Skynet gets a Steckerbrett and becomes ENIGMA

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Skynet
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Languages: BILINGUAL: Shona & English
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Skynet gets a Steckerbrett and becomes ENIGMA

Postby Skynet » Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:06 pm

FRENCH

I completed a gruelling 6 week French resurrection plan here: My should-have-been-9-week-but-actually-became-6-week ultra-intensive French resurrection summer project.

To help those who may want to do something similar, here are the courses/content that I used:

Assimil FWOT
Assimil NFWE
Linguaphone (1950)
Linguaphone (1971)
Living Language Ultimate: Beginner - Intermediate (2000)
Cortina Conversational French in 20 Lessons (1954)
Cortina Conversational French in 20 Lessons (1918) (33rd ed.)
DLI French Basic
Hugo French In 3 Months (1987)
FSI French Phonology
Teach Yourself French (2003)
Teach Yourself French (1918)
Teach Yourself French Grammar (1961)
FSI Metro Fast French
FSI Belgium Headstart
FSI Sub-Saharan French
Colloquial French 1 & 2
Practice & Improve: French
Immersion French Deluxe
Immersion Plus French
G. Mauger's Cours de Langue et de Civilisation Francaises I (1953).
MÉTHODE Berlitz: Partie Francaise - 1er livre (1888)
MÉTHODE Berlitz: Partie Francaise - 2eme livre (1889)
Oxford: Take Off In French (2000) abandoned because of the staggering amount of English!

Native Media:

Fluent French Audio Podcast
RFI: Le Journal en Francais Facile
French In Action (video only)

If someone is starting French as a true beginner, I would recommend:

Assimil NFWE
Assimil FWOT
Linguaphone (1971)
Linguaphone (1950)
Living Language Ultimate: Beginner - Intermediate (2000)

If someone is simply trying to resuscitate moribund French (that hasn't been used in years), I would recommend something more stimulating:

Linguaphone (1950)
DLI French Basic
Assimil FWOT
Cortina Conversational French in 20 Lessons (1954)
G. Mauger's Cours de Langue et de Civilisation Francaises I (1953)
MÉTHODE Berlitz: Partie Francaise - 2eme livre (1889)

Both language camps would still need to use native media in addition to the above-mentioned courses. I have to stress again that Berlitz and Cortina are NOT for the faint-hearted! The learning curve in those courses is PARABOLIC! Eg: the futur simple (indicatif) "je choisirai" used in the 9th sentence of the SECOND (!!!) lesson of the Cortina 1918 (33rd) ed.

*********************************************************************************

FRENCH PHASE TWO (20 weeks to DELF B2 Pro)

I am aiming for the DELF B2 Pro in February 2019. Here are my courses:

Assimil Using French
Assimil Business French
CLE Vocabulaire PdF (Deb. + Int. + Ava. + Perf.)
CLE Grammaire PdF (Deb. + Int. + Ava. + Perf.)
CLE Communication PdF (Deb. + Int. + Ava. + Perf.)
CLE Comprehension Orale (Deb. + Int. + Ava. + Perf.)
G. Mauger's Cours de Langue et de Civilisation Francaises II, III & IV
Didier Reussir le DELF B2
Living Language Ultimate: Advanced French

NATIVE CONTENT:

Fluent French Audio Podcast
RFI: Le Journal en Francais Facile
French In Action (audio & video)
Podclub.ch
LibriVox
NHK World FRENCH
Le Monde
Jeune Afrique
France 24
TV5 Monde
Paris Match
AFP
Easy French
Le Gorafi

1. I have a question concerning the CLE courses. Since I am very fastidious (aka OCD), should I do the CLE débutant courses before/with the intermédiaire courses?
2. Please do not hesitate to correct/support/give advice.

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GERMAN

I have realised that whilst learning a language is highly addictive, the marginal utility of learning just one language is declining. To keep my interests piqued, I am going to embark on German at a relatively glacial pace ( glacial compared to that French mad-dash to B1 over 6 weeks!) By the time that I sit the DELF B2 Pro, I would have finished both GWOT and GWE.

I find German to be an enchanting language: the German Gothic script (and its derivatives , Textualis, Schwabacher, Fraktur & Cursiva) and old German typefaces (Kanzlei-, Kurrentschrift and Sütterlin) are going to provide me with decades' worth of reading material. I am also delighted to see that I no longer have to worry about language reforms too much: Feareth not the German language reform of 1996 and Whilst I will never touch FSI again, it's encouraging to know that it's not too outdated for those who would.

