Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

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

Postby joecleland » Wed Oct 16, 2019 6:52 pm

Today is DAY 100 of learning French.

Firstly, I am very happy I made it to the 100 day mark with the same motivation as I started. In terms of progress, I have completed 58/113 lessons of Assimil NFWE and 544/625 words from Fluent Forever frequent word list. I will admit the Assimil lessons are kind of dragging on. In a previous post I mentioned I am too stubborn to not finish a program; so that's that. I do not think it's Assimil itself but I think it's taking each sentence from every lesson and translating it in ANKI, then doing review lessons before working on any lesson for that day. It is very time consuming and was initially used as a 'warm up' to get my mind into thinking French (with a review instead of jumping into a new lesson). Now, I categorize it as a 'burn out' before I even get started :lol:

Jokes aside, I am retaining information but feel maybe taking new words used in sentences (maybe 1-4 cards from each lesson) instead of the small stack I make each day. The problem is when I complete Assimil I will want to continue to review the entire book to just randomize sentences from lessons and throw them at me and feel I would short change myself by only adding the 1-4 cards from each lesson itself. I guess there are no shortcuts and you get what you put into it. When I feel like taking my mind off of the active learning or procrastinating, I am always looking up best ways to learn. I have found myself spending a TON of time just researching the best ways to learn ANY language (not just French) and watching/learning from others experiences. I also enjoying watching YouTubers speak French and talking about the culture in France and Quebec. After this sort of hypnotism, I eventually snap out of it and get back to studying- recharged.

I really envy those that state they learn languages from watching television. I'd like to put more focus on this. I feel like when I watch French series or movies (at this point) I get sucked into the English subtitles and realize I am just following along in my native language rather than truly focusing on the target language. For those that induce a heavy volume of audio, do you feel it's easier to train/learn using the subtitles in L1/L2/or no CC at all? I'm still in the 'Input Stage' so I don't expect to be further progressed than what I currently am. I'm just trying to understand this a little better as this is a trouble area for me.
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Lianne
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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby Lianne » Wed Oct 16, 2019 7:53 pm

joecleland wrote:I really envy those that state they learn languages from watching television. I'd like to put more focus on this. I feel like when I watch French series or movies (at this point) I get sucked into the English subtitles and realize I am just following along in my native language rather than truly focusing on the target language. For those that induce a heavy volume of audio, do you feel it's easier to train/learn using the subtitles in L1/L2/or no CC at all? I'm still in the 'Input Stage' so I don't expect to be further progressed than what I currently am. I'm just trying to understand this a little better as this is a trouble area for me.

I, too, find English subtitles way too distracting when I'm trying to focus on the language being spoken. What I do is I use French subtitles when they match the audio, which is basically only on original French content (also the Twilight movies, for whatever reason). When I'm watching English stuff with the French audio, I use no subtitles, because the French ones are always wildly different from the audio, which I find distracting and not at all helpful.

That way, with the harder native content, I can rely a bit on my reading ability, which is higher than my listening ability. And with easier stuff like Buffy the Vampire Slayer dubbed in French (or easier still, Peppa Pig), I just try to understand as much as I can, in some cases propped up by my memory of the plot from watching it in English.

I had been learning French for way longer than you have so far when I started including a lot of TV. But on the other hand, you seem to be learning a lot more quickly and efficiently than I did for a long time. :lol:
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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby Cenwalh » Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:23 pm

joecleland wrote:I really envy those that state they learn languages from watching television. I'd like to put more focus on this. I feel like when I watch French series or movies (at this point) I get sucked into the English subtitles and realize I am just following along in my native language rather than truly focusing on the target language. For those that induce a heavy volume of audio, do you feel it's easier to train/learn using the subtitles in L1/L2/or no CC at all? I'm still in the 'Input Stage' so I don't expect to be further progressed than what I currently am. I'm just trying to understand this a little better as this is a trouble area for me.


Congrats on making it to 100 days!

To answer your question, whilst I believe learning is possible with first language subtitles (as evidenced by countries with subtitling of English content in their native language performing better than countries where English content is dubbed), I think learning is better done either with target language subtitles or no subtitles at all. Even if you mostly use subtitles, I'd suggest watching/listening to some content without them to give you a better feel for the language.

