Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

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lusan
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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby lusan » Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:10 pm

Welcome.

I think it is doable. I began last November and I reached B1 listening, high A2 speaking, Low B2 reading. How:

1. Assimil....
A lesson 1 day.... with a bunch of repetitions until fully understanding the lesson. No Active wave. Lesson relistening nicely done will walking the dog
2. Anki all basic words.... Get from frequency table or back of Assimila book.... they will be about 2000 actives words ...
2 Anki sets: Active (L1-L2) and passive (L2-L1). Active cards ONLY for the words that you want to use... take advantage of cognates the rest to passive. A good book is Essential French grammar by Seymour Resnick.
3. Basic Grammar book. Make Anki cards for rules examples ONLY and verbs forms. Anki cards for all basic verbs in present tense and the Compose. They are about 50 basic verbs. Use cloze deletion techniques.
4. Listen at least 30 min of Ballades... Intensive listening and reading...All unknown to Passive card set.
5. Watch one Buffy episode a day. Do not worry much about not understanding everything. Just stick to it for 200 or more hours.
6. Read 30 min minimum.... But be careful.
7. Listening is fundamental and more important, in my opinion, than speaking. Watch out with reading. I suspect that it could become an obstacle to understand spoken language. I believe that spoken french is different than the written one.

Drop Italki. Join a French table or Meetup group and get to speak for free. After finishing Assimil, jump right into FSI Basic French. 2 hours per day will do marvel to speaking. Much better that Italki lessons.

It will take, of course, 4-5 hours every day. It worked for me. Of course, I speak Spanish which helps a lot. These are just my opinions. Good luck,
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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby Adrianslont » Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:50 pm

Hi. I’ve got a couple of thoughts about your next step:

1. You don’t have to wait until you finish Assimil before taking your next step - you could continue with Assimil while taking up something else at the same time. I mention this because I sensed maybe Assimil is becoming a bit of a grind? I think Assimil is great but I bore easily. Doing two things might be more entertaining for you, too.

2. I don’t think anyone has mentioned podcasts. There are podcasts for native speakers but they will may be too hard even when you finish assimil. There are podcasts for beginners that use lots of English - I hate those because they tend to be slow and I want target language only. And then there are podcasts for learners at a2/b1 which you could probably start on before finishing Assimil on on completion. The three I recommend are Inner French, Balades and L’avis de Marie. All of these have transcripts, so there is that support if you have trouble with the listening. They have subject matter I find interesting. I’d recommend you have a look.

3. I know your goal is speaking French so something like pimsleur is good but it is in the end more course work - I think mixing things up eg podcasts might be more entertaining. It is for me. And with podcasts you get listening practice, which is half the battle when speaking a language.

Cheers.
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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby hedgehog.chess » Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:27 am

There’s also an option of using https://gloss.dliflc.edu/as a way of a gentle introduction to native materials. There’s a wonderful introduction to GLOSS by IronMike: HERE
EDIT: Since the original post from IronMike seems to be missing images for whatever reason here’s a link to the full version which I’d managed to copy/paste before the images got deleted. LINK
From my part I would also like to add that there are also bilingual texts provided to the lessons, although a bit hidden. Here’s the path in pictures :)
gloss1.jpg
gloss1.jpg (210.42 KiB) Viewed 380 times

gloss2.jpg
gloss2.jpg (346.83 KiB) Viewed 380 times

gloss3.jpg
gloss3.jpg (331.5 KiB) Viewed 380 times
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joecleland
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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby joecleland » Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:47 pm

iguanamon wrote:People often ask, "What do I use after Assimil, or other course?". The answer is "It depends". Myself, I don't have to worry about that as I use a multi-track approach with comprehensible input simultaneously with a course. You can follow my signature link at the bottom of this post for more ideas.

At your present stage, you may want to try to see if you can decipher a short, not too complicated, text. A 280 character tweet or a Bible verse you may know well could work. Or, you may want to challenge yourself with a song at lyricstraining.

