I don't know if anybody is bothered to read my log entries. But this seems to keep me motivated. Maybe I can look back and can see how much I progressed. I enjoy sharing what is happening in my mind.
I slowly started seeing some progress in my French. Assimil
Still enjoying Assimil. I don't know how far it will take me, but is pretty good, I like it a lot. I am on lesson 24. I am going pretty slow, but that's fine. I am trying to internalise the material. When I listen to the lesson the first time, feels a bit difficult, and I end up missing huge chunks of the conversation. I listen for it a few more times, and see if I can get more from it. Then I go through the text. Naturally, I would not know some of the stuff, because it relates to the French culture. I did not know what PMU and pétanque were, but after looking through the text it made more sense. Podcast
I have been listening to InnerFrench podcast, I really enjoy it. I go through one podcast few times, go through the text, basically work through it. I wish I could do it more, but I am always tired these days, and I don't want to make it into a habit working on a language just before sleeping, then I will associate it with being tired, that's one thing I don't want to do. Wikipedia
I like looking up random stuff on internet on my free time. So I thought I should do it in french. I am still far from being able to search things up on google in french, so far now I am just sticking to the french wikipedia. The most articles I have gone through for now relate to my expertise China. Although I have studied Mandarin for some time, my skills are limping big time, my conversational skills are Okish, but the rest of the skills are subpar. My Mandarin should be great on paper, but it is not, why?! Well, life happens, and partially I was too complacent and went with the flow. Can I improve my Chinese, I believe I can. How long is it going to take? As long as it needs. In the past I have done it it spurs, and burnt out fast. It is definitely not a sprint, it's a marathon. I am definitely not built for a sprint. I will take my time.
Another cool article I've read on wikipedia in French was an article on francophonie. Went through articles on the francophonie countries. Vanuatu, Egypt and Vietnam are the ones which stuck with me. Vanuatu is so foreign and exotic to me, and a country I don't think much about, but topics on Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia are very interesting to me. I knew in the past there were French speakers in Egypt, but 3 million is quite considerable, but if you consider their population 100 million. In my mind they always had 80 million people, but their population growth is just crazy, I wonder where all those people live, they don't have much habitable land. It is good idea to update my knowledge once in a while, even if it is from wikipedia.
What cool thing did I learn about Vietnam? Mandarin and English have taken over French as main foreign languages. Less than 700,000 people speak French, which is still surprising, you would expect more people would speak French taking into account the colonial past, but giving the proximity and economic relations and number of Chinese tourists coming to Vietnam, learning Mandarin makes sense, and of course English, a global language. Other reason why South East and East Asians tend to learn Mandarin is huge historical impact of Chinese philosophies and culture, and it is highly pronounced in Vietnam and surrounding areas, and Korea. So, knowledge of Mandarin has a prestige value. At one point, China was an exporter of culture just like ancient Greece and Rome were. Later one, Chinese traders were all over South East Asia and East Asia who built dynasties , did pretty well for themselves some of the cities in South East Asia were founded by those traders, and to this day, the wealth is concentrated in the hands of those Chinese families in South East Asia. I am getting a bit off topic.
While going through the article on Vietnam, discovered only french medium magazine called le courrier du Vietnam, checked out couple of articles there. Why do I need to read about Vietnam? I don't know, why not?!
How much of the wikipedia articles could I understand? Maybe around 50%. Had to look up words quite a bit. Youtube
I also ended up watching videos on francophonie, there is a program called Nomade I think. Basically a guy travelling through francophonie countries, and interviewing people. Watched an episode on Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and couple of more countries. I could understand about 20-30%. I found it difficult to understand the reporter, he had Quebecois accent. South East Asian interviewees also had think accent, very typical for the region, older people had better accent. What I could understand was that less and less people were learning French, and the ones who were learning did so to serve the French speaking tourists, or they did not have enough people learning french to serve the French speaking tourists, yeah, an important to distinguish, but we will get there. lol. Then I though it would be good idea to check the comments to see what people were saying, naturally out of habit, I thought it would be in English, and of course it was in French. There was a Vietnamese guy who was saying how much important French was, the language of Molière.
My youtube adventure took me to news about French speakers rallying in Ontario, Canada. Apparently, they were promised a French medium university which was not provided to them, and the language was losing its status as in English was taking over, and nothing is being done to preserve language, and the Ontario is doing the opposite, basically trying to get rid of it. The French speakers were uniting into party I think and rallying. That's what I got from the report. In another report on Ontario there was news anchor, with a very thick accent, I was trying to figure out what kind of accent it was, then it hit me, it was an English accent, she was fluent in French but had an extremely thick English accent. I don't know what to think about it, whatever works I guess. Duolingo
I completed half of duolingo french since 2019. Completed half of the stories 10 sets out of 20, completed 4 out of 8 levels of French. I don't know what to feel about duolingo, I think it is more negative than positive, it can be a great started for teens to get them interested in the language, but let's not kid ourselves, there are much better ways of learning french than duolingo. I had quit it in the past and came back to it once more. It has improved a lot since then, but still there is a lot of space for an improvement. I think gamification aspects of it is great and all, but at one point it becomes all about the game, taking into account my competitive nature, I can't just let it go. I would rather spend that time on some other learning materials. Rather than spend 5 minutes on duo, it would be better to go through one assimil lesson quickly, read it or even listen to it, much bigger benefit.
I feel like with the duolingo, the developers have no idea what they are doing, I mean when it comes to teaching a language. For them it is a game, a tool to make money, tool to shove ads down our throats, a revenue generator. If they are going to shove ads after every lesson, they might as well provide decent learning material, I've read somewhere they are making some decent money with it, why not provide an app that actually teaches a language?! At the end of the day, it is not about quantity, but quality.
Today I've completed topic on arts, level 4, the sentences were awful. As soon as I completed the topic, I felt unhappy with myself that I have been wasting so much time on the app. I could have spent my time much more productive. Duoling developers are not serious, they don't have love for the languages. 5 minutes listening podcasts or reading wikipedia is better spent time than 1 lesson of duolingo. I wish I realised it sooner. I deleted my account today. That's it for me with duolingo.
Yeah, I have not been doing much of Mandarin practice. Haven't used it much lately. Did a bit of podcasts the ones I have mentioned in my previous entry. I was planning to listen to two podcasts a day, but I can't seem to find my level, it is either too easy, or too complicated. I feel like my Mandarin is very patchy, there are many gaps in my knowledge. But I do strangely have developed listening skills. Tomorrow I am going out to my friend's house. Have been intending to see him for the last ...6 months...has it been this long?! This year went fast. So anyways, he is Chinese. Doesn't speak a lick of English. Only speaks Japanese and Mandarin, and I don't speak much Japanese, so the only language we can communicate in is Mandarin. Has been a while since I have spoken Mandarin, so it is a bit rusty.