French the FLLO way

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scivola
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French the FLLO way

Postby scivola » Wed Dec 30, 2015 11:37 pm

I was tempted to call this log "French by the emk method", but I decided to spread the blame for whatever comes from this experiment around a little, since I'm drawing both inspiration and practical tips from several forum members.

So, I decided I wanted to learn French, and I'm relying mainly on several of the links/tutorials provided by emk here: viewtopic.php?t=723, the method of suing subs2srs to understand your favorite shows described by sprachprofi here: http://www.learnlangs.com/step-by-step/ ... in_30_days, and mostly for inspiration, the description that HTLAL member doviende gave of the extensive reading process he used to learn German here: https://languagefixation.wordpress.com/ ... g-started/ and here: https://languagefixation.wordpress.com/ ... vinced-me/.

What does that mean in practice? First, I'm using the Assimil "New French with Ease" course in an anki-fied manner that I'll describe in a subsequent post. But I see that mainly as a means to the end of understanding/consuming native media. And that is where emk and sprachprofi come in. emk and I seem to have similar tastes in comics, so using the links he helpfully provided, I have created an account at izneo.com and downloaded the 5 books of the Aldebaran series. I have also downloaded book 1 of the Bob Morane series he linked to. Finally, I bought the boxed set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and have downloaded the French transcripts he linked. I have so far used those materials to convert the first two episodes to anki decks, and am using sprachprofi's method of searching through the cards to find ones that seems easily learnable, marking them with a tag, and creating a filtered deck to study just those particular cards, with the goal of sort of gradually bootstrapping my way into understanding the dialog.

I will go into more detail on some of those points in subsequent posts, especially how I'm handling Assimil, because I've come up with a card format (actually a couple of them) that I think are working very well for me. But in general my focus is on reading comic books and trashy novels (and trying to keep in mind doviende's advice to just keep moving my eyes over words I don't yet know) and watching Buffy episodes, depending on Assimil to eventually fill in the gaps in grammar and at least some vocabulary. And I will say that I started on this project just over a month ago (tomorrow will be lesson 40 in Assimil) and can say that I have already seen those three sources reinforce each other, in the sense of first encountering some vocabulary in one source and then seeing it pop up in another, or having Assimil explain that some phrase is an idiom that means X, and recognizing that phrase as something I had skipped over earlier in one of the other sources.

So it is early days, but I'm feeling pretty good about my progress so far.
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Re: French the FLLO way

Postby tomgosse » Wed Dec 30, 2015 11:58 pm

Please feel free to join our French group: Les Voyageurs. Let me know if you want to be added.

All the best in the coming year,
Tom
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Re: French the FLLO way

Postby scivola » Sun Jan 03, 2016 2:37 am

This is going to be a pretty long post, but I wanted to give an overview of how I'm using Assimil, because I've not seen anybody mention a system quite like this, and I'm really liking it. Hopefully, some of you will, too.

First of all, I purchased the mp3 version of Assimil New French with Ease, rather than the older audio cd version. This course has 113 lessons and, rather than recieving a cd with 113 audio tracks, you get something more, like this:

Image

Basically, the L001-Lesson.mp3 and .txt are the equivalent of the audio cd version - the entirety of the lesson spoken or in text form. That's nice, but all those other files are a real gem. They represent each sentence in the lesson broken out into a separate file.

So what I did, being a programmer, was to write a small program that would rename the mp3 files according to a standard format (like L001_S01 for the first sentence of lesson one, pull the text from the .txt file, and arrange that stuff into a .tsv file that anki can import. I ended up creating a note type in anki to hold this info that looks like this:

Image

The order field is something I created that contains values like L001_S01 so that I can order the resulting deck by so that I can ensure that when I study a lesson for the first time, I encounter the sentences in the same order as in the original Assimil program. The audio field is the French audio from the mp3 file, the L2 field contains the French text from the .txt file, and the L1 field contains the English text. Unfortunately, that is not available on the disk, so I have to enter it by hand. C'est la vie.

Now where I started getting funky with this is in the ShowL1, ShowL2, and ActiveWave fields. I initially set those to "yes", "yes", and blank, respectively. I then created a card that took advantage of some (to me, at least) obscure anki features.