My list of courses is infinitesimal compared to what I am accustomed to...then again, German is a great unknown (and I now have a job, school and French maintenance to add to the fray!) I plan on achieving a B2 equivalent on GI Zertificate/TestDAF (still to decide on which to eventually take) by the 31st of Dec 2019.

1st Wave:
Assimil: German Without Toil (1965)
Assimil: German With Ease (2001)

2nd wave:
Linguaphone (1960)
Linguaphone (1990)
Living Language Ultimate: Beginner - Intermediate (2000)
Cortina (1954)

3rd wave:

FOKUS
Langenscheidt Aspekte (A1 - B2)
Begegnungen und Erkundungen (A1 - B2)
Practice & Improve: German
Practice & Improve: German Plus
Living Language Ultimate: Advanced (2000)
Assimil - Perfectionnement Allemand (1969), (1991) & (2004)

1. Please do not hesitate to correct/support/give advice?

NB: If there are German equivalents to RFI: Le Journal en Francais Facile, please inform me!!!

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EDITS:
1. Log title changed to SKYNET's Central Core Destroyed, becomes Cro-Magnon Man. World devolution log!
2. Log title changed to Dr. Frenchlove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the DELF B2.
3. Log title changed to Skynet gets a plugboard and becomes ENIGMA.
4. Log title changed to Skynet gets a Steckerbrett and becomes ENIGMA.
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Cavesa
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Re: SKYNET goes online! World domination log.

Postby Cavesa » Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:22 pm

Awesome! I wish you good luck and lots of fun! I don't doubt you'll succeed. :-)

Skynet wrote:FRENCH PHASE TWO (20 weeks to DELF B2 Pro)

I am aiming for the DELF B2 Pro in February 2019. Here are my courses:

Assimil Using French
Assimil Business French
CLE Vocabulaire PdF (Deb. + Int. + Ava. + Perf.)
CLE Grammaire PdF (Deb. + Int. + Ava. + Perf.)
CLE Communication PdF (Deb. + Int. + Ava. + Perf.)
CLE Comprehension Orale (Deb. + Int. + Ava. + Perf.)
G. Mauger's Cours de Langue et de Civilisation Francaises II, III & IV
Didier Reussir le DELF B2
Living Language Ultimate: Advanced French

NATIVE CONTENT:

Fluent French Audio Podcast
RFI: Le Journal en Francais Facile
French In Action (audio & video)
Podclub.ch
LibriVox
NHK World FRENCH
Le Monde
Jeune Afrique
France 24
TV5 Monde
Paris Match
AFP
Easy French
Le Gorafi

1. I have a question concerning the CLE courses. Since I am very fastidious (aka OCD), should I do the CLE débutant courses before/with the intermédiaire courses?
2. Please do not hesitate to correct/support/give advice.


2.I won't hesitate :-)

1. Given what I've seen in your logs, I think you can safely skip the débutant Progressive books. They could easily bore you and slow you down. I don't think you'll miss out on anything, if you go right to the int books.

To questions you haven't asked:
Communication PdF has only déb and int books, as far as I know. I don't know about the levels of Comprehension Orale PdF but I dare guess those will be useless to you, given all your other resources and activities.

Grammar and Vocab PdF: For the B2 exam, int and ava books should suffice. Perf are great but more advanced and could take away a lot of time you could do with on other activities.

Reusir le DELF is a good choice but I would even recommend getting two preparatory books, for more practice. Yes, I passed without having used any. But I passed with 50 points and wasn't too excited about my performance.

You are using a lot of coursebooks but none of them is CEFR labeled (Assimil technically is CEFR labeled, but rather vaguely I'd say). I'd recommend Édito B1 and B2 or at least B2. It was the book I had been studying from before my DELF B2 in class (the very first edition. B2 was the only book in the series back then) and I was very content with it.

When it comes to doing the sample assignments, I recommend doing some of the writing tasks with a stopwatch, to learn how to plan your writing , so that you don't find out five minutes before the end that you still haven't covered half the required points.
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Lawyer&Mom
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Re: SKYNET goes online! World domination log.

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:29 pm

Skip the debutant books. The intermediate books will be just fine.

Are you doing any reading in addition to all the course work?
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Skynet
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Posts: 259
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:37 pm
Location: Cyprus
Languages: BILINGUAL: Shona & English
PURSUING: French (DELF B2), German (A0)
ILLITERATE: Farsi Persian (listening, speaking)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=8686
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Re: SKYNET goes online! World domination log.

Postby Skynet » Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:54 am

Lawyer&Mom wrote:Skip the debutant books. The intermediate books will be just fine. Are you doing any reading in addition to all the course work?

