PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sun Jul 11, 2021 8:51 pm

rdearman wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:
rdearman wrote:Remind me again what all this self-flagellation is for?


Finally! I've got your attention! It's to illustrate to you how you don't want to approach language learning and that that's perfectly fine with everyone (I asked them all personally, and consequently you now know why I learn languages -to expand my survey sample size-, mind you many a Frenchy didn't know who you were, weird).

No, seriously. Why are you going through all this again? Have you booked a C1/C2 exam or something?


I'm aiming for passing the C2 exam ultimately. While I might be able to be quoted as having said that I will book in for a C-level exam in November this year, I have some doubts that will happen. As Le Baron pointed out, the time frame is likely to be too narrow. The main thing is that I just keep improving and it'll be evident when it's time to sit the exam(s). However, I don't want this to be a never-ending venture either or a carrot that never gets caught.
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sun Jul 11, 2021 8:59 pm

MorkTheFiddle wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:
rdearman wrote:Remind me again what all this self-flagellation is for?


Finally! I've got your attention! It's to illustrate to you how you don't want to approach language learning and that that's perfectly fine with everyone (I asked them all personally, and consequently you now know why I learn languages -to expand my survey sample size-, mind you many a Frenchy didn't know who you were, weird).

Peter, I can't explain why, but whenever I read your plans and your progress in French, my own French improves!
It also seems to me that your life is even busier and more hectic than you have described, so my hat's off (or chapeau to keep it in house) to what you accomplish.


Thanks MorkTheFiddle, I appreciate it. Yes, life is extremely busy. The trick is to find a balance between everything yet with the scales heavily tipped in favour of language learning. Wait, is that even logical? It seems logical or not, there's no stopping this train. I'm glad your French is on the improve! All the more reason to move ahead.
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby siouxchief » Wed Jul 14, 2021 6:39 am

PeterMollenburg wrote:The trick is to find a balance between everything yet with the scales heavily tipped in favour of language learning. Wait, is that even logical?


Balance is the key to life I feel. If your wife is cool with you getting up very early to sit in your garage and it doesn't make you cranky or impact the family during the day then whatever works for you. Otherwise the balance has tipped.
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sat Jul 24, 2021 7:08 am

siouxchief wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:The trick is to find a balance between everything yet with the scales heavily tipped in favour of language learning. Wait, is that even logical?


Balance is the key to life I feel. If your wife is cool with you getting up very early to sit in your garage and it doesn't make you cranky or impact the family during the day then whatever works for you. Otherwise the balance has tipped.


The balance is tipped. I could not function long-term on the 5am wake-ups with insufficient sleep. Something had to give. It turned out to be my health and my mood at times. My French fell from hard-core progress mode to maintenance mode and I've been struggling to return to hard-core progress mode since. It seems every time I post of my great progress in my log I have gotten ahead of myself as sure enough moments later it all falls apart.

Meanwhile my outlook on the planetary situation is not so positive, so I have myself even wondering what the hell I'm doing learning French while I ought to be focusing on other more important things. It seems that if I ever officially make C2 it will not be without a decent degree of consistent focused French study, ironically in a balanced life. Picture me reciting French grammar from a course book in one hand, headphones on listening to podcasts, my second hand taken up by a dystopian 1984-like book and all the while fighing off demons with a poorly sharpened sword in, wait, which hand? This is all getting to be a bit much. When do I get to learn Norwegian? or Dutch? Wait! Demons over your left shoulder! Hey PM, why don't you get up at 3am each morning, then you might have time for everything, provided you only study Norwegian for 5 minutes a day and instead of driving to work, you ride... wait, that's over 100km today... :roll: :evil:
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby rdearman » Sat Jul 24, 2021 8:51 am

You need to work like a Yorkshire man.


Monty Python wrote: Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing 'Hallelujah.'



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: 14 / 22 22 French Paperbacks Read: 7736 pages

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I often post on this forum using mobile devices, so please excuse short messages and typos.

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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sat Jul 24, 2021 12:09 pm

rdearman wrote:You need to work like a Yorkshire man.


Monty Python wrote: Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing 'Hallelujah.'


I remember watching this some years ago. It's a great sketch and a fitting reminder to ensure that I must continue to take myself very seriously indeed. :lol:
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby jeffers » Sat Jul 24, 2021 4:29 pm

rdearman wrote:You need to work like a Yorkshire man.


Monty Python wrote: Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing 'Hallelujah.'



