Jim's log

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Jim
Orange Belt
Posts: 121
Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:18 pm
Languages: English (N), French (intermediate), Spanish (frosty intermediate), Russian (beginner)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5766
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Day 35

Postby Jim » Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:25 pm

Ok, finding my rhythm again, but still very input heavy week. I'm finding that this log has helped at least focus my attention on where I'm failing and what approach is best for me. In short, steady progress, could do better.

Reading 62 pages of SuperFreakonomics
Listening 5.5 hours
Speaking 1 hour
Writing 0. (It hurt writing that - don't want to feel like this next week).

Anki all cards reviewed.

Spent quite a bit of time on grammar this week which was good.

Total time: c.16hrs
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La hora más oscura es la que viene antes del nacimiento del sol

Merci de corriger mes erreurs !

User avatar
Jim
Orange Belt
Posts: 121
Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:18 pm
Languages: English (N), French (intermediate), Spanish (frosty intermediate), Russian (beginner)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5766
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Jour 42

Postby Jim » Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:17 pm

Alors, ça fait 42 jours après le commencement de mon défi : on est presque à mi-chemin. Ce que j'ai appris pendent ces dernières semaines c'est qu'on peut consacré beaucoup trop de temps à s'inquiéter pour la question de quoi on devrait étudier et effectivement trop peu de temps à étudier.

Cette semaine n'allait ni trop mal ni très bien:

Écouter : 4h
Lire : 50 pages
Écrire : environ 250 mots
Parler : 2h
Anki : toutes cartes

Au moins 16h
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La hora más oscura es la que viene antes del nacimiento del sol

Merci de corriger mes erreurs !

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Jim
Orange Belt
Posts: 121
Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:18 pm
Languages: English (N), French (intermediate), Spanish (frosty intermediate), Russian (beginner)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5766
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Day 49

Postby Jim » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:17 pm

Over the course of the last week or two I've felt a distinct improvement in listening comprehension and increased fluency when speaking. I think this is either a natural consequence of chipping away everyday, or it may have something to do with the Anki workout I do every morning.

I spend approximately 40mins every morning doing Anki sentences taken from this resource. It's 25 new sentences a day which works out at on average 150 reviews a day. I've now done 51 days and just under 6,600 reviews. On the front of each card is just the audio. On the back is the French and English. I play the audio (sometimes multiple times) to ensure that I can pick out each word, then I repeat the sentence thinking about the meaning. I then flip the card just to check that I parsed the audio correctly. The sentences contain no new vocab for me, so I never need the English, but occasionally I check structure in grammars or online.

In addition I alter in my repetition:

  • all passé simple I change to passé composé;
  • I usually drop the 'ne' from negative sentences (although I will often retain it when used in unfamiliar circumstances like the 'ne' explétif); and
  • where 'pas' is sometimes omitted (e.g. with pouvoir) I add it back in.

I think this has helped a lot in improving my listening and oral production. I also started speaking to my daughter in French every morning (although she's only two and doesn't speak French... yet). She seems happy enough that breakfast time is French time.

I don't have much in the way of stats for this week as I'm away from home (I keep a paper record - got to start a spreadsheet). In short: listening and speaking - good, reading - not terrible, writing - terrible.
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La hora más oscura es la que viene antes del nacimiento del sol

Merci de corriger mes erreurs !

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Jim
Orange Belt
Posts: 121
Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:18 pm
Languages: English (N), French (intermediate), Spanish (frosty intermediate), Russian (beginner)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5766
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Day 56

Postby Jim » Sun Jun 25, 2017 9:24 pm

Holiday week this week, and I've pretty much taken a week off French (workdays are much more productive for me anyway). I've kept up with Anki and done a bit of reading and listening, but not much. I've reflected a lot on my approach to learning and the very helpful posts here. At the end of the next month I'll set out the plan for the next year or so.