Thanks! I will skip the deb. books :) No, I never read any official content outside what was provided in the texts. I will admit that MÉTHODE Berlitz: Partie Francaise - 2eme livre, Fluent French Audio Podcast and RFI: Le Journal en Francais Facile have offered a lot of usually-above-my-pay-grade French reading content. I will now have to delve into graded readers, probably starting from the B1 level, right?

Cavesa wrote: Communication PdF has only déb and int books, as far as I know. I don't know about the levels of Comprehension Orale PdF but I dare guess those will be useless to you, given all your other resources and activities.
OOOPS! You know, there are a LOT of CLE books and I also have "conjugaison", "orthographe" and "phoenetique" versions in additions to the ones listed above. I know that I have complete sets for four of them, but trying to remember which four at 2:06 am was not a good idea - hence the error. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Cavesa wrote: wasn't too excited about my performance.
My biggest weakness, or at least the one that I am most self-conscious of, is my oral French. I need to use the nuclear option on this to perfect my speaking skills.

Cavesa wrote: I'd recommend Édito

I am ashamed to say that I have the complete Alter Ego set (A1 - C1), but have been unable to use it since the audio and the books do not match. EVER. I am now hesitating to make another-leap-into-the-unknown purchase after being unable to use Alter Ego for two months. If I can find it (Edito) at a very good price, I will purchase it based on your recommendation. 8-)

Cavesa wrote:When it comes to doing the sample assignments, I recommend doing some of the writing tasks with a stopwatch, to learn how to plan your writing , so that you don't find out five minutes before the end that you still haven't covered half the required points.

Yes! I completely agree! I certainly need to work on managing my time efficiently so that I pace myself well. Fastidious (aka OCD) students are extremely prone to running out of time during exams. CLE convinced me to buy their Echo Numerique application (x86/x64 based) as a way to work on my pacing...it has resources for exams for A1 - B2.

Cavesa wrote:You are using a lot of coursebooks but none of them is CEFR labeled
You know, when I started my project, I wanted to reboot my French and language certification was never the objective. This influenced how I amassed my courses :lol: It also didn't help that I drank the Assimil + Linguaphone + Living Language Ultimate = B1 tea.
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Cavesa
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Re: SKYNET goes online! World domination log.

Postby Cavesa » Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:52 am

Skynet wrote:. I will now have to delve into graded readers, probably starting from the B1 level, right

Not necessarily. The graded readers are a good option but not the only one and many people cannot stand them. A few other starting points: BDs (comic books, there are many of all the genres. From Asterix to Persepolis, the offer is extremely wide), books for older kids (Erik L'Homme is one of the possible choices. Useful language, intermediate level friendly, not torturingly boring), books considered not too hard (Harry Potter is one of the common choices, but so is Le Petit Prince. I had read l'Étranger by Camus as my first French book ages ago, when I was around your level, and it was rather ok language wise. I didn't like the content, but the level was ok)

Cavesa wrote: wasn't too excited about my performance.
My biggest weakness, or at least the one that I am most self-conscious of, is my oral French. I need to use the nuclear option on this to perfect my speaking skills.

A few tips to speak better than me back in 2010:

1.B2 is far from perfection, you will be forgiven a lot of stuff the C1 and C2 candidates shouldn't present themselves with. But it is significantly more than B1. It requires coherence, explaining ideas clearly, not making too many stupid mistakes, not panicking. Yet, there is no need to feel super stressed about this. There is no reason for a hard working and intelligent student like you to have any huge problem there. Also, you don't need perfect scores. As long as you get at least 5 out of every section and at least 50 total, you'll pass and it will be just respectable as passing with full score. Prepare well, but don't let it scare you too much :-)

2.Some people argue ad nauseam that the DELF an the CEFR are not about grammar and vocab and that noone counts how many words or tenses you've used in your presentation. That is only partially right. Noone counts but everyone notices whether your production is good enough. Using too many beginner words instead of the more appropriate ones you should know is a red flag. Making too many basic grammar mistakes means losing some points needlessly, it doesn't make a good impression, and it will make you nervous. It is hard to keep focusing while the brain screams "nooo, I've messed up the past tenses again, I am so ashamed, how to fix that!" :-D. Learn your conjugations, your vocabulary, your grammar and you'll save yourself some trouble and some points you can afford to lose elsewhere then :-)

3.Listening is hyperimportant. Understanding the examiner's questions under stress, immediately, and precisely, that is what you are looking for. The speaking topic prompt will be written, but there will be interaction during the exam itself.

4.Pronunciation wasn't a major problem of mine, but I am still pointing it out as something that shouldn't be horrible. You don't need to be native like. You need to be understood without problems.

