Zelda's French Log (+ Modern Greek)

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zjones
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby zjones » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:21 pm

Easy French Step-by-Step is complete. :D

Image

The last three chapters included 7 different tenses and moods, including the subjunctive, which was why I was so overwhelmed last week. The way the book sped through the tenses reminded me that Easy French is just a grammar book, it's NOT a course.

Finishing the book feels great, but I'm sure I'll be back to reference it often.

I'm now having regular short conversations in French, about 10 minutes long (which includes a lot of "Comment on-dit..." and "Est-ce que tu peux l'épeler ?" and "C'est ça ?") with my language partner, and my production seems to be improving just after a few days.
Last edited by zjones on Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Cavesa
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby Cavesa » Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:56 pm

zjones wrote:Easy French Step-by-Step is complete. :D

The last three chapters included 7 different tenses and moods, including the subjunctive, which was why I was so overwhelmed last week. The way the book sped through the tenses reminded me that Easy French is just a grammar book, it's NOT a course.

Finishing the book feels great, but I'm sure I'll be back to reference it often.

I'm now having regular short conversations in French, about 10 minutes long (which includes a lot of "Comment on-dit..." and "Est-ce que tu peux l'epeler ?" and "C'est ça ?") with my language partner, and my production seems to be improving just after a few days.


Congratulations!!!

7 tenses/moods in 3 chapters, that doesn't look too Easy to me :-D
And as usual, the book is starting subjunctive at the very end, which is horrible, considering the usefulness and importance of this grammar feature. Plus it adds to the general feeling of horror learners connect subjunctive with.

So, what are your plans after this book? I see you've been progressing with Assimil (your consistency is admirable!), any new resource to fill the newly empty spot?
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby zjones » Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:25 pm

Cavesa wrote:Congratulations!!!

7 tenses/moods in 3 chapters, that doesn't look too Easy to me
And as usual, the book is starting subjunctive at the very end, which is horrible, considering the usefulness and importance of this grammar feature. Plus it adds to the general feeling of horror learners connect subjunctive with.

So, what are your plans after this book? I see you've been progressing with Assimil (your consistency is admirable!), any new resource to fill the newly empty spot?


Thanks! 8-)

I didn't even realize how common the subjunctive is until I finished the book. Now I'm noticing it everywhere! The author definitely should have considered introducing the subjunctive earlier. Discovering that the subjunctive isn't some horrible, illogical mood was quite a surprise as well: it's actually quite simple and all the rules fit together nicely. I wonder if it's only considered difficult because English rarely uses the subjunctive, and because people are adverse to learning a whole new set of conjugations for a mood that they're not sure how to use.

My understanding of grammar has given me a very solid base for branching out into native media, and I should really push myself into that territory if I want to succeed. I just started Le Petit Prince, but I really want to get Harry Potter. I wasn't allowed to read it when I was a kid, so the story would be new to me.
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby Cavesa » Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:44 pm

zjones wrote:I didn't even realize how common the subjunctive is until I finished the book. Now I'm noticing it everywhere! The author definitely should have considered introducing the subjunctive earlier. Discovering that the subjunctive isn't some horrible, illogical mood was quite a surprise as well: it's actually quite simple and all the rules fit together nicely. I wonder if it's only considered difficult because English rarely uses the subjunctive, and because people are adverse to learning a whole new set of conjugations for a mood that they're not sure how to use.

My understanding of grammar has given me a very solid base for branching out into native media, and I should really push myself into that territory if I want to succeed. I just started Le Petit Prince, but I really want to get Harry Potter. I wasn't allowed to read it when I was a kid, so the story would be new to me.


The main reason: the teachers and coursebook authors make it such a nightmare, they convince people to take it that badly. Really, the Spanish ones don't make a big deal of it, it is just one grammar issue among others. The French ones even scare students with it. It is being introduced too late (due to being forced to restart a few times and progress too slowly during my French 0 to B1 path, I had even learnt tons of mistakes as I was naturally trying to use French during those year, I just had no clue there was this thing), the books and teachers even start with reassuring people like "don't be afraid" before the students know they "should" be afraid, or they insinuate you are not expected to learn it well anyways. That is the main problem, not the grammar itself.

