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 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:27 am

Gustav Aschenbach wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:
Yeah, Arabic seems to be calling me again. But seriously, where will I got doing 30 minutes of Arabic every so often (not even necessarily daily), and same for Spanish and Norwegian... I think I'm always going to be facing dilemma's of time, like most of us language learning wanderlusters. That sort of thinking drives me to wondering whether I'm better of doing a hard 6 months/12 months of one language, turning it into 30 min slow progress afterwards and doing the same for the next language (6 to 12 months harder study, then slow progression mode)... Whatever.


I would say don't do to much, don't spread yourself to thin, better focus on few things, that's the way to go for most people (there are exceptions to the rule of course). I personally would love to study many more languages, but I know that's not possible, I just don't have the time. It would end up in a lot of stress and frustration and chaos. And there are other things I want to do in my life. For example finally enjoying the fruits of my language studies by just using the languages.


Hey Gustav,

While I would normally agree with you, I don't necessarily this time around. 'Last time around' which is actually still current, has involved 6 years of French only. That has served me well - taught me a lot about what it takes to bring one language to advanced level, taught me a lot about myself and my learning methods, what works, what doesn't work, what i'm still unsure of, and where I can improve efficiency, and it also taught me a lot of French! And, I truly think your words are full of wisdom...

However, we must adapt to our circumstances according to our goals. While I must boost my Dutch into the stratosphere over the coming two years, I also want to introduce the three - Dutch, Spanish and Norwegian into my learning routine with my children. I don't necessarily expect fluency (a loose term) in these languages in the near future, but I expect to activate Dutch considerably for them and have them very familiar with Norwegian and Spanish vocabulary/grammar structures (more than likely passively) and perhaps know how to carry on/understand a basic conversation in these two. All this will be done age-appropriately (i.e. predominantly through stories and other such child friendly methods), but I cannot accomplish it without some study devoted to each of these languages myself. It's somewhat time critical as my eldest is 5 and a half and I don't want to miss the boat with her language-flexible child mind.

Why Dutch? It's a favourite of mine, a heritage language (my father was born in NL) and it holds employment opportunities for me. Ressurrecting it should be much easier than starting from scratch, having gone beyond B1 level 8 years back. Spanish - i see it as more accessible now that I have reached a decent level of French, and although I see it opening few to no doors in terms of employment, I see it as an important (as well as an interesting) world language that my children will benefit knowing/understanding some career or travel-wise. Norwegian, is rather limited, but it's simply a language my daughter would love to learn, and she's been somewhat fascinated with it for a couple of years now perhaps. I have good friends in Norway too, so perhaps it's a little bit of a fun language this one.

I'd like to squeeze in other languages too, that changes depending on my moood. Lately it's Arabic, but I think going beyond four languages could be a real squeeze and likely result in definitely spreading myself too thin. It's a shame, as I've some excellent resources I'd just love to sink my teeth into, but perhaps they'll have to wait... a... long.... time...!

If I had my time over, or if I imagine some alternative life in an alternative dimension, there are certainly very many years in my 20s where I could've lived a language-learning monastic existence much like prof Arguelles... but could I? No, not really. Still, it's nice to dream unrealistic dreams. Maybe I wouldn't be learning languages today, had I taken a different path. The thing is at various moments in my 20s I did have masses of time, and very much had the idea of learning multiple languages, and yet I just couldn't bring myself to act on those desires. I collected resources, would study a bit and well stop again. It seems as though I needed to toughen up mentally to be ready for such challenges. I had no idea what it really took (to learn a language thoroughly).

MorkTheFiddle wrote:Eating right and getting sufficient rest always do wonders for my state of mind. For a busy person, getting enough rest may not always be possible, but eating right can be possible at least most of the time. Being no expert in these matters, I will leave it at that.


You sure sound like an expert, and wise one at that, and I mean that sincerely. Such wisdom needs few words. I agree with you MorkTheFiddle, but sometimes living up to my idealism is a little hard - my ego (and advertising) get in the way! I shall do my best to get back on track ;)
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iguanamon
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby iguanamon » Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:31 pm

Self language learning is all about the "self". It's ironic that learning a way to communicate with others is such a solitary exercise for many of us, but most of us here are not living and working in a TL country, nor, for most of us- will we. So, as such, what we aim to gain from this pursuit is for us to define.