Namely, anki makes it possible to only show cetains values on the front/back of a card if certains fields of the underlying note are non-blank. You so that like so:

<#ShowL1>Only show this sentence if the field called ShowL1 contains a value</ShowL1>

So I created a card that always plays the contents of the note's audio field, shows the L2 text if the ShowL2 field is non-blank, and shows the L1 text if the ShowL1 field is non-blank. Why? In order to create a card that gets progressivly more difficult the more times I review it.

The first few times I review such a card, the audio, L2, and L1 will all be shown on the front of the card. The L2 and L1 will also always be shown on the back. So the first fiew reviews are very much like reading and interlinear bilingual book. I hear the audioi and see both French and English text, more or less aligned.

After each day's study, I open the card browser and run a few searches. I search for all cards whose interval before the next review is between 10 and 30 days, and set those cards' ShowL1 field to blank. I then search for all cards whose interval is greater than 30 days and set those cards' ShowL2 field to blank. This has the effect of creating a gradually disappearing card.

The first few times I review such a card, I get all the available information right on the front of the card. Once I have understood it well enough that its interval until next review is greater than or equal to 10 days, the English translation disappears. Do I still understand it given just the L2 audio and text? If so, the interval until next review will eventually exceed 30 days, at which time the L2 text will disappear. Now I have to understand the card from the audio alone.

Traditionally, Assimil is composed of a passive and an active wave. The active wave begins on day 50, when you study lesson 50 passively and then go back to lesson one and try to translate the English to French. I wanted to create something similar within anki, so here is what I did.

I created a second card type associated with this note type. The entire front of the card (which shows the L1 sentence and asks me to type the L2) is wrapped in a code that says "only display this if the ActiveWave field is non-blank". And so, when a card's review interval is greater than or equal to 30 days, I set its ActiveWave field to "yes".

So rather than the traditional "lockstep" method where, when you reach lesson 50 all sentences in lesson 1 enter the active wave, in my case each sentence enters the active wave in its own time, as I "master" that sentence passively.

I'm currently on lesson 40 and this system seems to be working very well. My philosophy is to make my reviews as east as possible. Presumeably, each sentence in Assimil is introducing, or at least reinforcing, a grammer point or vocabulary term. So for the first seveal reviews, I want to give myself every possible advantage to successfully recall the information. Over time, as I become more familiar with the information, I remove some of the prompts, but assuming I actually learned something during those first few reviews the overall difficulty should really remain the same. I'm receiving less information on the front of the card, but I am more familiar with the card after having reviewed it several times, so the overall effect is a wash. Because I have learned something from the first few reviews, I can handle the card now with fewer "cheats". And that goes the other way too - if I can understand the card now with fewer prompts, I have solid evidence that I am learning my L2.

So there you go - a system that gradually increases in difficulty as you increase in skill, and which (due to the inherent srs scheduling algorithm) tends to focus your study on the sentences you're having difficulty with. Not too bad.
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Re: French the FLLO way

Postby scivola » Sun Jan 03, 2016 2:48 am

I haven't formally joined any of the challenges currently being discussed, although I'm considering the super challenge in French and/or the output challenge in Esperanto, but since my focus when it comes to French is to focus on consuming as much native media as possible, I wanted to list what I've done so far.

Up to today, I have read:

The Little Prince (89 pages)
Aldebaran tome 1 (48 pages)
Aldebaran tome 2 (48 pages)

And I have watched:

Buffy s01e01
Buffy s01e02

I have also listened to several hours worth of podcasts, but I didn't take any notes as to exactly what, so I can't really count that. But every little bit helps.
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Re: French the FLLO way

Postby rdearman » Sun Jan 03, 2016 12:44 pm

I like your anki card system. Sounds very productive.
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Re: French the FLLO way

Postby emk » Sun Jan 03, 2016 4:39 pm

scivola wrote:First of all, I purchased the mp3 version of Assimil New French with Ease, rather than the older audio cd version. This course has 113 lessons and, rather than recieving a cd with 113 audio tracks, you get something more, like this:

..So what I did, being a programmer, was to write a small program that would rename the mp3 files according to a standard format (like L001_S01 for the first sentence of lesson one, pull the text from the .txt file, and arrange that stuff into a .tsv file that anki can import.