I would have spent a bit more time on French but lost a lot of time to setting up LWT on a webhost. For anyone with similar problems the host server for 000webhost is now definitely "localhost" and make sure that the defined variables are written "xxxx" and not “xxxx”. Lost a lot of time to a stupid cut and paste error!
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La hora más oscura es la que viene antes del nacimiento del sol

Merci de corriger mes erreurs !

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Jim
Orange Belt
Posts: 121
Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:18 pm
Languages: English (N), French (intermediate), Spanish (frosty intermediate), Russian (beginner)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5766
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Day 63

Postby Jim » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:19 pm

Well actually 64, but it was getting late yesterday. I'm now concentrating on reading, listening and speaking. Writing I'll come back to soon enough, but I don't see much value in it at the moment. I want to concentrate on buildings vocabulary and fluency speaking.

At the end of this month it'll be time to review and set out a strategy going forward as part of the C1 French group (so excited about this!), but I've got to finish this challenge before starting the next (no matter how tempting).

In summary, this last week was much of the same as previous weeks, but I didn't record it very well. This next week I'm going to try to record a little better.
1 x
La hora más oscura es la que viene antes del nacimiento del sol

Merci de corriger mes erreurs !

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Jim
Orange Belt
Posts: 121
Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:18 pm
Languages: English (N), French (intermediate), Spanish (frosty intermediate), Russian (beginner)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5766
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Day 70

Postby Jim » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:17 am

Better week all round. I improved my time recording using a spreadsheet and I've implemented my change in priorities. I need to get more out of tutor sessions by properly reviewing corrections, but generally I'm pleased with the progress. I am also admirably resisting the temptation to start Polish.

Incidentally, for anyone interested in optimising their time, forget about the Miracle Morning and read Arnold Bennett's How to Live on 24 Hours a Day.

Stats for this week:

  • 100 pages read
  • 9 hours listening
  • 4 hours speaking
  • all Anki reviews done
  • total 23.5 hours

Not sure whether it's me better recording what I'm doing, but this has been a much better week in terms of stats.
3 x
La hora más oscura es la que viene antes del nacimiento del sol

Merci de corriger mes erreurs !

User avatar
Jim
Orange Belt
Posts: 121
Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:18 pm
Languages: English (N), French (intermediate), Spanish (frosty intermediate), Russian (beginner)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5766
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Day 77

Postby Jim » Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:56 am

It's been a difficult week personally, but fortunately French hasn't suffered too much. Lots of waiting around allowed more reading, but has skewed the stats in favour of reading.

Stats:
  • 106 pages read
  • Just under 7 hours listening
  • 2 hours speaking
  • all Anki reviews done
  • total just under 21 hours
Objectives for this week:
  1. find an activity which allows me to practice speaking, which fits into my current schedule and is something that I'm actually going to create a habit of; and
  2. create a system for reviewing tutor sessions (I completely failed to do this last week.)
Resisted Polish again, but don't think I'll be able to hold off much longer!
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La hora más oscura es la que viene antes del nacimiento del sol

Merci de corriger mes erreurs !

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Jim
Orange Belt
Posts: 121
Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:18 pm
Languages: English (N), French (intermediate), Spanish (frosty intermediate), Russian (beginner)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5766
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Day 84

Postby Jim » Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:05 pm

A couple of days late: this post covers the period up to last Sunday. A normal week again, but I'm still struggling to incorporate a review of my tutoring notes into my weekly schedule. I know what I want to do, but cannot find the time in my schedule to do it. What I did notice this week was that whilst I focus quite well on my morning commute, I find that during my 40 minute drive home I am not really concentrating on the French podcasts which I would normally listen to on the way home.

So, from Wednesday last week ... I started Michel Thomas method Polish. I've done Michel Thomas French, Spanish, Italian and Russian before and I find the method very good at providing a basic framework to build on. I also think that some of the criticisms of the series are a bit unfair if you accept that they are not going to teach you everything and in fact will teach you some unusual (even bizarre at times) sentences, simply because it helps develop that framework. For me, being an audio course it makes use of time which otherwise is not being productively used. I'm going to continue with Polish on my evening commute as light relief after a long day and I don't intend to take it too seriously for the moment.

