Zelda's French Log (+ Modern Greek)

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Re: Zelda's French Log (+ Modern Greek)

Postby zjones » Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:03 pm

Image

I found this lesson while flipping through the book. Nice job Assimil, I appreciate them working social media into their newer books, considering that it is such an important part of modern culture.

French

I finished Autre-Monde: L'Alliance des Trois and I'm starting the second book soon. I went back to reading Harry Potter Tome 4 because I feel guilty leaving it unfinished. It's still moving quite slow but I did finish the ballroom dance chapter last night, thank the gods.

I'm back on the hunt for new French language exchange partners. Why do I do this to myself? Many of them end up fading out in one way or another, but I do have 2-3 LE partners who are great and still contact me regularly.
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Trying something new

Postby zjones » Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:01 pm

So apparently I can change the title of the subject field when I'm posting. I guess I'll see what it does.

New attempt at scheduling language-time

I still like doing Greek at 8:00am and then again in the early evening, but my French time is not structured so I'm finding myself subject to all kinds of distractions, procrastination and excuses. Language-learning is more about learning how to battle my impulsivity and directionless-ness than it is about actually learning a language. :P There has to be a good balance regarding time-management, right? If I track or plan too much, I hate it... but if I don't have any idea of how I'm going to spend my time, I don't do as much French as I would like.

I have a terrible habit: I try a scheduling method (like time-tracking) and somehow think that it will fix my language studies, only to realize that I HATE tracking time. So I stop. Then two months later I try time-tracking again, because "this time it will work!" :roll: I think I've done this like four or five times already.

But I've been inspired reading all the logs on here and seeing the changes that people are making in their schedules (Morgana and Stringerbell in particular). I do get the feeling that it helps to shake up my routine from time to time.

So my new idea is to set minimum daily amounts of time for different French activities:

  • 1 hour of French reading
  • 1 hour of French listening (includes YouTube and shows without subtitles)
  • Some amount of French conversation practice (this will take place mainly by online chatting, minimum daily requirement is to at least reach out to someone in French).
  • At least 1 minute of spontaneous French speaking (either an audio message to a LE partner or recorded on my phone, and like Pandora's box, never to be opened again)

Again, these are just minimums so I hope to do more. I've tried this out today and it seems to work well. It allows me enough flexibility to choose what I want to do with each given area, but I still have a goal to reach which keeps me in check.

Greek

Keeping my head above water, basically. There are so many COMMON words that are spelled the same but have an accent in a different spot and so they mean something totally different. Also, maybe it's just me but starting in the 3rd week of Assimil Le Grec, the Greek voice actors speak faster and run their words together more than the French speakers did in the first third of Assimil NFWE. I'm not sure if this is due to French being more familiar to me as a native English speaker, or if the Greek speakers are actually talking faster.

Random note

I've been learning new vocabulary and phrases in French from using Assimil Le Grec. I had no idea that un pont does not only mean bridge, but also the deck of a ship. Another word I learned is une escale which means a stop or a layover.
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Re: Trying something new

Postby StringerBell » Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:29 am

zjones wrote:I have a terrible habit: I try a scheduling method (like time-tracking) and somehow think that it will fix my language studies, only to realize that I HATE tracking time.


It's definitely not for everyone! It works well for me because I really, really love collecting data and I find that it keeps me accountable, but that doesn't mean you should make yourself do it if you hate it. How are you keeping track of your time? I use the stopwatch on my iPhone. If I need to stop to do something else, I just pause the stopwatch, then resume it when I continue. Is that how you were tracking?

I do something totally different with Italian that maybe you could apply to French, sort of an adapted Pomodoro technique. I have a certain number of Italian articles that I want to read for the day (usually 5). I read one article and then I give myself permission to play my turn in Words with Friends (I have about 3-4 games going on at any given point, so it takes me a couple of minutes). As soon as I played all my turns, I read another article. Maybe you could allow yourself to do very briefly one of the things that tend to distract you after you've watched a video, recorded a French message, or read a certain # of pages as a little reward?

Or, you could make some kind of grid (spreadsheet or list style) where each box is a task (like one box for recording a message, one box for reading a chapter in a French book, one box for watching x number of videos or x minute of videos and when you've finished that task, check off the box. Maybe this wouldn't work for you, but I find checking tasks off extremely fulfilling and it motivates me to get more things done so I can check them off!

zjones wrote:I've been learning new vocabulary and phrases in French from using Assimil Le Grec. I had no idea that un pont does not only mean bridge, but also the deck of a ship. Another word I learned is une escale which means a stop or a layover.


