Ron's French Log

Discussion in 'Language Learning Logs & Super Challenges' started by rlnv, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. rlnv

    rlnv New Member

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    This will be a continuation of my log found here on HTLAL. Thank you Big Dog for hosting the forum.

    Quick recap. I'm 6 months in on learning my first L2, French. I've used a number of methods up to this point and seem to be hopping around doing at bit of this and a bit of that. If anything is consistent in my studies, it's the time spend each day. My personal learning spreadsheet shows about 5 days total that I missed studying in 6 months, and I'm still spending about 2 hours a day. So even if I'm not consistent in how I spend my time, I'm spending the time.

    When I started I was keeping logs of hours spend, not so much anymore. But conservatively I'm at about 350 hours. I figure I'm A1 in some areas, and A2 in others. But A0 in actual talking, and that's because I chickened out with my Skype sessions. But that's all good. I'm not really ready, being a serious introvert.

    I'm still determined to pass my B1 exam this year - late, like end of December. Yep long way to go, but going to get there. Will be doing some one on one sessions with a local instructor late July or early August. With all the passive skills I'm learning, I figure I'll have plenty of time to activate active skills for my B1 goal.

    Currently:
    Assimil NFWE 89
    Fluenz 3-16
    Finished Hugo F3M
    Grammar books, etc.
    Doing the language challenge. Starting to read some easy books
    Wise owl chick likes this.
  2. Big_Dog

    Big_Dog Administrator Staff Member

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    Welcome back Ron! Just curious - have you watched FIA at all?
  3. Bjorn

    Bjorn Active Member VIP member

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    Welcome to the forum!
  4. tastyonions

    tastyonions Member VIP member

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    Bienvenue sur le forum!

    I was about a year into French when I started Skyping. I think I waited a little longer than necessary, but I certainly understand the desire to hold off. I think one thing that is hard when you are a beginner, actually, is that a whole hour interacting in the language just looks too intimidating! I think multiple mini-sessions of 20 or 30 minutes might be better starting out, but it can be hard to find paid versions of that.
  5. rlnv

    rlnv New Member

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    Thank you all for the welcome.

    @Big_Dog I didn't include a full list of resources that I've worked with. I must have been tired. I'm up to video 12 of FIA. My approach has been to watch them as "entertainment" after studying. :) I actually have all the books as well. It seems that I started to hoard materials. At some point I may actually go through and do FIA in greater detail. I'll see how it goes. I'd like to get to native materials only, but I think I'll be in guided to some extent for most or all of the year. And Assimil is definitely my priority at this time.

    @tastyonions I saw your video that you posted in another thread here and can only aspire to that level of proficiency right now. Good accent to my ears. I can see how shorter sessions at first would be a benefit. That was actually one of the things I was stressing about a bit, the thought of trying to hold up at first. My plan to see a local tutor should be less stressful, and I'll approach it open minded as an evaluation to see where I'm at, and what the best going forward approach would be. It may be private one on one, or group lessons, or both.
  6. rlnv

    rlnv New Member

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    Assimil NFWE This is my main study material right now.
    Wave 1: Currently at lesson 93. In this wave I start by reading through the lesson to understand it in its entirety and then follow up by doing the audio one line at a time stopping to absorb, and then play it all the way through a half dozen times or maybe more.
    Wave 2: In this review wave I'm at 44.
    Wave 3: Currently at 11. In this wave, I'm writing out the entire book. Writing out the entire lessons forces me to pay attention to all the details, gender, verb conjugations, and so on.