Stats:
  • 80 pages
  • 4 hours listening
  • 2 hours speaking
  • All Anki reviews done
  • total just over 14 hours
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La hora más oscura es la que viene antes del nacimiento del sol

Merci de corriger mes erreurs !

User avatar
Jim
Orange Belt
Posts: 121
Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:18 pm
Languages: English (N), French (intermediate), Spanish (frosty intermediate), Russian (beginner)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5766
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Day 90 and beyond

Postby Jim » Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:25 pm

So that's the end of the 90 day challenge. The final stats are below, but what have I learned? Well, first I must thank everyone on this forum. There is some great advice here and it helps to know that others are facing the same difficulties. Second, I am beginning to understand what I need to do to get to C1 and beyond. The advice for myself (and perhaps it will be helpful for others) that I have collected over this time includes:

  • Stop caring how long it will take to get there. Making C1 a goal is good as an aspiration, but putting a timescale on it is meaningless and apt to induce frustration and disillusionment.
  • As a corollary, set targets by reference to measurable activities and then set timescales accordingly. I loathe contrived acronyms, but there is a certain amount of truth in the idea of "SMART" goals.
  • Keep a good daily record of what you are doing and reflect on it periodically. As a lawyer I record time in 6 minute units which makes it easier to log.
  • Focus on weaknesses. Deliberate practice in areas requiring work will bring much quicker results. There is a great Freakonomics podcast episode all about the evidence supporting deliberate practice.
  • Progression in language learning is not linear and not all hours devoted to activities are of equal value. Learn to recognise time wasted and inefficiencies.
  • Learn how to learn - see Barbara Oakley and Terrence Sejniwski's Coursera course. I cannot recommend it enough.
  • Memorisation can be fun and seems to work well for me with nouns. But, it is a lot less useful for other forms of words where imagery is less vivid and the associations harder to create. It also doesn't feel like the right way to learn a language.
  • Do what you enjoy. I like the feeling of having spent an hour working hard, but there is a balance. It is not a sprint, but a marathon. You can only succeed if you enjoy the process. Even if you could be disciplined enough to stick with it, your progress will be slower.
  • Embrace ambiguity. You don't need to know the word mouette to know that if the main character of the book is by the seaside, feeds it breadcrumbs and sees it flying, it is likely to be a seagull. It could of course be some other seaside bird, but what does it matter? Is the difference between a seagull and other seabirds important to you? Could you pick one out in a line up of other similar birds? If so, you may find books about birds in the target language interesting, so make that the next book on your list. It has taken me a long time to come to terms with this even though we intuitively do it in our own native language (and if you think you don't, you're wrong).
Anyway, I am now ready to join PM in his C1 mission (with for me a side serving of Polish to keep language learning fun). I will set out my C1 French learning strategy on that group forum in the next few days. This log will then become my general language learning log with the focus on French C1.

Stats for the total 90days - Actual/Target:

Reading: 766/750 pages
Listening: at least 60/50 hours
Speaking: 28.5/50 hours
Writing: 2,350/10,000 words

Total study time: 185.5 hours, but because of recording errors I think this is a bit low and I suspect it was probably closer to 200 hours.

I'm generally pleased with the outcome, but it turns out that besides French I learnt a lot more from the challenge than expected.
6 x
La hora más oscura es la que viene antes del nacimiento del sol

Merci de corriger mes erreurs !

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smallwhite
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2040
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2015 6:55 am
Location: Hong Kong
Languages: Native: Cantonese;
Good: English, French, Spanish, Italian;
Mediocre: Mandarin, German, Swedish, Dutch;
Some: Greek, Turkish;
Learning for Nov 6WC: Hokkien.
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Re: Day 90 and beyond

Postby smallwhite » Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:38 am

Jim wrote:Objective
To achieve a solid B2 level in all skills and be in a position to reach C1 by the end of the year. I'm currently somewhere between B1 and B2. I can read fairly well and I'm comfortable in conversations, but I frequently make mistakes and my listening comprehension is average.

Did you achieve your objective?
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