PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM's French Target: C1 Nov. 2018

Postby PeterMollenburg » Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:32 am

Ummmm, yeah, out with it, I’ve done it again...

When my activity increases on here it’s generally a sign that I’m floundering... 47hours will do that to a (partially) sane man.

Twice i’ve been into the cupboard (walk in robe) riffling through my plastic boxes full of language materials digging around, pulling out glossy shiny courses and putting others back.

I’m back to my “PM’s Big Five” idea, only it’s Big Six (like it was last time). I dunno. Pay no attention to this, if I stick to it for more than a month, it’d be a miracle and then I might’ve earned the right to change my log title... but only maybe... and shhh but i’ve been thinking of not sitting the exam as soon as Nov. ‘18.... but hey, it even passed through my stupid little head today to sit it in May. Very confused. I reserve the right to be ridiculous and I reserve the right to change my mind as much as I like. I do not reserve the right to quit learning French!
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Re: PM's French Target: C1 Nov. 2018

Postby PeterMollenburg » Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:51 am

I'm just going to dribble a little here...

I've been skimming through the latest topics on the forum and can't find anything that's riveting enough to hold my attention. Case discussions are too much for my fatigue -carbohydrates/lack of sleep/more exercise than usual- induced tired body. Mind you somewhere in that discussion I got a faint sense of wanting to learn Russian. Nice idea, but stupid idea (no time - 76 other languages to learn). And I keep thinking the forum is quiet lately, even before I threatened to leave. Perhaps we've discussed everything to death? Or at least others, with my brain power have. Where's the excitement? I need to create some... controversy! I need to make outlandish statements and back them up with little evidence and then get pissed off when people start picking holes in my weak arguments, because I can't be bothered forming decent ones.... etc etc

So... I'm facing a dilemma. It's one I face on a weekly basis. What to do with my language studies or really, what to do with my time. Something else is vying for my attention. I'll call it my next language, but it's in the form of a sport. Marathon kayaking. My father represented Australia numerous times, won international marathons, broke records, won gold at the Commonwealth Games and I trained with him throughout my teenage years and for a little in early 20s. Now the urge is back. My ego wants me to go for gold at over 40 years of age (marathon kayakers can cope at world class standard up to 50yo and potentially a little beyond). This German kayaker for example has had a massive amount of success from early age and beyond 40 and she was a sprinter (use more fast twitch muscle, thus career less likely to last): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birgit_Fischer. Problem is, I have a family, I have French, and I have more languages on my list, the river is not close to my home... dammit. Is this just my ego, or is this realistic? I certainly am a dreamer ;)

So on the language front I'm contemplating routines. Do I do my rotation which I recently posted (four hour blocks that I rotate through): one course/ language mags/TV-listening practise/extensive reading.
Do I do "PMs Big Six"?
Do I tackle French in Action solely solidly for months to get it done once and for all.
Do I do my rotation listed above but put FIA in that rotation instead of other courses.

All in all I've hit a bit of a wall, not one which lacks drive, but one which lacks focus. Since, if I want to stroke my ego and believe I can make it in a sport I haven't solidly trained in for over a decade that takes time, and it takes time to learn languages, especially when you haven't 'completed' your first L2, and when it comes to sport, time is no longer on my side. This is pretty normal stuff for me. A handful of years back I was contemplating taking cycling so serious that I could have a go at making the Tour de France. Believe me, I knew that was a bit ridiculous. I think it's a last-ditch idea in response to ageing. However, kayaking on a regular basis probably won't do me any harm, as I need to at least remain healthy, but how far do I take it and how much am I willing to give up? Or do I take the risk and target C1 in November as planned, then up the kayaking to see what I can do (in the meantime kayaking a little every 2nd day or so, so as not to take too much time from French). You see? I'm pretty ridiculous!

edit: I guess, when I think about it, I owe a lot to my father in terms of my personality today. It was when I was really young ~5 and 6 yo that he went to Europe to represent Australia in kayaking and I still think that that is where my curiosity really came from with regards to other cultures and languages and in particular with a focus on Europe (perhaps with the added curiosity with him being born in Europe as well). Growing up around someone who was sometimes in the media for success in sport also, I think, must've made a decent impression on me. I've either been obsessed with sport or languages since not too long after those trips
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Re: PM's French Target: C1 Nov. 2018

Postby Xenops » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:02 am

PeterMollenburg wrote:I'm just going to dribble a little here...