The thing is, using a course will help you to gain a foundation but you will need to build on that foundation. Many learners who just use a course and then "dive into native materials" are shocked to discover that the language is not the same as the course language. Sometimes it can send them into a tailspin and they think they need more courses to solve the problem. This can lead them to never leave course world. It is a good idea to have a good bilingual dictionary, electronic or physical, and a good basic grammar in your toolbox in addition to your course(s).

Courses can only take a learner just so far. Learning a language to a high level means engaging with it on multiple fronts- speaking; listening; writing; reading. The good news is that a learner doesn't have to wait to be perfect to do this. Reading can be done with a parallel text (L2 on the left, L1 on the right)

GlobalVoices.org wrote:Français
Voyager : un sport extrême pour les Africains
Quand une demande de visa relève du parcours du combattant

“Vous ne repartirez pas !”

Interdire aux Africains d'entrer dans certains pays n'est pas seulement humiliant, mais souligne également le racisme institutionnel qui sous-tend l'idée qu'il est impossible de faire confiance aux professionnels et aux artistes africains pour se conformer à la loi.

L'article 13 de la Déclaration universelle des droits de l'homme stipule que “Toute personne a le droit de quitter tout pays, y compris le sien, et de revenir dans son pays”. Toutefois, en réalité, sans passeport ni visa, il est bien difficile d’exercer ce droit. Et la facilité d'obtenir un visa varie selon la nationalité. Dans le “Henley Passport Index” 2019, qui classe les passeports en fonction du nombre de pays auxquels ils donnent accès, le Japon et Singapour arrivent en tête, tandis que l'Angola, l'Égypte et Haïti se situent aux derniers rangs.
Travel: An extreme sport for Africans

Visa applications can feel like a sacrifice to the gods

‘You won't come back!’

Barring Africans from entry into certain countries is not only humiliating — it also highlights the institutional racism that underpins the notion that African professionals and creatives cannot be trusted to obey the law.


Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.” The reality, however, is that without a passport and valid visa, this right cannot easily be exercised. And the ease of getting a visa varies according to nationality. On the 2019 Henley Passport Index, Japan and Singapore hold the top spot for access to most countries, while Angola, Egypt and Haiti are at the bottom.

You can see that the translation is not exact. It conveys the meaning. A text like this can be used in many ways.
1) If a learner were to print it to pdf and put it on a tablet they could expand the French to cover the visible screen and scroll over to the English when difficulty in understanding arises.
2) Read English first then French
3) Use the dictionary to see why language choices were made
4) See how grammar is used and study the grammar with which the learner may not be familiar
5) Learn new vocabulary not in the learner's courses
6) All of the above

Basically, courses are just one part of the learning process. They play a very important role in learning but are not the only tool to use. A learner can engage with native material much earlier than they think, as long as it is comprehensible or can be made to be comprehensible. Making L2 text comprehensible can be done by means of a faithful (preferably human-made) translation; using a dictionary and trying to figure it out for one's self; being familiar with L1 and leveraging that familiarity to aid in understanding L2- e.g.: The Peppa Pig Project.

Yes, Assimil's Using French would be a good course to use after finishing Assimil NFWE but it is not a substitute for engaging with French on a regular basis in the real world. It is also most certainly not a prerequisite for engaging with the language outside of course-world. Also, have a look at emk's post Cheating and Consolidating, where he describes the process in detail.


