bêtise's french log: inching toward the finish line

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betise
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Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2020 3:18 am
Languages: English (N), French (B2) | Goals: FR C1 DALF, Spanish | Future/Interested: Italian, German, Korean/Japanese?
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 37#p172737
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bêtise's french log: inching toward the finish line

Postby betise » Sun Aug 02, 2020 9:40 pm

hello everyone, i'm back to studying french after taking an inadvertent break of about a year. my background in studying french is:

- i started in late 2015, completed/used basic resources like Duolingo, Lingvist, Michel Thomas, Assimil
- then i took classes at university, and completed a french minor (didn't have time to do a major, but i was quite close :( )
- ended up not studying for about a year (last year, 2019. half due to finishing school, half due to mental health/life problems)
- started up again around April of this year because...well, you know...the c**********

i'd like to finally take the DELF B2 in December (provided we can..), i'm pretty confident i can pass it as long as i keep it up and study smart (and practice so that i'm not too nervous to function).

i'll be using this log mainly as a place to track my input/output work, for which i have some self-imposed goals to reach. there are also some learning projects i have in mind that i'll probably talk about here, too. not that anything i say/do will be overly interesting or unique; we all know it can be nice to just have a language log as a place for some accountability and motivation/encouragement :).

longer-term, i aim to pass the DALF C1 exam, which i'm slating, mentally, as an endeavor for next year. when i pass that (maybe after B2, but i'm not sure–i feel like C1 will take a lot of effort and i won't have as much free time), i'll start working on an L3. for now, though...

my current goals for input:

- listen to 21 audiobooks by the end of the year (starting with Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours this week)
- read 1 article per day (150 to go for this year)
- watch 1 french-language film per week (21 again, started with La belle personne)

for me, input is pretty easy since i can just go for a walk/etc and put a podcast on. i just have these goals to encourage consistency.

things i need to work on!

- actually adding found vocabulary to SRS (i just have giant lists right now)
- recording myself speaking off-the-cuff or about various topics
- writing
- trying to have conversations with natives
- practicing/learning grammar

right now, for production practice, i'm basically only:

- intermittently using Discord to chat a bit
- recording myself speaking for 10-20 minutes about...whatever...every couple days on average
- talking to myself/thinking in french at times
- reading out loud occasionally

i'm pretty disorganized on this front. i'm okay with not doing the same one thing all the time, but i do need to do something every day that gets me speaking. my goal for this week is to figure out how i'm going to work on output. here's what i'm changing:

+ i'll use sunday nights(starting tonight!) to add vocabulary found during the week to my SRS program, and to study grammar ("study grammar is vague, and i suspect that since i haven't and have been avoiding it, there'll be a lot of fix/optimize there. but i just need to get started).
+ i think a good, dynamic production option will be: recording ≥ 5 minutes (to start) of talking about/giving opinions on/summarizing the different media i consumed that day. since i'm reading books and articles and watching movies and listening to music in french, i'll have a good amount to talk about with varied, engaging subjects.
+ for writing, i'm just going to use the only decent idea i have besides a diary(which i have some resistance to doing in my tl): use writing prompt lists to write a bit of french daily. i'm not going to put any other requirements for now.
+ another small goal i'm setting for this week is to just try shadowing once; i learned about it on here a few years ago but always felt weirdly intimidated by it, so i want to just give it a go and get rid of that.
+ last goal: continue to brainstorm/work out the beginnings of my writing project/french learning blog.

until next time (next week, maybe sooner)!
11 x

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sanjiu27
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Location: Basque Country
Languages: Spanish (N) | English (prod. Intermediate) | French, Basque (Beginner). Current goals: English C2, French C1, Basque B2. Planning to start German and Russian soon, but also quite interested in Albanian, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian, Turkish, Mongolian, Latin and Ancient Greek.
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=15716
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Re: bêtise's french log: inching toward the finish line

Postby sanjiu27 » Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:11 am

You may make use of this feature to automatically convert excell files to Anki decks. I've done it several times and it works fine. It definitively saves a lot of time :D

By the way, good luck!!! C1 is a great and difficult goal :D
2 x
Corrections are welcome.

Français - Full Challenge, 2020-21
: Read 100 books: 0 / 100
: Watch 100 films: 2 / 100

English - Full Challenge, 2020-21
: Read 100 books: 0 / 100
: Watch 100 films: 0 / 100

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betise
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Languages: English (N), French (B2) | Goals: FR C1 DALF, Spanish | Future/Interested: Italian, German, Korean/Japanese?
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 37#p172737
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Re: bêtise's french log: inching toward the finish line

Postby betise » Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:25 am

sanjiu27 wrote:You may make use of this feature to automatically convert excell files to Anki decks. I've done it several times and it works fine. It definitively saves a lot of time :D

By the way, good luck!!! C1 is a great and difficult goal :D


thank you for the advice! i have used that feature forever. i'm considering making an add-on/using some programming to make the card-making process better and more efficient, something i think i'll have to look into more, see what others have done. despite the awesomeness of the import feature i still spent a lot of time making my cards...and i still have a lot to go.