    I made a single MP3 of CD1, removing the exercises leaving only the dialogs. I've listened through this several times, and it's easy enough to comprehend. This is good for while out walking or hiking. I did the same for CD2, and I'm just starting to play that through.
  7. Peregrinus

    Peregrinus Active Member

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    If you want to pass that B1, let alone pass it handily, I suggest that you will need more vocabulary than provided by those sources, around 3000+ words (lemma forms and regularly derived forms which excludes conjugated forms). Unless Fluenz, with which I am not familiar past your excellent review of same, does provide that vocabulary, then it will probably help to intend to proceed to Assimil's Using French after you finish those other courses. Also, I presume that you have read emk's log on HTLAL as well as other posts where he discusses taking CEFR or DELE courses (or whatever), as he seemed to provide a lot of useful information. And while some view it as a form of cheating or gaming the test, others strongly advocate for using test prep materials. Good luck with your quest.
  8. rlnv

    rlnv New Member

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    Yes, coming close to the end of wave 1, I've been debating what to fill in the time with. I was considering either starting Assimil Using French, or working further into FSI. More recently I've been reading lukes log at HTLAL, and fascinated by his approach using 4 separate Assimil methods, often simultaneously.

    I don't know how big the jump is from NFWE to Using French, but I'll find out soon enough. I ordered Using French tonight.
    luke likes this.
  9. luke

    luke Member VIP member

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    Bonne chance, mon ami!

    Using French is more challenging than NFWE. The lessons are a bit longer. There are more notes. If you like the Assimil method, it's a good course. I've found it helpful to focus on methods that "fit", but supplement at times with methods that seem "strange, but effective for others".
  10. rlnv

    rlnv New Member

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    I'm with you on using a variety of material, luke. I've recently been rotating a number of mp3's on my phone and listening to them frequently when I get chances. Often I modify the content to remove unwanted silence or dialog. This is now becoming a good part of my daily routine. I've noticed since I started doing this my overall comprehension has increased.

    Current listening rotation:
    Assimil NFWE CD1
    Assimil NFWE CD2
    Various content from Hugo F3M
    DELF A1 and A2 sample audio

    My copy of Assimil Using French arrived today. It will likely be a month before I really dig into it. I will finish my first wave of NFWE first. I also have three Hachette graded books with audio on the way. One book each at A1, A2, and B1. I'd like to read them first as well. The audio from them will likely be put in my listening rotation.
  11. rlnv

    rlnv New Member

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    Friday was one of my rare days where I did not study. I blame it on watching the Kings win the Stanley Cup in double overtime!

    I'm happy with my progression through NFWE. It's been awhile since I've encountered a difficult lesson. I'm finding that quite often I understand the dialog without referring to the English. But I always check the English anyway and continue to be very thorough in the lessons, often checking words in the dictionary, verifying the verb tense, and listening many times.

    I added Assimil French Without Toil to my daily routine today. I don't have the audio so I'm just reading the lessons. I read the first 5 today, and will try to read several a day. I suspect, or should I say hope, much of this will be review by that time I get to any given lesson. It does not add much time and I happy to add it as I'm clearly seeing the benefit of doing Assimil. I would not mind having the audio, as it would be good to put into my listening rotations, but its not easy to come by. After several hours of searching I did find a set of records available, but they are expensive. We'll see. I don't have a turntable but I have been wanting to get one.

    Current progress:
    NFWE - first wave 96, second wave 47, writing wave 15
    Without Toil - lesson 5
  12. tastyonions

    tastyonions Member VIP member

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    Sounds like you are progressing well. Keep it up!

    One thing I would recommend, if you want to work on your orthography and check how precise your listening is: try transcribing a dialogue word for word once in a while. I found that this helped me when I was using NFWE.
    rlnv likes this.
  13. Stelle

    Stelle Active Member VIP member

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    Look for hockey games with French commentators! I grew up with the sound of French hockey in the background.