So... I'm facing a dilemma. It's one I face on a weekly basis. What to do with my language studies or really, what to do with my time. Something else is vying for my attention. I'll call it my next language, but it's in the form of a sport. Marathon kayaking. My father represented Australia numerous times, won international marathons, broke records, won gold at the Commonwealth Games and I trained with him throughout my teenage years and for a little in early 20s. Now the urge is back. My ego wants me to go for gold at over 40 years of age (marathon kayakers can cope at world class standard up to 50yo and potentially a little beyond). This German kayaker for example has had a massive amount of success from early age and beyond 40 and she was a sprinter (use more fast twitch muscle, thus career less likely to last): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birgit_Fischer. Problem is, I have a family, I have French, and I have more languages on my list, the river is not close to my home... dammit. Is this just my ego, or is this realistic? I certainly am a dreamer ;)


I think you answered your own question. ;) In my case, I tend to look to other activities when I'm bored or when I'm convinced that I've found the one thing that would make my life complete or somehow make my Earth into a Heaven. I have to realize that not any one activity will likely do this, so perhaps I just need to make what I currently do more exciting.

I've been skimming through the latest topics on the forum and can't find anything that's riveting enough to hold my attention. Case discussions are too much for my fatigue -carbohydrates/lack of sleep/more exercise than usual- induced tired body. Mind you somewhere in that discussion I got a faint sense of wanting to learn Russian. Nice idea, but stupid idea (no time - 76 other languages to learn). And I keep thinking the forum is quiet lately, even before I threatened to leave. Perhaps we've discussed everything to death? Or at least others, with my brain power have. Where's the excitement? I need to create some... controversy! I need to make outlandish statements and back them up with little evidence and then get pissed off when people start picking holes in my weak arguments, because I can't be bothered forming decent ones.... etc etc


I've had a couple of post ideas, maybe I should go ahead and post them. :lol: I do believe that smallwhite has made a good point (one of many of her good points) that on HTLAL, people did experiments and crazy things all of the time: on here, not so much, thus the fewer "intriguing" discussions. On the other site, people did controversial challenges, like doing Assimil Hebrew in two weeks, and such things.

Btw, I blame you for posting that video in the Nordic study group, and for making me watch it, and for contemplating meeting someone to marry in Europe, and for setting up an account at a dating site and spending more time than I should on said site. :? I am considering all options of moving to Europe: going to school there, getting a job there, or marrying there. ;) :lol:
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Re: PM's French Target: C1 Nov. 2018

Postby PeterMollenburg » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:16 am

Xenops wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:I'm just going to dribble a little here...

So... I'm facing a dilemma. It's one I face on a weekly basis. What to do with my language studies or really, what to do with my time. Something else is vying for my attention. I'll call it my next language, but it's in the form of a sport. Marathon kayaking. My father represented Australia numerous times, won international marathons, broke records, won gold at the Commonwealth Games and I trained with him throughout my teenage years and for a little in early 20s. Now the urge is back. My ego wants me to go for gold at over 40 years of age (marathon kayakers can cope at world class standard up to 50yo and potentially a little beyond). This German kayaker for example has had a massive amount of success from early age and beyond 40 and she was a sprinter (use more fast twitch muscle, thus career less likely to last): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birgit_Fischer. Problem is, I have a family, I have French, and I have more languages on my list, the river is not close to my home... dammit. Is this just my ego, or is this realistic? I certainly am a dreamer ;)


I think you answered your own question. ;) In my case, I tend to look to other activities when I'm bored or when I'm convinced that I've found the one thing that would make my life complete or somehow make my Earth into a Heaven. I have to realize that not any one activity will likely do this, so perhaps I just need to make what I currently do more exciting.