i appreciate the well wishes! same to you and your goals :mrgreen:
1 x

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betise
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Languages: English (N), French (B2) | Goals: FR C1 DALF, Spanish | Future/Interested: Italian, German, Korean/Japanese?
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Re: bêtise's french log: inching toward the finish line

Postby betise » Mon Aug 10, 2020 6:17 pm

time for an update!

so, this past week was a mixed bag in terms of doing what i set for myself last sunday. as i was typing up the post, i wondered if it would be too much, and it seems like it was. what i did do: listened to the entirety of Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours, tried shadowing, did a little more brainstorming and planning regarding the blog idea i mentioned. i also kept up and outpaced my article-reading goal. i also started putting on some french radio when i wake up, to listen to during the 15-30 mins that i'm just doing...post-waking up things.

i barely did any output however :?

i also avoided grammar quite well this week, though i did make it a point to ask some questions on the /r/french discord, something i want to keep doing. i'll probably report back tomorrow or tonight, because i want to study some grammar and do some exercises tonight. yesterday i was busy most of the day and away from home, and when i came back i focused on finishing Le Tour du monde, so i skipped Anki/grammar study.

maybe, since most of my time spent studying is so spread out and opportunistic rather than planned, i should try setting aside a certain amount of time each day(an hour at the same time) to this sort of study: grammar, writing, speaking...the things i tend to avoid or not get done if i just leave everything unregimented as i have been. this way i'll work on those skills, have some more structure in my life(which i need anyway), and i can still feel free to listen to and read french throughout the day as i please.

also: i've come upon a decent solution to my card-making woes (praise the sun!). i can probably find a .epub for basically any book i read that isn't already electronic (i read books on my Kindle–which i believe has features to help with this–or w/ physical copies mainly). Readlang allows one to import any .epub or .txt, so i'm basically set. i just have to ctrl+F the words i've circled in physical copies in Readlang, and i'm good. :P

i don't feel super good about the grammar/output issue this past week, but i am happy that i'm on track or better with my input. just a few months ago i was starting again after my long break, and really needed subtitles on the dubbed Netflix show i was watching to get back into things. now, my comprehension is quite good and i think it's getting better still. the last bastion of french speech i have trouble with is the most mumbled, half-eaten, fast-paced casual type. i'll develop a plan to improving my understanding of that sort later on, since i have so much else to do :) for now, i'm just going to keep doing a lot of listening.
3 x

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betise
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Languages: English (N), French (B2) | Goals: FR C1 DALF, Spanish | Future/Interested: Italian, German, Korean/Japanese?
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Re: bêtise's french log: inching toward the finish line

Postby betise » Mon Aug 17, 2020 2:03 am

good news! i've written almost 1000 words in french this week (over 5 sessions). this coming week should look more like 1400+ since i seem to comfortably write about 200 words in the space of 10 or 15 minutes. i received corrections and talked about one of my..compositions with someone on the french discord server, but like always...i'm not sure how to best learn from these corrections. something to research or ask about here/there.

i can feel my listening improving still, though i do want to be sure to change my on-again-off-again bad habit of staying in bed on my phone after i wake up into turning on radiofrance as soon as i wake up. i've been inconsistent with this, but getting another 20-30 minutes of listening is great while i just do morning things. encourages me to wake up for real faster, too, and do things that are beneficial like stretch or make my bed while i listen.

speaking frequency/amount still needs work, but i did better than last week so i'm reasonably happy. recently i realized that patience is a big part of getting something slow/long like learning a language done. namely patience with myself as i make changes and try to keep inching forward.

i listened to the audiobook of La Mare au diable by George Sand this past week, and...phew. i'm just glad it's over, like Le Tour. everytime i try to listen to audiobooks i remember why i don't really listen to them that much...but they can be really useful. i've noticed that i can successfully pay attention to the reader when i'm doing something mundane like cleaning or stretching, but for some reason my attention wanders like mad when i'm trying to listen when out walking. i'm gonna try to keep my audiobooks shorter to keep the daily load light, which was one thing i liked about La Mare au diable. next up is Boule de Suif (the collection) by Maupassant. i'll report how that goes, but i think it'll be better just by virtue of being a collection of very short stories.

for tonight i'm finishing up a movie(Un Coeur en hiver, pretty good so far!), studying some grammar, starting the process of adding more cards to anki, and reading my daily article. sounds like kind of a lot but i sat around a lot the past two days.

later ;)
3 x

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betise
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Languages: English (N), French (B2) | Goals: FR C1 DALF, Spanish | Future/Interested: Italian, German, Korean/Japanese?
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Re: bêtise's french log: inching toward the finish line