Lovely idea! I almost did this with Assimil's L'Espagnol (the recent introductory Spanish course with a French base), and I went so far as to ask the clerk at the Librarie Michel Fortin in Montréal to order me a copy of the MP3 CD. They said they'd get in touch when it came in, but I never head from them.

I have tried two similar experiments with Anki:

  1. I converted the text of Assimil's L'Égyptien hiéroglyphique into Anki cards. The first time through, I did L2->L1 translation cards. This became horribly difficult, so I started making image-based clozed cards instead, which worked much better for this application.
  2. Since I never received my Assimil MP3 CD, I instead tried a little subs2srs experiment that was basically the same idea, but working with native materials.
Based on these experiences, I would strongly suspect that your decision to SRS the Assimil MP3 CD should work quite nicely.

scivola wrote:Up to today, I have read:

The Little Prince (89 pages)
Aldebaran tome 1 (48 pages)
Aldebaran tome 2 (48 pages)

And I have watched:

Buffy s01e01
Buffy s01e02

Ah, that brings back fond memories. :-) How easy is it for you to make these materials more-or-less comprehensible? Do you need to study them intensively to make sense of them at this point? Are you able to have fun and understand the stories?

Also, if you ever get bored with any particular book or series, please don't hesitate to ask folks for suggestions. Particularly for a language like French, this forum can give ridiculously detailed suggestions, for many genres and difficulty levels. Sometimes, it's like having a team of rabidly enthusiastic librarians just waiting to give you ideas.
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Re: French the FLLO way

Postby scivola » Mon Jan 04, 2016 2:43 am

emk wrote:Since I never received my Assimil MP3 CD, I instead tried a little subs2srs experiment that was basically the same idea, but working with native materials.[/list]
Based on these experiences, I would strongly suspect that your decision to SRS the Assimil MP3 CD should work quite nicely.


So far, I'm enjoying this method very much. Today was lesson 44, so I'm far enough in that I've got "passive wave" cards in all stages of disappearing, and a decent number of "active wave" cards showing up. I didn't mention that for the active wave cards I've got it set up so that I have to type the L2 sentence, and I think that is going to be a big plus. It has forced me to focus on all the various accent marks that I wasn't really aware I was glossing over until now. But anyway, I like the passive wave format enough that I'm also using it on the Buffy subs2srs cards I have created. It seems to be working well there, too.

That does bring up a question I had for you and/or sprachprofi. In her article about learning to understand your favorite tv series in 30 days, she mentions that she created filtered decks from the original overall deck that subs2srs created, picking out short, simple sentences to learn first. I don't know if you followed that method or not. But if so, I wondered if you had any advice for balancing picking simple sentences from additional episodes versus going back through the episodes I've already created decks for and picking out slightly more complicated sentences.

emk wrote:
scivola wrote:Up to today, I have read:

The Little Prince (89 pages)
Aldebaran tome 1 (48 pages)
Aldebaran tome 2 (48 pages)

And I have watched:

Buffy s01e01
Buffy s01e02

Ah, that brings back fond memories. :-) How easy is it for you to make these materials more-or-less comprehensible? Do you need to study them intensively to make sense of them at this point? Are you able to have fun and understand the stories?


Intelligibility varies quite a bit. I should point out that I'm a bit of a false beginner in French, having made it about half-way through both New French with Ease and Sandberg's French for Reading a couple of years ago before drifting away from French. Apparently a lot of what I learned then has stuck with me, so I have impressed myself with how much I've been able to understand in the reading material, at least. I would say that I understood maybe 50% of The Little Prince. I read that about a month ago, right at the start of this attempt at French. A lot of chapters were much better than that, while several of the last few were more like 20%. The Aldebaran BDs haven't had that large variation. I have definitely noticed that I would learn a grammar point or some idiom either from Assimil or from my Buffy subs2srs deck and see it show up in the BDs. So that's encouraging. I would say that I have understood maybe more like 65-70% of those. My reading speed is glacial, sometimes around 10 minutes per page, and comics aren't exactly the most text-heavy things. Some sentences I just don't get at all. But most of them, if I re-read and kind of puzzle it out, I can at least get the gist. I'm definitely understanding the plot lines well enough that the story itself is intriguing, which provides a lot of incentive to keep studying/reading.

