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Re: Caromarlyse’s log (French/German/Spanish)

Posted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:52 pm
by Caromarlyse
First seven days of the new year done and I've managed a total of 1,698 minutes of French and 1,433 minutes of German. Some dedicated grammar and vocab work, lots of podcasts, some Netflix, a good amount of fiction reading, the first French tutor session of 2020, and a lot of prep (intensive reading and preparation of speaking notes) for that session. I'm not feeling particularly chatty now and I keep getting logged out of here, so a longer update will have to wait until next week.

Re: Caromarlyse’s log (French/German/Spanish)

Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:38 pm
by Caromarlyse
Week in review – 1-7 January

1,698 minutes total (just over 28 hours). 7/7 in re: 366 challenge goal.

I had a good session with my tutor. We went through a text I’d written, summarising a radio programme, and corrected it as we went through it. We then had more of a discussion around the topic, which went much better than last time as I’d prepared a lot of ideas and vocab beforehand. Of course, only a tiny fraction of my preparation ended up being used, but I seem to need this level of preparation, and reading lots and writing it out won’t have done me any harm. I suggested an article to use as a starting point for next week; for this I would have to watch a couple of films as well as prepare vocab and ideas.

I also, as mentioned in my brief update, did quite a bit of grammar review, vocab building (attempts), podcast listening, fiction reading (I’ve moved onto a young adult fiction book as I am struggling with motivation/interest), and Netflix watching. I am finding vocab building in isolation quite hard, but reading an article (that I then took to my tutor) intensively seemed to work much better in allowing me to pull unfamiliar vocab or vocab I understood but wouldn’t use myself.

1,433 minutes total (just under 24 hours). 7/7 in re: 366 challenge goal.

The fiction reading bumps up a lot of the time here, as I am enjoying it so much! I’ve also found a podcast I really like. It’s called Lage der Nation – der Politik-Podcast aus Berlin. It’s quite advanced – apparently they speak really quickly even for native speakers – but I find they give an interesting, analytical take on current affairs. It keeps me interested and my mind doesn’t wander, even if the podcasts are often 90 minutes long. I also borrowed a copy of Deutsch Perfekt and read some of the articles – even though they’re easy-ish for me, I think going down to learner material is helpful in picking up vocab. Though I read a whole article on Schaufel/Schippe and which regions prefer which word, but how the verb is usually schippen, to find my fiction book using schaufeln as the verb!

Week in review – 8-14 January

878 minutes (14.6 hours) total. 7/7 in re: 366 challenge goal.

I was hoping that a friend of mine might take an in-person course with me, but she’s decided she’s not quite at my level yet. Since I was only really interested in the course for social reasons, I’ve decided not to do it on my own. However, I did take advantage of the free short face-to-face assessment of my level. They put me at C1.4 based on my speaking. Given that my speaking is probably the worst of my skills, I was pleasantly surprised by that assessment. It was quite confidence-building, as I still feel when speaking as though it’s incredibly painful, but apparently that still means I am quite good! Having decided against the course, I decided to try out another tutor, as I felt I needed someone prepared to take a bit more of a role in guiding the sessions. I found someone who looked as though they might fit the bill, and booked a session. However, it ended up being a bit disappointing. I suppose it’s not bad to show what is out there, to compare what’s on offer, etc. It was again quite confidence-building, as I asked for mistakes to be highlighted to me, and there weren’t many, even though I’m convinced my grammar can’t be accurate when speaking. I think I’ll stick to the tutor I’d already found. I had another session with him, and it went pretty well again – I summarised one of the films I’d watched that he hadn’t seen, and we then had a discussion around points raised by the films. All in all, quite a lot of talking this week. I found it exhausting – I can almost feel my brain expanding with the mental effort!

For my tutor session next week, I’ve picked out another article and a France Culture programme, so again I’ll be focused mainly on preparing to summarise these and building relevant vocab. I have also been reading my young adult fiction book – I’m on page 100 now but really not getting into it. I’m pulling some interesting news articles instead, and finding if I choose right I can enjoy them, and get some pretty complex language in too.

1,056 minutes (17.6 hours) total. 7/7 in re: 366 challenge goal.