It is not that hard to learn how to use it with a good grammar book and with tons and tons of native input. I would recommend both. For grammar I think you could even start with the Intermediaire book of Grammaire Progressive.

Harry Potter is a good choice. I think you'll like it. If not, you'll find something more suitable to your tastes. The options are endless. :-)
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby zjones » Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:31 pm

HARRY POTTER EST ARRIVÉ !

Image

As you can tell I've already started reading. The book is a little more advanced than I thought it would be. I didn't realize that the passé simple (which I have not learned) was being used instead of the passé composé until I was a couple pages in. No big deal, I can adjust for that. I think the hardest part will be tackling the "tangled" grammar, i.e. the places where I have to puzzle out the meaning in what looks like a huge accident of pronouns, verbs and nouns. I've been using and reading fairly simple sentences up until now.

I want to take on one chapter at a time. I will do a quick read-through of chapter one without a dictionary, and then I will go through it again with a dictionary. Tricky grammar will need to be figured out, but I don't want to resort to a fine-toothed comb unless it's absolutely necessary.

Thanks to Reddit's French-learning community, I discovered a podcast called "Intermediate French Podcast" (how's that for a name? :P ) available on Spotify. It's just what I've been looking for: I can understand a large part of what's being said, and it's interesting. The guy who creates it tends to repeat certain phrases in a couple different ways, so that the listener can learn multiple ways of hearing/saying phrases and also check their comprehension. I can easily spend 30+ minutes per day actively listening to this podcast, so I'm going to add it to my daily routine.

I'm starting to feel a real affinity for spoken French vs. written French. For some reason, with spoken French I can usually parse the main gist of the message much faster than I can with written French. I did not expect this at all, but it's a welcome surprise!
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby jeff_lindqvist » Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:16 am

zjones wrote:As you can tell I've already started reading. The book is a little more advanced than I thought it would be. I didn't realize that the passé simple (which I have not learned) was being used instead of the passé composé until I was a couple pages in. No big deal, I can adjust for that. I think the hardest part will be tackling the "tangled" grammar, i.e. the places where I have to puzzle out the meaning in what looks like a huge accident of pronouns, verbs and nouns. I've been using and reading fairly simple sentences up until now.


When I read Da Vinci Code in French two years ago, I just kept reading and didn't pay particular attention to which tense was being used. In fact, I don't focus too much on that in any language. Assuming I'm reading for pleasure, I don't want to lose momentum. If I can follow the story, that's enough. If you've already read the Harry Potter series in English (maybe several times?), it will be very helpful.

Thanks to Reddit's French-learning community, I discovered a podcast called "Intermediate French Podcast" (how's that for a name? :P ) available on Spotify. It's just what I've been looking for: I can understand a large part of what's being said, and it's interesting. The guy who creates it tends to repeat certain phrases in a couple different ways, so that the listener can learn multiple ways of hearing/saying phrases and also check their comprehension. I can easily spend 30+ minutes per day actively listening to this podcast, so I'm going to add it to my daily routine.


Have you seen News in Slow French? A few months ago, I used the Italian counterpart for mere listening and reading comprehension and found it very beneficial - and I only used the free content, i.e. the 2-3 minute audio introduction + text. French example here:
https://www.newsinslowfrench.com/slow-french/1/intro

That format suited me perfectly. I listened to (and read) four, five of those podcasts per day.

Bonne chance!
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby zjones » Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:31 am

jeff_lindqvist wrote:When I read Da Vinci Code in French two years ago, I just kept reading and didn't pay particular attention to which tense was being used. In fact, I don't focus too much on that in any language. Assuming I'm reading for pleasure, I don't want to lose momentum. If I can follow the story, that's enough. If you've already read the Harry Potter series in English (maybe several times?), it will be very helpful.


Thank you! My first read-through will be similar to your method. I wasn't paying particular attention to tense until I noticed the verb "monta" and was confused because it didn't match any conjugations that I knew. I understand how nice it is to get in the flow of reading, hence why I want to start each chapter without having a dictionary available.

