Well in June I finished with 66 hours, 48 min of French. My best month since August last year, as I had many a slow month since with all the moving around etc.
My highest scores were:
18 hours, 24 min for television
14 hours, 3 min for extensive reading
9 hours, 53 min for intensive reading (i.e. intensive vocabulary acquisition)
8 hours, 55 min for podcasts
Pretty good, not my best by far, but nothing to be depressed about. All in all a good month.
I've been trying to get into frequent Anki use and use my desk study plan as devised for exam prep, but with 2 kids, new jobs for my wife and myself, major turmoil going on around us with friends and family needing support for various difficult reasons and other interruptions, I just cannot seem to get into a good routine to save myself. However, in doing everything I can do, when I can do it, i'm still managing to get a good deal of French in, as I'm adapting wherever I can to what time I have and what adjustments need to be made to work around other things.
Still, if I don't see some kind of a good routine happening soon, these exam prep books are not going to work through themselves and I'll be avoiding any exams come November yet again!
Le Tour de France
And now there's the Tour de France. Unlike last year when I commenced watching it in French and never really got that far with it for various reasons, and consequently it was the first Tour in many years I'd not watched even a quarter of... well this year is starting much better. For one, I can tolerate the French commentary much more, since I can follow much more. I still struggle a little though, because this is just not something I'm used to (watching/listening to long stretches of French sporting commentary). Oh and one of the commentators has a very tricky accent! It's a rider I know from years of TDF watching, but never realised he sounded like that! He just seems to be completely nasal and like he is speaking from his throat with half a cold - blood tricky (to understand)! However, I enjoy the whole thing, and as we know, this is a major plus in language learning (interesting content), and it's listening practise in an area I've not practised yet = good for language learning. On the whole, in recent weeks I've been doing a lot more listening (TV predominantly) than usual (great series like Dark, have helped!), and surely that can only be a good thing for my French.
Quite shockingly perhaps for some, I still do not understand the commentary with ease. There is a lot I miss and after perhaps catching over 90 (or maybe even 95) per cent of the initial commentary in the first 20 to 30 minutes, I start to lose it thereafter. I get tired. Think watching a bunch of bikes along mesmerising (but beautiful) French countryside with an endless stream of pretty similar tone spoken French AND me being tired lately anyway = I fall asleep and fight to stay away and watch more. I think my comprehension would be higher, or at least remain higher for longer, were I not so tired in general lately. Still, last night, I watched an after show, if you will, called 'Vélo Club" on France TV Sport, and with all the changes - discussion on the stage, interviews, guests, little games and trivia, I did not fall asleep and would've surely understood more that 95% easily.
I guess I am proving that despite thousands of hours of studying, listening as they say around these parts requires listening practise. In all my thousands of hours of studying it's always been in there, but usually it's the news, or I've had subtitles on movies, or I've chosen easy series etc. Well, hopefully in a bit under 3 weeks, with all my Tour de France following (and finally haven broken free of the grip of excellent English commentators - okay, i've snuck a listen here and there, and a read), i'm certainly going to improve.
Not immune to wanderlust
Recently I was praised by an esteemed member of this forum for my long-lasting committment to French over a number of years without having given in to the temptation of taking on other languages seriously. I caved a couple of times, but I've stuck to my guns and always returned to the objective (advanced French). Nevertheless, progress is slow, and I'm wondering if this 100% focus on French is at this point in time somewhat of a hinderance. I mean if I want to learn other languages... well, best get to them at some point. And how many new words are serious language learners out there acquiring on a daily basis in their respective languages, because I feel like most days I'm not learning many if any new words. And yet there always seems to be words I don't know, grammatical structures I struggle with and TONS of idioms I have no clue about. Then i see a pile of French learning magazines I'm excited to subscribe to for my kids for home schooling and I think, well I'm really going to be involved in this French advancement thing for years to come, so why the hurry (with exams)? And there are some great Spanish kids learning mags. Why not teach the kids some Spanish when there's so many great resources out there (unlike Dutch - such magazines are either now out of print or NEVER post to Australia!) and it's such a big language!
So, would it be better, to put my French into cruise control now and introduce more languages (to myself and the kids)? OR should, as I stated, just aim for November this year with French alone and then introduce one or more other languages? OR, do I keep going exclusively with French right through next year, because once I reach (if I can) C2, and with C2 certificate in hand, then I might feel like I've finally graduated and earned the right to study the hell out of all and many other languages to my heart's content? Do I sit C2 in November even if I might fail miserably? Do I sit C2 and C1 to cover myself? Do I sit C1 and then go the long cruise control path to C2 while introducing other languages? Am I really C2? I am nowhere near it? Am I miles beyond it? Am I just capable of passing it if I get myself into gear?
Oh, and Norwegian, German and Luxembourgish are trying to get my attention for future possible work-scenario reasons. Spanish makes little sense work-wise, yet these three make little sense for other reasons. NOT ENOUGH TIME IN MY DAY!!!
Anyway, that's me for now. I hope everyone else is studying well. Back to Le Tour... (even though I should be going to sleep!)...