Ultimately, the only way to know if you can learn multiple languages successfully simultaneously is to try. You have learned more than French in your long journey through learning French. You have also learned how to learn. You've learned what you could have done without and what you maybe should have done instead. In a sense, we are our own experiment that we run on ourselves in this process. With the myriad methods, approaches, formulas available for learning and the many desired outcomes from which to aim to achieve, we tend to discover and attain our own efficiency- which usually does not correlate to others' efficiencies.

Whatever you choose to do in this crazy pursuit that we have here, called language-learning, will be right for you as long as you are happy with it. Just remember, you can always make more money. Love is always infinite. Time is finite. There are 24 hours in a day and we are not machines. We are human. We must sleep, eat and relax. Most of us must work and probably most of us are not fortunate enough to have jobs that allow us a significant amount of time for language-learning while we are working. Many of us have families to take care of in addition to ourselves. Time is the main limiting factor in learning. Managing time is very important but it isn't the only thing.

Learning languages is so exciting and beguiling for most of us here. That's why we're here. I wish I could learn all the languages and travel the world to gain the benefits of having learned them. I can't. Speaking for myself as an experienced learner, I know I can't have two languages on the go at beginner level simultaneously. I just can't deal with it. In my years on the forum, I have seen that the vast majority of monolingual beginners can't do this either. Every time I see an overly enthusiastic monolingual beginner try to take on two languages at the same time, I cringe because the result will almost always be the same. Even experienced learners who have learned a second language to a high level have difficulty juggling multiple languages. The successful ones all have a strategy for doing so and have refined their approach in such a way that it is doable. You are not a monolingual beginner. What you have gained in your journey to being a French-speaker will inform your next learning experience. I wish you all the best in finding your own way, which I know you will do.

Yes, you being you, you will make overly elaborate study plans and then change them umpteen times. Yes, life will get in the way of these plans... but you will succeed, of that I am sure.
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby PeterMollenburg » Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:44 am

iguanamon wrote:Self language learning is all about the "self". It's ironic that learning a way to communicate with others is such a solitary exercise for many of us, but most of us here are not living and working in a TL country, nor, for most of us- will we. So, as such, what we aim to gain from this pursuit is for us to define.

Ultimately, the only way to know if you can learn multiple languages successfully simultaneously is to try. You have learned more than French in your long journey through learning French. You have also learned how to learn. You've learned what you could have done without and what you maybe should have done instead. In a sense, we are our own experiment that we run on ourselves in this process. With the myriad methods, approaches, formulas available for learning and the many desired outcomes from which to aim to achieve, we tend to discover and attain our own efficiency- which usually does not correlate to others' efficiencies.

Whatever you choose to do in this crazy pursuit that we have here, called language-learning, will be right for you as long as you are happy with it. Just remember, you can always make more money. Love is always infinite. Time is finite. There are 24 hours in a day and we are not machines. We are human. We must sleep, eat and relax. Most of us must work and probably most of us are not fortunate enough to have jobs that allow us a significant amount of time for language-learning while we are working. Many of us have families to take care of in addition to ourselves. Time is the main limiting factor in learning. Managing time is very important but it isn't the only thing.

Learning languages is so exciting and beguiling for most of us here. That's why we're here. I wish I could learn all the languages and travel the world to gain the benefits of having learned them. I can't. Speaking for myself as an experienced learner, I know I can't have two languages on the go at beginner level simultaneously. I just can't deal with it. In my years on the forum, I have seen that the vast majority of monolingual beginners can't do this either. Every time I see an overly enthusiastic monolingual beginner try to take on two languages at the same time, I cringe because the result will almost always be the same. Even experienced learners who have learned a second language to a high level have difficulty juggling multiple languages. The successful ones all have a strategy for doing so and have refined their approach in such a way that it is doable. You are not a monolingual beginner. What you have gained in your journey to being a French-speaker will inform your next learning experience. I wish you all the best in finding your own way, which I know you will do.

Yes, you being you, you will make overly elaborate study plans and then change them umpteen times. Yes, life will get in the way of these plans... but you will succeed, of that I am sure.


Thank you iguanamon, for your wise words.

Of late I'm doubting my ability to even sit this French exam, since when not busy (when is that lately!!!) I've done the wrong thing - i.e. ate the wrong food which has repercussions, stayed up late, procrastinated, but I still believe I will sit the exam regardless. I'm pretty much okay with the idea of failing (I say that now), should that happen, and the chances of that happening are increasing with every day lately for the aforementioned distractions. Still, i'm also okay with moving on to a multiple language plan come November.