I mentioned that I had downloaded one of the Bob Morane books. I skimmed through the introduction, again managing to get the gist of it, but as soon as I started trying to read the first story, it was way over my head. I could puzzle out some of it, but not enough so that the reward is worth the effort and frustration. So that's on the back burner for now, until I get farther into Assimil and have the grammatical chops to deal with it better. I like the idea of that kind of adventure story, I think it will eventually be something I enjoy, but I'm not there yet.

On the Buffy episodes, I can definitely understand the sentences that I have studied through subs2srs. I can pick out bits and pieces of the sentences I haven't studied, but it is tough. It mostly seems to be a matter of attuning my ear to the very fast speech and omnipresent liason. I have many times had the experience of not quite being able to understand a sentence while feeling like I should be able to, and when I check the transcript and see how it is written I can understand that readily, but the actual spoken sentence sounds nothing like I would have expected.

emk wrote:Also, if you ever get bored with any particular book or series, please don't hesitate to ask folks for suggestions. Particularly for a language like French, this forum can give ridiculously detailed suggestions, for many genres and difficulty levels. Sometimes, it's like having a team of rabidly enthusiastic librarians just waiting to give you ideas.


I can see that. I have drawn a lot of inspiration from your threads (thanks), and I saw just recently a thread on French youtube links that looked pretty awesome. Definitely enough to keep me busy for a long time to come.
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Re: French the FLLO way

Postby tomgosse » Mon Jan 04, 2016 11:20 am

emk wrote:
Also, if you ever get bored with any particular book or series, please don't hesitate to ask folks for suggestions. Particularly for a language like French, this forum can give ridiculously detailed suggestions, for many genres and difficulty levels. Sometimes, it's like having a team of rabidly enthusiastic librarians just waiting to give you ideas.

And I can name at least one of them. Wink, wink. :lol:
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Re: French the FLLO way

Postby emk » Mon Jan 04, 2016 12:49 pm

[For other folks reading along, scivola is experimenting with using native materials very early on, and SRSing both his native materials and his courses. This is somewhat experimental stuff, and only a handful of people on the forum have tried it. So in the post that follows, I'm going to dive into some nitty gritty details, both to compare notes, and to alert him to various obstacles that I had to work around.]

scivola wrote:So far, I'm enjoying this method very much. Today was lesson 44, so I'm far enough in that I've got "passive wave" cards in all stages of disappearing, and a decent number of "active wave" cards showing up. I didn't mention that for the active wave cards I've got it set up so that I have to type the L2 sentence, and I think that is going to be a big plus. It has forced me to focus on all the various accent marks that I wasn't really aware I was glossing over until now.

Ah, interesting!

Personally, I've found that if I make my Anki cards too hard, my failure rate goes way up, and I run into a huge number of "leech" cards. "Leech" cards are the ones that I fail again and again, causing them to be recirculated endlessly through the first few weeks of reviews. I find that these cards tend to be both miserable and highly inefficient. (The highest efficiency output cards for me are probably MCDs, which require only a single piece of output, and which are stupidly easy.) If I find that my reviews are getting really difficult, with lots of leeches, then I take two steps:

  1. Whenever a card appears and I groan, "Oh, no, not that card again," I force myself to immediately delete the card. It's OK to have a tiny handful of cards like this, but if I have a lot, then I just delete the groan-worthy cards individually during reviews.
  2. If I'm deleting a lot of cards, I try to make my cards easier. For example, if I were struggling with a bunch of "See L1, type L2" cards like you're using for the passive wave, then I'd start gradually replacing them with cloze cards where I saw all the L1 & most of the L2, and I only had to type in a single "interesting" word or syllable.
So that's my process of dynamic adjustment: Delete the unpleasant cards and the leeches, and replace them with something easier. As Khatzumoto wrote:

Khatzumoto wrote:Waste products — bad cards — are a natural results of the “metabolic” process of SRSing.

