Spoken French: hearing “shpah” and realizing it is “je ne sais pas”

From the FluentListener newsletter
Direct link for members : Frédérike Unger : danseuse professionnelle

Hello All!
If a French person said shpah, would your ears hear…
– nothing?
– noise?
– je ne sais pas?

So that you hear je ne sais pas, please listen to today’s clip 8 or 10 times. (Yes, this is quick! Yes, your ears will get used to it. Are you listening for 20 minutes at time, 3 times per week?)

For members: keep listening here… https://fluentlistener.com/frederike-unger-danseuse-07/

Language-learning philosophy time:

I agree: hearing these words ‘in the wild’ – in a real conversation – is a little like going on a bird-watching trip with a group of real bird-watchers: you spend the day pointing your binoculars at this tree and that tree, seeing NOTHING! And you get depressed because your bird-watching buddies can count the stripes on the neck of a bird that, for you, looks like a tiny blob hundreds of yards away. And then you remember that you’ve pulled yourself through harder things. Maybe this is all about experience? Maybe it just takes time?

Your brain and your ears know how to do this. If you listen for the words you see on the page and you listen repeatedly to the same recordings, you will start to hear the words. More and more of the words will become clear. I promise.

And it’s fun, don’t you agree?
Best regards, David

French listening: faut-il manger la croûte ?

From the FluentListener newsletter
Direct link for members : un Fromageur/affineur à Strasbourg

Hello All,
Today you’ll hear this cheese expert — the one on the right — answer that eternal question, “Should you eat the rind of the cheese? Or should you cut it off?”

Play this sound 6 times – that should take 2 minutes. If there is a word you don’t hear, play the sound again until you hear it.
I hope you enjoy it!

Spoken French: what does ‘Skuh’ mean?

From the FluentListener newsletter
Direct Link for members : (La Fleuriste – download recordings and transcript/translation here)

Hello All,

Some people hear a ‘skuh’ sound and write it off as noise, but fluent listeners hear ‘parce que.’
After today, you’ll recognize parce que instead of just hearing noise.

Play this sound 8 times and learn to recognize parce que in a spoken sentence.
I hope you enjoy it!

Advanced listening tips:

Today’s sample illustrates what we mean by the ‘minimum recognizable sound.’ A native speaker speaking to a native listener is not going to burden themselves with pronouncing everything. Instead, they’ll pronounce the minimum amount of sounds necessary to convey the meaning clearly.

And decoding those sounds comes easily: try repeated exposure to 2 or 3 recordings over the course of a month.

This may be hard for you to swallow? D’yawannaglassawader?

If you worry that they are dropping sounds just to annoy you, here is something to re-assure you. Did you notice the P in puisque? It’s quick, but it is there. And the reason is to avoid confusion with a rapidly-spoken parce que. It’s proof that the native speaker goes to the minimum recognizable sound but knows what to maintain in order to avoid confusion.

Best regards,
David Tolman

Spoken French: “quoi” at the end of a sentence.

From the FluentListener newsletter
Direct Link for members : (La Fleuriste – download recordings and pdf here)

Hello All,

In today’s clip, you have that famous “quoi” at the end of a sentence. Did you already know about that?

mettre quelqu’un dehors: literally, to put someone outside. Compare to the version on the ninth line, mettre quelqu’un à la porte (literally, ‘to put someone at the door’). These are ways of saying ‘to show someone the door’ or ‘to kick someone out.’

Advanced listening tips:

Fifth line: do you hear the lui in je lui ai dit? Listen a few times (5 times? 10 times?) and see if you can start to hear it. I made a video to help you hear it. Keep your eyes on the newsletter!

Seventh line (in bold): notice ça, ça. When you work with a transcription, you want one that is written for language learners. (The problem with a ‘normal’ transcription is that it won’t contain such detail. If you can, get a transcription where every word or part of a word, every hesitation, is visible in the transcription.)

Best regards,
David Tolman

Conversational French: saying, “in that case.”

From the FluentListener newsletter
Direct link for members : un Fromageur/affineur à Strasbourg

More French listening for you today! Keep in mind that the goal is not to close your eyes and see how much you understand but rather to follow along in the transcript until you can hear every word that you see on the page.

Today, you’ll learn to recognize one of the ways of saying, “in that case” – it’s on the very last line below.

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Best regards,
David Tolman
David.Tolman@FluentListener.com
FluentListener.com