Isa's French Log + a bit of occasional ES, IT, JP or ZH

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I_likes_languages
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Isa's French Log + a bit of occasional ES, IT, JP or ZH

Postby I_likes_languages » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:27 am

So I'm turning 30 tomorrow, and I used to have these plans about how many languages I'd be fluent in by the time I'd turn 30. Luckily I don't remember the exact number, so I won't beat myself up about the fact that I'm currently only confident in English and my native language German. 2 is a pretty sweet number. I was considering to take up Spanish, but since I'm old and wise now I've decided to go for quality instead of quantity (Klasse statt Masse!). Of all the languages I've studied in the past, French is the one where I see the highest potential to use it professionally during this decade or so. Let's see how this will turn out.

First goal: Stop studying French, start using French.
I've been studying French more or less actively for the past 15 years. But I never started actually using it. So that's my plan. Even though I'm writing this in English, my first step is to gradually shift most of my online activities and my media consumption to French, full out All-Japanese-All-The-Time style. I'll eventually have to force myself to go where it hurts most: Write French.

Current Level
Reading: University level for Social Sciences and Climate/Energy/Electricity related stuff; As for literature Guillaume Musso is no big deal but I totally failed at Patrick Pécherot's Belleville-Barcelone; YouTube comments and slang can be a challenge but I'm getting there.
Listening: Podcasts are fine, as are dubbed TV shows; French originals can be challenging, fast spoken French by natives speaking to each other is very hard.
Speaking: My confidence has always been the biggest issue here. It has improved a lot lately and I can now talk about a wide range of topics because I'm good at using the limited vocabulary I know efficiently. I've always aimed at functionality above perfect grammer, but I sometimes feel as if I'm using a chainsaw to sculpt my sentences. I need to start ironing out all those little mistakes and circumlocutions. This comes with broadening my vocabulary, so I won't need to use "ce truc/cette chose" in every second sentence anymore.
Writing: Abysmal. I may be able to get my point across but there won't be a single correct apostrophe, article or word ending. I'm also lazy as hell so I need to come up with a plan here.

Which brings me to resources:
Traditional study material: I'll still cheat. I never made it through the second Assimil book, so I'll finish that one first. I also like the Grammaire/Vocabulaire progressive du français series, I've worked through the blue one and I might get the brown one (perfectionnement) next.
italki: I've been doing weekly tutoring sessions for about 3 months, and that has greatly boosted my confidence and ability to actually speak and express myself in spoken French. I'll have to keep it up though.
MOOCs: I like moocs, so my plan is to always follow at least one. I'm currently following one on https://www.fun-mooc.fr about Smart Grids. This MOOC is a gold mine for me! I work in the Energy (Power) sector, so I might actually need to know such charming words as lissage or courbe de charge in the future. I can follow the MOOC because I'm mostly familiar with the concepts they present, but I'd like to get to the point where I can actively participate in the discussions.
Newpaper articles: Last week, I found a nice website that does a daily revue de presse on climate/RE related blog posts and newspaper articles, they also do a weekly moisson de papiers de recherche on climate and energy
Podcasts: I'm still looking for suggestions here. My staples for the last years have been "One thing in a French day" and "Geopolitique", but I'd like to branch out more. I've recently added "Change ma vie: Outils pour l'esprit" and "Grand Reportage" by RFI. I'm looking for something that comes close to the BBC's Global News Podcast or Inquiry, so if anyone has a suggestion I'd be happy to check that out.
Youtube: I'm finally done with le donjon de Naheulbeuk, so now I've started to follow some French speaking youtubers (Natoo, Juliette Tresanini, Cyprien, SolangeTeParle). I'd be happy about more suggestions.
lang-8 or similar sites: I'll have to go there eventually.

This post is already much longer than I intended so I'll stop now... :roll: :lol:

Cheers,
Isa

Edits: for title change
Last edited by I_likes_languages on Fri May 01, 2020 1:34 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Isa's French Log 2018

Postby Ccaesar » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:02 pm

Hallo Isa,
Ich finde es lustig, dass du dieselbe Gedanke wie ich hatte "Wenn ich 30 bin, werde ich so viele Sprachen sprechen können" :D
Deine Plannung finde ich gründig und praktisch, dass du mit Französisch anfängst stattdessen Spanisch ist auch eine gute Idee. Denn wenn man eine Sprache lernt, muss man diese Sprache als ein Teil seines Lebens betrachten.
Bonne chance! Wenn du an die Sache heran gehst wie Blücher schaffst du es schnell! :D
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Re: Isa's French Log 2018

Postby Kraut » Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:21 pm

Und ein paar canulars téléphoniques zur Auflockerung:

https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... php?t=7165
viewtopic.php?t=7165
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Re: Isa's French Log 2018

Postby I_likes_languages » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:23 am