Man, what crazy vocabulary to be using with absolute beginners!
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Re: Zelda's French Log (+ Modern Greek)

Postby zjones » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:30 am

StringerBell wrote:
zjones wrote:I have a terrible habit: I try a scheduling method (like time-tracking) and somehow think that it will fix my language studies, only to realize that I HATE tracking time.


It's definitely not for everyone! It works well for me because I really, really love collecting data and I find that it keeps me accountable, but that doesn't mean you should make yourself do it if you hate it. How are you keeping track of your time? I use the stopwatch on my iPhone. If I need to stop to do something else, I just pause the stopwatch, then resume it when I continue. Is that how you were tracking?

I do something totally different with Italian that maybe you could apply to French, sort of an adapted Pomodoro technique. I have a certain number of Italian articles that I want to read for the day (usually 5). I read one article and then I give myself permission to play my turn in Words with Friends (I have about 3-4 games going on at any given point, so it takes me a couple of minutes). As soon as I played all my turns, I read another article. Maybe you could allow yourself to do very briefly one of the things that tend to distract you after you've watched a video, recorded a French message, or read a certain # of pages as a little reward?

Or, you could make some kind of grid (spreadsheet or list style) where each box is a task (like one box for recording a message, one box for reading a chapter in a French book, one box for watching x number of videos or x minute of videos and when you've finished that task, check off the box. Maybe this wouldn't work for you, but I find checking tasks off extremely fulfilling and it motivates me to get more things done so I can check them off!

zjones wrote:I've been learning new vocabulary and phrases in French from using Assimil Le Grec. I had no idea that un pont does not only mean bridge, but also the deck of a ship. Another word I learned is une escale which means a stop or a layover.


Man, what crazy vocabulary to be using with absolute beginners!


That vocabulary word in Greek wasn't too bad, actually, because the Greek word was simply στάσεις which means "stop". However, there have been some interesting Greek words in Assimil, which is part of the charm of the course.

I've tried a few different tracking methods: phone stopwatch, checking the clock, and pomodoros of varying lengths. Some tracking methods work better than others, but I have a bad habit of forgetting to check my phone's stopwatch when I'm done, or with not wanting to stop when the pomodoro timer goes off. I think it would be easier to track my language time if I had an Apple Watch.

My current Greek time-tracking method: I use the clock on my computer to track the time I spend doing Assimil. I use Audacity to manipulate the audio, so I'm on my computer anyway. Sometimes I forget to check the time when I start, though. I write down all my times in a spreadsheet, but I'll stop doing this once I'm done with the 6WC.

My current French time-tracking method is a lot more random. I use the clock on my computer for tasks like writing or chatting, but I don't care to get exact times. For things like YouTube videos, podcasts and TV shows, I just count the time elapsed on the episode. For reading, I have a different method entirely. At night, I don't count my reading time. In the daytime, I count my reading time by turning on a background ambience sound (like this Winter Cabin Ambience, and when I stop reading I check the time elapsed. Most of these ambience tracks are 1 hour in length, so I often use a single track to reach my reading goal for the day. When the ambience stops playing, I know I'm done. None of these times go anywhere, I only use them to determine whether or not I've reached my goal for the day.

My favorite way to manage tasks is with a simple whiteboard. I love the tangibility of writing with colorful markers and being able to erase things easily. Every morning I write the date at the top of the whiteboard and then list all my tasks for the day -- language goals, household tasks, chores, fun things to do. Then I cross items off as I complete them. I'll also use the extra white space to keep track of small chunks of time that I spent doing random things with French. It's not perfect, but there's something about the flexibility of a whiteboard that works well for me. Writing a new list every day also helps me focus.

But, as you stated it can also be helpful to track data for the long-term. I wish I wasn't so resistant to using spreadsheets for that kind of information -- because I really do like to look back over what I've accomplished -- but in the past it has never worked for me. I still have a lot to learn about myself when it comes to managing my own studies.
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Re: Zelda's French Log (+ Modern Greek)

Postby zjones » Fri Dec 07, 2018 4:34 pm

French

I'm a few chapters into Malronce, the second book in the Autre-Monde series. I got the audiobook to listen to while I'm reading. I was looking into the L-R method but I just couldn't get over the fact that I'm supposed to listen to L2 while reading L1. So instead I'm just listening and reading in French.

Audible has a great sale on its subscription right now, $6.95/month for 3 months. Since they have all the Autre-Monde books (they are Audible exclusives) I got a subscription because it's much cheaper than buying the audiobook outright.

The reading is spectacular. They have occasional background noises and ambient music that is well-suited to the book. A woman is doing the voices of the female characters. (When I was a kid, I listened to audio books with only male narrators, and the female voices were poorly portrayed and often sounded like parodies of women.)