5.If you want to practice with a tutor, find one that has experience with the exam preparation. Don't pay anyone unable to answer you how many students they have prepared and with what results. Sure, B2 is still not that hard, compared to the C levels (both for students and for teachers), but I still think the experience makes a lot of difference. A tutor is definitely not necessary. But they can be helpful, if you choose a good one. If you wish to, wait a bit and work on your own, and pay for some hours later, when the exam is not that far away (not just in months, but also in the "work left to do units"). Right now, the tutors wouldn't be that helpful and might even slow you down in some ways.

6.Insist that the testing centre follow the rules. Mine didn't. There should always be two examiners and the exam should be mostly a dialogue, with a shorter presentation at the beginning. When I arrived to the room, one of the examiners left (probably for a coffee, who knows) and returned at the end. I was left with a lady with a wall like face expression, that made me keep the monologue on for majority of the time and then asked two or three a bit confusing questions. There are supposed to be two people, one to interact, one to observe, and it helps to have two faces there as you have a higher chance to see at least one with a human expression. Really, my DALF C2 was much more relaxed and this was one of the factors, two relaxed men that looked genuinely interested in the conversation and just casually testing me and trying to get me out of the comfort zone, not one bored individual. The DELF B2 was really a mix of being nervous that something was happening, the one person being hard to talk to, and all my mistakes flooding in. I got like 6 or 8 points out of 25. I was very young, these days I would insist on the rules being followed (or perhaps the examiners wouldn't even risk doing this) and in the opposite case followed with a proper complaint.

7.Confidence is very important. I don't think that will be a major problem of yours. But solid preparation helps with it too.

Cavesa wrote: I'd recommend Édito

I am ashamed to say that I have the complete Alter Ego set (A1 - C1), but have been unable to use it since the audio and the books do not match. EVER. I am now hesitating to make another-leap-into-the-unknown purchase after being unable to use Alter Ego for two months. If I can find it (Edito) at a very good price, I will purchase it based on your recommendation. 8-)


What are you ashamed about? You are on the LLORG, half the forum are language book hoarders. :-D

Alter Ego is not exactly bad, but it has profited a bit too much from being the only compete (A1-C1) series until recently. I personally used the B2 and C1/C2 books a bit, I wish I had had more time for them. Those two later books were not perfect but still good in some ways, I liked that they tried to really explain writing the required genres unlike most others, some of the overviews and exercises were really useful to me. However, I know a few learners who were using the earlier (A1-B1) books in class or with a private tutor and they complained about them. The complaints were the usual ones. I've even read an online review by a teacher that complained about the same stuff.

I don't think you need to switch it for Édito, if you've already gotten them. Don't forget that all my good impressions of Édito are based on having used just the B2 book and then second hand information and leafing through some of the books. Alter Ego still fulfils some of the expectations and at least formally follows the CEFR curriculum. And you have already remedied most of the weaknesses with your other tools. I don't thing you need to worry.

It is not humanly possible to go through every resource on earth, even though you are not the first forum member to try :-D
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DaveAgain
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Re: SKYNET goes online! World domination log.

Postby DaveAgain » Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:11 pm

Cavesa wrote:
Skynet wrote:. I will now have to delve into graded readers, probably starting from the B1 level, right

Not necessarily. The graded readers are a good option but not the only one and many people cannot stand them. A few other starting points: BDs (comic books, there are many of all the genres. From Asterix to Persepolis, the offer is extremely wide), books for older kids (Erik L'Homme is one of the possible choices. Useful language, intermediate level friendly, not torturingly boring), books considered not too hard (Harry Potter is one of the common choices, but so is Le Petit Prince. I had read l'Étranger by Camus as my first French book ages ago, when I was around your level, and it was rather ok language wise. I didn't like the content, but the level was ok)
Some of Alphonse Daudet's short stories are entertaining. La mule du pape, Le curé du cucugnan and Les trois messes basses are all funny, but a sentimental one called Les Étoiles is my favourite. (audio | text).
Last edited by DaveAgain on Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Lawyer&Mom
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Re: SKYNET goes online! World domination log.

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Thu Aug 30, 2018 3:43 pm

I never bothered with graded readers. My first two French books were a YA fantasy book and a grown-up fluffy office romance. And I had *way* less course work behind me when I started. Just dive into it! I have a pretty high tolerance for not understanding, but really it can be done. (Me reading the fantasy book: Okay, they have found a witch in the forest. Here is a paragraph describing her house that I totally don’t understand, but whatever. Oh hey, she cast some sort of spell on them! Maybe I’ll figure out what it was in the next chapter!)

