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First year language students, how are you finding it?

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    (Original post by qwertyuiop1993)
    Sorry, I should have specified that I'm thinking more along the lines of English to French translation.

    From this perspective I'd say the act of translating is very useful because it gets you thinking about how to say things and then also leads to general discussions on important grammar points. Here we don't have a lesson where we sit down and work through a grammar book because they think it's more stimulating to give a context to the grammar points we are learning.

    As for French-English translation, yes that doesn't really help with language learning any more than reading the text. I agree with you on translation being a skill that goes beyond being fluent in two languages. As you say, a lot of the time the problem isn't with knowing what the foreign language means, but rather with putting it into eloquent English with respect to register etc. It doesn't help when your tutor is extra picky.

    What modules are you taking for finals if you dislike literature? History? Politics?
    I did some French film last term which was a refreshing change from books!
    Oh right - in which case you're totally right; translating into the target language can be of linguistic benefit. Although it still strikes me as a bizarre thing to teach at UG level, because professional translators very rarely work into their foreign language. I have to translate English-Spanish both ways at my uni too, but am aware that for careers purposes, the translation into my mother tongue is what's more important.

    As for me, I study three languages (in yrs 1 and 2 these were French, German and Spanish, and in yr 4 they're French, Spanish and Portuguese). As such, I don't have to study too much content, but in semester one I studied Spanish exile and migration in the 20th and 21st Century, and this semester I'm studying Historical Memory and Testimony in Latin America (currently focusing on Argentina in Peronista times).

    My course is wonderfully flexible - no compulsory modules. Over the past four years I've studied mainly linguistics modules, but changed tack this year.
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    (Original post by qwertyuiop1993)
    Are you doing any medieval French? I have a friend at Warwick doing English and French and she said some people do La Châtelaine de Vergy, which is something I study too.
    Chatelaine was the first text I studied last term. It's part of a general French literature/culture module, not specifically medieval focused. There's a whole other module I could have chosen which focuses a lot more on medieval French texts. Do you analyse the original medieval French? Or do you focus on the modern French translation?
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    I'm studying at Birmingham: Spanish and Portuguese (European and Brazilian), with beginners Italian as my module outside the main discipline. I love it
    It is very challenging though; especially our Politics modules, although it is all very rewarding
    Even though its hard, I feel like I've already got so much out of it. My only one criticism is that we are the guinea pig year for a Spanish grammar/language lecture, where it used to be a seminar. I think we would have benefited more from being in a smaller group, but I guess it does encourage you to do more independent work outside of course hours
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    (Original post by yabbayabba)
    Chatelaine was the first text I studied last term. It's part of a general French literature/culture module, not specifically medieval focused. There's a whole other module I could have chosen which focuses a lot more on medieval French texts. Do you analyse the original medieval French? Or do you focus on the modern French translation?
    We can quote in modern French (thankfully) for the exam, but we had medieval French grammar lectures because they told us when commenting about themes it's fine to use the translation, but when commenting on style it's better to use the original.

    How did you find it? I really enjoyed it and seeing as for Finals I will have to take a Medieval French translation paper I'm thinking studying the medieval period would be really useful.
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    (Original post by qwertyuiop1993)
    We can quote in modern French (thankfully) for the exam, but we had medieval French grammar lectures because they told us when commenting about themes it's fine to use the translation, but when commenting on style it's better to use the original.

    How did you find it? I really enjoyed it and seeing as for Finals I will have to take a Medieval French translation paper I'm thinking studying the medieval period would be really useful.
    I quite enjoyed it, more so when comparing it to other texts. I somehow compared it to Montaigne, analysing to what extent the texts show an existing truth - which was fun.

    Wow, don't think I could deal with medieval French; I find Middle English difficult enough. Are you a joint or single honours student?
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    (Original post by yabbayabba)
    I quite enjoyed it, more so when comparing it to other texts. I somehow compared it to Montaigne, analysing to what extent the texts show an existing truth - which was fun.