Interesting comments... I think you must be at least partially right if I apply the same reflections to myself. Or completely right... or not right at all (just covering all bases).

Xenops wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:I've been skimming through the latest topics on the forum and can't find anything that's riveting enough to hold my attention. Case discussions are too much for my fatigue -carbohydrates/lack of sleep/more exercise than usual- induced tired body. Mind you somewhere in that discussion I got a faint sense of wanting to learn Russian. Nice idea, but stupid idea (no time - 76 other languages to learn). And I keep thinking the forum is quiet lately, even before I threatened to leave. Perhaps we've discussed everything to death? Or at least others, with my brain power have. Where's the excitement? I need to create some... controversy! I need to make outlandish statements and back them up with little evidence and then get pissed off when people start picking holes in my weak arguments, because I can't be bothered forming decent ones.... etc etc


I've had a couple of post ideas, maybe I should go ahead and post them. :lol: I do believe that smallwhite has made a good point (one of many of her good points) that on HTLAL, people did experiments and crazy things all of the time: on here, not so much, thus the fewer "intriguing" discussions. On the other site, people did controversial challenges, like doing Assimil Hebrew in two weeks, and such things.

Btw, I blame you for posting that video in the Nordic study group, and for making me watch it, and for contemplating meeting someone to marry in Europe, and for setting up an account at a dating site and spending more time than I should on said site. :? I am considering all options of moving to Europe: going to school there, getting a job there, or marrying there. ;) :lol:


Yeah, sounds reasonable, your comments regarding challenges etc that smallwhite had theorised on.

Any luck yet? I expect to be invited to the wedding! Maybe if it ends up being in the Faeroe Islands, you could invite all of us from the forum, all expenses paid for by the Faeroese Government on the grounds of cultural expansation/exploration (whatever is best PC for their gov’t), as they will also be paying for all of our Faeroese language courses and we’ll be all speaking to each other in this language at the wedding. We’re going to need at least 6 months off work back home for the duration of this challenge too, so if they could foot the bill for that too? Great, ready everybody... 6 months full time Faeroese A0 to C2 begins... now! :? ? Edit: Also if you could kindly request from their government that these courses be all made in various base languages (i’ll take Faeroese from a French base thanks!).
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Re: PM's French Target: C1 Nov. 2018

Postby Xenops » Wed Feb 21, 2018 12:44 am

PeterMollenburg wrote:Any luck yet? I expect to be invited to the wedding! Maybe if it ends up being in the Faeroe Islands, you could invite all of us from the forum, all expenses paid for by the Faeroese Government on the grounds of cultural expansation/exploration (whatever is best PC for their gov’t), as they will also be paying for all of our Faeroese language courses and we’ll be all speaking to each other in this language at the wedding. We’re going to need at least 6 months off work back home for the duration of this challenge too, so if they could foot the bill for that too? Great, ready everybody... 6 months full time Faeroese A0 to C2 begins... now! :? ? Edit: Also if you could kindly request from their government that these courses be all made in various base languages (i’ll take Faeroese from a French base thanks!).


Currently my matches are in France and Ireland, so...Let's have an Irish-learning spree!! I'll get in contact with the society responsible for endorsing Irish, because, you know, they need foreigners to learn Irish to keep their language alive, so of course they will pay us to learn it. :lol: If I end up in France, well, we should be grateful if they speak to us in French. ;)
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Re: PM's French Target: C1 Nov. 2018

Postby PeterMollenburg » Wed Feb 21, 2018 12:59 am

Xenops wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:Any luck yet? I expect to be invited to the wedding! Maybe if it ends up being in the Faeroe Islands, you could invite all of us from the forum, all expenses paid for by the Faeroese Government on the grounds of cultural expansation/exploration (whatever is best PC for their gov’t), as they will also be paying for all of our Faeroese language courses and we’ll be all speaking to each other in this language at the wedding. We’re going to need at least 6 months off work back home for the duration of this challenge too, so if they could foot the bill for that too? Great, ready everybody... 6 months full time Faeroese A0 to C2 begins... now! :? ? Edit: Also if you could kindly request from their government that these courses be all made in various base languages (i’ll take Faeroese from a French base thanks!).


