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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 12 Mar 2017, 17:58 
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Our French teacher was always moaning about my Manchester-accented French, which I wouldn't have minded had she sounded elegantly Parisienne herself, which, believe me, she didn't :lol:. Schools in books always have French teachers who are actually French themselves: schools in real life usually don't! I never understood why, apart from Maria Marani and we never even see her in action, the CS didn't employ a native German speaker to teach German, at least in the Austrian and Swiss books. I appreciate that accents and dialects vary, but surely a native speaker would still have been the best bet. Did Miss Denny take all the German classes as well as everything else she did, or was Mlle de Lachennais teaching German in her French accent to girls who were nearly all native English speakers :roll: :lol:?

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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 12 Mar 2017, 18:07 
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Alison H wrote:
..... or was Mlle de Lachennais teaching German in her French accent to girls who were nearly all native English speakers :roll: :lol:?

Perhaps she came from the Alsace and was fluent in both? Without a trace of an accent in either? :D

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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 12 Mar 2017, 21:54 
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cestina wrote:
Alison H wrote:
..... or was Mlle de Lachennais teaching German in her French accent to girls who were nearly all native English speakers :roll: :lol:?

Perhaps she came from the Alsace and was fluent in both? Without a trace of an accent in either? :D

:lol: :lol: I love this suggestion but . . .
I checked in the CS Encyclopaedia as I had the impression that her "Parisian French" was mentioned but the only geographical references were to Normandy - she dresses up as a Norman peasant and her parents have a holiday home in Normandy. And, of course, there are all those Alps in France/Switzerland/Austria/Germany that she climbs as an Alpiniste. :D

I agree that they should have employed native speakers where possible. As Latin in those days involved translation I do wonder how Jeanne de L. managed. Did they translate into and from French or English - or both or even German? The mind boggles. :dontknow: :dontknow:


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 12 Mar 2017, 22:37 
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I think our old way of learning a language had its good points. Learning French and German in the 60's we learnt lots of vocabulary and grammar and spoke a little too.All this meant that abroad, after a day or two I found it fairly easy to reply and get around.

Learning Italian in 2000 by the direct method mostly I found it good for talking in a set situation, e.g. shops, but I had no idea outwith the set vocabulary I had learnt. So I sat my Standard Grade and found it a great combination. We did have a native speaker teacher however!


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 12 Mar 2017, 23:16 
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MaryR wrote:
I can't imagine such rudeness, Lizco! :shock: In all my years of visiting or living in France I've never, ever, experienced being corrected like that, not by my penfriend's parents, nor she herself in the fifty years I've known her, nor by the directrice of the children's home I worked in for six months as a student. Mind, the children used to laugh at me sometimes!! :P

.


I later found out she was/is a very opiniated lady - her way or wrong. Some years' later we were at a New Year's Eve Party and she pronounced that the English jumped in the fountains at Piccadilly on New Year's Eve - I said quietly "Trafalgar Square" - she glared and repeated "Piccadilly". I then said sweetly that I hadn't realised there were fountains in Picadilly. There were quite a few sniggers around the room! Revenge is a dish best served cold! Incidentally, she is only invited to large gatherings - we are a small village and keen to keep the peace!

One of my friends has a very nice way of helping me correct my French - if I get something wrong, usually a verb tense, she reflects it back to me correctly. For example, if I said "I went to the cinema next Tuesday" she would quietly say, "Oh, you are going to the cinema next Tuesday, are you, what are you going to see?". I can then pick up on the form of the verb she is using. Discreet and helpful.


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 13 Mar 2017, 03:21 
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There's definitely a balance with corrections. If you're concentrating on word for word, very careful pronunciation, the sentence comes out so slowly it is hard for anyone to understand, with weird pauses in the phrasing. I'm back in Chinese classes now, and the hardest thing with pronunciation is managing the tones, but getting the words out with a reasonable speed and decent phrasing. There's also a big difference between being understandable but having a strong accent, and people honestly not knowing what you are saying (or someone making a potentially embarrassing mistake).

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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 13 Mar 2017, 08:36 
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MaryR wrote:
Joyce, I have to say I would love to have had someone make me repeat my French sayings over and over again when at school, as then I wouldn't have sounded so English the first time I visited my penfriend.


Oh yes, I agree it's the best way to correct someone's accent and pronunciation if you catch their error straight away and help them out. I just wondered how long it can drag out a lesson.

jennifer wrote:
I'm back in Chinese classes now, and the hardest thing with pronunciation is managing the tones, but getting the words out with a reasonable speed and decent phrasing.