Unfortunately I have never read Harry Potter. I wasn't allowed to read the books as a kid because my parents were terrified of anything that smacked of witchcraft. (They didn't allow Lord of the Rings either, which still confuses me to this day.) Several years ago I did watch the movies through once, but I don't remember much.

jeff_lindqvist wrote:Have you seen News in Slow French? A few months ago, I used the Italian counterpart for mere listening and reading comprehension and found it very beneficial - and I only used the free content, i.e. the 2-3 minute audio introduction + text. French example here:
https://www.newsinslowfrench.com/slow-french/1/intro


Yes, I have seen this and I've spent some time listening to it. Although I recognize the enormous value of News in Slow French, for some reason it didn't click with me, whereas Intermediate French Podcast did. Maybe it's the format, or the fact that I gravitate toward podcasts with only one host. IFP feels conversational and authentic, like I'm having coffee with a friend.
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby jeff_lindqvist » Tue Jun 26, 2018 6:04 pm

zjones wrote:Yes, I have seen this and I've spent some time listening to it. Although I recognize the enormous value of News in Slow French, for some reason it didn't click with me, whereas Intermediate French Podcast did. Maybe it's the format, or the fact that I gravitate toward podcasts with only one host. IFP feels conversational and authentic, like I'm having coffee with a friend.


I'll have a look at IFP when it's time for French. :)
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby zjones » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:26 pm

EVERYONE WAS RIGHT about reading momentum!

I finished the first chapter of Harry Potter without using a dictionary and it took me a little under 2 hours. There were a lot of random adjectives and speaking tags I didn't know. However, by the end of the chapter I was enjoying myself immensely, and I understood the gist of everything that was happening.

The thought of going back and looking up every unknown word sounds... bleh. :cry: And I was having so much fun!

I'm just going to keep reading and not risk losing the momentum.
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby zjones » Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:04 pm

READING HARRY POTTER IS SO MUCH FUN. An hour of reading feels like 20 minutes!

I wanted to do a more thorough update about French, since I've had a productive and interesting week.

Sometime in the last month, I stopped chorusing Assimil. The lessons are continuing to challenge my listening comprehension, sometimes to the point of frustration. I'm on lesson 80. There have been several days that I've wanted to take a break from Assimil, but Assimil is truly the core of my French study because it challenges me every single day. I will not quit until the book is finished. So I'm back to looping sections of audio in Audacity and repeating them back 10-20 times, but now I can now loop longer sections without losing any accuracy. It's nice to notice improvement there. Chorusing helps with speaking practice, but it also assists with listening comprehension and retaining information. When I'm doing the Active Wave (translating from L1 to L2), I can immediately tell which lessons I chorused. They are way easier for me to translate, and I can hear the French in my head as I'm reading the English translation.

I'm starting to notice areas of difficulty in French where I like to tell myself, "I can't really do that yet. Too bad, I'm sure I will work on that later." That mindset isn't really conducive to getting over learning blocks, so I'm trying to push myself. If I don't know how to say a simple sentence like, "How long have you been doing that?" or if I need to work on my pronunciation of a specific word, I put it on a list. I'm collecting quite a list of things to do, learn and use. When I have some free time, I spend about 30 minutes working on some of the concepts in the list, either on my own or with a French friend. Of course, this ends with me adding even more things to the list. It's never-ending, but I really enjoy learning this way!

Speaking of production, I've been on the hunt for French natives who I can speak with either over the phone or through audio messages. I seem to have the best luck on websites like Conversation Exchange and on Reddit. A couple weeks ago I gave up on language exchange apps like HelloTalk, because I just don't have time or energy to navigate the trolls, duds, and the lackadaisical learners. This has to be one of the most frustrating parts of learning a language. Anyway, I managed to find another French native who is an English teacher in Paris. She's enthusiastic, very friendly, and she's about my age -- so I have great hope that she'll stick around.

Okay, so... this isn't really about French, but it relates to productivity and learning. I think I need a productivity app like Todoist, 3 Things, or Notion. Whenever I've tried to use apps like that in the past, I've quickly become overwhelmed by the amount of set-up they require, and I revert back to Calendar and Notes after a couple days. However, I want to get over that initial learning curve because I'm considering starting college within the next year. I want to be comfortable with a productivity app before I get really busy.

Oh, one other thing. Apparently in French I can't say "Mon chat est orange", I have to say "Mon chat est roux". I'm told, however, that it's very cute when I say my cat is orange. :P
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