I would like to listen to the audiobook without depending on the written text, but I don't know if I'm at that point yet. I feel like I should be... but I'm not sure. And I'm really interested in this story so I don't want to miss anything.
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Re: Zelda's French Log (+ Modern Greek)

Postby StringerBell » Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:07 pm

zjones wrote:I was looking into the L-R method but I just couldn't get over the fact that I'm supposed to listen to L2 while reading L1.


Yeah, I don't know who came up with that idea, but I think it's terrible! If I'm reading something in English and there is Italian or Polish audio, my brain will completely ignore the audio and it becomes background noise that's more annoying than anything else. I'm sure there must be someone who can do it, but I certainly can't. I think what you're doing makes much more sense!

Thanks for mentioning the Audible sale - I'll have to see if they have anything of interest in Italian. When I checked a year ago, it was slim pickings. Maybe by now audiobooks have caught on in Italy.
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Re: Zelda's French Log (+ Modern Greek)

Postby rdearman » Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:26 pm

StringerBell wrote:Yeah, I don't know who came up with that idea, but I think it's terrible! If I'm reading something in English and there is Italian or Polish audio, my brain will completely ignore the audio and it becomes background noise that's more annoying than anything else. I'm sure there must be someone who can do it, but I certainly can't. I think what you're doing makes much more sense!

Technically, your not supposed to be reading the L1, you're using it as a reference to understand what your listening too.
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Re: Zelda's French Log (+ Modern Greek)

Postby Mista » Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:28 pm

zjones wrote:FrenchI would like to listen to the audiobook without depending on the written text, but I don't know if I'm at that point yet. I feel like I should be... but I'm not sure. And I'm really interested in this story so I don't want to miss anything.

Why don't you try to listen first and then read afterwards? Either the whole book, or one chapter at a time
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Re: Zelda's French Log (+ Modern Greek)

Postby zjones » Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:23 pm

StringerBell wrote:Yeah, I don't know who came up with that idea, but I think it's terrible! If I'm reading something in English and there is Italian or Polish audio, my brain will completely ignore the audio and it becomes background noise that's more annoying than anything else. I'm sure there must be someone who can do it, but I certainly can't. I think what you're doing makes much more sense!

Thanks for mentioning the Audible sale - I'll have to see if they have anything of interest in Italian. When I checked a year ago, it was slim pickings. Maybe by now audiobooks have caught on in Italy.


Listening L2 and reading referencing L1 just seems too dependent on L1. I already struggle not to depend too much on English when I'm working with French. I do like the idea of reading in L1 before listening and reading in the L2, though. I'm not sure if that can be considered L-R though? Not sure. Anyway all I know is that I do like reading and listening to L2 at the same time!

rdearman wrote:Technically, your not supposed to be reading the L1, you're using it as a reference to understand what your listening too.


Hm, I guess this is possible, maybe the directions I read over at HTLAL were not clear. Either way, I wouldn't trust myself to pay close enough attention to the L2 text while looking at my native languages.

Mista wrote:Why don't you try to listen first and then read afterwards? Either the whole book, or one chapter at a time


This is a great idea. I'd have to do it in chunks because I don't like having anything spoiled for me too early -- if I completed the whole audio book and understood enough to get the gist of the story, I'd probably be too tempted to move onto the 3rd book. :D

Edit: Wrote "read" when I meant "listen"
Last edited by zjones on Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Zelda's French Log (+ Modern Greek)

Postby StringerBell » Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:27 pm

rdearman wrote:Technically, your not supposed to be reading the L1, you're using it as a reference to understand what your listening too.


That makes much more sense (and it's what I instinctively thought L-R should be.) But I've seen a bunch of people discussing reading L1 while listening to L2. There's a thread on here from not too long ago about it where someone was attempting to do it because apparently it was discussed on HTLAL at some point. Below is a quote from the thread on this forum. So zjones, it seems like you did understood what they were saying.

alexidsa wrote:We got L-R wrong

When L-R was publicly introduced 10 years ago, the discussion was mostly about two things:
1. Reading L1 while listening to L2
2. High intensity

But we missed the third important point:
3. Reading L2 while listening to L2.

At the early stages of language learning it's hardly possible (even for close languages) to get words spellings, grammar nuances, etc. without reading L2. It's a very important ingredient of L-R but most people (according to HTLAL logs) ignored it and eventually were disappointed in L-R.

The reason why it was ignored was that all the methods that included reading L2 were mentioned by L-R originator as quite optional: parallel texts (that give you a possibility to look at L2 from time to time), Step 2 (reading L2 while listening to L2), Step 5 (translation from L1 to L2) and even to some extent Step 4 (reciting). And as all of those methods are demanding, we were happy to ignore them. It's okay. After all, L-R is all about Step 3 (reading L1 while listening to L2) and high intensity, right? Wrong!

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