Currently my matches are in France and Ireland, so...Let's have an Irish-learning spree!! I'll get in contact with the society responsible for endorsing Irish, because, you know, they need foreigners to learn Irish to keep their language alive, so of course they will pay us to learn it. :lol: If I end up in France, well, we should be grateful if they speak to us in French. ;)


Could your French contact(s) happen to reside where a minority language is spoken? Surely we can convince the French government to ratify the European charter for minority and regional languages :)
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Re: PM's French Target: C1 Nov. 2018

Postby PeterMollenburg » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:16 pm

I've been very active here lately, too much so. Too much talking, too much turmoil, not enough studying.

Would you believe I went back to my master list of courses and started working through FSI's Introduction to French Phonology, the very first course on the list (the list I compiled goes from easiest to hardest)! Bloody idiot! I love the idea of working through all my courses, on a MASSIVE MISSION! But realistically, after talking to my wife again this evening and discussing our plans for the near-ish future (we often do this), it would be much better if I could get my ass into gear and at least sit the C1 in November, as next year I'm likely to have much less time. As for kayaking, I need to keep exercising and I'm certainly enjoying it, but dreaming of world titles, I think getting a little ahead of myself right now. Maybe I'll revisit at a later date. When I'm 78 and wonder if I can do it before I die? For French, this means, back to an efficient plan, one in which I'm not fiddling around with easy courses, one in which I'm using every moment I can to advance...

I also saw Fortheo had mentioned in Ani's log having taken the kwiziq placement test for French online. I couldn't resist! I scored C1, and areas that came up as problematic for me (aside from some dumb errors!), were how to use the verb 'devoir' to express 'should have', use of penser with the pronoun y was a little off, and I was a bit weak on a couple of relative pronouns.

So, back on track!

And since I don't want to create a challenge, can't join the 6WC as an advanced learner and am not keen on any other challenges, I've got my own. I've stated similar before, but here it is:

The earliest the oral test for the C1 would be is the 7th of November (2018). The written component on the 13th of Nov. I am considering sitting C2 at the same time. It's a stretch. There are no dates specified for C2 yet. So I'll draw it back to the start of the same week for the oral C1 exam. That makes it Monday the 5th of Nov. We'll see how I feel as the date approaches, as to whether I really will sit the C2. I don't want to flunk both because of greed. So starting tomorrow (24rd of Feb '18) through to and including Sunday 4th of Nov '18, there are 254 days.

My personal challenge is, I'm going to aim for 1000 hours of French in those 254 days to the C1 (and maybe C2) exam(s) in November 2018. Before I go to sleep tonight I will update what I've done so far this year (as I might watch something yet), and thus I can come back and see how much over 1000 hours I need to be by the end of this personal challenge. I'm going to continue to exercise regularly and work full time if not overtime at times and spend time with family and minding the kids while my wife works some days. Thus, I'll need to be efficient. And since I want every chance of passing at least C1, I will need to be efficient with every hour. Furthermore since I need to obtain an average of nearly four hours a day of French, I also need to find moments EVERYWHERE I can. I want to cease being sleep deprived and improve my health. Goodbye PM the nutty human being, hello PM, monsieur le cyborg, et à la fin, monsieur PM, le robot à 100%.

I've changed my log title. Suddenly this is real. Now let's get to it shall we?

Edit: I'm going to sleep shortly. As it stands I have done 129 hours and 59 minutes of study so far this year. So at the end of Sunday November the 4th, 2018, I will need to have obtained 1129 hours and 59 minutes or more to have achieved the objective. Then I will sit the exam(s).

In discussing the plans with my wife just now, and with future plans having just been discussed, we have agreed that past this/these exams in November, that I will reduce my daily desk study time from 3 hours to 90 minutes. I can't dillydally any longer, if I want to pass these exams in Nov, it's get on with it now or never potentially it won't happen for many years from now. If I make the hours, but don't pass it won't have been a failure. I certainly be content with that accomplishment.

I shall update my log periodically, perhaps fortnightly? to discuss my progress.

