Me Talk Pretty One Day: French and German

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Green Belt
Posts: 370
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:02 pm
Languages: English (N)
French (Intermediate )
Japanese (Beginner)
Yoruba (Advanced Comprehension)
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Me Talk Pretty One Day: French and German

Postby Sarafina » Wed Aug 02, 2023 9:08 am

Please take all my goals with a grain of salt. I love being ambitious to the point of delusion. If I accomplish even 50% of the goals that I have set out then I will consider it to be a win.

I got a job in Zurich. It was a spur of the moment decision because I originally applied for a position in the French speaking cantons. However, there weren't any positions still available but they had openings in the German speaking canton so I decided to make that jump instead.

I don't have any grand ambitions with German beyond being able to understand people and be understood during my time in Zurich.

My French is currently beyond rusty. I occasionally read a French article here and there. A couple of months ago, there are a bilingual position that opened up but ultimately my French wasn't good enough.

Ultimately I want to get my French to a point where I can use it in a professional capacity and one day in the distant future achieve my perpetually delayed goal of passing either C1/C2 DALF exam.
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Yellow Belt
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:22 pm
Languages: Shona (N), Spanish (Beginner), French (Beginner)
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Re: Me Talk Pretty One Day: French and German

Postby munyag » Tue Nov 21, 2023 2:58 am

Hi Sarafina

I have been following your logs with great enthusiasm. Learning French and German is definitely useful in Zurich. My brother in law left the UK last year and moved to a town called Rappers will initially and now in Bonn. I believe he might be B1 or B2 in German now. How's your French going now? I hope Mr Iguanamon doesn't mind as I took the following from his log for you:

My most recent experience with using TV in language-learning was with Portuguese. To be fair, I already spoke Spanish to a high level when I learned it about six years ago.

I did a multi-track approach with DLI, Pimsleur, NHK news with a transcript, chatting and a private tutor who spoke no English. After finishing DLI, my tutor suggested I watch a novela that she had recently watched and we would use that as my means of instruction. The novela had no subtitles and no transcript. It had 79 40-50 minute episodes. My first task was to watch the first episode and write down unknown words (with timestamps) and we would talk about them. It was, as emk describes "mind-melting". I remember going over the first episode without pausing or writing down anything. Then I started listening intensively and pausing frequently to write down time stamps and what I thought was the word until I had several pages of my notebook full of my almost incomprehensible personal shorthand and timestamps. We had an hour session where we covered the first 25 minutes of the first episode and a day's break til our next session. I then watched the episode again with my notes from our tutoring session. I was able to edit the second half of my notes a bit eliminating a few words. The next session we did the second half of the episode. The next week's session was me giving a review of the episode, scene by scene which took two sessions to complete it. This process went this way for the first month. It was very intense and difficult. I was thrown into the deep end and I had to learn how to swim.

Gradually over the next month, my listening became easier as I got used to the actors' voices and accents. Vocabulary would repeat. I was at a point where our first tutoring session of the week was devoted to unknown words and the next session of the week was my review which I got to where I could do in an hour and a half.

Somewhere around 25 episodes, things began to click for me and there were fewer unknown words. My review was beginning to fit in an hour. When I got to around 40 episodes my unknown words only took up about 10 minutes of time and I could review an episode in that hour and the next day another episode. By around episode 50, I could do two episodes a week. By episode60 or so, I could do three a week.

After I finished the series, my comprehension had dramatically improved. I have since continued to watch several more series, hundreds of episodes, and continued to improve. Now, I can listen to almost anything in Brazilian Portuguese as if it were English.

Had I given up when I first started doing this because it was "too hard", I don't believe I would be where I am today with the language. I don't think I can quantify my routine in terms of hours because it was so multi-faceted- conversation, reading, study, prior listening with a transcript, etc, plus I already knew Spanish.

Finally; maybe going through the phonetique du progressive books with a tutor first might be a good idea. You can isolate and work on the individual sounds that you struggle with (only 10 sounds found in French not present in English I believe). You could then start working with a tutor for a series the way Mr Iguanamon did whilst going through your grammar (B2/C1 grammar book complements of Ms Cavesa)
Perhaps a long running French series like "Plus belles la vie" (I use a VPN to access it from French TV) would be ideal for you in terms of using it with a tutor. Additionally Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been touted on the forum quite a bit.
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