How far have you gotten *all* by yourself?

General discussion about learning languages
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Le Baron
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Re: How far have you gotten *all* by yourself?

Postby Le Baron » Thu Jun 30, 2022 10:08 pm

Lawyer&Mom wrote:...with loads of learning material and reasonably available native content.

It's not in your progress bars, but were you doing Le Français par la méthode nature at one time, or was this someone else? If so did you complete that?
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Re: How far have you gotten *all* by yourself?

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Thu Jun 30, 2022 10:16 pm

Le Baron wrote:
Lawyer&Mom wrote:...with loads of learning material and reasonably available native content.

It's not in your progress bars, but were you doing Le Français par la méthode nature at one time, or was this someone else? If so did you complete that?


I made it to about Lesson 18 or 19. It was lovely, but I didn’t need the reading practice and I found CLE Grammar Progressive to be more efficient for learning/practicing grammar, which I do need. I would recommend it to someone looking for a gentle graded reader, when I was at that stage I preferred to just dive headfirst into native books, but I know not everyone likes that full on sink or swim experience.
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Re: How far have you gotten *all* by yourself?

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Fri Jul 01, 2022 12:35 am

Found something in Amanda’s language log that is a total game changer for me: https://bonpatron.com/
It’s a free website aimed at language learners that checks your French writing for grammar mistakes. This is a dream come true. I need to practice my writing but I often avoid the writing prompts in my Grammar books because I can’t easily correct them. Now I can!

Obviously a website can’t find every mistake, but it more than meets my current needs.

Can’t believe I hadn’t even heard of this site before now.
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Re: How far have you gotten *all* by yourself?

Postby rdearman » Fri Jul 01, 2022 9:28 am

Lawyer&Mom wrote:Found something in Amanda’s language log that is a total game changer for me: https://bonpatron.com/
It’s a free website aimed at language learners that checks your French writing for grammar mistakes. This is a dream come true. I need to practice my writing but I often avoid the writing prompts in my Grammar books because I can’t easily correct them. Now I can!

Obviously a website can’t find every mistake, but it more than meets my current needs.

Can’t believe I hadn’t even heard of this site before now.

If you like that then you'll love https://languagetool.org/

It is a free and open-source website (and plugin) which does many, many languages. It also has browser extensions so for example even as I am typing this it is checking for errors in grammar and spelling (Mine is set to British English), but it also does:
  • Arabic
  • Asturian
  • Belarusian
  • Breton
  • Catalan
  • Chinese
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English
  • Esperanto
  • French
  • Galician
  • German
  • Greek
  • Irish
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Khmer
  • Persian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Slovak
  • Slovenian
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • Tagalog
  • Tamil
  • Ukrainian

I rarely use the website, but the browser plugin is brilliant whenever I write on a website, and the plugin allows you to change languages on the fly. It also has plugins or add-ons for Word, Google Docs, Libreoffice, gmail and thunderbird.

Est possible pour moi écrite ont français ici par exemple.

The only snag is of course you need to be able to construct decent sentences before you can have them verified, so it isn't so brilliant for a beginner, but you'll have no problems.
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Re: How far have you gotten *all* by yourself?

Postby galaxyrocker » Fri Jul 01, 2022 10:52 am

I can say I've never really gotten very far by myself. It's always required the kick-in-the-butt that courses have provided. Whether those courses involve going to the country or lessons through school (French and Irish for the former, Irish for the latter), that's been the only way I've been able to get to a reasonable level. I hope to change that having learned more about how I learn, especially given that courses don't always help (I spent 6 weeks in Spanish immersion...and still can't speak Spanish) without some self-learning, but all my true self-learning attempts have failed.

Again, hopefully that'll change on my next project.
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Re: How far have you gotten *all* by yourself?

Postby Cavesa » Fri Jul 01, 2022 12:33 pm

galaxyrocker wrote:I can say I've never really gotten very far by myself. It's always required the kick-in-the-butt that courses have provided. Whether those courses involve going to the country or lessons through school (French and Irish for the former, Irish for the latter), that's been the only way I've been able to get to a reasonable level. I hope to change that having learned more about how I learn, especially given that courses don't always help (I spent 6 weeks in Spanish immersion...and still can't speak Spanish) without some self-learning, but all my true self-learning attempts have failed.

Again, hopefully that'll change on my next project.


