Learning Mandarin and French, and a bit of other languages

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lemme_try
White Belt
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:40 pm
Languages: Speaks: Russian, English
Learning: French, Mandarin
Dabbing: Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=14084
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Learning Mandarin and French, and a bit of other languages

Postby lemme_try » Mon Mar 30, 2020 3:23 am

Hey guys!

Have been lurking on HTLAL for (very, very) long time on and off. Rediscovered the forum recently, and ended up here.

It has always been a dream of mine to speak French and Mandarin fluently (C1-C2) and be a proficient user Linux and R. I have been putting it off for far too long, life doesn't wait, and with the whole pandemic and lockdown situation, I realised if I don't take the steps it is never going to happen or I will not get to enjoy it long enough. But first thing first, I want to start off from the languages, then Linux and R will come next year, hopefully.

I got all the materials ready, and I thought if I can keep my logs here, you guys can keep be honest with myself and motivated. And hopefully it can be useful to some language enthusiasts as well.

I am working through my PhD so I will not have much time, and I am obsessed with sports, so I try to allocate time for it as well, but due to my recent chronic illness which I am still learning to control, I have to try to take it easy. Maybe I can combine two. We will see.

So, I will be utilising following resources for learning French.
1. Assimil French with ease
2. Hugo's French in 3 months
3. Course de langue et de civilisation francaises I, II, III
This is my 4th attempt learning French. On paper I should be around A2-B1, but I am sure the most of the stuff has faded or forgotten. The first half of the materials is relatively easy, but since I can't reproduce everything by myself I want to start from the beginning. This should give me a good overview. Further I might utilise more resources as I progress.

For the Mandarin I will be using.
1. Road to success starting from the upper elementary to upwards.
2. Scritter
3. Couple of grammar books
I will utilise more stuff as I go. I have experience learning Mandarin, but I am stuck at certain point, and need to go beyond it. Let's see how it goes.

I will be writing more stuff as I go. I appreciate any help along the way! Looking forward to this journey!
Last edited by lemme_try on Wed Jul 08, 2020 2:49 am, edited 3 times in total.
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lemme_try
White Belt
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:40 pm
Languages: Speaks: Russian, English
Learning: French, Mandarin
Dabbing: Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=14084
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Re: Lemme_try's log learning French and Mandarin

Postby lemme_try » Wed Apr 01, 2020 2:38 am

Hey guys!

So I have been studying for few days now. I don't seem to have a clear system. Just listen to the tapes a dozen or more times until it becomes natural, try to shadow the speakers, and work through the exercises in the book. However, since the programs I am using for the French are meant for the beginners, naturally it would be easier at first. However, with the Mandarin, it takes time to learn and internalise the hanzi (characters). Moreover, need to pay more attention to the tones. For the time being I want to cover a chapter a week, that's pretty slow, I wish I could cover two chapters a week. I am using only one books, so it gets a bit boring.

I have bee trying to prioritise Mandarin over French, but has been a bit difficult to do so. I feel like I am not doing enough for the Mandarin. I am considering to keep moving through the textbook, and do only some parts of the exercises, and focus more on the text and shadowing it. I will try it out maybe when I have more time and less of a headache.

It is always like this during the honeymoon period, getting all excited about the language, hopefully my motivation is sustained, and I really hope this endeavour does not take up all of my time. I am trying to have well balanced life, and not obsess only with languages. Languages are cool and all, but one should not forget it is a tool at the end of the day.

One step at the time! Let's GO!
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lemme_try
White Belt
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:40 pm
Languages: Speaks: Russian, English
Learning: French, Mandarin
Dabbing: Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=14084
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Re: Lemme_try's log learning French and Mandarin

Postby lemme_try » Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:41 am

I've completed my first week.

I am glad I stuck to it. I really wonder if I can keep going through or if I am going to give up somewhere along the way?!

French

Slowly I started developing a system for myself. Assimil seems to have a revision section for every 6 lessons, so I am guessing, I should cover a lesson a day plus one revision every week. Which is doable. I realised, Assimil is by no means can be sufficient learning a language unless you have some next level talent for learning languages. I do like the mini drills, but I try to do the space repetition and shadowing.

I have done first week of the Hugo's French in 3 months. This one went fast, because I didn't need to go through the phonetics. But with each lesson it should be getting difficult. The lessons are compact and packed, have some exercise drills. There are 13 weeks in total, so let's see how far it can take me.