My study routine will consist of an aim of an aim of 3 hours of study per day at my desk. Extra time will need to come from commuting and other stolen/hidden moments.

For my desk study, to begin with (will modify as/when needed) a four hour rotational routine.

Each hour will contain a beginning 10 to 15 minutes of isolated vocabulary study. The remaining 45 to 50 minutes out of each hour of study will be made up of these four activities to begin with:
1. A challenging course (and when the time is right, exam-specific course/material).
2. Watching/Listening using Yabla initially, then Buffy with transcripts, then GLOSS and onto series when moving towards more extensive listening work (or I may rotate between intensive and extensive listening).
3. Intensive reading using Bien-dire and/or Think French.
4. Extensive reading.
Last edited by PeterMollenburg on Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:59 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: PM's 1000 hrs of French in 254 days to C1 Nov. 2018

Postby Fortheo » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:37 pm

You can do it PM. You're one of the few French learners who I remember seeing around for years now. That alone is a testament to your dedication.

How are your listening abilities these days? Do you do any type of listening exercises regularly, or do you mostly just listen in general in hopes that your abilities will improve?

My listening abilities still have some room to grow, so I'm looking around to see what others have done to get their listening to the next level.
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Re: PM's 1000 hrs of French in 254 days to C1 Nov. 2018

Postby PeterMollenburg » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:57 pm

Fortheo wrote:You can do it PM. You're one of the few French learners who I remember seeing around for years now. That alone is a testament to your dedication.

How are your listening abilities these days? Do you do any type of listening exercises regularly, or do you mostly just listen in general in hopes that your abilities will improve?

My listening abilities still have some room to grow, so I'm looking around to see what others have done to get their listening to the next level.


Thanks Fortheo for dropping by. My listening has improved substantially in the last 18 months. I can watch the news and understand 95% or more. Rather than odd words I could pick out in a sea of unknowns in the beginning 3-4 years back, which moved to full sentences perhaps 18 months back, it's now paragraphs and paragraphs of understanding. I watch the news perhaps for half an hour on TV every 3rd day on average at a guess, which I've done now for the duration of those 4 years. I still listen to RFI Journal en français facile (and sometimes read the transcripts), which I've been mainly using perhaps in the last 2 years at a guess, sometimes a lot, other times not using it for months while doing audio courses while commuting, then coming back to it later. Comprehension level pretty similar to TV news now. Some comedy podcasts remain very difficult to follow, particularly with multiple speakers. This is an area I need to work on - varying my podcasts more and upping the difficulty. Movies and series are at a guess around 75% comprehension, still somewhat challenging, but with perhaps a couple of series, I can see that improving dramatically. I listen to audio for 25 minutes on the way to work and 25 minutes on the way home (usually those RFI journal en fr facile podcasts). And I probably do that commute 5 days a week. If I get a chance at work I'll go over the transcripts, but that's relatively rare. I do the odd intensive listening practice with Yabla at home. So I do get a fair degree of listening practice, which is predominantly extensive - it's not uncommon for me to watch an episode of a series in the evening, perhaps 3 days a week recently, and following iguanamon's advice a couple months back, I turned off any subtitles where I could - that helped quite a bit, as I stopped reading and started listening! Like most people, I do find my mind wandering at times (especially with podcasts, without the visual cues of TV) and I find I have to almost try and hear every single word to stay focused, but it doesn't take long if I'm driving to work for example, for my mind to wander again. I'll keep working on that ;) This is where getting sufficient rest and staying healthy and alert helps.

Most of my intensive listening has come from course work, while I've done a good degree of extensive listening from TV news, series/movies and podcasts.

Cavesa has written some really good posts throughout the forum with regards to listening. If you come across her posts while sifting through some threads on the topic of listening, she definitely has a lot of good insights on listening practice worth paying attention to.
Last edited by PeterMollenburg on Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PM's 1000 hrs of French in 254 days to C1 Nov. 2018

Postby smallwhite » Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:01 pm

I think you will end up averaging between 1.85 and 2.05 hours from tomorrow until the exam ;)
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