    Wow, don't think I could deal with medieval French; I find Middle English difficult enough. Are you a joint or single honours student?
    I just study French, which is why I have a compulsory Medieval language exam.

    Which Montaigne did you do? We did "Des coches" from his Essais which was quite a random text in that it floats around different subjects which aren't really that linked.

    I loved reading Middle English for A level English Lit. but it must be really hard to actually learn the grammar of it all!

    Do you do the approaches to literature paper? (I think that's what it's called) The one comparing English and French works. It sounds soo good.
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    (Original post by qwertyuiop1993)
    I just study French, which is why I have a compulsory Medieval language exam.

    Which Montaigne did you do? We did "Des coches" from his Essais which was quite a random text in that it floats around different subjects which aren't really that linked.

    I loved reading Middle English for A level English Lit. but it must be really hard to actually learn the grammar of it all!

    Do you do the approaches to literature paper? (I think that's what it's called) The one comparing English and French works. It sounds soo good.
    Haha you've really been informed about the course. Yeah I do love Approaches, it's compulsory for my course which is great! We have an awesomely enthusiastic seminar tutor and it's the first time I've actually completely enjoyed practical criticism! It just feels like a casual hobby, not a chore The French translation part is a little daunting, but it's mostly detective work due to the fact that generally you understand 80% of the poem, but there are little details which you don't quite get and have to work out using the context. Quite a good brain work out

    We studied 'des Cannibales' primarily and looked at other essays in less detail. Dealt with ideas of perception and all that jazz, very interesting work

    This is my first foray into Middle English so it's all new to me. Our course is mostly translating into modern English along with critical analysis of passages with a tinge of grammar, so I can't say I'm that knowledgeable on grammar yet (I shall be come the exam - hopefully!)

    How varied is your course? I've heard is pretty much literature, or is that a misconception?
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    (Original post by yabbayabba)
    Haha you've really been informed about the course. Yeah I do love Approaches, it's compulsory for my course which is great! We have an awesomely enthusiastic seminar tutor and it's the first time I've actually completely enjoyed practical criticism! It just feels like a casual hobby, not a chore The French translation part is a little daunting, but it's mostly detective work due to the fact that generally you understand 80% of the poem, but there are little details which you don't quite get and have to work out using the context. Quite a good brain work out

    We studied 'des Cannibales' primarily and looked at other essays in less detail. Dealt with ideas of perception and all that jazz, very interesting work

    This is my first foray into Middle English so it's all new to me. Our course is mostly translating into modern English along with critical analysis of passages with a tinge of grammar, so I can't say I'm that knowledgeable on grammar yet (I shall be come the exam - hopefully!)

    How varied is your course? I've heard is pretty much literature, or is that a misconception?
    Ha my friend talks in detail about her favourite parts of the course and Approaches is one of them.

    My course is not very varied for first year. I have two language exams, a commentary paper dealing with poetry/prose/plays from various periods, a narrative fiction paper, a French philosophy paper, a literary theory paper and finally a film paper.

    I guess the topics do vary, but the non language stuff all require essays using the same sorts of skills. I'm thinking of doing linguistics next year.

    I'm not really keen on the examination system here: everything I do in term time ultimately counts for nothing, my final grade for the year is solely determined through 7 three hour long exams that take place within a week of each other.

    It could be worse though, the classicists here are currently doing their first official exams (they take them halfway through second year) They have 11 three hour exams over the course of 8 days
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    (Original post by qwertyuiop1993)
    Ha my friend talks in detail about her favourite parts of the course and Approaches is one of them.

    My course is not very varied for first year. I have two language exams, a commentary paper dealing with poetry/prose/plays from various periods, a narrative fiction paper, a French philosophy paper, a literary theory paper and finally a film paper.

    I guess the topics do vary, but the non language stuff all require essays using the same sorts of skills. I'm thinking of doing linguistics next year.