Also, because you are doing so much analytical work with your textbooks, I would really suggest extensive reading. Don’t stop to look things up, just swim in all the lovely language! Like if you see the same word over and over again and it’s really bugging you go ahead and look it up, but for me that’s maybe one or two words a book. You really don’t need to know all the words to “get” a book.
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Skynet
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Re: SKYNET goes online! World domination log.

Postby Skynet » Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:46 am

DaveAgain wrote:Some of Alphonse Daudet's short stories are entertaining. La mule du pape, Le curé du cucugnan and Les trois messes basses are all funny, but a sentimental one called Les Étoiles is my favourite. (audio | text).


I will add this to my "to R+L+S" list! Thanks, Dave!

Cavesa wrote: I had read l'Étranger by Camus as my first French book ages ago

Oh wow! I had forgotten about this book! I read it in high school and actually enjoyed it. Let me look for it (and it's audio) so that I can do L+R+S. (With French, I read everything out aloud.)

Cavesa wrote: There is no reason for a hard working and intelligent student like you to have any huge problem there. Also, you don't need perfect scores. As long as you get at least 5 out of every section and at least 50 total, you'll pass and it will be just respectable as passing with full score.
Hahaha! You know that my inner OCD would never allow me to even contemplate being content with a 50, right? :lol: :lol: :lol:

Cavesa wrote: Some people argue ad nauseam that the DELF an the CEFR are not about grammar and vocab and that noone counts how many words or tenses you've used in your presentation...
Yes, they are not just grammar/vocab exams, but they are extremely important. If you don't have the basics right, then you will not be able to read, speak, write and understand well. Whoever argues otherwise is a snake oil salesman. :lol:

Cavesa wrote: Pronunciation wasn't a major problem of mine, but I am still pointing it out as something that shouldn't be horrible. You don't need to be native like. You need to be understood without problems.
Mine's certainly not dire, but I still struggle to pronounce "un" properly when I read it. (I remember that it was a distinct problem in high school too!)

Cavesa wrote: Right now, the tutors wouldn't be that helpful and might even slow you down in some ways.
Mmmmm, I am super sceptical of tutors, and may hold off on that one since I have ample access to native French speakers here. Seeing that B2 (from what I have read) should make me an educated 16 year old native, I believe that the French natives would provide ample practising opportunities.

Cavesa wrote:Alter Ego is not exactly bad
I am happy to hear that! Once I am able to understand how to use it (audio and text don't seem to be aligned) then I will give it a go :)

Lawyer&Mom wrote: And I had *way* less course work behind me when I started. Just dive into it! I have a pretty high tolerance for not understanding, but really it can be done. Also, because you are doing so much analytical work with your textbooks, I would really suggest extensive reading. Don’t stop to look things up, just swim in all the lovely language! You really don’t need to know all the words to “get” a book.

Sunshine, I would go ballistic :o if I met a word that I did not know :shock: and could not infer :( its meaning from the context! Whilst I do not own a French dictionary (because I have not yet had the need to), I certainly would have a huge system glitch :cry: if I were to encounter such a word. Glossing over it would be a serious override of my OCD protocol. :lol:
Last edited by Skynet on Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Skynet
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Re: SKYNET goes online! World domination log.

Postby Skynet » Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:11 am

To be honest, I thought that I could "rest" until Monday whilst just reading and listening to RFI: Le Journal en Francais Facile, the Raconte-moi des histoires series and the Martine series. The rest of the time has been "invested" haunting every French and German corner that I can find on this forum. After all, nothing is more productive than spending so much time reading about language learning instead of actually learning a language, right? (sarcasm level = infinity!) I wonder how many people here are guilty of this? Instead, I have been fighting the urge to do another sprint with Assimil Using French (70 lessons) and Living Language Ultimate: Advanced French (20 lessons). This challenge seems to be extremely reasonable by my standard, so that's what I am going to embark on today. Please note that these courses are in addition to RFI, Raconte-moi and Martine. :)

I did ask this and am still to be responded to by the forum's knowledgeable and helpful denizens:

NB: If there are German equivalents to RFI: Le Journal en Francais Facile, please inform me!!!
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Re: SKYNET goes online! World domination log.

Postby Elenia » Sat Sep 01, 2018 1:38 pm

Skynet wrote:I wonder how many people here are guilty of this?


As charged.

Of course, this is better than the alternative where I don't go on the forum and instead spend all my time twiddling my thumbs. I get some guilt when I'm here, so at least I feel like I should do something so that my privilege of walking the shining halls does not get revoked :lol:
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