Hello all, I'm here out of desperation.
I'm English and live in France and my learning of French has totally plateau'd. I've come across all the usual advice about immersion, reading, television, radio etc and right now it's just not working. At B2 level, I'm finding I hate this nonsensical and illogical language with such a passion that it is ruining my motivation to do anything else here. We still have weekly French lessons (after 6 years) and I just hate every minute of it. Nothing gets retained more than 60 minutes after each lesson and I resent with every fibre having to "organise" and "make time" to learn every single day! I want it to just sink in like it does for the 10-year olds.
I'm running two businesses, one of which is agricultural so I do not have the ability to drop everything to do with life to spend a daily hour on French. It's too hard and no longer makes any sense to me and if I were less bothered about being "that ignorant immigrant", I would just give up! I am not motivated to do anything this difficult; I've got too much else to do with my time.
So, I need help with motivation, changing-up the learning to something that works and not hating this damn language. Any and all ideas gratefully received
Thanks in advance, UF.
Oh brother, I feel your pain! But I don't agree that you need to love the French language to learn French. I learned it and I hate it with a passion. I agree with most of the advice people have given you. But if you're anything like me, then you need a plan, not advice. You haven't given much away about where the obstacles are for you. But I can probably figure them out based on my experience. I'm guessing, you probably have no issues with holding a conversation with someone for an hour. You can probably read most things and "get the gist" of it, but there are probably words you don't know. You can listen to people and understand, but radio programs and some TV can be a bit of a stretch.
If that sounds about right then you need to have a plan. The plan I would suggest is this.
You've heard of a food diary for dieters? Do the same thing for French. You should spend 2 weeks and track your interactions with French and French speakers. Note down both the successes and the failures. Note down what was lacking in your next two classes, why do you think you don't remember? Insufficient repetition? Write down when you either misunderstood or didn't understand something. Write down EVERYTHING it will help later.
After a couple of weeks, sit down and review your French diet. What didn't you understand? Why, in what context. Are there patterns you can spot? Are there locals with a heavy accent which you were not understanding? Is it just listening comprehension that is the problem? Is vocabulary retention the issue? etc, etc, etc.
Only once you've identified the problem(s) can you work on fixing them. Let's say you've discovered that your teacher only gives an explanation of a grammar point or vocabulary once and there is no "reinforcement" so you have forgotten everything by the end of the day. Perhaps a spaced repetition program on your phone like ANKI can help you to remember vocabulary or grammar points. Or maybe you discover that 80% of your problems are related to listening comprehension. But why? Is it because you lack vocabulary? Then try to read more. Perhaps listening comprehension problems are only related to a regional accent. Try to spend more time with people with that accent.
Honestly, I do agree that French is a pain in the proverbial. It is just a long list of exceptions occasionally interrupted by a rule. But you can win if you just remember that you are in the long game. It is a marathon, not a sprint. You're not ever going to speak or understand like a native 10-year-old. But you have the advantage of an adult mind and access to books!
There is a quote, normally attributed to Churchill, which says: "When you're going through hell, keep going." Because you don't want to stay there now, do you?