Matilda's French Log

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Miss_French_2020
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Matilda's French Log

Postby Miss_French_2020 » Tue Apr 28, 2020 2:13 am

This is my first post on this forum! I've been learning French for about 6 months now and currently I would guess my level is somewhere between A1 and A2. This will be my first foreign language (which I'm serious about). I had previously learnt a bit of Japanese at school and tried to learn German off and on by myself but with both I never got beyond the basics. For French, I am determined to actually get to a conversational level of proficiency as well as get to a point where I can read books and consume media with relative ease. I thought that starting a language log would be a good way to keep myself accountable and on track. :D

My Goals
- July 2020: A2 level (self-assessment)
- end of 2020: B1 level (undecided yet if I will take the DELF exam which is in early November)
- end of 2021: B2 level (official DELF exam)

Approach So Far
I've been through a whole bunch of different beginner materials so far, including the following. I found them all to be helpful and I made progress, but I definitely did not need to be using them all at once as they were covering a lot of the same ground.
- A group class for beginners for 8 weeks, a 2 hour class once a week.
- Pimsleur Levels 1-4
- Michel Thomas Foundation and Intermediate courses
- Assimil (up to lesson 60)
- Grammaire Progressive Debutant
- Les 500 Exercises de Phonetique A1/A2 (not finished)
- Various short stories and beginner texts

My Current Approach
- iTalki for tutoring: 2 or 3 times a week. So far I have taken about 15 hours worth of lessons. I'm using an assortment of different teachers at the moment. Mainly for conversation practice but some teachers are more structured and sometimes it involves some homework or preparation.
- Reading along with audiobooks. Sometimes reading out loud.
- Listening to podcasts
- Still working through Les 500 Exercises de Phonetique A1/A2 book
- As far as reasonable, trying to watch all netflix with French audio and listen to only French music.
- Have signed up for Yabla just for the Scribe game which is like a dictation exercise.

Of course, I welcome any kind of feedback or advice :D
Last edited by Miss_French_2020 on Sat May 16, 2020 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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DaveAgain
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Re: My French Language Log (Miss_French_2020)

Postby DaveAgain » Tue Apr 28, 2020 5:08 am

Welcome to the forum :-)
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Miss_French_2020
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Re: My French Language Log (Miss_French_2020)

Postby Miss_French_2020 » Tue Apr 28, 2020 5:16 am

Thank you DaveAgain :D
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jeffers
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Re: My French Language Log (Miss_French_2020)

Postby jeffers » Tue Apr 28, 2020 3:44 pm

Welcome to the forums!

You should think about joining the Super Challenge, which starts on the 1st of May and lasts for 20 months. The challenge is to read the equivalent of 100 books (50 pages = 1 book), and watch the equivalent of 100 films (90 minutes = 1 film, and listening to podcasts, audiobooks, etc, counts as film time). It would fit in well with your goals, and help you to develop your comprehension.
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rdearman
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Re: My French Language Log (Miss_French_2020)

Postby rdearman » Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:37 pm

Welcome to the forum. If you are a glutton for punishment, you can try the FSI (Foreign Service Institute) basic French course. It has loads of drills and is completely free and in the Public Domain.

https://fsi-languages.yojik.eu/language ... basic.html
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Gustav Aschenbach
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Re: My French Language Log (Miss_French_2020)

Postby Gustav Aschenbach » Wed Apr 29, 2020 7:45 pm

Welcome :)

Miss_French_2020 wrote:Approach So Far
I've been through a whole bunch of different beginner materials so far, including the following. I found them all to be helpful and I made progress, but I definitely did not need to be using them all at once as they were covering a lot of the same ground.
- A group class for beginners for 8 weeks, a 2 hour class once a week.
- Pimsleur Levels 1-4
- Michel Thomas Foundation and Intermediate courses
- Assimil (up to lesson 60)
- Grammaire Progressive Debutant
- Les 500 Exercises de Phonetique A1/A2 (not finished)
- Various short stories and beginner texts


Wow, that's really not bad! Your current approach is good, too. But I think I would add Grammaire progressive du français - niveau intermédiaire.
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Miss_French_2020
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Re: My French Language Log (Miss_French_2020)

Postby Miss_French_2020 » Sat May 02, 2020 12:26 am

jeffers wrote:You should think about joining the Super Challenge, which starts on the 1st of May and lasts for 20 months.

Thanks, I've just signed up for the Super Challenge. I've recently started reading books while listening to the audiobook so it'll be a great challenge to keep me on track.

rdearman wrote:Welcome to the forum. If you are a glutton for punishment, you can try the FSI (Foreign Service Institute) basic French course. It has loads of drills and is completely free and in the Public Domain.

I'm going to look into it. I may not have the pain tolerance required but I've been a bit frustrated with my speaking ability (I need to make my speech feel more automatic) so drills might be exactly what I need right now.

Gustav Aschenbach wrote:But I think I would add Grammaire progressive du français - niveau intermédiaire.

Thanks for the tip! I've found a copy of it and I'll try to add it into my routine. I think using this workbook will give my learning some structure.
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Miss_French_2020
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Re: My French Language Log (Miss_French_2020)

Postby Miss_French_2020 » Sun May 03, 2020 12:59 am

This past week was not a good week for my French learning. I guess these kinds of days and weeks are inevitable but I just need to make sure they don't last too long. If it weren't for the italki lessons that I booked in advance, I would've done nothing. This week, I had 3 hours of iTalki lessons. I'm finding 3 hours a week a bit too much to handle at the moment, especially since I'm rotating through about 6 different tutors. I think it'll be better if I go down to 2 hours / week and cull my rotation of tutors down to 2 or 3. As a painfully shy person, these lessons are as much about getting me more comfortable with talking in general as they are about learning the language, so it's important for me to continue with regularity because it really pushes me outside my comfort zone.