Khatzumoto ran a very expensive "course" that was based on native materials and SRS, with a money-back guarantee. (UPDATE: It's possible that AJATT has largely shut down as a business.) So he saw a lot of people using techniques like this, and he collected a lot of data about where things went wrong for particular groups of students. And as he iterated on the course design, he wound up moving to easier and easier card formats, and he started strongly emphasizing card deletion. I followed a similar progression with my various French/Egyptian/Spanish decks.

For a first-hand view of what a later version of Khatzumoto's course looked like, see Rapp's Neutrino log on the old site (short and excellent reading). For examples of how Khatzumoto simplified his recommended card formats, see the lazy Kanji post and the MCD posts. As always, feel free to ignore Khatzumoto's hype and just dig for the data. And again, I'm not necessarily recommending that you adopt any particular card format—there's still room for lots of experimentation there. Rather, I'm pointing you towards "case studies" of other people who have experimented in this space, just in case any of their insights prove relevant at some point in the future.

So if what you're doing seems to be working, don't worry about it, and please write about your experiences for the next generation of people who try this stuff. :-) But if you ever feel like you want to adjust some details, then some of the posts above might provide helpful insights.

scivola wrote:That does bring up a question I had for you and/or sprachprofi. In her article about learning to understand your favorite tv series in 30 days, she mentions that she created filtered decks from the original overall deck that subs2srs created, picking out short, simple sentences to learn first. I don't know if you followed that method or not. But if so, I wondered if you had any advice for balancing picking simple sentences from additional episodes versus going back through the episodes I've already created decks for and picking out slightly more complicated sentences.

So, two things to keep in mind: (1) At this point in her life, Sprachprofi is a hard-core language-learning badass, and I can't reproduce the results she got with Japanese. I can get close enough that I believe her results, but I'm maybe about 25% as efficient. Which is still pretty mind-blowing, actually. (2) Sprachprofi was working on a totally unfamiliar language, with no "related language discount." So for her, searching through the deck for short, closely-related sentences was probably the only way to jump start the process.

In my case, I'm a native English speaker with C1+ comprehension of written French, which adds up to a pretty substantial "discount" when learning Spanish. I initially started with the movie Y Tu Mamá También. This was fairly challenging, but not as challenging as tackling Japanese (or ancient Egyptian) would be. So instead of searching through the deck, I just started from the first card, but I deleted ruthlessly. Counting both initial reviews and reviews in the first few weeks, I think I deleted at least half of the cards.

Later, I switched to Avatar: la leyenda de Aang. This was a lot easier, and I'd already learned the basics from Y Tu Mamá También. So this time, I just cranked straight through and I only ended up deleting about 10% of the cards.

scivola wrote:I would say that I understood maybe 50% of The Little Prince. I read that about a month ago, right at the start of this attempt at French. A lot of chapters were much better than that, while several of the last few were more like 20%.

When I first attempted The Little Prince, I was probably about B1, and I used LingQ (today I'd recommend readlang instead). I made it through several chapters, and it was a struggle. Later on, after passing my B2 exam, I tried again, and the book was comfortingly easy to just sit down and read. So I'd guess that your comprehension of written, formal French is maybe somewhere roughly in the B1 range, especially if you're getting "much better" than 50% comprehension on at least some chapters.

scivola wrote:The Aldebaran BDs haven't had that large variation. I have definitely noticed that I would learn a grammar point or some idiom either from Assimil or from my Buffy subs2srs deck and see it show up in the BDs. So that's encouraging. I would say that I have understood maybe more like 65-70% of those. My reading speed is glacial, sometimes around 10 minutes per page, and comics aren't exactly the most text-heavy things. Some sentences I just don't get at all. But most of them, if I re-read and kind of puzzle it out, I can at least get the gist. I'm definitely understanding the plot lines well enough that the story itself is intriguing, which provides a lot of incentive to keep studying/reading.