Thank you so much for this! I'm not sure if the multi-track approach is for me, because I feel like I need to finish things or it'll bug me. However, there was a lot of really good information here. I actually spent 20 minutes reading through others posts before coming back to reply. I think learning a language through video or song is probably the most enjoyable way to learn, in my opinion. I'm definitely going to check the Lyrics Training app tonight. Peppa Pig (along with other children shows) seems like a nice/slow way to learn and understand through input. I'm not sure how much grunting and snorting from Peppa Pig I will be able to handle before looking for another show. However, I will give it a shot.
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joecleland
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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby joecleland » Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:59 pm

lusan wrote:5. Watch one Buffy episode a day. Do not worry much about not understanding everything. Just stick to it for 200 or more


Thank you for your reply. When you're watching Buffy for the 200+ hours do you display french text or leave the close captioning off to focus on the body language and speaker? I would assume no text on screen. I know it's a silly question, but before committing to such a time requirement, I would like to make sure I understand you ;)

lusan wrote:Drop Italki. Join a French table or Meetup group and get to speak for free. After finishing Assimil, jump right into FSI Basic French. 2 hours per day will do marvel to speaking. Much better that Italki lessons.

This is really good advice. I just found a local meetup group in my area that meets weekly. I will admittingly say I am very nervous to show up with the very limited and broken french that I know. It would be a "I'm Tarzan, I'm Jane" kind of talk :lol: After Assimil, I think I will give it a shot.

Also, I just saw someone's post about FSI today. I have seen the acronym before but never looked into it. In the user's posts (I can't remember the name) they said they'd recommend for learner's at the A2 level, but even then it's very challenging.
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  • Fluent Forever 625 Word List
  • Assimil NFWE - 77/113 Lessons (68%)
  • iTalki Conversations - 26 Hours

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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby joecleland » Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:02 pm

Adrianslont wrote:there are podcasts for learners at a2/b1 which you could probably start on before finishing Assimil on on completion. The three I recommend are Inner French, Balades and L’avis de Marie. All of these have transcripts, so there is that support if you have trouble with the listening. They have subject matter I find interesting. I’d recommend you have a look.

This is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you so much for you suggestions.
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    Complete
  • Pimsleur French 1
  • Fluent Forever 625 Word List
  • Assimil NFWE - 77/113 Lessons (68%)
  • iTalki Conversations - 26 Hours

    Currently Using
    Lingoda Level A1 - 100 hours
  • A1.1 - 45/50 Hours Complete (90%)
  • A1.2 - 7/50 Hours Complete (14%)

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joecleland
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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby joecleland » Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:26 pm

Today is DAY 72 of learning French.

Today I will be completing Lesson 39 of Assimil NFWE.

Man...Lesson 38 was the longest lesson I’ve had. I am a perfectionist in the sense that my mind won’t allow me to continue unless I know what each word means from both L1<-->L2. It makes me second guess if I’m spending “too much time” on one lesson? Despite the lengthy studying, I feel like my retention is tremendous (doing the ACTIVE ONLY approach). I will say, inputting every single sentence into ANKI using the reverse card format is starting to become a pain. I don’t know if it’s creating the card itself or just reviewing the cards which is now taking me a solid hour every day before I start my lesson. Regardless, I am staying true to this method until the end of the book.

The Fluent Forever 625 words has actually been something I look forward to everyday. I have completed around 325 words. I can say I have these cards down! It’s a lot easier in terms of motivation to open up this deck rather than Assimil, at the given time. What I wish I would have done was started the common word list on my very first day of learning the language. I have completed either 5 or 6 one hour sessions on iTalki, with the same tutor. My lessons are once a week and he was very impressed with the amount of progress and vocab I am gaining at such a rapid pace.
I know that learning words in sentences can have its many benefits but has anyone used a good frequency dictionary to create their own list of ‘x’ words?

I saw a couple word lists that contain the most common 2000 words but I’m not sure if I can find something that comes with the audio file of the word itself. I read here on the forums about users using http://www.forvo.com but I’m not sure I want to go about downloading every single word I learn every day (grabbing the audio file). Then again, it’s not much different from finding the images for my deck creation now.