My perfectionist side wants a total annihilation plan for Dutch alone. However, when I consider I just need to make B2 come two years or so, and in theory should have little issue doing so, given my past experience in both French (experience of learning styles) and Dutch itself.

I've gone over my multiple language plan SOOOOOOOOOO many times it's absolutely nuts. I am almost convinced I'm somewhat nuts with this regard. Still, yesterday I think I finally landed on a plan i'm okay with. I base it on an estimate of the time between when I complete the French exam and when we could in theory leave for Belgium if plans go as planned. That's a 770 day period. I've (currently ;) ) decided that my daily desk study should look roughly like this:

60 minutes Dutch
40 minutes French
40 minutes Norwegian
40 minutes Spanish

total = 3 hours/day. In reality I've never made the 3 hours daily too well, but I have a contingency plan. Given my family is expanding, I MUST exercise (or I'll go more insane) and I want to spend time with my kids and wife... well, this time around instead of absolutely having to reach 3 hours of 'desk study'/day, i'll accept any kind of study to reach the 3 hour mark divided between all the languages, but, as Dutch is more important currently, i'll target at least doing the 60 min of Dutch at the desk each day as well as other additional activities outside of that in Dutch. For the other languages if I don't end up studying at my desk, but instead read to my kids or listen to language programs/podcasts on commutes, well that's good enough. All in all if I can manage the numbers above, after 777 days, i'll have reached 770 hours of Dutch (plus extras), and 513 hours total for each of the other languages (French = slow growth/maintenance). As I said, I do have considerable experience with Dutch, some less significant experience with Spanish and Norwegian will be the only totally new one.

The idea is to reach those numbers and hopefully the languages will start to take more care of themselves as I use them more and more with our children and they become part of that routine (stories, limited TV - it's not good for the little ones, some talking depending on the language). Then I can introduce another 17 languages (yes Arabic and Luxembourgish AND German are still calling, but I have to weather those wanderlust storms for the time being or my plan will fall apart). I learned the hard way that juggling too many things leads to too slow progress, and stopping and starting achieves little when one is targeting advanced fluency. As I stuck to French solely almost entirely for the last 6 years, I now need to grapple with a new plan and stick to that solidly for the coming two years, but I tread carefully, indeed.

Anyway, iguanamon, thank you so much for your feedback. You're a member of this forum who is held in high esteem by most if not all our members due to your wise words and wealth of experience, and so it goes that your input is greatly appreciated. I hope your language learning journey is fairing well of late.

Peter McOver Peter von Peterson Petersburg-ville-stad-ciuidad, verdad?
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby PeterMollenburg » Thu Oct 17, 2019 4:55 am

I paid for the DALF C2 exam, so no backing out now. However, my preparation is going from bad to worse. I’ve been unwell yet again, temp of 38.7 last night. I hope I can pull this together with 24 days left, but I have strong doubts, considering I still don’t even fully comprehend the exam format as I just keep getting interrupted by all kinds of things in life lately.
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MorkTheFiddle
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Thu Oct 17, 2019 11:54 pm

In all events, good luck with the exam!
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Gustav Aschenbach
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby Gustav Aschenbach » Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:15 pm

Good luck! I registered for the DALF C2 twice, but I always ended up cancelling the test (without having paid first). But even if you fail, you know what it is like and what to expect. Just out of curiosity and without having read all your log, is there any specific reason why you want to sit for the DALF C2?
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby PeterMollenburg » Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:25 am

Well I’ve been procrastinating at the worst time. I’ve buckled under pressure at the worst time. I’ve been super run down and sick seemingly continuously at the worst time (is there a great time?). I’ve let my concerned mind take a hold and control me, rather than just getting down to action when I have had the time/moments. I’ve had a lot of distractions I could have ignored, and equally many or more I just couldn’t. Both kinds have caught my attention.

With less than two weeks remaining until the exam, I’m somewhat kicking myself for the above reasons, yet part of me is totally letting me off/letting go and saying ‘Give yourself a break, you’ve had a LOT of stuff going on... a LOT!... If you don’t pass, you’re not dead’.

So in all in all, I’m really hoping to get myself together for the remaining time in the lead up to the exam, and somehow make it through = pass. Still, as previously mentioned, and it has continued since, preparation has been very ordinary. Although I have some of the writing techniques for the most part in my brain, filed under, ‘I think I get it’ (but still insufficient practice), I still do not know how to write various other forms at all, forms I’m likely going to need to know how to write for this exam or I’ll botch it up majorly. And yet, can I get motivated? Nope. I have the exam prep. book in front of me and I just can’t get into a good flow.