I've also signed up for the Super Challenge and I've picked out my first book for the Super Challenge - "Les 7 habitudes de ceux qui réalisent tout ce qu’ils entreprennent". I'll read it while listening to the audiobook. I think the challenge is just what I need but will be very difficult as I've only read two books so far - "Le Petit Prince" and "L'Étranger" both of which I found a struggle. Le Petit Prince was not too bad since I know the story well, but for L'Etranger, I gave up trying to understand and I was just following along with the audiobook not understanding what was happening at all. I am just too lazy but I'm surely still learning something even if I make no effort to look up the new words.
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Re: My French Language Log (Miss_French_2020)

Postby garyb » Sun May 03, 2020 7:06 pm

Welcome! It's nice to see someone with realistic goals and a solid plan to achieve them. Your post brings back memories of my own French learning journey, for both the materials and the feelings. In my opinion you've already done and are doing more than enough work and I'd be hesitant to add in any more materials or challenges, unless they're to replace current materials or activities that you don't feel you're getting enough value from. I'm generally not a fan of "challenges" so my opinion will be biased, but while I'm all for using native materials from early on I think the Super Challenge is more appropriate for intermediate learners for whom following texts and audio isn't a constant struggle. If you feel like you're still at the beginner stage it's just going to be a slog. I do wonder if the past week is a result of you having too much on your plate and your routine not being sustainable.

When I was a beginner I had that feeling of wanting to learn everything and learn it now and would pick up any material that sounded like it could help me in any way, but with hindsight I would've been better focusing on fewer things and just having a more relaxed attitude to the whole thing, knowing that the results will just come with time. I also think I should've concentrated more on my specific goals, which for me would have meant more focus on conversational language and less on literature and journalism. Lastly, I've learnt the hard way that too much speaking too early on is a great way to get frustrated and lose confidence, and now I prefer to listen more and talk less at the beginner stage. I do believe that regular speaking can speed up your progress as it highlights gaps in your knowledge and keeps you motivated to improve, and you do need to get out of the comfort zone sooner or later so no point in delaying it for too long, but there's a balance and once every week or two would probably be plenty.

Every French reader's first two books seem to be Le petit prince and L'étranger (the third usually being a Harry Potter translation), and I was no exception, but neither is an easy read especially if they're your first encounter with "real" writing.
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Miss_French_2020
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Re: My French Language Log (Miss_French_2020)

Postby Miss_French_2020 » Thu May 07, 2020 10:52 am

garyb wrote:Welcome! It's nice to see someone with realistic goals and a solid plan to achieve them. Your post brings back memories of my own French learning journey, for both the materials and the feelings. In my opinion you've already done and are doing more than enough work and I'd be hesitant to add in any more materials or challenges, unless they're to replace current materials or activities that you don't feel you're getting enough value from. I'm generally not a fan of "challenges" so my opinion will be biased, but while I'm all for using native materials from early on I think the Super Challenge is more appropriate for intermediate learners for whom following texts and audio isn't a constant struggle. If you feel like you're still at the beginner stage it's just going to be a slog. I do wonder if the past week is a result of you having too much on your plate and your routine not being sustainable.

Thanks garyb! It's great to hear from experienced learners who've been down this path before. :D
I am definitely guilty of collecting more and more resources and doing a bit of everything without making noticeable progress with any one thing in particular, so your advice about paring down to just a couple resources and sticking with it is very valid for me. I feel spoilt for choice so it's easier said than done though :lol: I'm also someone who struggles with moderation sometimes, so I have the tendency to oscillate between doing too much and burning out and doing nothing. I agree with you - I definitely need to work on developing a more sustainable routine!
While the Super Challenge will be difficult for me at my current level, I don't think I'll find it discouraging. I have no illusions about actually completely the challenge and won't be forcing myself to read x number of pages a day. I think it'll still be motivating because my main goal aside from conversation is to read books, and also I feel like I'm not too far off being at a good level for learning from native materials anyway.

garyb wrote:Lastly, I've learnt the hard way that too much speaking too early on is a great way to get frustrated and lose confidence, and now I prefer to listen more and talk less at the beginner stage. I do believe that regular speaking can speed up your progress as it highlights gaps in your knowledge and keeps you motivated to improve, and you do need to get out of the comfort zone sooner or later so no point in delaying it for too long, but there's a balance and once every week or two would probably be plenty.

I started speaking using italki about one or so months ago, so I had already been learning for a few months by myself. It's been extremely motivating and given my learning a big boost, though after using it quite intensively (3-4 times a week) in the past month, I've found that there are diminishing returns. I have the same thought as you that once a week is probably enough. However, I'm going to just drop down to twice a week for the time being, simply because I enjoy it and I have the luxury of some extra time at the moment.
It's taken me many sessions with many different tutors to figure out the type of lesson/tutor that works best for me at my level. Some lesson formats or correction styles etc are damaging to my confidence or just simply not suited to a beginner like me. But I've found others which are very beneficial.
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