My studying is taking 2 hours if I’m lucky every day- usually more. So, I haven’t been able to watch too many French television series. I did finish Le Chalet which I thought was alright. I will look for a good series to start this weekend. If you have a good show, please let me know.
Lastly, in terms of reading…I keep seeing posts that users state what really helps them solidify their learning is just input through reading. I know there are two approaches to this but wanted to know what you all thought?

A) Push through the reading and just absorb the material
B) Look up every word you don’t know before continuing

I will say I don’t mind either or, but I would hate to read a book and be interrupted so many times that I can’t follow the plot because I’m looking up too many words OR reading a book that I never understood LOL. I know it’s probably laughable, but the approach may vary considerably towards the end result.

Thank you all for being so helpful. You are awesome!
Last edited by joecleland on Wed Sep 18, 2019 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
3 x
    Complete
  • Pimsleur French 1
  • Fluent Forever 625 Word List
  • Assimil NFWE - 77/113 Lessons (68%)
  • iTalki Conversations - 26 Hours

    Currently Using
    Lingoda Level A1 - 100 hours
  • A1.1 - 45/50 Hours Complete (90%)
  • A1.2 - 7/50 Hours Complete (14%)

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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby StringerBell » Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:46 pm

joecleland wrote:Lastly, in terms of reading…I keep seeing posts that users state what really helps them solidify their learning is just input through reading. I know there are two approaches to this but wanted to know what you all thought?

A) Push through the reading and just absorb the material
B) Look up every word you don’t know before continuing


I am in the process of improving my vocabulary to the point where I can easily read extensively in Italian. I've been experimenting with various ways to get myself there, and so far the things that I like the most are doing a combination of the following:

1) Parallel reading: Read a chapter (or even a page) first in English, then read it in the T2 (French). I get the English versions of the books from my library so I don't have to waste the most money possible. Having read a section first in your native language makes guessing unknown words from context A LOT easier and it reduces some of the cognitive burden of trying to piece together what's happening.

2) R-L: This is listening to the audiobook in French while reading the English version, then on the second pass, listening to the audiobook in French again while reading the French book. I've found this is more useful at an intermediate level, but there's a monster thread on the old HTLAL forum about doing this from the beginning. You can do variations of this, like read a chapter in English, then read in French while listening to the French audiobook. I've done that in the past and really enjoyed it.

3) Reading on a kindle and using the electronic dictionary to tap on words.

I personally find intensive reading (looking up every unknown word) to be the most useful thing to do, but it's also the most laborious and results in me not wanting to read very often. So I try to mix it up and do intentive reading for a certain period of time, then switch to a different thing when I need a break. There's a balance between what's the most effective vs. what doesn't make me hate reading. A lot of people seem to make improvements with just doing extensive reading and pushing through all the unknowns, but that doesn't really work for me. I'm curious to see what you decide to do!
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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby Adrianslont » Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:23 am

joecleland wrote:
Adrianslont wrote:there are podcasts for learners at a2/b1 which you could probably start on before finishing Assimil on on completion. The three I recommend are Inner French, Balades and L’avis de Marie. All of these have transcripts, so there is that support if you have trouble with the listening. They have subject matter I find interesting. I’d recommend you have a look.

This is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you so much for you suggestions.

You're welcome. I'm glad you like them.

Just a heads up - it seems that Podclub are shutting down their podcasts real soon now. Forum member Klara started a thread just a few days ago - "PodClub shuts down their podcast series" - you may have noticed it. I'm just mentioning it in case you want to stock up - ie download the mp3s and transcripts before they disappear.

I found that after about 40 Balades and all of the Marie's (varying 1 to 6 listens, usually just listening, occasionally reading the transcript) I could cope with many "France Inter" and "France Culture" and "France Bleu" made for natives podcasts. I still struggle badly with some shows (multiple young people talking tech over the top of each other) and I don't get everything in the ones I cope with but I mostly understand Grand Bien Vous Fasse which is a nice show with a variety of topics.
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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby Carmody » Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:36 pm

Yes, I love Podclub and Marie. They were magnificent.
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