Postby betise » Sat Aug 22, 2020 12:33 am

small update:

i've been doing a little more reading of Courrier sud, and man, i can't wait for this book to be over (not in the good way :lol: ). i'm gonna try to blast through what's left of it so i can just be rid of it. so i'm starting a mini-challenge tonight, to see how long it'll take me to read through the last 40% of the book.

going away now to do some reading aloud, grammar, and writing.
0 x

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betise
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Re: bêtise's french log: inching toward the finish line

Postby betise » Wed Sep 02, 2020 12:56 am

whew. time for a not-so-great-update:

re: Courrier sud, i actually made a lot of progress in it with my little challenge to try to finish it ASAP, then i just stopped reading anything but articles. so i'm picking that back up today. anyway...

i'm definitely suffering from quarantine time-warping, where last week honestly felt like two days. some time before that(last weekend), i had a dip in desire/motivation to do anything much. i've kept up parts of my routine, but it's definitely degraded a bit. during the week i did some more things that kept me from being inside all day, so that further interrupted my study.

a small thing with a surprisingly large impact on my listening: i have no clue what happened to my earphones. i was using them in bed one night, and i remember i kind of haphazardly tossed them onto my nightstand...and when i woke up, i couldn't find them and haven't seen them since. my only other pair of headphones is a pair of over-ear noise cancelling headphones, which i don't/can't wear at any time (much less outside). so my listening while doing random things throughout the day and while on walks has suffered :/

in general i've been a bit off and even less productive in general than usual. not great but it's okay, i can change that.

things i've done a decent job of: i've been doing some grammar exercises (about every other day) and kept up clozemaster. i've kept up with reading french articles daily (or catching up) and i have been watching a show(The Expanse) with french subtitles so i can at least pick up some vocab while i watch it. instead of listening while doing other things, i've been watching streams and youtubers in french more to compensate some.

output is lacking again, so i need to get back on that (another issue stemming in part from the loss of my earphones) and/or "work with myself" to find ways to get it in.

something i've kind of been struggling with is dealing with the parts of my study that aren't "fun" or that feel like...well, studying. but not just studying/learning–i mean doing so for a subject you aren't doing great in. i find that when i go to study grammar lately, i feel a lot of reluctance and as i get into it, frustration.

it's the problem i've always had with learning foreign grammar: the ol' "there's a dozen exceptions to every 'rule'" feeling. that, and it really feels like there's about two dozen rules governing everything, and i forget them quite easily. i attempted to use kwiziq for a bit there, and it really made these feelings worse. i think i will just stick to trudging through my grammar textbook, and using conjuguemos for some extra practice for now.

i also think i'm feeling frustrated about grammar because it suffered the most from my break. my listening, speaking, reading...they all picked back up and are as good as ever or better...but even though i can express myself with much more fluidity than ever, i often come up against walls/dilemmas of how to say something that are a direct result of grammar being my weakest skill.

so, perhaps needless to say, i'm still puzzling out a grammar/study routine that can work for me. it has to involve both review and progression so i can (re)learn and avoid forgetting. that's my big roadblock for the moment. my whole routine sort of feels like i'm trying to put a puzzle together in the air; i can hold a couple pieces up and intact but the ones i try to add keep falling off, or they don't fit. :?

i'm just glad that i know it can be ameliorated at least, i'll eventually find a way to study, review, and progress my skills that works for me if i keep trying.

see you later; probably this weekend. i'm off to do some studying, and do/make some flashcards.
3 x

Cavesa
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Re: bêtise's french log: inching toward the finish line

Postby Cavesa » Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:40 pm

Hey, I love your log! I think you're doing great, given the circumstances.

A few words of encouragement, concerning the grammar:
-one of the very possitive things about practicing grammar and understanding it is the effect. It possitively affects everything you do, you get tons of value for your efforts. Improvement in this area will improve your speaking and writing, it will save you delf points (so that you can safely lose them elsewhere and still get an ok score :-D ), it will save you a lot of confidence struggles (those "oh no, I'm talking like a neanderthal, making basic mistakes" panic moments. Trust me, I know them).
-it is a much more contained and less vast area of study than the never ending vocabulary
-there are excellent resources. If you don't like Kwiziq (which can happen), there are the Progressives, and many other things. One way, or another, you'll succeed :-)
-you are getting tons of input. It is bound to help. The explicit study and tons of input support each other. The input makes you used to what is normal, so a lot of your struggles are likely to be much less harsh, when you apply the features, than right now.

As to your DELF B2 plan: Don't be like me, get a preparatory book and complete it. I passed without having done any, but it was a close call. With your approach, you are likely to be vastly above the expectations as far as reading and listening are concerned. But the rest requires not just practice and grammar and so on. Getting used to the typical assignments helps a lot. One of my main struggles at DELF B2 was a writing assignment requiring me to write a page long email about an issue I would normally waste no more than three sentences on, no matter in which language :-D That's the type of issues such a preparatory book will help with. You can also practice writing with a stopwatch, when the exam gets near, as time management is very important.

I'm looking forward to reading more from you!
2 x


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