    I'm not really keen on the examination system here: everything I do in term time ultimately counts for nothing, my final grade for the year is solely determined through 7 three hour long exams that take place within a week of each other.

    It could be worse though, the classicists here are currently doing their first official exams (they take them halfway through second year) They have 11 three hour exams over the course of 8 days
    That's what the French Bac's like (although I did have a few 4h-long ones, sometimes the same day as a 3h-long one. Oh, the joy.) If you're thinking of going for the ENS on your year abroad (I think it's Oxford that offers it, can't quite remember), the exams may be just like that, they've got some crazy 6h-long ones as entrance exams, I don't know how anyone manages…

    There's a French linguistic paper in 4th year that's apparently pretty good, and that coming from my friend who generally avoids linguistics at all costs. I've helped him with a few questions and it seems generally interesting.
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    (Original post by Anatheme)
    That's what the French Bac's like (although I did have a few 4h-long ones, sometimes the same day as a 3h-long one. Oh, the joy.) If you're thinking of going for the ENS on your year abroad (I think it's Oxford that offers it, can't quite remember), the exams may be just like that, they've got some crazy 6h-long ones as entrance exams, I don't know how anyone manages…

    There's a French linguistic paper in 4th year that's apparently pretty good, and that coming from my friend who generally avoids linguistics at all costs. I've helped him with a few questions and it seems generally interesting.
    Yea I have heard that the Bac is really quite gruelling.

    I had 6 hours of practice exams at the start of this term in a day, my hand did not like that...luckily I think it's just one exam a day for the actual thing.

    Thanks for the advice! I think linguistics would be really interesting and it would make a nice change from literature.

    I would love to study at ENS, but I've just found out that they only have links to certain colleges at Oxford and Trinity isn't one of them. I guess it's because the College has to agree to give accommodation to the visiting student, whereas at other universities accommodation is centrally managed so they have more general links with, for example, Bristol University as a whole.
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    Just wondering if anyone has any views on languages (German and ab initio Russian?) at Leeds or Exeter? I'm between the two for my insurance. Thanks
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    Wow, this thread has slightly put me off applying to both Oxford and Bristol... anyone here study MML at Cambridge?
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    (Original post by Hellz_Bellz!)
    Wow, this thread has slightly put me off applying to both Oxford and Bristol... anyone here study MML at Cambridge?
    yes, hello! I'll post back in a bit but I'll also reread the thread and you can pose any questions you want... I don't know anyone at Oxford but I much preferred the Cam course from looking at the specs when I was applying. back in a bit!
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    (Original post by Hellz_Bellz!)
    Wow, this thread has slightly put me off applying to both Oxford and Bristol... anyone here study MML at Cambridge?
    The negatives I pointed out for Oxford really are peeves and not anything that remotely approach major problems with my course.

    Any course is going to have a certain aspect that you don't enjoy as much, but this is probably mostly a first year thing because the first year at Oxford is trying to expose you to a lot of things so all modules are compulsory.

    I'm in the process of looking at my choices for finals and I'm actually really looking forward to it because there is a greater focus on speaking and there are loads of options in literature/history/linguistics and, my personal favourite, a special paper on advanced translation.

    Don't write off Oxford completely, it really is an amazing course and I'm having a lot of fun. I get the impression, based on what my Cambridge MML friends say, that Cambridge has a broader focus for first year, so some linguistics is involved straight off the bat. However, as I've already explained above, options are broader later on at Oxford.

    The only real deal-breaker I can see is if you're someone who hates exam pressure and doesn't think they can cope with so many important exams concentrated into a short period. If so, fair enough!
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    (Original post by qwertyuiop1993)
    The negatives I pointed out for Oxford really are peeves and not anything that remotely approach major problems with my course.

    Any course is going to have a certain aspect that you don't enjoy as much, but this is probably mostly a first year thing because the first year at Oxford is trying to expose you to a lot of things so all modules are compulsory.