It weren't Monty Python, t'were At Last the 1948 Show. I were tipped off by Marty Feldman on t'right.
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby rdearman » Sat Jul 24, 2021 5:24 pm

jeffers wrote:
rdearman wrote:You need to work like a Yorkshire man.


Monty Python wrote: Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing 'Hallelujah.'



It weren't Monty Python, t'were At Last the 1948 Show. I were tipped off by Marty Feldman on t'right.

Yeah, perhaps you prefer this version?


Either way, Peter must work harder! 29 hours down at mill!
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: 14 / 22 22 French Paperbacks Read: 7736 pages

The Autodidactic Podcast
The Lollygagging Podcast

I often post on this forum using mobile devices, so please excuse short messages and typos.

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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby PeterMollenburg » Mon Aug 02, 2021 7:11 am

I can't access my mobile phone right now so I can say I did somewhere a bit above 70 hours of French learning in July without being precise, given it's recorded within that device. It seems increasingly difficult for me to stay the path with French nowadays, so it's a good thing I've made it this far at a stage in my learning where native content can help when I can't or deliberately don't want to sit down to study. Sometimes I just want to eat sugary biscuits and watch Norwegian series with English subtitles, or even listen to English podcasts. What!!!?? :oops: PM, you've lost it!

So right now I can see myself quitting before my task is accomplished. Why? I don't want to discuss that, but it's likely. However, it's okay to quit, as long as I keep going in the meantime, right rdearman? I had to post this here, as I think it's highly motivational stuff.

rdearman wrote:OK, I am the :twisted: devil's advocate :twisted: , so I'll carry on. Everyone is telling you to wimp out and quit, well I'm not. Stop giving up! You lack perseverance. Anything worthwhile is hard to get, so suck it up. Someone told Arnold Schwarzenegger that they couldn't get to the gym and still get 8 hours sleep, he told them to "Sleep Faster". In other words, stop making excuses. Remember that guy that gave up? Neither does anyone else.

Habit trump willpower every time! EVERY TIME.

So cultivate a habit of studying Japanese. Do you assume you have to be in the mood to go to work? Does your employer? Must you be in the mood to feed your family? Do they assume this when their stomachs growl for dinner?

Once you renounce the pretext that you must be in the mood to study, you've accepted studying as your daily business. As many have observed, this is the only way to complete your projects and reach your goals. Professional athletes train daily, whatever the weather, their muscle aches or moods. Concert pianists practice incessantly, whether their fingers are warm, cold, stiff, or relaxed. Without regular, if not daily, study, your zeal fades, you forget where you were, and you lose touch with your learnings.

So I recommend that you don't even think about not studying, you just make it a habit that you do, make it part of your life.

How?:
  1. Cue
    A cue triggers the brain to initiate behaviour and acts as a bit of information to predict the reward. It indicates to the brain about the location of a reward. It can be a location, a specific smell, a particular time of the day, and an emotional state of a person, or any preceding action. So anchour your new study habit to something like first coffee of the day, or when you get on the train for the commute, or whatever you do that happens each day.
  2. Routine
    A routine refers to the action part of a habit that one takes immediately following the cue. It is the actual behaviour or action that one wants to change or enforce. STUDY!
  3. Reward
    The routine delivers a reward, but it doesn’t need to be a tangible compensation for completing the routine. The reward is considered to be the goal of every habit. Give yourself a reward, even if it is just standing up and saying, "Good Job!" (but a bit of chocolate might help too)

Some other things to do that will help:

  • Schedule realistic times to study. Make Study Time a Part of Your Daily Routine
  • Mark your calendar. Make and appointment with Japanese
  • The night before, plan exactly what to work on.
  • Start with something easy to study and wind up the difficulty as the session continues.
  • Make a list of things you need to study.
  • Choose one thing from your master list.
  • Keep a log of your study time. Use it for troubleshooting.
    - It helps you see what days you miss. Is there a pattern? Do you take weekends off? Do they slide into Monday?
    - The log helps you become more conscious of where you're choosing to spend your time.
    - The log shows you when you prefer to study -- morning, afternoon, or dead of night.
    - The log helps you practice forgiving yourself for not studying as much as you think you should.
  • Make small steps and reward yourself for them
  • Find a good studying spot.
  • Avoid social media and stay away from your phone.

That little voice that says you don't need to learn Japanese, and it is too hard? Tell it to shut the hell up. Unless that little voice is speaking Fluent Japanese and can defend its position with a verbal and written presentation about the pros and cons of quitting in Japanese, then it just needs to shut the hell up and get out of your way. Are you going to be the person who won or the "also ran"?

Let me leave you with some quotes:
You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. -- Wayne Gretzky

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily. -- Zig Ziglar.