I never would have guessed that I'd start this day by reading about algorithms. Anyway. I was lying in bed, a little hungover from the celebrations last night, and decided I would just stay there for a little while longer and watch something on Youtube. Turns out all my recommendations are in English, given my past viewing history. So I thought I should probably change that, because my hangover self would much rather just click on a video and watch it instead of having to search for new French content. I gave myself extra points for remembering to google in French :lol: "comment changer/influencer les recommendations sur youtube or mauvaises suggestions youtube". I've never been a very acitve user, so I have no idea how all of this works. After sifting through a couple of articles and learning new words such as putaclic (and unrelated stuff, like "cracher dans la soupe"), I decided to just give myself a fresh start, so here is what I did:

(1) ... changed the language settings to French (actually I did that first. So the option to choose was: Effacer l'historique des vidéos regardées)
(2) ... erased my prior viewing history (Effacer l'historique des vidéos regardées). I took a look at the list first, did I really watch all this trash???
(3) ... went back to the acceuil and realised I needed to remove all my subscriptions to not French speaking youtube channels. Sorry guys.
(4) ... went back and realised I needed to remove all the videos I'd put on my "watch later list"
(5) ... removed all the likes I'd ever given (7 in total :lol: ) hoping that would further improve things

...around this time strange new channels started to appear on my home screen, mostly with lowbrow amusing content. Stuff my not-yet-up-to-speed brain might like, but I still chose to remove it. Youtube then told me.. "OK. Nous allons affiner nos recommandations." So far it iis only suggesting English content though...

(6) ... started to subscribe to French channels. I hope Youtube will learn from that.

... went back to the accueil... and SUCCESS! My recommendations now contain such gems as "10 Remèdes Maison Pour Perdre du Ventre Sans Exercice", "Le sexe au Moyen-âge - Nota Bene #29" and "NIGHT ROUTINE avant un déplacement ou des vacances !" ... Oh well. All this took so long that I'm ready to get up and take a shower now.

Bye!
Isa

@Ccaesar: Danke für die Ermunterung! Ich musste erst ergoogln, was Blüchers Ansatz war - gute Idee! :D

@Kraut: Awesome!
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Re: Isa's French Log 2018

Postby I_likes_languages » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:25 am

I've been busy with family and work this week, so I didn't get to update the log as much. On Thursday, a friend called me to ask whether I could take care of a group of Italians for a couple of hours on Friday while he was picking up a straggler from the airport. I ended up speaking Italian straight for about 3 hours, because I became their interpreter on a tour through the city. After I went home, I looked up all the different forms of "costruire qc." because I kept confusing and screwing them up, and honestly, the verb "to build" comes up way too often when you look at old stuff in cities.

However, I'm not telling you guys about this just to prove how awesome (or not so awesome) my Italian is or anything like that. I'm telling you about this because it has triggered old thinking patterns and insecurities, and I'd like to hear some of your input and opinions on the matter. This experience and reading on the forum again has started to give me the same issues I used to have and why I chose to quit HTLAL/this forum many times before. Whenever I'm here, I quickly start thinking that one language just isn't enough, that I should study more, why not take up Mandarin again, or Czech while you're at it, and by the way I should work even harder on French anyways. I've gone through cycles like this many times, and whenever my competitiveness and ambition get triggered it always ends the same: I burn out.

I know that the whenever I made significant progress in a language, it was because I was focusing on that language, and that language alone. Focusing on two things at the same time is hard to impossible for me (physically and figuratively speaking). Also, I need to keep my life balanced, time that is meant for sport or friends just shouldn't be converted into time for language study. That never ends well. So I hope someone can share some insight on how you manage this? Is this going to be an eternal fight? It's distracting :(

Here is what I did for my French studies these last 10 days:
Youtube: I subscribed to about 30 French speaking youtubers over the last 10 days, and watched a couple of videos on things that interest me and that I might have watched in English or German before. But I keep returning to this one: click. Not because of the content. Forget about the content. Just listen to her!
Podcasts: I also listened to france inter's Géopolitique, france culture's Revue de Presse International (alomst daily) and several episodes of rfi's Grand Reportage and some episodes of the Change ma vie podcasts. Usually I listen while walking somewhere/waiting for the train/on the train in the morning/cooking etc., but my earphones broke, so that limited my time with podcasts this week somewhat.
MOOC: I'm still stuck in week 2, week 1 was basics in Physics/Electricity and it took me way longer to get through than I would have liked. I hope I can finish week 2 today or tomorrow (only two videos left) and move on.
italki: Two more 30min lessons since last week. I usually have one on Tuesday and one on Friday, but I realized to late that I forgot to schedule one for yesterday. It's been 2 months since I started using italki, and I like the results. Scheduling regular lessons which I then can't cancel on short notice keeps me on track. I try to always schedule the next lesson immediately after I finish a lesson, because than I'm at my most motivated. We mostly just talk about various subjects, and I think I'll keep it at that for the moment.
Reading: I didn't get further than page two in my current book, but I've been reading a lot of articles and blog posts, at least two a day.
Writing: I managed to write something on lang-8. It was quite long (350 words), so maybe that's why it took almost 4 days for sommeone to correct it? I haven't had the time to look over the corrections yet.
Vocabulary: I'm trying to get more consistent with what I input into anki. I mostly just input words when I'm reading on my computer, but not when I'm reading books or on my phone. I've tried to note words down then and look them up/put them into anki later, but the lists just keep getting longer and longer...I'll allocate 5-10 minutes everyday to that work next week and see how it goes.
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Re: Isa's French Log 2018