If you're having real problems isolating words, then I'd suggest using a programme like WorkAudioBook to play certain parts several times, but if that's not the case then your best course of action to get used to listening is to do it a lot, preferably with content at/close to comprehension.
Last edited by Cenwalh on Thu Oct 17, 2019 5:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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MorkTheFiddle
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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Wed Oct 16, 2019 11:09 pm

What Lianne and Cenwalh say makes a lot of sense to me. My own way depends on the video. If the video interests me, I use whatever is available to understand its audio. I know from experience that the more quantity I listen to, using English subtitles or TL subtitles or none, the better my comprehension gets. But the process takes, for me at any rate, hundreds of hours of listening.

As for
When I feel like taking my mind off of the active learning or procrastinating, I am always looking up best ways to learn. I have found myself spending a TON of time just researching the best ways to learn ANY language (not just French) and watching/learning from others experiences.
For me, this has become a necessary part of my process. The wisdom and experience that lie behind a classroom instructor and course materials do not come with self-study methods, so I read through other materials, and I especially value the comments of members of this forum for perspective and advice.
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joecleland
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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby joecleland » Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:54 pm

Today is DAY 107 of learning French

I regretfully have to say I have been a slacker this past week. I only spent 4 of my 7 days actively learning. I guess it could be worse by falling off the train completely. I did what I could with my busy schedule. This week will be even more busy but just until Sunday and everything goes back to normal.

I have complete Lesson 62 of Assimil New French with Ease. I will tell you, it is sometimes a pain just to get started with the lessons. Overall, I am so happy to be using such a great product but as previously stated the novelty has worn off. I am just using my intrinsic motivation to keep grinding. I am really wanting to push through to start using native material- french books, articles, etc. I'd like to say, I don't want this post to sound like a downer (by any means) just noting my current mood with Assimil while I progress. I wouldn't be as far along as I am without it.

I have complete 563/625 words of my Fluent Forever word list. This is something that I look forward to every day. I have come to the realization that I love word lists. The caveat, I try to use them when forming sentences on iTalki but often do not know the appropriate conjugation LOL. Needless to say, when I feel like I'm crushing my learning I am given a humble and kind reminder how tricky the language is.

Once I complete my word list I will probably continue to review the word list (20-30 words every day). To supplement the review, I will start reading and listening to the audio book Le Petit Prince. Every word that I don't know in the book, I will probably create a flashcard for it.

As of right now, my main goal is to finish Assimil by the end of the year. I am currently on track but this means I can't be slacking off if I want this to happen. At the start of the new year, I would like to be speaking with Native speakers everyday or every other day until March. Around that time I will have the opportunity to be in France for about a week. I'd like to test how much progress I've made. In two weeks, I will be at my 4 month mark. I will create a progress video then and post to this thread.

VIDEO: I have been watching a lot of French YouTubers lately. I actually came across a British comedian who lives in France. His new stand-up special is released called Franglais. It's kind of cool to hear English and hear French at the same time. He talks mostly about his experience as an ex-pat in both languages. Here is a small snippet of his 1hr stand-up.
https://youtu.be/PwpH_MarfSM
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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby siouxchief » Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:44 pm

Well done and keep up the good work. I'm about 20 lessons behind you at this stage. It can be tough some days I must agree but you are making progress even if you mightnt realise.

Quick question. When reviewing old lessons do you ever wonder after listening to them would you understand the words out of context? Like we know what's in Mr Duclos apartment off the top of our heads at this stage as we've learnt them and I wonder if we heard armchair or low table out of context would we still know them....
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joecleland
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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby joecleland » Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:02 pm

siouxchief wrote:Well done and keep up the good work. I'm about 20 lessons behind you at this stage. It can be tough some days I must agree but you are making progress even if you mightnt realise.


I appreciate that man. I know I will want to purchase the Using version but I may need a different resource and jump back to that one. Some days I feel like "will I ever use this?" and question my progress. My iTalki tutor has been the same tutor since I started 2.5 months ago. Each week when we meet he tells me he can tell i'm making progress and my response time is improving. Sometimes just hearing that gives me motivation.

siouxchief wrote:Quick question. When reviewing old lessons do you ever wonder after listening to them would you understand the words out of context? Like we know what's in Mr Duclos apartment off the top of our heads at this stage as we've learnt them and I wonder if we heard armchair or low table out of context would we still know them....