Number 3 in my crime series now finished! This one seemed to have an awful lot of idiomatic expressions in it; I should probably go back to the book at some point and mine them. At the moment I’m too hooked on the stories, however. I started the next one, but haven’t got very far in it yet. I did some small bits of podcast listening too. And some work memorising irregular verbs (which worked well as I’ve found a method that seems to work).

I had a tutor session, which was good. I felt I was speaking a lot more fluently already. Perhaps the reading is having an impact? We did some DW grammar and vocab exercises, which were too easy for me (though to be fair I wouldn’t have been able to produce the vocab actively, so it’ll go on a to-learn list), then moved on to read an article and discuss the issues raised. We finished off by doing some exercises on Nomen-Verb-Verbindungen, which were C1 level exercises and almost impossible for me as I just didn’t know which verbs went with the nouns in question! This seems to indicate that I’m right at the beginning of C1 in German (grammar at least). I got some more exercises for homework, plus another DW video to watch. I’ve done all the exercises linked to the video and am going to focus over the next few days on learning the relevant vocab and getting ready to summarise the video and discuss the topic. I subsequently went through both B- and C-Grammatik on Nomen-Verb-Verbindungen, and started trying to learn them. I’ve got a massive document now on them, grouping together loads of example sentences drawn from the books, which I’ll carry on working on.


Generally I’ve found the tutor sessions have eaten up quite a lot of my study time, but I guess it’s because they’re so intensive. I’m also trying not to feel bad that the time I’ve spent this week is significantly down on last; I have a job and a life so of course languages are going to take a hit now the new term has started. Bring on Easter!

Re: Caromarlyse’s log (French/German/Spanish)

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 8:53 pm
by Caromarlyse
Week in review – 15-21 January

924 minutes (15.4 hours) total. 7/7 in re: 366 challenge goal.

Another tutor session, this time quite a painful one. The France Culture programme I chose to listen to was difficult – not so much from a language point of view (though there were a few words/phrases that were new to me) but from a logical point of view. Some questions asked were answered with a completely different answer, and one of the concepts discussed just didn’t make sense to me. That made it so much more difficult to summarise. We ran out of time to cover the topic fully, so we will continue with it next week. I’m planning on doing a synthèse of a couple of relevant articles before then, and see if we can go through corrections of my written work in the class. I could do with some writing practice again, and it’ll be a change from speaking solidly for an hour.

Generally I’ve been struggling with French a bit this week: I haven’t got any one thing that is really interesting me, and the tutor sessions are good speaking practice (and definitely a stretch; it’s not just chit chat) but I don’t feel there is much teaching going on. I’m pondering whether I should consider an in-person course after all; what I really want is a bit more structure. I also want a weekend activity, as an existing one is being dropped, so this could kill two birds with one stone. I’ve got a while to make my mind up.

I’ve read quite a few more news articles intensively this week. I find this particularly good for vocabulary building for me. One new word from the France Culture programme magically appeared in the first news article I printed out for myself to analyse – it’s so funny how this always seems to happen. Engouement is part of my vocabulary now! The same thing happened this evening with the word punaises... I also found the Bonjour de France site, and did some exercises on there, some on idiomatic expressions in French that come from ancient Greek and some on slang. I like the site a lot apart from all the ads, and will continue to use it until I’ve exhausted what is there of use.

968 minutes (16.1 hours) total. 7/7 in re: 366 challenge goal.

I’ve got into number 4 of my crime series, though it’s slower going as the pages are bigger and the font size smaller! I got to page 100 this week.

I did a lot of work on Nomen-Verb-Verbindungen. As well as trawling through B- and C-Grammatik, I borrowed Sag’s besser and went through a lot of the relevant exercises there. I’ve got a long document now with a whole list of Verbindungen and example sentences. The more common ones are sticking, but obviously this is going to be a long-term project.

The tutor session went quite well again. I’m pretty solid on the exercises we’re doing, but the practice is good to try to bring the fluency back and also correct little errors that remain. Although I like this tutor and look forward to the sessions, I’m going to try another one out. I’m mainly after some more structure. She’s going to pitch it at the B2 level and we’ll see how it goes.