My French learning log: A2 to ...?

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bretagne
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My French learning log: A2 to ...?

Postby bretagne » Tue Aug 14, 2018 2:58 pm

I'm still in a flurry of newly found excitement for learning French, so now is the ideal time to write my first (hopefully of many) language logs.

Current situation

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)
  • Duolingo
  • 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! :D
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1: 666 / 10000 Clozemaster 10,000 French Fluency Fast Track Cards
2: 11 / 100 Assimil New French with Ease (100 lessons)

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rdearman
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Re: My French learning log: A2 to ...?

Postby rdearman » Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:25 pm

Since you are in the UK, you should have access to the Channel 4 catchup TV app. This means that you can watch some of the French series they have on catchup there. A couple which I recommend are:

Kabul Kitchen
Spin
Mafiosa La Clan

So you can watch all of them for free (except for the annoying advertisements) but they do have English subtitles which you can't get rid of unfortunately. I really recommend that you spend your free time watching things in French. It is great all the courses and stuff you're planning on, but I think you'll get further with a combination of courses and the super challenge where you're reading French books and watching French media. You also might want to insist on a "French only" rule with the fiancé.
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bretagne
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Re: My French learning log: A2 to ...?

Postby bretagne » Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:32 pm

Thanks. I've signed up for the super challenges and appreciate the nifty twitter bot! We already watch le Journal on France2 most days, so without realising it I am passively watching 30min minimum of French each day, so it should be pretty easy to beef that up - I hadn't thought of Channel 4 for some French shows. The more French TV we watch, the happier my partner is - so I've really no excuse not to!
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2: 11 / 100 Assimil New French with Ease (100 lessons)

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Ani
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Re: My French learning log: A2 to ...?

Postby Ani » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:55 pm

bretagne wrote: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.


Oh my but you're taking that terribly out of context. Renaissamcemedici had a super specific goal and an almost impossible time line and this was after a bunch of posts in other threads. Your goal is more than reasonable. Checking into the forum regularly and building friendships can help you develop the consistency you need to be successful so I'd probably recommend the exact opposite for you :)
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But there's no sense crying over every mistake. You just keep on trying till you run out of cake.

bretagne
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Re: My French learning log: A2 to ...?

Postby bretagne » Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:02 am

Ani wrote:Oh my but you're taking that terribly out of context. Renaissamcemedici had a super specific goal and an almost impossible time line and this was after a bunch of posts in other threads. Your goal is more than reasonable. Checking into the forum regularly and building friendships can help you develop the consistency you need to be successful so I'd probably recommend the exact opposite for you :)

Thank you for providing the context! It's a good point and one I totally missed. That said, yesterday I did spend a lot of time reading debates about L-R reading... rather than learning French! So I can see that a bit of selective limiting might help me avoid jumping down (very interesting) rabbit holes that aren't actually increasing my French knowledge :lol:
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1: 666 / 10000 Clozemaster 10,000 French Fluency Fast Track Cards
2: 11 / 100 Assimil New French with Ease (100 lessons)

bretagne
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Re: My French learning log: A2 to ...?

Postby bretagne » Thu Aug 16, 2018 5:58 pm

So a few days in, and I've done the following things:

  • Watched at least 30 minutes of French breakfast TV each morning(Telematin on France2)
  • Watched 30 minutes of French news each day (Journal 20h, also on France2)
  • Watched N'oubliez Pas Les Paroles but missed it today
  • Listened to Journal en Francais Facile each day
  • Started to read and listen to Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours - which I downloaded both the ebook and the MP3s for free
  • Had a free taster lesson on lingoda - the teacher was really supportive and gave me the confidence in progressing towards B1 but reminded me the importance of focusing on confidence and conversational french given my upcoming move. Not sure I will pay for lessons though.

As I read that back, I am pretty pleased with the amount I've done each day without it feeling like hard work 8-)

Still waiting for Assimil to arrive, so I haven't done much in the way of 'learning' apart from the taster lesson. That was actually really helpful as I realised that I need much more speaking practice (to actual people, not in my head) so I need to start making use of the talking opportunities I already have!
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1: 666 / 10000 Clozemaster 10,000 French Fluency Fast Track Cards
2: 11 / 100 Assimil New French with Ease (100 lessons)

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Re: My French learning log: A2 to ...?

Postby StringerBell » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:48 pm

Hi, sounds like you are now off to a good start!

Have you considered using Francais Authentique? I haven't used it myself since I'm not learning French (so I can't vouch for it personally), BUT I've heard a lot of good things about it, and it seems really helpful. Maybe someone on this forum has personal experience with it and can give you some feedback on it.

