When I posted my first post yesterday to ask for help, I thought I hadn’t done much. But then as I dug into the dark corners of my memory, I realised that I’ve been all to eager to jump from app to book to website. These have included:
- Anki (using the Fluent Forever method)
- Michel Thomas (starting off eager, then getting stuck at a certain point and giving up)
- Pimsleur (usually listening so passively that nothing went in)
- Paul Noble (just like Pimsleur - I felt I was learning stuff then forgot)
- Lessons at the Institut Francais in London (booking 6 intensive all-day Saturday classes but only attending the first 3)
- Lingvist (nothing would stick)
- Memrise (the videos of real people saying things was perhaps the most valuable bit)
- A variety of books specifically aimed at A2 exam prep
- Watching TV5 Monde
- Watching le Journal on France2
- Listening to Journal en Francais facile
- Working through a grammar book
- Using a teacher on iTalki
- The Olle Kjellin reptition method (trippy experience!)
I feel quite embarrassed to reflect on how much stop-start there has been. I’ve got excited about something new rather than stuck with what I have. This has been my attitude to learning French for some time. Constantly on the hunt for ‘the solution’ rather than persisting and accepting the discomfort of not knowing.
I passed A2 French earlier this year, much to my own surprise. As I feel much more like my level is A1. I took the exam as an attempt to challenge myself and to at least motivate me to focus on learning harder. I did work hard up to the exam, yet since then, apart from passively watching and listening to French news, I’ve done no more French learning.
My aims and goals
So the big driver is that by the end of this year I am moving to France with my French soon-to-be husband. There are so many goals I have around this but a few that spring to mind are:
- Perform day-to-day tasks, such as shopping, without being mute or feeling horribly self-conscious
- Make small talk with my partner's family
- Call a doctor/dentist/restaurant/vet to make an appointment - then feel comfortable about going to that appointment
- Enjoy French media rather than remain a consumer of British (and enevitably American) TV & radio
- Attend French university to study at post-graduate level
There’s a lot there and I’ve thought about what would be a clear milestone to work towards that might motivate me to get my head down. And I settled on the following:
By 28 March 2019, sit and pass the DELF B1 exam.
The specific date is the actual date of the B1 exam. I think I will need a good six months and whilst I could push myself to do it in December... I am not sure how unrealistic that will be? And it will be somewhere near the move - so I wouldn't know whether to book in the UK or France.
How I get there, I am not too sure. It’s tempting to spend lots of time reading all the advice and experience on this forum. I saw some advice Ani gave to renaissancemedici, that the forum must be seen as a reward so that it doesn’t become a distraction - and this is something I’ll be taking to heart.
My first post generated some really helpful responses which I have been working through today.
I did take a trip to South Kensington in London, where there is a high concentration of French people, today to see if there were any French books in the charity shops but unfortunately the two in this precise location and a handful more further afield had nothing (except for Assimil Latin, with tape cassettes!). I did check out the French bookshop Librairie La Page (where the staff speak to you in French!) to see the price of Assimil, but it was almost £90. So I ended up ordering it from ebay for £39.
Right, now off to join the super challenges and get on with the hard work of learning!