    C'est le buuuuuuuuuut!!!!
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  14. rlnv

    rlnv New Member

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    Great idea, I think I'll give that a try. Right now I'm only writing out lessons directly from the book. Even doing that I think I've come across small details that I may have missed from my CD listening sessions. When I listen to the entire CD, I often pick out little details of the dialogs, and think about them momentarily as the CD plays. These little stray thoughts about the content can sometimes take place even while understanding the ongoing dialog. I see this as good progress in ingraining my comprehension skills, and attribute it to the increased amount of listening I'm doing outside of working on individual lessons. Adding occasional transcribing from audio only should be interesting in what it reveals. I'll definitely try some of that.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2014
  15. rlnv

    rlnv New Member

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    And what a goal that was ending the overtime! It may not have been the best play of the game, but after the insane amount of shots on Lundqvist, he finally let one in. Amazing goalie, but glad the Kings put it away at home. Go Kings, one more time next year!

    I'll definitely be on the look out for hockey in French next season, but unfortunately, I think it may be difficult to get down here.
  16. rlnv

    rlnv New Member

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    I added a couple of activities to my routine, in addition to daily Assimil.

    First, I purchased a one month membership to News in Slow French. So far it looks like a good resource. The news items are read in slow and normal speed. The transcripts include hover over help. And the news is downloadable in mp3 format, so it will add content to put on my phone to listen to.

    Next, I decided to write a daily personal journal entry on my computer in French. I'll do this for awhile, in preparation to get used to writing. I would like to start writing on Lang-8, soon after I get a bit better.

    I already see value in doing this even after my first entry. I was using BonPatron to help get it correct (or hopefully correct).

    J'ai décidé d'écrire un journal privé en français. Mon but est à écrire quelque chose chaque jour. Je pense que d'abord, il sera lent et les notes courts. Mais, c'est un point de départ.

    I also created Assimil CD 3 mp3 for my listening rotation.
  17. tastyonions

    tastyonions Member VIP member

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    On dit "Mon but est de + [infinitif]" et "notes courtes."

    Ça fait longtemps que je n'écris pas en français. Je pense que je vais écrire quelques notes sur Italki ou Lang-8.

    Où en es-tu avec Assimil ?
    rlnv likes this.
  18. rlnv

    rlnv New Member

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    Merci pour la correction, tastyonions.

    Current progress:
    • NFWE - first wave 102, second wave 53, writing wave 24
    • Without Toil - lesson 12 (no audio)

    What I think the next month or so will look like:
    • Finish NFWE first wave, and continue doing second wave.
    • Get my writing wave caught up to the second wave.
    • Get both CD 3 and CD 4 of Assimil NFWE into regular listen rotation.
    • When my Hachette books arrive, read these (waiting patiently). I'd like to finish all 3 of them before starting Assimil Using French.
    • Maybe writing on Lang-8.
    • Do the weekly news story at NSF. Maybe go over some archives if I have time
  19. rlnv

    rlnv New Member

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    I had a weird discovery while watching the movie Les Parapluies de Cherbourg last night.

    It was the 3rd time I've watched the film. Not because I particularly like it, but because it is such an amazingly good beginner French movie. The dialog is relatively easy to follow compared to the other some odd 100 French movies I've watched. Although, it is actually not too bad of a movie.

    Last night I watched it without subtitles for the first time! And this is where it gets interesting. I noticed that I was familiar with probably 80 percent plus of the dialog, but my brain could only process maybe 30 percent at any given time. And that took a lot of hard concentration. When I slacked off concentrating, my comprehension dropped dramatically.

    So I'm certain that I could understand a very high percentage of the movie dialog if it was slower, or if there was a 5 second pause between sentences. I just could not process it real time, even though I recognized it. If I stopped the film and reflected on what was just said, I'd understand it. My brain just can't keep up at this time, even for stuff I know.

    I find this encouraging, and my belief is that massive input (reading, listening, and watching), will cure the real time processing issue. This I view as progress.

    Edit: I counted and my actual French movie count is 62 at this time, so I overestimated. :) But I stand by the 80 percent mentioned above.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014
  20. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    Here's what I've done in the past, and it gave me a boost. If you understand what's written, just try to listen to the movie and don't worry about understanding yet. Just listen to the sounds. I find when I do this with the same material for 5 days magic things happen.
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