Good luck! I always feel sorry for people learning Chinese because of the need to learn the tones. Cantonese is my mother tongue so thankfully moving to Hong Kong after living in Australia was not as bad as it could have been as I could follow conversations.

I did correct my friends sometimes but only if they had asked for help or if the tone was completely wrong thus changing their sentence to something totally different.

But occasionally I would get upset at the other people who would 'pretend' not to understand when it was pretty obvious what the person wanted and the tone was just slightly off. I don't think there's a need to embarrass someone who is at least making the effort to speak the local language.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 13 Mar 2017, 11:02 
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When I first went to Spain, my accent and grammar were terrible. It helped that I taught kids the first year, because children have no compunction about correcting you, but they often do it jokingly, which (for me) is easier. I think I was lucky with the kids I taught, because I can imagine some of the older ones (13-14) being quite rude about it.

I always appreciated any help with my language, although some people were nicer about it than others.

I was somewhat amused by an experience when I was studying Euskera (Basque). By that stage, I'd been in Spain around 8 years and I was pretty fluent.

Most of the students were Spanish (or Basque) but there were two foreigners: me and an American girl, although I can't remember now which part of the States she came from.

I remember being told by the teacher, who was a native Basque speaker, that the American's accent was less noticeable than mine when she was speaking Basque. This surprised me, because to me she had a much stronger accent. But then, you never hear yourself in the way that you sound to other people. (Hope that last sentence makes sense.)

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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 13 Mar 2017, 13:24 
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I think that absolutely the most useful piece of advice I was given when I started to learn languages in their native country was that you must never mind making a fool of yourself. Just open your mouth, go for it, and happily receive all corrections that you are offered.

It's through making mistakes that we learn so happily embracing your mistakes rather than beating yourself up about making them, is key.

I do agree though that there are subtle ways of delivering the corrections!

Benny the Irish Polyglot is a great inspiration with his website, Fluent in Three Months - which I see has become much more professional and possibly commercial since I first followed him over ten years ago when he began learning Czech. He achieved a level of fluency with amazing speed....

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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 13 Mar 2017, 14:38 
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cestina wrote:
I think that absolutely the most useful piece of advice I was given when I started to learn languages in their native country was that you must never mind making a fool of yourself. Just open your mouth, go for it, and happily receive all corrections that you are offered.


That's how Dad learned German. We spent three years in Germany because Dad was sent there because of his job and we only came back to England during the six weeks' summer holidays. Other holidays were spent travelling and Dad followed the above advice. Result was, when Mum, Dad and I returned in 1975 for a camping holiday, it all came back to him. I was learning German at school and I understood it easier than I spoke it.


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 13 Mar 2017, 14:58 
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cestina wrote:
I think that absolutely the most useful piece of advice I was given when I started to learn languages in their native country was that you must never mind making a fool of yourself. Just open your mouth, go for it, and happily receive all corrections that you are offered.


Oh yeah - I've gotten tones wrong and ended up going around the traditional market asking to perform obscene acts with poultry. Fortunately the market we normally shop at, so they were used to me doing more normal shopping.

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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 13 Mar 2017, 19:46 
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lizco wrote:
MaryR wrote:
I can't imagine such rudeness, Lizco! :shock: In all my years of visiting or living in France I've never, ever, experienced being corrected like that, not by my penfriend's parents, nor she herself in the fifty years I've known her, nor by the directrice of the children's home I worked in for six months as a student. Mind, the children used to laugh at me sometimes!! :P

.


I later found out she was/is a very opiniated lady - her way or wrong. Some years' later we were at a New Year's Eve Party and she pronounced that the English jumped in the fountains at Piccadilly on New Year's Eve - I said quietly "Trafalgar Square" - she glared and repeated "Piccadilly". I then said sweetly that I hadn't realised there were fountains in Picadilly. There were quite a few sniggers around the room! Revenge is a dish best served cold! Incidentally, she is only invited to large gatherings - we are a small village and keen to keep the peace!

One of my friends has a very nice way of helping me correct my French - if I get something wrong, usually a verb tense, she reflects it back to me correctly. For example, if I said "I went to the cinema next Tuesday" she would quietly say, "Oh, you are going to the cinema next Tuesday, are you, what are you going to see?". I can then pick up on the form of the verb she is using. Discreet and helpful.


