In the year and nine months that I've been studying French (since January of 2019) I've managed to learn enough French to get into an masters program at the University of Ottawa where the classes are taught in both French and English. While I didn't have to take a language test as a requirement of admission (it's not required for applicants whose L1 is English and/or French or who have graduated from bachelors degrees that were taught in either language), I did have to essentially convince the admissions committee that I had enough French and would continue working on my French. That said, it appears that my reading is somewhere between B2 and C1 (Dialang said B2, I suspect it's higher given my ability to read newspaper articles, including about topics I'm not familiar with) and my listening is somewhere between B1 and B2 (TV5Monde's diagnostic test said B2 a few days ago).
The MA program I'm in is two years (a full 24 months, not 18), the first year (or rather, the first two semesters, so not including the summer) being coursework and the second (including Summer 2021) being devoted to thesis work. I'm required to take one of my two required classes in French and the other in English and then I can take my two electives in either language, though I've chosen to take them both in French. This means that I'll have one class in English and the other in French in the Fall and then both grad classes will be in French in the Spring. It's also highly recommended to take FSL/FLS or ESL classes depending on your linguistics skills so I'll also be taking a FLS class each semester.
I have a handful of concrete goals at the moment. They include:
- Doing all of my homework for my three grad classes (as opposed to FSL classes) in French
- Taking the DALF C1 or C2 test next summer
- [Potentially] writing my thesis in French
So how am I planning on meeting these goals? As I mentioned, I'm taking French as a second language classes every term. The university has copious amounts of them becuase of their goals with regards to promoting French. For reference, I tested in as "low advanced" (there's also mid and high advanced). Like I said, I didn't have to take a test to get into the program, but I did have to to register for FLS classes. I'm also doing one to two half an hour/45 min conversations on Italki a week with two different people. This is mostly to improve my comfortability speaking in French, but obviously also helps with listening. In an ideal world, I'd spend a fair amount of time in Gatineau (just across the river in Quebec), but at the moment I'm still in the US because of COVID-19 related travel restrictions. I'm still planning on doing that, I just don't know when I'll be able to move to Canada (and I have zero desire to talk about that here - it's too stressful).
Outside of the FSL and Italki stuff, my three MA classes in French will be a huge help with regards my reading and listening skills. From what I understand, the bulk of the reading for the classes are in the language of instruction which means I'll be reading university level texts in French starting late next Wednesday. As there will likely be a lot of journal articles, I'm planning on using Readlang (which I have a free "you tested this, thank you!" premium account with) or Learn with Texts. Doing all of my homework for those classes in French is also going to help with my writing.
I have access to a number of books from Routledge/Taylor and Francis via the university's institutional subscriptions so I just downloaded Les mots franaçais yesterday and have started putting the words into Memrise (the author also has them all on Quizlet). I know a large chunk of the just over 5,300 words, but reviewing them in Quizlet will make sure I can actually spell them and will help me remember their gender. Outside of Memrise I'm just under halfway through Speakly's French course (I know a good chunk of the words/phrases I'm given, but it's useful for conjugation and at the rate I'm going I should finish it in ~100 days).
I'm working through Grammaire progressive français intermédiare at the moment and also just started using Comprehension orale B1 (another CLE publication) again. It's far more digestible now than it was when I got it a few months ago. Ideally I'd do a third of a chapter a day which would get me through the entire book in 13 days. In reality it'll probably take longer than that but it's not a bad short term goal. Note that I'm also getting listening in by way of RFI and some TV shows. As much as I would *like* to get a C1 and/or C2 textbook, I don't think it's very logical given what the next 9 months is going to look like. It would make more sense to use grammar and potentially more listening specific books in addition to whatever is assigned in my FSL courses (the textbook for the one starting next week just shipped today). In the spring I'll sit down with someone who is knowledgeable about DALF and have my French assessed. At that point I'll decide on C1 or C2 and then start studying specifically for the exam.
This log will mostly be about my experiences learning French and doing university in French. I am going to try to refrain from talking about what I am (and am not) doing with other languages here.