    I'm in the process of looking at my choices for finals and I'm actually really looking forward to it because there is a greater focus on speaking and there are loads of options in literature/history/linguistics and, my personal favourite, a special paper on advanced translation.

    Don't write off Oxford completely, it really is an amazing course and I'm having a lot of fun. I get the impression, based on what my Cambridge MML friends say, that Cambridge has a broader focus for first year, so some linguistics is involved straight off the bat. However, as I've already explained above, options are broader later on at Oxford.

    The only real deal-breaker I can see is if you're someone who hates exam pressure and doesn't think they can cope with so many important exams concentrated into a short period. If so, fair enough!
    The thing is, I really love Oxford as a place and I've always preferred it to Cambridge. But when it comes to their MFL course, I'm not so sure. They place a lot of weight on literature, and I don't do any literature in either Spanish or German (not my fault, it's my school), nor do I do English Lit. And English was my weakest subject at GCSE. I just don't like analysing literature.

    I love speaking languages, having conversations, doing presentations, etc. And if they don't put as much weight on the oral aspect of the language then it would be a big disappointment to me...

    Oh and I'm not so concerned with exams... exams actually excite me, however freaky that sounds. I've always performed well in exams (always been **** at coursework!).
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    (Original post by Hellz_Bellz!)
    The thing is, I really love Oxford as a place and I've always preferred it to Cambridge. But when it comes to their MFL course, I'm not so sure. They place a lot of weight on literature, and I don't do any literature in either Spanish or German (not my fault, it's my school), nor do I do English Lit. And English was my weakest subject at GCSE. I just don't like analysing literature.

    I love speaking languages, having conversations, doing presentations, etc. And if they don't put as much weight on the oral aspect of the language then it would be a big disappointment to me...

    Oh and I'm not so concerned with exams... exams actually excite me, however freaky that sounds. I've always performed well in exams (always been **** at coursework!).
    I know someone doing French and Spanish at Oxford who did not do any literature at all for sixth form in any subject yet here he is doing just as well as people who got full marks in English Literature, so it's not the end of everything. You never know, you might end up loving literature (they certainly teach it differently from GCSE) but I can see that it is a big risk to take when you have options of other courses that are more flexible in the first year.

    We do speak a fair bit of French, it's just not as focused as A level, so we don't go through specific topics, but rather have an oral where we discuss articles in the news or other snippets that the lectrice finds interesting.

    I guess it's about striking a balance between the place and the course. I'd say have a go at reading some literature in the language you are studying, I found that reading was good for vocab and analysing it was enjoyable when linked with this language acquisition. If you don't find this rewarding in the slightest then I would say look at other courses.

    Someone else will be better able to explain the literature content in the Cambridge course..
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    (Original post by qwertyuiop1993)
    x
    So are you personally able to put emphasis on both translation AND literature later on, rather than having to sacrifice one for the other? The former I consider as a really useful skill while I love the latter :awesome:

    What advantages does doing Sole bring?
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    (Original post by (:Becca(:)
    Also not course related, but the fact I do a year abroad is making me undateable as no guy will even consider it.
    By the time i do my year abroad i'll have been with my boyfriend 7 years, i'm worried now :zomg: I never really thought about how long it'll be..
    Other than that, i'm just excited I'm doing French and German at Newcastle. I do struggle with A level, so i hope i can handle it
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    (Original post by JSam1994)
    By the time i do my year abroad i'll have been with my boyfriend 7 years, i'm worried now :zomg: I never really thought about how long it'll be..
    Other than that, i'm just excited I'm doing French and German at Newcastle. I do struggle with A level, so i hope i can handle it
    Please share your secret
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    (Original post by such_a_lady)
    Please share your secret
    Haha, if i had £1 for everytime i've been asked this, i wouldnt need a student loan
    It's difficult! he does really stupid things all the time! I just kind of forgive/ignore his mistakes, and nod along until he shuts up. A nice "I love you" now and then helps too haha

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