The great push to C2 (French)

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whatiftheblog
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The great push to C2 (French)

Postby whatiftheblog » Mon Oct 03, 2016 4:50 am

Hi everyone! I’ve been reading through everybody’s logs and I just loved the idea, so I wanted to create my own. My background is fairly vanilla – raised bilingual, took a bit of Spanish and then a lot of French, ended up taking to French much better, the whole thing kind of grew horns and fangs, and here we are.

Anyway, my focus right now is on getting my long-suffering French to C1+ level, particularly on the output side (I loved the idea of the output challenge, btw, so I assembled one of my own to see how the system works for me). My goal is to get into a specific postgrad program in France by next fall, so I don’t have much time and the stakes are pretty high. Gaaaaah.

In the interests of transparency, I had about 2 hours of French per week from age 10 – 16, then probably spent 2-3 hours a week just reading stuff in college, did a summer abroad program in Nice at 19 (it was spectacular and I would recommend this to absolutely everyone), and then went back to reading and doing academic research in French 2-3 hours a week. I’d say I was probably a B2 by that point. Continued this sort of unstable pattern all through grad school, where less of my research was in French and the French competency exam I had to take for my degree was laughable, so there was no pressure and I was lazy. Over the past 5ish years, I first started slowly doing more and more in French (well, trying to, at least), got the chance to work with it a bit, and then started intensively trying to bring it back into my life about 2 years ago, when this whole plan with the degree program was first set in motion.

Where I stand: I have absolutely zero problem with reading comprehension (can read academic journals, litigation, technical instructions, whatever), I’m usually at least 95% of the way there on listening comprehension (adjusting for thick accents, dialects, etc, but it’s rare that I have a problem), my writing is a little choppy but overall fine and googlable if not, but my speaking is just guuuunnnnhhhhhhnnnn.

I find all of your guys’ logs really inspiring, especially because it seems like all of you have lots of other commitments and engagements. For the purposes of this endeavor, I’m fairly lucky that I have the time to really devote to it. Here’s what I’ve been doing:

1. The little things: all my gadgets are set to French, I have French books on my shelves, etc.
2. I watch BFMTV online every day, usually at least in the morning, sometimes at night as well. I love it, it’s my jam. Once I get on the bus, I switch to either French music (this I’d been doing anyway) or French radio. This continues throughout the day as much as possible, though I can’t have French on in the background if I need to produce quality written work in English.
3. I watch a LOT of French Youtube/Dailymotion, usually a combination of documentaries and vlogs. Today I logged 4 hours, for example, but I try to go for as much as I can. This is my happy time, and I never have trouble convincing myself to do this - luckily, there is no shortage of material of interest to me. I’ve noticed that accents rub off on me very easily in all languages, though, so I have to be careful with what I watch here.
4. I strive to always be in the middle of some French book. I’m currently reading Bertrand et Lola and have two more coming in the mail next week.
5. I really, REALLY need to get myself speaking, especially off the cuff. I set a goal of 600 minutes of recordings to be completed by New Year’s Eve, and I’ve done 30 of those over the weekend. The trouble is going to be keeping up…
6. I have a TCF book I ordered 2 years ago and never really opened. I should probably work through it.
7. I also plan to implement what I call speedwriting, which is basically just forcing yourself to write about literally anything, even about how much you hate this task, for 5 or 7 minutes a day. I would imagine that really adds up quick. I’d love to get to 50,000 words, but we’ll see how it goes.

My approach is basically to drown myself in the spoken word, as well as to force myself to improvise and produce material in French. I’m really excited to see some real progress!
Last edited by whatiftheblog on Sun Oct 23, 2016 3:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Hours of actually speaking: 67 / 120 67 / 120
Words written for Output Challenge: 10500 / 50000 10,500 / 50,000

whatiftheblog
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Re: The great push to C1+ (French)

Postby whatiftheblog » Thu Oct 06, 2016 4:04 am

Inspired by all of you fine folks, I started logging my time spent on various French things, which has had a surprisingly motivating effect! I kind of set arbitrary goals, some of which may have been too lenient, but by the end of the calendar year, I'd like to accomplish the following:

- 1,000 hours of spoken French heard (currently at 10)
- 50,000 words written in French (currently also at 10...)
- 600 minutes of spoken French recorded (currently at 65 - doing shockingly well here)
- 2,000 pages read (currently at 21 but this shouldn't be too hard)

I've also started trying to develop a tracking system that would gamify the process and work for me specifically... we'll see where that goes.

Outcomes & Discoveries

- The more I speak, the better/faster I get/feel. Shocker :roll:
- A French language school from Spain has a bunch of C1 videos from test or mock test environments up on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QA3YECQDtOU Was very helpful to have as a reference!
- I haven't decided for sure yet, but I might take the DALF C1 sometime early next spring. It would be a "taking it just to have it" type of endeavor, but we'll see what actually ends up happening.
5 x
Hours of actually speaking: 67 / 120 67 / 120
Words written for Output Challenge: 10500 / 50000 10,500 / 50,000

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MamaPata
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Re: The great push to C1+ (French)

Postby MamaPata » Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:11 am

I love setting those kind of goals - the Super Challenge has been really useful for me. I look forward to hearing about yours! Bon chance!
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SC French Hours: 161 / 225 SC French Pages: 5085 / 7500
SC Russian Hours: 70 / 150 SC Russian Pages: 1263 / 5000
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whatiftheblog
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Re: The great push to C1+ (French)

Postby whatiftheblog » Thu Oct 06, 2016 7:03 pm

MamaPata wrote:I love setting those kind of goals - the Super Challenge has been really useful for me. I look forward to hearing about yours! Bon chance!


