Pete Mollenburg's Adventures in the Matrix in French and a tad of other languages

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PeterMollenburg
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Languages: English (N), French (B2-certified), Dutch (High A2?), Spanish (~A1), German (long-forgotten 99%)
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Re: PM's Big 4 in French: Assimil, FSI, FIA & CLE

Postby PeterMollenburg » Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:06 pm

James29 wrote:Congratulations on finishing the course. Can you comment on which audio course would be best for a beginner who wants to do 15 minutes of French a day?


The best course to begin with in my opinion is either Paul Noble or Pimsleur. Both are clearly enunciated. Paul Noble, like Michel Thomas gives you a quicker introduction than Pimsleur and is rather like Michel Thomas (almost a carbon copy) without the thick accent. Pimsleur is very steady going but the best audio course for accent, almost no contenst.

In my opinion If I do the main courses over again, I would do Pimsleur 1 and 2 first, then Paul Noble, Pimsleur 3, Michel Thomas Total French (the first of 3 levels), Pimsleur 4, MT Perfect French (2nd of 3) Pimsleur 5, Michel Tomas Masterclass.

If you wanted to do more, then run through the slightly more obscure audio course of Linguaphone's All Talk then Rocket French which contains more than All Talk and if you are shadowing gets considerably toughter than say Pimsleur 5 when comparing with Rocket French Platinum (the 3rd of 3 levels). Even the 2nd level of Rocket French is maybe a little toughter than Pimsleur 5 for shadowing, but not much use of subjunctive - the vocab in Rocket French is faster and more like everyday French with colloquial language uesed at times. If I was to do ALL the courses over, as a beginner I would do them in this order:

Pimsleur 1
Pimsleur 2
Paul Noble
Pimsleur 3
Michel Thomas Total French
Rocket French Premium
Pimsleur 4
Michel Thomas Total French
Rocket French Premium Plus
Linguaphone French All Talk
Pimsleur 5
Michel Thomas Masterclass
Rocket French Platinum

Soffía wrote:
Elenia wrote:I somehow see visions of a new thread being born, dedicated to the Triple C - The Course Completion Challenge :lol:


I'm tempted to jump in and promise to finally finish Icelandic Online. It's only been 4 years, after all. I need to finish it before they add any more new levels! (Talk about your course-finishing nightmares.)

In return, PeterMollenburg, can I challenge you to read a nice long novel? (It's worth a try...)


I've already comitted myself to enough in the way of courses, i'm not making any promises with any native content. That's the area in which i'm just going to take it easy, read what I want to, watch what i feel ;) Sorry Soffía.

Nevertheless it would be nice to finally tick that Icelandic course off your to finish list Shall I join you? ;)
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Re: PM's Big 4 in French: Assimil, FSI, FIA & CLE

Postby iguanamon » Thu Jun 30, 2016 11:15 pm

One day, PM may eventually tire of his "multi-course double-course Course waves"- with course sauce and course sprinkles on top. That day may not come for a while, but it will come when PM himself decides. On that day, PM will be the world's expert on English base French courses (if he isn't already). In the meantime, I'll keep following his log, if for nothing else but to watch for his periodic and cool log name changes :lol: . With this latest quest, he's going to be busy for quite some time- should keep his wanderlust in check.

PM has put in a lot of hard work and paid a lot of attention to detail and I admire him for that, even if I may disagree with his approach. It will be interesting to see how he progresses through these particular courses. Few people have done FIA, FSI French and CLE together, Assimil, yes, but few people seem to stick with and finish FIA and FSI. Even fewer people even know about CLE. If there's anyone who can do it, it's monsieur le PM.
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM's Big 4 in French: Assimil, FSI, FIA & CLE

Postby PeterMollenburg » Fri Jul 01, 2016 12:21 am

iguanamon wrote:One day, PM may eventually tire of his "multi-course double-course Course waves"- with course sauce and course sprinkles on top. That day may not come for a while, but it will come when PM himself decides. On that day, PM will be the world's expert on English base French courses (if he isn't already). In the meantime, I'll keep following his log, if for nothing else but to watch for his periodic and cool log name changes :lol: . With this latest quest, he's going to be busy for quite some time- should keep his wanderlust in check.


I had to laugh :) I am a bit rediculous aren't I? (don't answer that one ;) ) I have a thought in the back of my mind that a day may arrive when I seriously regret having done all this, but that will be with the benefit of hindsight. I'll be saying to myself why didn't I do X, Y and Z instead of C, C and more C, double C's with sauce and course sprinkles on top as you say iguanamon ;) When that day comes, if it does, i'll promptly take a Homer Simpson approach and my internal dialogue will be "shut up brain, shut up brain".

iguanamon wrote:PM has put in a lot of hard work and paid a lot of attention to detail and I admire him for that, even if I may disagree with his approach. It will be interesting to see how he progresses through these particular courses. Few people have done FIA, FSI French and CLE together, Assimil, yes, but few people seem to stick with and finish FIA and FSI. Even fewer people even know about CLE. If there's anyone who can do it, it's monsieur le PM.