I know exactly what you're talking about. I create flashcards of every single sentence and I have seen this one about 15 times! "Je vends un canapé et deux fauteuils en cuir. Prix à débattre."... it's funny I knew exactly what you were talking about. I think if i heard 'fauteuils' I would think 'arm chair' only because it's a weird word to me. If I heard 'cuir' I would probably say the word out loud to myself like 3-5 times and say I have no idea what it means. Then when I look it up I would beat myself up because I should know that word. The table example is a little rough for me. In the fluent forever word list they use the word 'bas' for 'bottom or low'- which is easy. In Assimil, I think they use 'dessus' for 'above' and 'dessous' for 'below'. When I read it I can make the distinction because 'dessous' has an extra letter and I think of it as a strong base or foundation. The word 'dessus' would not be as strong if stacked on top of each other LOL. That sounds even more ridiculous when I type it out but it's how I remember. However, when I hear them both It's very difficult for me to decipher which one is which.

I will definitely say, even though I only practice my writing once a week, I still think listening is my biggest challenge.
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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby siouxchief » Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:34 am

It's funny that you have similar thoughts to me as you go through this. I find it very hard to motivate myself to write them out whilst looking at L1 but I've done about 6 so far I think.

I do feel that writing them does get around the issue discussed and is a proper test if you know the vocab because we're not getting hints from the audio which then triggers your English memory of the sentence. Lately if I do motivate myself to start writing them out I do 3 or 4 of them to make up for my laziness on it :).

I'd be happy if I manage to write out 50 lessons by the time I finish the first wave 113 and get the urge to move onto Using French.
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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby joecleland » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:27 pm

Today is DAY 114 of learning French.

In my previous post I mentioned how busy I have been, so I had taken a few days off of active learning. I am now back to my normal schedule. I have complete Lesson 66 of Assimil New French with Ease and have learned 600/625 words from the Fluent Forever word list. I am excited to finish the word list and start using it for a quick daily review. I have been using my ANKI deck to randomize a word (from the word list) and try to create a sentence on the fly; which has been kind of fun. It's nice to 'fact check' my work and see when the sentences are actually correct! :lol:

ASSIMIL: I stopped reviewing previous lessons from ANKI before learning the new lesson. I still input the sentences (after my lesson) into my deck, but will only review this ANKI deck once I complete the book. Right now, I am just drilling the lesson as I have been. Once I complete the daily lesson I go back to the instructed 'Active Phase' lesson which has been going smooth.

I am 6 days away from my 4 month mark. I have decided I will post a progress video then. Sometimes I feel like I do not know anything (when watching YouTube videos only in French) but I also look at my previous progress videos and feel like I have made great strides. I am really happy to have been recording since Day 1.

Lately, I have been growing rather fond of the Québécois accent. I actually purchased Assimil's Québécois version - https://www.assimil.com/guides-conversation/387-quebecois-9782700540840.html. I am excited to receive it next week. I think there are only 18 lessons or so. This will be more for my enjoyment and familiarity with certain pronunciations. I will continue to learn the 'Standard French' pronunciation until I reach a higher level. As a Native English speaker I can't say with confidence but from what I read, Québecers can understand 'Standard' spoken French but it's not the same the other way around. I know the written text is identical but I want to train my ears to different accents and colloquialisms. I felt like this would be a fun way to do it.

I have been watching Denyzee a lot on YouTube as well. She is from France but moved to Québec. It's nice as she uses both perspectives on the culture and language in her videos. I like her humor and makes the input of French more enjoyable. Here is her using the Québécois colloquialisms in France :lol: https://youtu.be/QdSSvXdG0p0

Also, Benny Lewis's video French in Québec vs. France has been my new favorite video - https://youtu.be/dw5Re7k1KBA. I am embarrassed to admit how many times I have watched it :lol:
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  • Fluent Forever 625 Word List
  • Assimil NFWE - 77/113 Lessons (68%)
  • iTalki Conversations - 26 Hours

    Currently Using
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mentecuerpo
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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby mentecuerpo » Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:13 am

StringerBell wrote: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!


I am bookmarking your blog; I like your tips.

Your combination approach.
Parallel reading with the library tip, audiobooks, reading while listening.
Maybe 5 % intensive 95 % extensive reading (with some dictionary, parallel, and audio).

I read Italian books a lot.
I don't like Italian movies for language learning, just for fun. Too many dialect words mixed with the standard Italian that confuse me. Because I think it was standard Italian that I did not get, but it was not the standard. The proof of this is the Yabla.com Italian. If you watch the clips of movies or TV series in Yabla, you will see the dialect getting into the standard Italian. The yabla transcription does an excellent job explaining what phrases are dialect.
French may not have dialect, just regional expressions, and slang.
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