Cours de langue et de civilisation is very good. I really like this one. Everything is fully in French. The recording is good. Although I am still at the basic stage, the exercise drills are pretty good. Anybody who are fans of FSI method should be fan of this. The lessons are compact. Revision every 4 lessons, so I am planning to try to cover 4 lessons a week.

The problem I am having with French is the vocabulary. Right now although it is basic vocabulary, but I don't have a system to memorise it. I know soon I will start seeing words I don't know, that's when I need to start memorising it. I have anki, but to enter every word will take a lot of time. I am already spending too much time on learning languages. Editing the audio recording takes time, I wish I could spend time just on learning instead of organising the materials. But again, maybe while spending this time am I still learning? Sooner or later I need to some kind of a system to memorise the words, no way around it.

Mandarin

Well my journey with the Mandarin has not been as stellar as with the French. Slowly I am revising the characters I have forgotten(up to HSK4). For me it is important not only to be able to recall the meaning but also know the right tones and be able to write it. That takes time and effort.
I have been working through the book and frequently listening to the audio. I want to be able to cover 2 chapters a week, but right now it is not going to happen. It takes time to go through the text, do the exercises, with my slow writing takes forever.

It can be tough studying on your own because there is nobody to check your answers, and parts where you need to talk you basically just end up talking to yourself.

Regardless all of this, I feel like I am making progress, slow, but it is a progress! I am here for the long game, as long as I keep exposing myself to French and Mandarin, and keep increasing the level of difficulty, it should get me somewhere!

Oh yeah, one more thing, found the best times to to listen to the audios. Brushing teeth. That's two times a day minimum. Washing the dishes. My dishes have never been cleaner lol.

Combing listening to the audio and jogging did not work so well. By the end I am out of breathe, and my mind is so exhausted. Need to find a better way.
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DaveAgain
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Re: Lemme_try's log learning French and Mandarin

Postby DaveAgain » Fri Apr 03, 2020 6:16 am

lemme_try wrote:French

Slowly I started developing a system for myself. Assimil seems to have a revision section for every 6 lessons, so I am guessing, I should cover a lesson a day plus one revision every week. Which is doable. I realised, Assimil is by no means can be sufficient learning a language unless you have some next level talent for learning languages. I do like the mini drills, but I try to do the space repetition and shadowing.
I had intended to learn German using Assimil and SmallWhite's repeated listening method ... but I didn't.

I still like the idea though, one Assimil lesson a day, but relisten to it throughout the day, possibly on a playlist with previous completed lessons.
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lemme_try
White Belt
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:40 pm
Languages: Speaks: Russian, English
Learning: French, Mandarin
Dabbing: Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=14084
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Re: Lemme_try's log learning French and Mandarin

Postby lemme_try » Fri Apr 03, 2020 11:34 am

one Assimil lesson a day, but relisten to it throughout the day, possibly on a playlist with previous completed lessons.


I don't know how effective and efficient it is going to be, but it is nice to be constantly exposed to the target language. I put 3 lessons at once, and listen to it for 3 days, rather than one lesson a day. So far so good.

What method did you use? Did you keep going with the German?
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jeffers
Green Belt
Posts: 400
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2015 4:12 pm
Location: UK
Languages: Speaks: English (N), Hindi (A2-B1)

Learning: The above, plus French (A2-B1), German (A1), Ancient Greek (?), Sanskrit (beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=13383
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Re: Lemme_try's log learning French and Mandarin

Postby jeffers » Wed Apr 08, 2020 5:36 pm

I have always done the same with text and audio and find it to be very useful, basically the Assmil method stretched out. When I went through Assimil French I would do one lesson per day (or so) and when going for a walk I would listen to the whole CD that lesson was part of: so reviewing past lessons and previewing future lessons. I think it helped a lot with listening comprehension, with vocabulary retention and with motivation to keep on with the lessons because often by the time I would get to a lesson I would be dying to know what this or that particular word means!


EDIT: I've just started a review of French using Assimil's French Without Toil, their original (?) course from 1957. At the end of the 2nd lesson it says this: "When listening to the record, always start from the beginning, that is to say, if you want to hear the 2nd or 3rd lesson, start from the 1st: you cannot do too much revision." So there you have it straight from the horses mouth: revision is part of the process!
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lemme_try
White Belt
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:40 pm
Languages: Speaks: Russian, English
Learning: French, Mandarin
Dabbing: Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=14084
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Re: Lemme_try's log learning French and Mandarin

Postby lemme_try » Sun Apr 12, 2020 2:40 am

Week two of studying French and Mandarin.

