PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sun Jun 30, 2019 2:59 am

Fortheo wrote:I too just re-watched season one of dark! The french dubbing is well done in my opinion. That show is warping my mind, though. It's come to the point where I need to look at the families family trees in nearly each episode :lol: I like it a lot, though.


Yes, it’s a tricky one to get your head around. My wife said to me last night while watching it, that she needs one of those walls with all the photos and pieces of string drawing all the connections. I tend to agree. Such a good show! Yeah, the dubbing seems quite well done, I agree. Glad to hear you’re enjoying it too, Fortheo, and in French as well!
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eido
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby eido » Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:28 pm

For the future ;)
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby PeterMollenburg » Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:35 am

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!)...
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby Arnaud » Thu Jul 11, 2019 5:38 pm

There is a special glossary generally used by the former cyclists, like Jalabert or Voeckler (+the accent, it can be definitively tricky).
A lot of people watch The Tour just for the landscapes :)
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby PeterMollenburg » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:35 pm

Arnaud wrote:There is a special glossary generally used by the former cyclists, like Jalabert or Voeckler (+the accent, it can be definitively tricky).
A lot of people watch The Tour just for the landscapes :)


Merci, Arnaud. Actually, although I began watching Le Tour for the cycling many years ago, in perhaps the last decade, it’s definitely been more for the scenery myself. Mind you, I still enjoy watching the competition!
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby PeterMollenburg » Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:11 am

Reading StringerBell’s posts (from StringerBell’s log: https://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=9877&start=240) on difficulties with Polish and all the great advice humbles me. How did I ever think I might be able to learn Russian!! French is a breeze it seems compared to so many other languages. My ever-continuing struggles with French put into perspective against the backdrop of StringerBell’s Polish struggles makes me think, what the hell have I got to be concerned about, how stupid am I (French is child’s play), and wow there’s some incredibly smart and mentally tough people around these language learning parts. Hats off... StringerBell, if you’re reading this, good luck with whatever your language learning decisions turn out to be.
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby StringerBell » Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:38 pm

Thanks!

Btw, don't let my frustrations with Polish lead you to assume that French is an easy language. A lot of my frustration with Italian was due to me thinking of it as an easy language (so I had unrealistic expectations of how quickly I should be able to learn it). In reality there is nothing about Italian grammar that is easy. In fact, I've had moments over the past 2 years where I actually was thinking that Italian grammar was more complicated than Polish. (I'm sure in this regard French is comparable to Italian). And I think understanding spoken French is 100x harder than understanding Italian because in French you don't pronounce most letters and garble the rest. :lol: So the fact that you are now watching more and more TV in French and actually understanding it is a huge accomplishment. And since you seem to really do well with course books and structured formal study, you might do really well with Russian. So don't dismiss the idea on my account!
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MamaPata
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby MamaPata » Sat Jul 13, 2019 7:38 am

Yeah, I don’t think that Russian is any “worse” than French. All languages have difficult bits and everyone finds those different. Your biggest problem with French seems to be your expectations for yourself and your determination to do more than you reasonably can. That will probably be a problem for any language you do unless you give yourself a break and adjust your expectations.
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:51 pm

MamaPata wrote:Yeah, I don’t think that Russian is any “worse” than French. All languages have difficult bits and everyone finds those different. Your biggest problem with French seems to be your expectations for yourself and your determination to do more than you reasonably can. That will probably be a problem for any language you do unless you give yourself a break and adjust your expectations.


Hi MamaPata,

Can you be more specific? Do you think I should not aim for C2 French, or even C1? Do you think I’m already there?

A former examiner told me late last year that I could past C1 more than likely with much focus on writing specifically for the exam, that is learning how to write all the specific pieces of writing that one would be expected to produce in the exam. She felt C2 was out of my reach.

I have done well beyond the hours that the Alliance Française would have me believe I’d need to do to pass a C2 exam. However, as per the definitions found in Wikipedia for example for the CEFRL, C2 means I should be able to understand virtually any audio content and almost any reading. This is not the case.

When reading graded articles at the advanced C-levels, there are TONS of words and expressions... i mean TONNES!!! that I am unfamiliar with....

Is it because I’m busy and have many other commitments outside of language learning, that you’re just trying to say ‘go easy on yourself’. Are you suggesting that my intellect is not up to the task?

What do I need to adjust in terms of my expectations? Are you in fact telling me it’s out of my reach? I think these are fair questions to ask you, considering when you take account the above information, the conflicting ideas of C2 could lead any language learner to a state of confusion.

I think you’re more than likely being kind to me, most people here are, and feel that my level is well and truly C2, and perhaps it is. Perhaps I could pass a C2 exam given I learn how to produce the writings better. But why on earth are the definitions so ridiculously high-level then?

From wikipedia (re: C2) as per the CEFRL:
Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read.
Can summarize information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.
Can express themselves spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations.


Maybe you’re trying to tell me to stop being so hell bent on perfecting all the little things, move on and get on with the stuff that matters?

Anyway, thank you MamaPata for stopping by, would you mind putting all my guessing and speculation to rest? ;)
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MamaPata
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby MamaPata » Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:39 pm

Maybe you’re trying to tell me to stop being so hell bent on perfecting all the little things, move on and get on with the stuff that matters?


That’s it! Sorry, I assumed that was clear. I think you’re definitely already C1, I am sure you can get to C2 no problem. Honestly I think doing the exam might be a great thing for you, both to see where you are and what your strengths are, and to help yourself let it go. It’s just an exam, you’re doing it for yourself.

Nobody can know all of the words in a language - I had to look something up in English today. You’ve gotten to a great point with your French, you’ve made it part of your life, you’ve been able to translate for patients. That’s incredible.

But you keep setting yourself plans in which you do 3 hours of French study a day even though you have a job, a family, and a life. It just seems to me that you might feel a lot better and stick to a plan better if you lowered your expectations and just did the things you think are useful for maybe 45mins. That’s still loads! And then anything you do above that would be for the pleasure of it. Life is short, you should enjoy yourself.

If you want to learn Russian, fantastic! As a Russian learner, I think you should definitely do it and come chat in the Russian study group! But mostly I think you should only do it if you will enjoy it. If you will start it and then feel bad that you’re not perfect, why put yourself through that?
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