Postby rdearman » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:11 am

I feel you're pain! But really there isn't any need to rack up languages. It can become an addiction and a major time sink. Sticking to one until you're ready to change seems like a good strategy to me.
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Postby Morgana » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:15 pm

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Re: Isa's French Log 2018

Postby garyb » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:22 am

I can relate to some of the things you've talked about. I turned 30 a year ago and I too used to have a language goal around that: be proficient in French, Italian, and Spanish by 30. It obviously didn't happen: I had underestimated the time to reach a genuine high level when one is studying part-time and not in immersion, even in related languages, and as I got more mature I started to realise that languages weren't such a high priority in my life, I had been learning them partly for the wrong reasons and for French in particular I didn't really have much use, and my "hands-on" approach focused around speaking practice was stressful and burning me out despite its effectiveness. Even if I didn't attain my goal, it's taught me a lot about myself and about learning, which is far more important at the end of the day.

It's also common for people to come to the forum just wanting to learn one language but then get caught up in the polyglot dream and add in another few, which in most cases results in little progress in any. In particular I see many get past the absolute beginner level, after which progress naturally slows down, and then preferring to move to a shiny new thing instead of persevering. This then might repeat several times. Opinions differ but I think that learning one language to a decent level keeps you focused and teaches you a lot about how you learn and how long it takes, which will only benefit you if you do then choose to study others.

A few forum members do manage to juggle several at an impressive level, but it's important to be realistic: some have a lot of time on their hands or make languages their main focus; some have more opportunities to use their languages; some have an impressive list yet exaggerate their levels in the more advanced ones or are at least "fluent but not very proficient" (which is great and quite pragmatic, just don't compare it to being both fluent and accurate); some started young (it's debated whether learning is quicker, but one does generally have more time and energy and in years of following the forum I've almost universally seen those under 25 or so progressing faster); some might just be talented. To state the obvious, there's no point in comparing yourself to others especially as you can never know all the variables.

Anyway good luck with your French! It looks like you've got a good balance of study and "real" usage.
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Re: Isa's French Log 2018

Postby I_likes_languages » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:46 pm

Thank you all for taking the time to think out these answers to my question. You all had something important to say! I will have to reread each comment from time to time to let it sink in.

rdearman's answer was short, but when you called it a "time sink", that got me thinking about "sunk cost". I'm an economist in case you're wondering. For the non-economists around, "sunk cost" are those costs that have already been incurred and which you can't recover. It's also the part of costs which should not feature in your rational decision-making. So if I were a perfectly rational individual in this fantasy world we economists like so much, I'd realize that all the time and energy already spent on different languages is not recoverable. I'd realize that it's all about opportunity costs and that I should rein in my loss aversion. Since I'm a mostly average person with limited cognitive abilities, it's probably best that I come back to your answers from time to time and reread them whenever I question my decisions. Studying more than one language at a time and still making progress in both is not for me, and that's ok. I'll still cheer on everyone who is actively studying more than one language!

Youtube: Practice was cancelled this week, so I had more time than usual, which I chose to spend on Youtube again :lol: I think I've never spent this much time there before. I've been looking for videos of people speaking with each other, instead of directly at me, because they are much more challenging for me. Lolywood is a good channel I found so far, does anyone have further recommendations?
MOOC: I finished week 3, but I still have to input lot of the new vocab into anki. One more week to go!
italki: One lesson this week.
Writing: I wrote two more, smaller pieces on italki, it's getting easier.

J'ai decidé qu'il vaut mieux que je me fixe un objectif concret pour mes études. La prochaine occasion de prendre les examins DELF/DALF sera in novembre, donc il me reste assez de temps pour les préparations. Pour ceux qui ont déjà pris et réussi le DELF B2 ou DALF C1, comment est-ce que vous vous êtes préparés? Quelles sites/livres/matériaux ont vous aidé le plus?
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Re: Isa's French Log 2018

Postby Cavesa » Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:32 pm

I agree with garyb, as usual.

One more point: leave that world of the economists this time. It is much easier to just have fun, have it for a few hundred/thousand hours, and suddenly find out you've got a very useful and marketable skill, than the other way around. Vast majority of people learning just pragmatically because "my employer pays this" or "I'll get a better job, if I get my CV bragging rights" don't get far enough. They put in just the minimum they think will suffice, as they are looking just at the intermediate profit "amount of knowledge per hour", but they fail to consider the bigger picture. They don' waste time on tons of books, tv series, extra exercises. But all that cummulates over the years and suddenly reaches a threshold at some point and jumps over it. The "economically correctly" thinking people rarely get to that.

Unless you are under a lot of pressure to "be rational", keep this a great hobby. It will pay off a thousand times. Both during the process and after, when you get the results. :-)

P.S. I'll find some old posts about DELF and DALF later, when I don't have to study. I don't think I could remember it all again and so clearly.
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