I’m seriously almost entirely out of steam here, the ship is barely above the water level, sinking fairly swiftly, and I don’t know how deep the water is. There is a chance it’s not deep it all, I’ll step off the ship and walk to the island a hundred meters away and sit the exam without too much trouble. Provided I have the energy and will power, that is. There’s also a chance, that island is a mirage, the water here is an abyss and there’s no saving this ship. Not only that, but the life rafts, could be faulty and without paddles - I haven’t prepared enough to know even where they are, although I have some pretty decent assumptions. Then if I make it ashore, where will my head be at?

Either way, as I’ve said, I’ll still turn up, still sit it. There is value in that. I’ll regroup post exam, pass or fail and I’ll definitely cease solo French activities the very instant the exam is done with.

Of course, as per usual, I draw myself to wanderlust during procrastination sessions. My latest language wanderlust plan, which I will actually attempt goes like this:

First hour of study every day = Dutch

From there on, 30 minute rotations of French, Spanish, French, Norwegian. How far I get depends on available time each day.

French appears twice in the above rotation because, I’m still keen on advancing further, but open to dropping it if it seems like overkill. Spanish and Norwegian are not urgent, if I don’t get to them each day, I’m happy dabbling, to enable a pickup of basic pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar (which for the most part will be revision in Spanish), so that I can introduce those languages through children’s stories to my kids in the coming months. Arabic tempting me still... I don’t think it’s wise to wait any longer to introduce more languages to my eldest before she gets any older, or it will increase the challenge too much, I feel. We can all slowly grow in these languages, unless our path changes and they take pole position where Dutch will sit for now. Bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla (broken record). PeterMollenburg, get a life dude!

Gustav Aschenbach wrote:Good luck! I registered for the DALF C2 twice, but I always ended up cancelling the test (without having paid first). But even if you fail, you know what it is like and what to expect. Just out of curiosity and without having read all your log, is there any specific reason why you want to sit for the DALF C2?


Thank you, Gustav.

More than anything it’s a personal challenge. I vowed to never introduce other languages until i reached the lofty plateau of an advanced level in my chosen language, the evidence could be no better than a DALF C2 certification, and of course it would likely help potential European job prospects, should I pursue that (i’m planning to, but planning and ‘doing’ are 2 different things).

How many eyes have you in the back of your head, let alone the side? I know what I’m sayin’ when I’m sayin’ it, but who are you when you’re you?
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby Arnaud » Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:42 pm

I hope for you that the subject won't be "the global warming" :mrgreen:
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby PeterMollenburg » Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:07 pm

Arnaud wrote:I hope for you that the subject won't be "the global warming" :mrgreen:


Oooh, there are plenty of topics for the oral component I’ll really fire up and find plenty of energy to debate/discuss. One of my favourites lately is how much the propaganda machine is pushing the meat is bad for humans BS. The propaganda machine, aka, ‘the matrix’ is definitely in full swing here (media, schools, government, children’s books), has most people scared of cholesterol and fat while people eat pizza’s and burgers and blame meat (not the processed carbs) for the damage inflicted upon their bodies. Fat is good ppl. Yes, eliminating meat will look good (initially), because it’s the combination/presence of fats together with sugars that is destroying us, so try eating your fat, meat etc and ditching the carbs. You’ll have even better results. No more glycation, no more protein destroying sugars, no more constant influx of insulin as you ride sugar waves that are oh so unhealthy for the body and your body fights constantly just to keep you in homeostasis. Throw away your statins with the carbs, eat your fatty steak ppl, but do support a respectful farming industry that treats and feeds their animals in a natural harmonious way. Your purchasing power is your power to change the world, where you put your money is what kind of a world you support. Make a difference with your wallet. If you do choose vegetarianism/veganism, hats off for thinking/considering what you put in your body and your impact on nature, I’m not out to despise you. Just don’t forget the fat!

For the written part, I’ll have to know when to keep my opinion to myself ;)
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iguanamon
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby iguanamon » Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:25 pm

PeterMollenburg wrote:...If you do choose vegetarianism/veganism, hats off for thinking/considering what you put in your body and your impact on nature, I’m not out to despise you. Just don’t forget the fat!

Ever heard of Avocados?!
PeterMollenburg wrote:For the written part, I’ll have to know when to keep my opinion to myself ;)

Please don't be your own worst enemy, PM! Examiners are human. You want them to judge your command of French, not your content. ;) Anyway, best of luck to you, bòn chans, zanmi mwen !
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