It's interesting, how people mentioned this kind of motivation. I have never experienced it. Nearly all the language classes I've ever attended were simply too slow paced and easy going to give any "kick-in-the-butt" and the only exception was instead a "wish-for-death" kind of kicking. :-D

I wonder why it is so. And what is missing in the self-study routine of people that find the classes more motivating. I personally find participation in challenges on the forum to be extremely good as motivation. Anything quantifyable is great as well.

As I see the same issue recurring so often, I simply wonder what we can do better as a community to support each other in self teaching. Not sure. We have failed various study groups projects. Logs are working really well for some people, not that much for others. Challenges are awesome. Hard to think of something more, but it would be definitely worth it to come up with some new ideas.
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Re: How far have you gotten *all* by yourself?

Postby galaxyrocker » Fri Jul 01, 2022 1:12 pm

Cavesa wrote:
It's interesting, how people mentioned this kind of motivation. I have never experienced it. Nearly all the language classes I've ever attended were simply too slow paced and easy going to give any "kick-in-the-butt" and the only exception was instead a "wish-for-death" kind of kicking. :-D


For my school classes (so, Irish), it was a combination of two things: (1) I needed to do well for a grade and (2) I had teachers willing to go the extra mile. They saw I was interested, and would meet with me outside of class to go quicker than the class. My last two years at uni, I literally met with my professor multiple times a week outside of class just to speak Irish, and to learn extra stuff she thought I'd be interested in. At one point, she'd basically become like a second mom, and a few of us would even meet up with her and her husband for an Irish-speaking breakfast on the weekends. She offered to let me stay at her house once if I needed to when I was doing an exam. My first teacher was the same way, though less as I was still a beginner. But we'd meet during office hours regularly, and I'd learn stuff we hadn't covered in class yet. Still only got an A- instead of an A 'cause I was too lazy to memorise vocabulary lol.

As for immersion schools, they've been the best precisely because they're fast paced and pretty much all day. The ones I've done in Ireland force you to keep up, and it's sink or swim in a lot of ways. I've loved this, and was using the language literally 6-8 hours a day just in structured classes. Same with the one in France, though it was 4 hours a day 2 days and 7 three days a week, with less interaction on the weekend. And then it was slower paced than me as I was in a class that was below my level, but I was still able to get practice and solidify my understanding. In Spain, class was slightly above my level and total immersion, so it forced me, again, to work at it and that's why I enjoyed it so much. It was great, not so much the one I did in Mexico, though I did enjoy it (it was more conversational focused, whereas I was wanting more grammar structure)


I wonder why it is so. And what is missing in the self-study routine of people that find the classes more motivating. I personally find participation in challenges on the forum to be extremely good as motivation. Anything quantifyable is great as well.


For me it's accountability. When I'm paying for an immersion course or a class, I have to put in the effort or it's a waste in my opinion. That helps motivate me a lot, but I also really enjoy the more structured layout of courses and that a teacher provides. It's hard to get that from textbooks alone, which is thus why I've failed even using textbooks for plenty of languages.

As I see the same issue recurring so often, I simply wonder what we can do better as a community to support each other in self teaching. Not sure. We have failed various study groups projects. Logs are working really well for some people, not that much for others. Challenges are awesome. Hard to think of something more, but it would be definitely worth it to come up with some new ideas.



This is where it gets hard because it's so different for everyone. Not everyone excelled in the classes like I did; I saw those who struggled with it both in Spain and in France when I was doing them. And in America, where people cared about the grade but never going above and beyond. And in the immersion courses in Ireland (and even Spain/France) where people just kinda half-assed it and treated it like a holiday. I don't really know how it can be changed, as we're all different.
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Re: How far have you gotten *all* by yourself?

Postby thevagrant88 » Fri Jul 01, 2022 1:14 pm

rdearman wrote:If you like that then you'll love https://languagetool.org/


Image
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Re: How far have you gotten *all* by yourself?

Postby jeff_lindqvist » Fri Jul 01, 2022 1:21 pm

Cavesa wrote:
galaxyrocker wrote:I can say I've never really gotten very far by myself. It's always required the kick-in-the-butt that courses have provided. Whether those courses involve going to the country or lessons through school (French and Irish for the former, Irish for the latter), that's been the only way I've been able to get to a reasonable level. I hope to change that having learned more about how I learn, especially given that courses don't always help (I spent 6 weeks in Spanish immersion...and still can't speak Spanish) without some self-learning, but all my true self-learning attempts have failed.

Again, hopefully that'll change on my next project.