I also am finding that it's easy to fall into the trap of reading about language learning instead of just doing the language learning work. I made a rule for myself that I'm not allowed to log on here until after I've finished my Italian reading so that I can update my challenge bot. And since I always do my Polish stuff before Italian, at least I know that I've got a guaranteed minimum done before I lose hours reading other people's logs...which is apparently what I'm doing now! Ok, back to Italian now.
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Re: My French learning log: A2 to ...?

Postby iguanamon » Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:21 am

Welcome to the forum, bretagne! Learning a big, popular language like French can be overwhelming. There are a ton of resources. Several learners here on the forum are learning/have learned the language and there is often well-meaning, but sometimes conflicting advice offered. One of our administrators, emk, was in a similar situation to you when he wanted to take his French to the next level. He had/has a French wife and wanted to be able to speak to family and friends in French and encourage his kids to use the language more. He got serious about it and made it happen.

Emk documented his journey on our former forum, HTLAL, here. Yeah it's a lot of posts to go through, but he does provide a good outline to take French from A2 to B1 and beyond. His methods don't need to be followed slavishly but should serve as a good guide for how to sift and wade through the immense mass of materials, resources and methods.

Cavesa's old logs on HTLAL are also worthy of perusing. She didn't get over 7400 hearts here for nothing!

Both of these members are highly respected here on the forum and have much to offer learners. They can provide a guide and inspiration, but you must follow your own path. The main thing at this stage is to work on your weaknesses plus read, listen, speak and write. It may seem like a daunting task but dedication, consistency and persistence will make it a profitable one for your French-learning. Do this and you will soon become your own inspiration and a model for others to follow. Bonne chance !
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bretagne
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Re: My French learning log: A2 to ...?

Postby bretagne » Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:17 pm

iguanamon wrote:Welcome to the forum, bretagne!


Thank you iguanamon! And thank you for the encouragement and links to the great resources. The dedication and consistency that you mention is an area of weakness. I'm hoping that the accountability of using this forum will help me with that. Also, I think the fact that people like yourself post such supportive messages really spurs me on to invest in myself in this way, as it is clear how the hard work has paid off for others.


StringerBell wrote:I made a rule for myself that I'm not allowed to log on here until after I've finished my Italian reading so that I can update my challenge bot.


Thanks also StringerBell! I am still struggling find a good balance with spending time on this forum vs. doing the work of learning french but as it's still my first week I won't go too hard on myself. And, I think I have spent about 3 hours on Assimil and clozemaster today. Your rule of using the forum after finishing a language learning task is a good one, I'm going to use that too. At the moment I keep dipping in and out throughout the day to soak up all of the knowledge people have shared.
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1: 666 / 10000 Clozemaster 10,000 French Fluency Fast Track Cards
2: 11 / 100 Assimil New French with Ease (100 lessons)

bretagne
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Re: My French learning log: A2 to ...?

Postby bretagne » Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:23 pm

I didn't expect to spend most of Saturday engaged in french learning but that's how my weekend seems to roll! My two main activities, apart from a bit of TV & radio were clozemaster and starting Assimil French with Ease

clozemaster

I started reading about the SRS challenges and it prompted me to log in to Cloze Master and have a play. I used the app a long time ago and hated it but found it much more enjoyable through the website. Though my extended SRS today resulted in some RSI of the wrist! Acronyms are to blame! The fluency fast track does leave me feeling a little deskilled as there are a number of early words that I kept tripping up on. However, I’ve noticed the gamification – the weekly and all-time rankings in particular – really play to my competitive side. Each time I do a round of 10 questions, regardless of how I performed, I feel compelled to go ‘just 10 more’ to bump my position up the rankings!

I've set a target daily score of 500 and make sure that my answers are typed, so I am maximising my learning. One thing I am surprised to experience is the sudden, seemingly unconscious, arrival of words to my fingers. Not sure if this makes any sense but I see the phrase and immediately type out the correct word. Most strange!

Assimil French with Ease

Today I started with French with Ease. This also took me off guard slightly. I did the first two lessons and, sure, they weren’t the most taxing but I realised that my aim of getting through the 100 lessons is going to result in a lot of hard work. The lessons dive straight into quite meaty phrases for the start of a course.

I really didn’t understand how to use Assimil – so I relied on a blog post suggesting the stages to go through. Which seemed to work well for me. My aim tomorrow is to get lesson 3 & 4 done.
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1: 666 / 10000 Clozemaster 10,000 French Fluency Fast Track Cards
2: 11 / 100 Assimil New French with Ease (100 lessons)


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