Motivation gets you going and habit gets you there. -- Zig Ziglar.

It always seems impossible until it’s done. – Nelson Mandela

If you’re going through hell, keep going. – Winston Churchill

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. – Winston Churchill

Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit. -- anon


So basically I'm quitting, but until I'm ready to really drive myself onwards to C2 territory I'll keep going anyway.

It seems there's a pattern in my log. Mission, quit mission, mission, quit mission, introduce another language or two, back to French, mission, can't do it, mission, I quit, but i'll keep going.

You know, I've very little need for French, very few connections to the culture, but I keep coming up with excuses to continue no matter what life throws at me. So, quit as much as I like, but I'll keep on keeping on. Fires, volcanoes errupting, meteorites.... just let me do my French learning/listening/watching for the day will you! ;)

I'm gonna have to play some serious tricks on my brain to get to C2, seriously. :roll:

Edit:
78 hours, 22 minutes in July
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jeffers
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby jeffers » Mon Aug 02, 2021 4:46 pm

I thought about writing something at your last update, because you wrote something about eating better and sleeping less and it seemed that you were surprised it didn't work out. We often think of sleep as an annoyance that gets in the way but it is one of the most fundamental of human needs for staying alive, as well as being one of the things you need for learning. If you rank our basic needs according to how long you can live without them, the first three would be: air, then water, then sleep. You can't rob Peter to pay Paul. Eating better will probably help you sleep better, but it's not going to make a difference of hours in your sleep requirements.

Sleep is one of those things that is barely understood and yet loads of people talk like experts. So I was skeptical when the top of my Kwiziq dashboad said something like: get plenty of sleep because sleep is when your brain lays down memory (or something). However, I found an article from Harvard Medical School which says:
Sleep, learning, and memory are complex phenomena that are not entirely understood. However, animal and human studies suggest that the quantity and quality of sleep have a profound impact on learning and memory. Research suggests that sleep helps learning and memory in two distinct ways. First, a sleep-deprived person cannot focus attention optimally and therefore cannot learn efficiently. Second, sleep itself has a role in the consolidation of memory, which is essential for learning new information.

https://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep/learning-memory
One of the key points in the article is that a good night sleep doesn't only help us focus better on our learning (which I think most of us know), but is also essential for memory consolidation.

In addition, I wonder if you should keep your focus on the small goals for the time being. Your post of 11 June shows a clear plan of what to study but also vaguely mentions "C-level exams" and then your most recent post unambiguously mentions C2. It seems to me at some point in June the spectre of C2, the realization that C2 is a monumental undertaking, got to you and you decided to go from reasonably fanatical study (over two hours per day in June), which you could just about manage, to the unfeasible. It shouldn't be a surprise that it didn't go as well as you had hoped. Remember when you had a list of courses and you could strike them through as you finished them? Perhaps you would enjoy making a list of the current resources you are working on so that you could cross them off one by one. (Maybe you already have, I only recently got back into the forum).

Regarding your pattern of "Mission, quit mission, mission, quit mission..." etc, that's actually pretty reasonable and normal. I can't remember who it was, but someone on these forums (leosmith I believe) described language learning like a bow wave on a boat. As a boat goes faster a bow wave can build up in front which slows the boat down, so the boat needs to slow down to allow the wave to reduce to allow the boat to proceed. In terms of boating, it's a bit rubbish (instead of slowing down you build a boat with a better bow). But in terms of learning the idea is that you study hard for a period and then take a break. This would be quite a shift in your methodology, but maybe you would benefit from alternate weeks in your study plan: a study week and a native content week. So, for all of your sit-down study time for one week you focus on grammar and vocuabulary (your coursebooks), as well as your creative writing. This is about the "formal study time", so you could use native materials when you are listening on your commute or reading to your children. On the alternate week you would spend your study time reading Bien Dire and watching Buffy (ugh). One result is that the time wouldn't seem so short. In addition, theoretically the week off grammar and vocab would give your brain time to bed down what you learned the week before. Finally, I think at the end of each week you would be looking forward to the next week's activities. It's just a suggestion, and not one that I'm following for my study, but it seems to me it could be a suitable fit for the way you work given the pattern you describe. Basically, turn what you may have previously considered a weakness into a virtue.
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Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien (roughly, the perfect is the enemy of the good)

French SC Books: 2925 / 5000 (2925/5000 pp)
French SC Films: 9000 / 9000 (9000/9000 mins)

Grammaire progressive intermédiaire: 59 / 257 (59/257 pp)


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