Thanks! The Super Challenge is really intense, I'll be cheering you guys on from the sidelines :D
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Hours of actually speaking: 67 / 120 67 / 120
Words written for Output Challenge: 10500 / 50000 10,500 / 50,000

NoManches
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Re: The great push to C1+ (French)

Postby NoManches » Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:55 pm

Looking forward to your posts. I am golden when it comes to speaking but my listening comprehension needs some serious work...wish I had your level of comprehension.

Good luck!
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Re: The great push to C1+ (French)

Postby whatiftheblog » Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:16 am

NoManches wrote:Looking forward to your posts. I am golden when it comes to speaking but my listening comprehension needs some serious work...wish I had your level of comprehension.

Good luck!


Thank you! I think Spanish might be harder on that front because there are so many different accents - a grand majority of my colleagues are Latinx, and I understand nearly 100% of my Costa Rican friend's Spanish, whereas my boss' Argentine Spanish is just Kurdish to me. I tend to do very well with Uruguayans, though - it's a mystery. French is a little more standardized, which certainly helps.

In other news, I think I mentioned that I've started doing daily recordings of me talking about whatever, and today I got so into it that I ended up with a 50-minute clip! It's really getting much easier, I think the big problem I'm having is remembering where I wanted to take whatever story I was telling my phone, heh.
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Hours of actually speaking: 67 / 120 67 / 120
Words written for Output Challenge: 10500 / 50000 10,500 / 50,000

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Re: The great push to C1+ (French)

Postby whatiftheblog » Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:11 pm

I took something of a break while on vacation this past week - I was in Roatan, where I practiced absolutely no Spanish but had a lovely time. Unfortunately, I also had a bad cold throughout most of it, so I didn't have much energy to really focus on French at the end of every long and taxing day of beach -> water -> beach -> cocktail -> grilled fish -> cocktail :mrgreen:

That said, I did get through a book and a half, so I'm currently midway through Promotion Ubu Roi - un livre drôle et vif, fort intéressant pour moi car je suis en train de me preparer pour un concours pareil. Il y a des petites histoires sur tout ce que je trouve captivant - la diplomatie française, les imbroglios dans les rangs de pouvoir, une sorte de sociologie politique française - et ce format de témoignage direct me plaît beaucoup. L'amusant c'est que tout ce que les commentaires sur Amazon ont souligné comme les problèmes typiquement français éxposés là-dedans, ce sont des choses que je trouve plutôt mignonnes.

Phew! Anyway, one of the dilemmas I currently face is how to best organize my time, because I have freelance work to get to (which would make the whole France adventure financially possible) and yet all I want to do is just watch 12 hours of French Youtube straight. Hmph.
3 x
Hours of actually speaking: 67 / 120 67 / 120
Words written for Output Challenge: 10500 / 50000 10,500 / 50,000

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Re: The great push to C1+ (French)

Postby whatiftheblog » Thu Oct 20, 2016 3:36 am

I don't have much of interest to report on the studying front - I'm still trying to figure out a way to squeeze as much varied French material into my day as possible without neglecting freelance work or work-work, and it's still an uphill battle most days.

However, I can't help but share this amazing 5-part podcast by France Culture with Anne Pingeot, museum curator and Mitterrand's love/lover/muse.

First of all, she herself just sounds lovely - I can't believe she's 73 (!!), she's so vivacious! The story of her life, upbringing, career, and relationship with Mitterrand is fabulously interesting, and she talks about everything from family culture in interwar France to the creation of the Musée d'Orsay to early views on XIX century sculpture to constitutional law to political entanglements with such wisdom and grace and finesse. She is incredible. If you love anything about France at all, you've got to listen to this.
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Hours of actually speaking: 67 / 120 67 / 120
Words written for Output Challenge: 10500 / 50000 10,500 / 50,000

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Re: The great push to C1+ (French)

Postby whatiftheblog » Sat Oct 22, 2016 5:32 am

I now understand how easy it is to get wrapped up in looking for the "right" way to learn, instead of just, uh, learning. Or scheduling. Or whatever. So instead, I'm going to pilot a new program; working title: Just Bloody Do It Already (JBDIA). Instead of coming up with all sorts of day plans and time boxes and whatnot, I just get up (or sit down) and do the work I need to do. Freelance takes priority over French for the time being, meaning I'll first finish a freelance project and then spend 3-5 hours on Youtube, not vice versa. I also know that my best work gets produced between 6 - 10 pm, so it's easy to slot in French around that. Plus, I can't relax and enjoy my French time if there's a little voice in my head nagging me about deadlines I can't afford to miss... this way, everyone is happy.

I caved and ordered three more books off of Amazon.fr - Mitterrand's aforementioned letters to Anne; 2084 La Fin du Monde (last year's Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie française); and Un président ne devrait pas dire ça..., a collection of discussions with Hollande published by two journalists. I have probably mentioned a million times that I'm super into French politics, but I also really love dystopian fiction, so as soon as I heard praise for 2084 from Houellebecq himself, it was a go. I'm so excited for all of these!

edited because I can't type :|
Last edited by whatiftheblog on Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
3 x
Hours of actually speaking: 67 / 120 67 / 120
Words written for Output Challenge: 10500 / 50000 10,500 / 50,000

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MamaPata
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Re: The great push to C1+ (French)

Postby MamaPata » Sat Oct 22, 2016 7:58 am

Those all sound fascinating - let me know how they are and I may have to see about getting hold of them!
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SC French Hours: 161 / 225 SC French Pages: 5085 / 7500
SC Russian Hours: 70 / 150 SC Russian Pages: 1263 / 5000
Output Challenge: 12100 / 50000


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