Very cool! From this description, I get two things:

  1. When reading in another language, you're unusually tolerant of ambiguity. The linguist Stephen Krashen reports that some students require about 98% comprehension before they're able to enjoy extensive reading. But when I read Toqueville's parts of De la démocratie en Amérique, I had a total blast, even though my comprehension was much lower: I understood maybe 60% of the text fairly well, and I could puzzle out another 30% if I stared at it long enough. The other 10% remained opaque even if I used a dictionary and stared at it for a while. Similarly, when I started watching Buffy extensively, I could follow maybe 40% of the dialog (though I could understand far more if I read a transcript). But for me, once I reached that level, things started to "take off", and I could learn rapidly just by reading and watching.
  2. You're having a lot of fun and you're enjoying the story. This is my personal litmus test: If I'm having a blast, I never worry about the difficulty level. :-)
The nice thing about Aldebaran is that it uses what I think of as "core" vocabulary, and there are lots of books (19 across all the related series). Basically, nearly all the vocabulary and expressions you see in Aldebaran will reappear elsewhere by the time you've read, say, 5 science fiction or adventure novels and watched a couple of TV series. Plus, Aldebaran will give you a strong base of spoken French.

scivola wrote:On the Buffy episodes, I can definitely understand the sentences that I have studied through subs2srs. I can pick out bits and pieces of the sentences I haven't studied, but it is tough. It mostly seems to be a matter of attuning my ear to the very fast speech and omnipresent liason. I have many times had the experience of not quite being able to understand a sentence while feeling like I should be able to, and when I check the transcript and see how it is written I can understand that readily, but the actual spoken sentence sounds nothing like I would have expected.

Yeah, some of Buffy's audio can be pretty challenging. Maybe 40–70% of the dialog is relatively straightforward once you're familiar with the series, but 5–10% is pretty hard even at B2/C1. So as always, suspending or deleting the annoyingly difficult cards is a good idea.

Overall, it sounds like sentences are sticking nicely once you learn them, but that you're not seeing that comprehension transfer to unfamiliar audio yet. Normally, I would expect to see that transfer start occurring once I had, say, at least 750 cards that were at least 20–30 days into their Anki review cycles. At that point, you should be starting to understand some cards the first time you hear them. If you're not seeing much transfer at that point, you're probably in unknown territory. At which point, I guess, it's time to ask the usual questions: Am I having fun? Do I feel like I'm learning something? If the answers to those questions are ever "No", then Rapp's advice is excellent:

Rapp wrote:And for the cards themselves, I'm much less attached to them. Surusu makes it very easy to generate scads of cards in Khatz's MCD format. Having to invest so little effort in creating the cards makes it easy to delete them if they are in any way confusing, badly formatted, or whatever. So I delete lots of them. That has lead to a mindset where I know that no single card is critical to my eventual fluency, so if I decide it is not an excellent card, it gets deleted. If I have read one paragraph from a book and feel like I don't want to continue for any reason, I stop and do something else.

The critical thing is to do something in Spanish frequently. But no particular "something" is important enough to suffer through. There's always a different "something" I could do that would be fun. So I just go do that instead. Easy peasy.

I've been emphasizing this idea pretty strongly throughout the post, because it's a valuable troubleshooting skill for people who focus heavily on native materials and Anki very early in the learning process. :-)

Basically, I think about this process as having three phases:

  1. Bootstrapping. This is what you're doing now. The basic idea is to claw your way to the next level as quickly as possible. Assimil, subs2srs, etc., are all very useful tools at this point. You're well into this process, and you're definitively getting near the next phase. (I estimate that you're reading between 600 and 900 words per hour in French right now, with enough comprehension to have fun.)
  2. Snowballing. This is amazing when it starts, and you can find a classic example in sfuqua's log over the last several months. Somewhere between, say, your 500th page of reading and your 2,500th, your reading speed will go up dramatically (to maybe 5,000 words per hour), and you'll go from slogging through kids books to reading actual adult books comfortably, with only a handful of unknown words per page. Similar transitions will happen with TV.
  3. Polishing. This is where I am now, and it's nice. I assume I can read pretty much anything I want, that I can go into a French movie theater and enjoy many movies without subtitles, and that I can even take an online, university level course for native French speakers (if I want to work myself to death). I still have a lot of work to do, of course, but if you told me I was going to start working in a French-speaking job tomorrow, I'd look forward to the challenge.
Anyway, this was a long post, and you should totally feel free to ignore any part which doesn't seem helpful at the moment. I only wrote you such a long post because you're trying out some pretty experimental ideas, and I want to make sure you have the full collection of diagnostic and troubleshooting tools required to get out of any sticky spots. :-)
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scivola
White Belt
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2015 4:38 pm
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Languages: Esperanto (A2)
French (beginner)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1800
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Re: French the FLLO way