It's interesting, how people mentioned this kind of motivation. I have never experienced it. Nearly all the language classes I've ever attended were simply too slow paced and easy going to give any "kick-in-the-butt" and the only exception was instead a "wish-for-death" kind of kicking. :-D


Although I prefer studying on my own nowadays, my strongest languages happen to be school languages. But who knows why. I'm 100% sure that I didn't reach a "solid" level in German, but I definitely did it in Spanish. I think some important factors might be the "when" and the "how", as well as the time for both of them to "mature". But for other languages, it could be the opposite. Self-studies can lead to classes/going to the country, and then possibly lead to more self-studies. (That's my history with Irish.)
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Re: How far have you gotten *all* by yourself?

Postby Caromarlyse » Fri Jul 01, 2022 2:57 pm

galaxyrocker wrote:
Cavesa wrote:
It's interesting, how people mentioned this kind of motivation. I have never experienced it. Nearly all the language classes I've ever attended were simply too slow paced and easy going to give any "kick-in-the-butt" and the only exception was instead a "wish-for-death" kind of kicking. :-D


For my school classes (so, Irish), it was a combination of two things: (1) I needed to do well for a grade and (2) I had teachers willing to go the extra mile. They saw I was interested, and would meet with me outside of class to go quicker than the class. My last two years at uni, I literally met with my professor multiple times a week outside of class just to speak Irish, and to learn extra stuff she thought I'd be interested in. At one point, she'd basically become like a second mom, and a few of us would even meet up with her and her husband for an Irish-speaking breakfast on the weekends. She offered to let me stay at her house once if I needed to when I was doing an exam. My first teacher was the same way, though less as I was still a beginner. But we'd meet during office hours regularly, and I'd learn stuff we hadn't covered in class yet. Still only got an A- instead of an A 'cause I was too lazy to memorise vocabulary lol.

As for immersion schools, they've been the best precisely because they're fast paced and pretty much all day. The ones I've done in Ireland force you to keep up, and it's sink or swim in a lot of ways. I've loved this, and was using the language literally 6-8 hours a day just in structured classes. Same with the one in France, though it was 4 hours a day 2 days and 7 three days a week, with less interaction on the weekend. And then it was slower paced than me as I was in a class that was below my level, but I was still able to get practice and solidify my understanding. In Spain, class was slightly above my level and total immersion, so it forced me, again, to work at it and that's why I enjoyed it so much. It was great, not so much the one I did in Mexico, though I did enjoy it (it was more conversational focused, whereas I was wanting more grammar structure)


I'm similar to galaxyrocker in that attempts on my own have failed, and I prefer some kind of teaching. Obviously I'm fortunate to be in a position where I have the budget to support this choice. I supplement it with a lot of self-study (so approx. 2-8 hours to prepare for a class specifically, plus other hours of doing things on my own like reading and listening that aren't specifically for the class). Why do I prefer this? Partly because I set myself very high standards and will very quickly get discouraged if I'm on my own. Partly because I like having some kind of framework, and don't seem to be able to set it up entirely on my own. Partly because I like connecting with people and having the cultural exchange. I've had bad experiences (online, teachers being flaky and cancelling with a minute's notice or completely misjudging my language and/or commitment level; in person, boring, slow, being held back by others in a group class, etc). But I've had positive experiences similar to those galaxyrocker mentioned, with teachers really taking me under their wing and pushing me forward massively. I'm not sure I'd do a group class again as once you've signed up, you're committed, and I've probably become less prepared to pay out hard-earned cash for something sub-optimal, but the benefits of classes for me are sufficient for me to persevere with trying out teachers online where I know I can swap and change if something isn't working out.

I don't think I'm lacking in motivation to study on my own; I just like having both forms of input. Having a log here helps me too, but it's part of the puzzle, not the whole. I also think teachers are helpful in that they can (usually) provide you with reliable feedback and suggestions as to how to move forward. They know you (or at least after a while should), so can adjust what they say to you rather than just giving generic advice. I would say, however, that it was the super challenge that initially drew me to this forum, and finding the encouragement to try reading German novels for fun, which I'd never managed before, was what got me back to more serious study after years away from languages, and allowed me to find the time in my schedule that I then later filled with some classes. I think it's good to put out lots of options but accept that people are so different and so will pick and choose what suits them (and if people do find something that works and they enjoy, that's a win, however that something ends up looking). I'm always massively impressed by what you, Cavesa, manage to achieve on your own, but I don't think I'd be able to replicate it myself!
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