Thanks for the kind words iguanamon. The more I live the more I realise (as others reflect back to me with the comments what they observe from my behaviour) is that I'm very thorough. Just the other day someone said this to me at work. The downside is i'm slow at almost everything I do, because I analyse every detail. In the end I will have a very thorough understanding (one would hope) of the basics to intermediate levels of French. Whether I get far enough (this journey is a very slow one) for that to extend to advance (before I'm dead and burried) remains to be seen, but I am beginning to wonder if I will ever have that extensive of a vocabularly given my limited exposure to native content (there still is a 'good' amount). Thus I need to follow up this 'Big 4' with another few rounds of the 'Big 4' (ie more and more and more sauce courses for horses), then in the year 2155 I shall hit native content like i've just had my eyes installed, learned how to read and watch and cannot put ANY book down nor stop watching any native series. Thank you again iguanamon, I appreciate the praise, and this time I do have every intention of completing this current mission. Still intention is only intention, so I have to just do it!

I know a day will come when I"ve had enough of courses, this challenge of mine could be a huge step in that direction, we'll see ;)
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Re: PM's Big 4 in French: Assimil, FSI, FIA & CLE

Postby Soffía » Fri Jul 01, 2016 7:18 am

PeterMollenburg wrote:
Soffía wrote:I'm tempted to jump in and promise to finally finish Icelandic Online. It's only been 4 years, after all. I need to finish it before they add any more new levels! (Talk about your course-finishing nightmares.)

In return, PeterMollenburg, can I challenge you to read a nice long novel? (It's worth a try...)


I've already comitted myself to enough in the way of courses, i'm not making any promises with any native content. That's the area in which i'm just going to take it easy, read what I want to, watch what i feel ;) Sorry Soffía.

Nevertheless it would be nice to finally tick that Icelandic course off your to finish list Shall I join you? ;)


Very fair! If courses plus the occasional native content is what makes you happy, then that's what you should do.

(You now have me asking myself whether "read what I want to" is my own policy. I'm doing the Super Challenge, so I'm pushing myself a fair amount, but I'm only reading things that I actually want to read. Like the title of Elenia's log, taking it easy is pretty much my approach to language learning in general.)

Anyway, the main point of my comment was that you inspired me to take another look at my own courses. I did a few chapters of Icelandic Online last night and it did help me spot a few weakness that I ought to address. So thanks.
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Re: PM's Big 4 in French: Assimil, FSI, FIA & CLE

Postby Elenia » Fri Jul 01, 2016 8:40 am

PeterMollenburg wrote:I am beginning to wonder if I will ever have that extensive of a vocabularly given my limited exposure to native content (there still is a 'good' amount).


You'll also notice that as ('as', not 'if') your daughter becomes a more independent user of French, your own knowledge will probably grow with her. My main reason for studying French was that my mum studied French. By the time I got to university, she hadn't touched the language for about a decade and a half, but we started talking together and she definitely improved. So there is still hope for you, even if in a decade you're on your fifty second review of NFWE :P

EDIT: I mean 'grow', not 'go'!
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM's Big 4 in French: Assimil, FSI, FIA & CLE

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sat Jul 02, 2016 5:39 am

A good start to July one and a half days in. 3 hours of courses yesterday. 4 hours today and the day isn't over. Admittedly I'm not working today, nor looking primarily after my daughter (a rareity lately), which has allowed me to do the extra time.

So Assimil Using French and FSI are in fulll swing. I'm finding Using French challenging. Lesson 51 is longer I think compared to any other lessons before it, and although the vocab is not difficult in itself, the length of the lesson meant shadowing the whole lesson without errors nor pausing took some effort and time until I got it out in the end.

FSI on the other hand i'm finding a little dry as one would expect. I also anticipate this is the course I'm going to most be happy to see the back of when I finish it. We all know it's not known for it's pleasant sweet-smelling skipping through the roses like experience. It's not FIA with multiple components to change gears up and down, nor is it short and pleasant like Assimil (although lately as explained that's stepped up a tiny bit). FSI is dry and lacking wholeheartedly in entertainment value, but then again humans have been taught to seek entertainment value in all walks of life, thus all the more reason such courses are not too popular, particularly when it comes to aiming to complete them.

I spent the 2nd 2 hours today smashing out and officially completing Teach Yourself Get started in French for the last time. The title makes it sounds like child's play, and grammatically it is, but it's not in terms of vocab. Okay it kinda is compared to a book/novel, but compared to Unit 7 of FSI the new vocab in the TY Get Started Course is considerably wider in scope. Mind you that's comparing one unit to a full beginner's course, not a fair comparison, but my point is there was plenty of vocab to focus on mainly in the 2nd half of the course.

Today I finished my 2nd wave and went back and did a 3rd wave focusing on unfamiliar vocab and the conversations, and followed it with a very speedy 4th wave of actually just focusing on highlighted unknown words, rather like doing SRS.

The beauty about an ebook is the ability to highlight unknown words, so i did mostly that today- such an option makes future reviews of books fast if mining for unfamiliar terms, or at least terms one is not as familiar with as many others. It made me think this would be a great way to utilise ebooks in some distant future in which courses make room for focused reading. Although I have done 4 waves of this course, i will only 'officially' count it as 3 as I didn't read all the conversations last wave and didn't do the exercises 2nd, 3rd of 4th waves. I would've been wasting my time.

