridge’ instead of ‘despair-age’ for ‘disparage’. So he seldom has curiosity about the pronunciation of a word since he doesn’t hear it in his head. (He also gets cranky if you try to tell him the correct pronunciation)

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