French:
Hugo's French in 3 months: completed week 2. The material is still easy.
Cours de langue et de civilisation: Completed lesson 7. Basic stuff, but it is so well explained, and love the exercise drills. Can't wait to keep progressing with this course. Good stuff, can't recommend enough.
Assimil: Right now still on lesson 11,12,13. Getting more difficult to follow. This is my main course, so I want to internalise the material so I can reproduce it. Naturally the progress slowing down.

Mandarin:
Haven't made progress beyond listening the audio for the chapter two. I can pretty much understand everything from the text and dialogue. But I don't know every single new word from the chapter. It is not that I don't have time for it, I haven't had the motivation to study.

Still using skritter, reviewing 20-40 words a day.
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lemme_try
White Belt
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:40 pm
Languages: Speaks: Russian, English
Learning: French, Mandarin
Dabbing: Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=14084
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Re: Lemme_try's log learning French and Mandarin

Postby lemme_try » Mon Apr 13, 2020 1:24 am

Last night I was going through Kanewai's log, got me pumped. It might sound cheesy but I am here for the long game. I want to be able to read French books as well. I want to be able to read Chinese books. It is not going to happen overnight. It will take time. As a teenager my old man used to tell me acquiring knowledge is like digging a well with a needle. As a PhD student, this is definitely my experience. I am so tired and frustrated. Ain't easy. Had to put my life on hold. But, I don't want to put on hold my language acquisition, because time is passing, and I have not come any close being able to read native materials in French and Chinese. Is it going to ever happen if I just keeping putting on hold? I feel like I have heavy burden on my shoulders, and if I spend my time on anything else other than reading for my PhD, I feel like I am wasting my time, I feel full of guilt. Even the sight of the books makes me upset. But I am in this far too deep to quit right now, so I will bite the bullet and try to finish it. Meanwhile I will try to enjoy myself and do a bit of language studying, even if it is a little bit, even if it is half step towards thousand mile journey, it is still a step in the direction of my dream.

Week 3 here I come!

This week I want to do Assimil lesson 11, 12, 13. Finish Hugo's French week 3. And do 3 lessons of cours de langue et de civilisation.

For the Mandarin, I really would like to go through the text for Chapter 2, and do some of the exercises.
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lemme_try
White Belt
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:40 pm
Languages: Speaks: Russian, English
Learning: French, Mandarin
Dabbing: Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=14084
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Re: Lemme_try's log learning French and Mandarin

Postby lemme_try » Mon May 18, 2020 6:59 am

I had to take care of some urgent stuff.. So have been a bit busy. I managed to squeeze in some French and a bit of Chinese to my daily life. I have been enjoying Assimil. I am not progressing as fast as I would like to. But, need to take care of urgent matters first.

So far I have finished Assimil lesson 17. Not much, but it is something I guess. I have been trying to listen to RFI Savoirs, and watched some cheesy Extra French series, lol. Well, everybody gotto start somewhere. Once I have more time, I want to get back using to langue et de civilisation francises. I really like that course. Also, in August I would like have a go with FSI course. I've heard it is torture, but yeah, if it works it works, if it doesn't suit me, then there are plenty of courses I can follow.

Still working through skirtter. I listen to some Chinese music, I do enjoy it. Do a bit of reading in Mandarin, I use popup Chinese dictionary, I really recommend it. I should really do more for Mandarin.
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jeffers
Green Belt
Posts: 400
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2015 4:12 pm
Location: UK
Languages: Speaks: English (N), Hindi (A2-B1)

Learning: The above, plus French (A2-B1), German (A1), Ancient Greek (?), Sanskrit (beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=13383
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Re: Lemme_try's log learning French and Mandarin

Postby jeffers » Mon May 18, 2020 8:28 am

The Extra French videos were such stupid fun! I may have to find Extra German now.

FSI has a reputation for being "torture" but don't let that scare you off. It's really not so bad! I think it would be boring to sit at a desk and work on them, but I used FSI while taking walks or bike rides, and I would repeat my part of the drills out loud. When I got home I would open the PDF for the lesson to check one or two things I couldn't quite make out with the poor audio quality. I stopped at lesson 8 because it was getting to be too hard for me, and I began to listen to podcasts and audiobooks on my walks so I never got back into it.
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