I do that with students when we're just having a conversation session - I usually find that they notice and then repeat it back correctly themselves. Other times I make a discreet note of what mistakes are being made and put them all up on the board for general discussion after the session. It's better than interrupting the flow of conversation and maybe making them less inclined to contribute.
If it's a more grammar-based activity or if I have someone reading out loud, I do stop them and correct them on the spot to avoid the error getting stuck in their heads though. If you get it wrong the first time and keep thinking of it that way, it's much harder to fix it later.


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 13 Mar 2017, 21:38 
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I think corrections can be necessary. My (rather RP) German teacher at secondary school told us how horrified she was as a student teacher in Austria. Apparently, her predecessor had been from Newcastle and she found a whole school of Austrian teenagers speaking English with a strong Geordie accent, which she struggled to understand. Also, I used to work with a Dutch man who had perfected (?) his English by listening to the complete works of Frank Zappa. He used some rather odd phrases!


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 18 Mar 2017, 20:56 
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It's like with small children. My younger grandson is at the age when he knows there are tenses, but doesn't quite know how they work, and has no idea of irregular verbs, so he told me "We goed somewhere" (forget where), to which I replied, "Oh, you went to...." wherever it was. He'll learn, but I do enjoy his rather idiosyncratic speech just now (and the older boy is at the age where his reading vocabulary outstrips his spoken one, so we have the delightful "Peddy-strains" for "Pedestrians", and so on. His mother was the same at that age....)


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 22 Mar 2017, 11:37 
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Supersal wrote:
I think corrections can be necessary. My (rather RP) German teacher at secondary school told us how horrified she was as a student teacher in Austria. Apparently, her predecessor had been from Newcastle and she found a whole school of Austrian teenagers speaking English with a strong Geordie accent, which she struggled to understand. Also, I used to work with a Dutch man who had perfected (?) his English by listening to the complete works of Frank Zappa. He used some rather odd phrases!


I have friends who have lived in France since their eldest was a toddler, both parents and all the kids speak French fluently to the point where my friends had to be strict about remembering to speak English at home in case the younger ones never learnt it properly... But the eldest decided to take the last year of school in English medium, partly because she thought it would be easier and partly to make sure she kept up her English. She came home despondent after the first week, as the other children were being rude about her English accent - they were all speaking English with a French accent, while hers was a lovely broad Bristolian inherited from her mother!

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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 22 Mar 2017, 12:20 
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That reminds me of a meeting I had with a young Englishman in a supermarket carpark in the CR. (Car number plates are revealing).

We chatted for a while, and I was struggling to make sense of his very broad Newcastle dialect (and I am quite good at decoding all manner of tongues). I then asked him what he was doing in the CR. "Teaching English" he replied.....

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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 22 Mar 2017, 13:55 
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When I was on a school exchange trip to Germany in the mid-70s, all the children at the local school had been taught to speak English with an American accent.

This may have been connected to the fact that there was an American airbase nearby! :lol:

When I was a student at University, I noticed something interesting about 2 of our departmental lecturers. One had a strong London accent, the other had a strong Scottish accent. When sober, they had very little accent in Russian, but when they were slightly tipsy, the Londoner had a noticeable Scottish accent and the Scot had a noticeable London accent!

This was discovered when they were 'off duty' so to speak. They accompanied us on one of our trips to the then Soviet Union.

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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 22 Mar 2017, 17:52 
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cal562301 wrote:
When I was on a school exchange trip to Germany in the mid-70s, all the children at the local school had been taught to speak English with an American accent.

This may have been connected to the fact that there was an American airbase nearby! :lol:

I noticed the same thing during my French stays the sixties, Cal. My penfriend still speaks with an American accent, but I wondered how much of it was due to the proliferation of American films, series, etc on TV and at the cinema, which were all dubbed, so the accent would come across almost subliminally.

Just to add: when I said I've never been corrected when in France, what I meant was that I've never been corrected in the dreadful way it was done to poor Lizco. :roll: Humble apologies for not making that clear.

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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 22 Mar 2017, 18:27 
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A Dutch friend of mine speaks absolutely flawless English with an American accent - I honestly thought he was American when I first heard him talk. He says he learnt English when he was in the army and spent time at a base with American and British soldiers, but that his accent does mostly come from watching American TV shows and films. Another Dutch friend, who is fluent but has a definite accent and learnt English at school, doesn't sound American at all.

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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 23 Mar 2017, 03:31 
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Learning the difference - can and may
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In Taiwan they definitely prefer American accents when it comes to English teachers. The problem is that the people hiring said teachers often can't tell the difference. So they hire by passport. As a result, a Canadian or American immigrant with a strong accent would have an easier time getting hired than a native speaker Brit with the same qualifications, or a ESL speaker with an excellent neutral accent.

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