So as a result, now with another course out the way and completed, Big 2 now becomes Big 3. French in Action is back! And bitches, this time I"m taking no prisoners, foolz better recognize (that's me) that I ain't stoppin for prisoners this time round, I"m smashing this course through the window and in to the next door house (ie reaching the end of the course or nothing, no stopping this time!).
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Re: PM's Big 4 in French: Assimil, FSI, FIA & CLE

Postby Fortheo » Sun Jul 03, 2016 3:02 am

Yeah, FSI can definitely feel like slogging through work at times, especially when you're doing lessons that are too easy for you, which I suspect is your current situation. Yet, when you reach a lesson that challenges you, and then you work through it, you start to feel the the rewards of the hard work. I personally didn't have real struggles with FSI till the middle or end of unit 9, and I suspect that your french is a level or two higher than mine, so who knows when FSI will start to really engage you; but when it does you might find yourself more appreciative of the mind numbing exercises because they seem to slowly sweep away any grammatical doubts that you might have on that topic.

Keep up the good work!

Oh, and since you're an expert of Assimil, can you tell me why that one man at the airport had diamonds in his bag for his rabbits? Thank you.
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM's Big 4 in French: Assimil, FSI, FIA & CLE

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sun Jul 03, 2016 4:33 am

Fortheo wrote:Yeah, FSI can definitely feel like slogging through work at times, especially when you're doing lessons that are too easy for you, which I suspect is your current situation. Yet, when you reach a lesson that challenges you, and then you work through it, you start to feel the the rewards of the hard work. I personally didn't have real struggles with FSI till the middle or end of unit 9, and I suspect that your french is a level or two higher than mine, so who knows when FSI will start to really engage you; but when it does you might find yourself more appreciative of the mind numbing exercises because they seem to slowly sweep away any grammatical doubts that you might have on that topic.

Keep up the good work!

Oh, and since you're an expert of Assimil, can you tell me why that one man at the airport had diamonds in his bag for his rabbits? Thank you.


J'espère qu'il me paraîtra que seulement deux jours ont passé quand je serai à la fin de ce cours... ce cours ridicule... ben, je veux dire ce cours très important ;)

Quant aux diamants dont tu me parles... comme je suis français, un professeur de français, même un expert de cette langue et de tous les dialectes français surtout, je peux t'informer que "des diamants" sont français et veut dire en réalité "des drogues" alors que "des drogues" sont 'chien français' pour des 'bouffe pour chien'. Si tu ne me crois pas, je vais t'assurer que c'est peut-être la vérité et rien que la vérité mais seulement si je suis un oiseau. Tu ne crois pas que je sois une grande giraffe n'est-pas ? Alors, si je ne suis pas de giraffe, la seule chose que je pourrais être, est bien-sûr un oiseau. Quoi d'autres, alors ? J'espère que je t'ai beaucoup aidé ?
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Re: PM's Big 4 in French: Assimil, FSI, FIA & CLE

Postby James29 » Sun Jul 03, 2016 11:22 am

Fortheo wrote:Yeah, FSI can definitely feel like slogging through work at times, especially when you're doing lessons that are too easy for you, which I suspect is your current situation. Yet, when you reach a lesson that challenges you, and then you work through it, you start to feel the the rewards of the hard work. I personally didn't have real struggles with FSI till the middle or end of unit 9, and I suspect that your french is a level or two higher than mine, so who knows when FSI will start to really engage you; but when it does you might find yourself more appreciative of the mind numbing exercises because they seem to slowly sweep away any grammatical doubts that you might have on that topic.



Great post. This is one of the challenges with FSI in Spanish too... is there a way to manage your studies so you are at the "perfect" level for each FSI lesson as you work through the course? It can be too overwhelming if you are a total beginner and not ready for the lesson, but you have hit the nail in the head with FSI being so rewarding when when you are at the right level for the lesson.
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: PM's Big 4 in French: Assimil, FSI, FIA & CLE

Postby PeterMollenburg » Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:16 am

I have decided not to do the courses Phonétique progressive du français. I was able to look at an older copy and I feel like these are the kinds of things I will assimilate anyway by doing all the other activities/courses I have anyway. To be honest the course looks like it would be a perfectionist's minefield. I could very easily get too caught up in rules when I simply want to pick up these kinds of 'rules of pronunciation' naturally- via courses, via learning, via conversations, via being corrected. I don't need the books. Besides, I already have access the free course FSI Phonology if I feel I need to work phonetics. Further still, I'm really VERY reluctanct currently to add to my pile of courses that I'm aiming to complete.

On the same note, i'm not going to bother with Conjugaison progressive du français either. I have some very good courses already for verbs and their conjugations.

As for Grammaire en dialogues which I also added to my CLE line-up. This I will keep. And of course I will still do all levels of Vocab and Grammaire progressif/ve du français. I was basically going to do overkill by doing those extra courses i've now cut while already doing overkill anyway.

Word up.
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