Postby scivola » Mon Jan 04, 2016 5:32 pm

Wow, emk, that is a lot a very useful info. Let me see if I can address some of the points you've raised very briefly.

1. On the subject of difficult cards and deleting cards ruthlessly

I've got my Assimil anki deck set up so that active wave cards only start showing up when the review interval for a particular note is greater than 30 days. By the time the deck asks me to read L1 and type L2 for a particular sentence, I have encountered it probably 6 - 8 times passively. So it doesn't seem, so far at least, like too big of a jump to type it out. For example, if there is a sentence like "It is a very interesting game", I can usually say "C'est un jeu très intéressant", no problem. But I sometimes have difficulty recalling whether that last word has two Rs and one S or vice-versa, which way the accent goes on the E, that kind of thing. Nothing that a couple of reviews hasn't been able to fix.

I have mentioned in another thread that I started off this attempt at French by using Gabriel Wyner's "French Pronunciation Trainer" anki deck. I thank that has greatly improved my understanding of French phonetics, so in a way typing these sentences out is sort of like doing an active wave of the stuff I studied passively in that course. Actually, I give that course a lot of credit. I don't think I would be able to get anything out of Buffy at all at this point without it.

And on the topic of Buffy, I guess I could look at the process of picking out easy sentences to study as kind of the inverse of your "delete ruthlessly" method. I effectively pre-delete them by not including them in my filtered deck in the first place. And if my process actually succeeds in teaching me some French , I should find that the sentences I find easy should gradually get more and more complicated as time goes by. So maybe just soldiering on with more episodes is the way to go, rather than trying to squeeze every last drop out of each one before moving on. It is more likely to keep things interesting, too.

2. On not overestimating my reading ability

I think that The Little Prince is a special case for me. I've read it many times over the years in English, and I have also read it in Esperanto. So I'm quite familiar with the story itself, and with the process of puzzling it out in a language I'm not that great in. I don't think I would have had the same success with another book, as my difficulty with the first couple of pages of Bob Morane proved.

I'm also drawing inspiration from both you and doviende. You have mentioned going from understanding very little of Buffy in the first season to understanding a large majority of it by season 3. And doviende mentioned learning to read German fluently by just continuing to "move his eyes over the words" - in other words, trying to understand what he's reading but not getting hung up on anything he doesn't understand at the moment. Keep reading - if it was important it will come up again, at which time your skill level will be higher and maybe you'll understand it then.

So I read a book that was artificially easy for me to understand to the best of my current ability, but made a point of trying to not get hung up on the hard parts.

3. On Buffy being a leap of faith

This is probably the most speculative part of this experiment. I know it is somewhat ludicrous to try to use full-speed native audio at this point, but there are a couple of reasons to believe I can succeed.

First, it seems to be common for people's reading comprehension to exceed their listening comprehension ability. Given that Buffy has very accurate transcripts available, I figured that could be a big advantage that other series wouldn't necessarily have. If I can read a line of dialog in the transcript, I should eventually be able to understand the audio. That essentially what Assimil has you do, just in a much more gradual process.

And second, a lot of people seem to develop kind of a fear of native material. They do a course, or even multiple courses, and then try to jump into native material and find it hard and get discouraged. I figured that if I jump in at the very beginning, when there's no other possibility than sucking, I could bypass that whole psychological issue of hoping/expecting that it would be easier than it turns out to be. I can sit here and be impressed with myself for having understood anything, rather than getting down on myself for not having understood more.
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