So, outside influences are influencing my focus on languages. Initially that was for the worse, but now it's for the better.
Perhaps it's all a matter of perspective but I'm going to draw some positives from the global situation of late and use it to focus more than ever on improving my languages, starting with French.
What's happened? Well, briefly, my perspective has changed somewhat as I feel I need to adapt to the situation, while drawing on my interests and focusing on my family's future. I want to use my language skills in a work capacity of some sort eventually. The way we work is changing and I want to change too! (spoilt child). I'll give this mission a red-hot go while remaining humble, since the best laid plans of mice and men....
There's got to be some flexibility in aiming for certain things and the circumstances around you changing or your outlook on life changing. In other words, while this is a plan, I reserve the right to change it accordingly. I have no intention of changing course and I'm not saying this to give me an out when the going gets tough (although you can bet I'll use it if I feel I have to, right?
). I intend on staying the path, but you just never know what's on the horizon. That's a lot of waffle for something that really goes without saying. Nothing like being dramatic, PM. Maybe you ought to consider writing for a trashy media outlet?
So, my French needs to officially reach C2. I've not got the time to muck around and I've done too much of that in recent times. Perhaps for good reason. Still, it's time to get on with things.
Last month I did just over 22 hours of French as I struggled with direction and just needed to go into neutral for a while studying what I liked when I liked in whichever language. I gravitated eventually back to French only.
I've surpassed last month's effort already while only half way into this month. I anticipate I ought to be able to considerably increase my French hours from here on as I get better at managing my routine as well as utilising stolen moments.
There'll be some differences this time around in my approach compared to previous cray cray missions. There's no point in ignoring my sleep patterns or pushing the limit with tolerance with lack of sleep. Nor do I intend on skipping exercise altogether. I've now learned to ride and kayak with audio devices adapted to the conditions. I need to respect my health and be swimming in French whenever possible. Thus, I need to be sensible while progressing as much as I can within a reasonable daily sort of healthy and sustainable routine.
So, with regards to plans and after speaking with iguanamon, he's suggested the following. I suggested he take all the credit for this, btw.
*Anki: Never not be using Anki. While asleep, use Anki, While eating, use Anki. While... (you get the idea)... Okay, one more - If ever delivering CPR to a local wombat or cockatoo, use Anki at the same time!
*French series in the gaps when not able to reach the holy Anki machine. Between sleep and waking would be ideal, that's around 25 hours /day. French series must be watched with English subtitles only and the French audio must be all the way down or it'll interfere with the immersion process.
*Study the 20 most common words in French, completing 659,000 Anki reps of the same. Never use sentence cards, always isolated words. No context needed, too inefficient.
*Purchase advanced study materials (courses, naturally) and stare at the book covers for around 5 minutes each.
*Read the English Amazon reviews on advanced French materials a few times over.
*Burn books and courses - focus on devices.
Result: Fluency in French in under a day!The other languages and other plans
After French C2 accomplished I (not joking now) intend on reaching B2 in three languages: Dutch, Norwegian, Spanish. Of course this is further off, so the order of languages may change, the level might change, and whether I do one at a time or not might change (unlikely though), who knows, but it's my plan now for the future (which hasn't arrived yet). Still, if struggling with all of this, I might change my plan to: French B2, NO, NL, ES learn a few words, then it's mission accomplished!
I'm still eyeing off a Masters in Translation or a Master's in Translation and Interpreting... we'll see what happens there, but for now I need to focus on the task at hand, improving my French daily and consistently. Back to the French plan:
*Sit Dalf C1 first (May 2021 - dates not confirmed yet by AF).
*Sit Dalf C2... ummm later (Nov 2021 - dates not confirmed yet by AF). How to get there (my routine, currently):
1 HOUR: 20 minutes of intensive reading/vocabulary study + 40 minutes of reading extensively.
1 HOUR: 20 minutes of intensive reading/vocabulary study + 40 minutes of writing.
1 HOUR: 20 minutes of intensive reading/vocabulary study + 40 minutes of watching.
1 HOUR: 20 minutes of intensive reading/vocabulary study + 40 minutes of grammar/course work.
Out of the four hours above, I'll aim for 3 hours each day, rotating through to the next activity at the beginning of the next day.
Materials: Intensive reading/vocabulary study: Think French
. I prefer the latter much more, but I don't want to take them to work, so I'll use Think French during breaks/free time at work when doing intensive reading/vocab. Extensive reading:
I've loads of ebooks and paper books. I'll simply work my way through them choosing whichever I please. I may do some reading online included either as part of my extensive reading or as an extra activity. Writing:
At home on paper, sometimes with the computer. At work (breaks, free time), usually on a computer. Initially using creative writing suggestions kindly provided by iguanamon via the booklet 365 Invitations à Écrire
. Perhaps later I'll join a writing course and I certainly intend on referring to the C1/C2 course books to develop my techniques adapted to the exam formats down the track.Watching:
Back to the drawing board - Buffy
with transcripts. Then progress through series, if I ever get there. Lately I've been stopping and pausing and saying aloud the lines of the characters in Buffy, referring to the transcripts where unclear. I need to remember that this is about training my ear and not look at the transcripts unless I cannot understand what is being said. Grammar/Course work:
Whatever course I feel like doing. Currently reviewing Hugo's French in 3 Months
on breaks at work and started working through the latest Assimil French
that I bought a couple months back. I'm approaching this one differently than I've done an Assimil course before by not only speaking the translations bidirectionally but writing them as well from the exercises and the texts.
The above is my study routine, but there are other moments of French language use: Podcasts:
While commuting to/from work, while kayaking, while cycling. TV series:
On the side (outside my study time) I've been watching the German show Dark
again with French audio dub. Brilliant series! Imo best series (in any language) in recent years along with Game of Thrones
. I've had to go back and watch season one and two as season three was a little confusing for me in the beginning. It's a complicated series in terms of who is linked to who (you'd have to watch it to know what I mean there), so rewatching is worth it. I'm astounded yet again watching it second time around as I just feel it oozes quality, even the music they utilise in certain moments of the series just seem to really add to the whole mysterious atmosphere. Love it. Reading/speaking with the kids:
Most days I'm reading for a good while with the kids in Dutch on Dutch days, French on French days and lately some Spanish here and there too. I simply cannot read Norwegian at this stage given I will totally ruin the pronunciation in terms of stress and tones - that'll have to wait. Other reading
I often read the news from mainstream and alternative sites. Sometimes just the headlines, other days whole articles.
Throw a burger over your shoulder!
PS: When does this begin? Now!
Edited for grammar