Super Challenge French/ Starting Russian again

Continue or start your personal language log here, including logs for challenge participants
User avatar
James.A.
White Belt
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:01 pm
Languages: Greek (N), English (C1), French (B2), Russian (A1), Spanish (beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9269
x 84

Super Challenge French/ Starting Russian again

Postby James.A. » Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:05 am

Hello people!
Just joined the forum, so: first post!
My plans for the next year is to focus on two languages, French and Russian.
I started learning French about one and a half year ago. I manly wanted to be able to read in the language, so I didn't paid particular attention to listening or speaking until about six months ago. Now I can read everything and I can understand about 60%-70% of the spoken language. So I decided to start the Super Challenge for French. I hope that I will be enough to complete it in a year or so. I like reading very much, so books won't be a problem. As for the films, I thing I will start with the French series "Engrenages" or the dubbed version of the "Mentalist", which I always wanted to watch.
I was learning Russian for 2-3 years. I had achieved a level of B1-B2, but now I haven't touched the language for at least 3 years. My plan is to complete the assimil Russian (the method that I had used when I was learning Russian before). I started on Monday actually. The first 10 lessons was very easy so I did them all in about an hour. I hope it will come back to me easily!
6 x
Super Challenge: French
100 films : 108 / 100 (108/100)
100 books : 104 / 100 (104/100)

Russian:
Assimil : 65 / 100 (65/100)

German:
Assimil : 19 / 100 (19/100)

User avatar
James.A.
White Belt
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:01 pm
Languages: Greek (N), English (C1), French (B2), Russian (A1), Spanish (beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9269
x 84

Re: Super Challenge French/ Starting Russian again

Postby James.A. » Sun Oct 28, 2018 4:29 am

Hello people!

Glad we are back online! The moment I jointed, it crashed!

So let me tell you what's going on. I started working towards my 100 films. I had some free time these last few days so I watched two dubbed episodes of Mentalist. I only encountered a few problems. Some subplots I didn't catch fully, but it was ok, I guess. After that, with my hopes high, I decided to watch a documentary on youtube. The concept was very interesting. It made parallels between lives of modern people and characters from Victor Hugo's Les Misérables. It was an utter disaster. I understood everything that the narrator was saying, I understand what the convicted criminal that decided to change his life was saying. But I don't have the faintest idea about what the woman that gave up her little child said, or about what that young man that volunteered to help the poors said (at least I think that that was what he was going on about!). It is really difficult understanding normal people discussing about everyday things and that is very peculiar. The other day I listened to a radio emission about antisemitism without a problem, but then I had to use the whole capacity of my poor brain in order to finally guess that the little boy was probably asking for money from the passengers in the train. Anyway, after that I watched the second Harry Potter movie (I love Harry Potter). I had no problem understanding it. I'll probably stack to dubbed films for the time being. I think that they enunciate better there.

Everything's ok with Russian. I am currently in the 14th lesson of Assimil. For the time being I remember everything almost instantly, so I think it goes well. We'll see I guess!

That's all for now! Have a nice day!
2 x
Super Challenge: French
100 films : 108 / 100 (108/100)
100 books : 104 / 100 (104/100)

Russian:
Assimil : 65 / 100 (65/100)

German:
Assimil : 19 / 100 (19/100)

User avatar
rdearman
Site Admin
Posts: 4799
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 4:18 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Languages: English (N)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1836
x 11522
Contact:

Re: Super Challenge French/ Starting Russian again

Postby rdearman » Sun Oct 28, 2018 11:32 am

James.A. wrote:Glad we are back online! The moment I jointed, it crashed!

So! We have found the culprit!

Welcome aboard, sorry for the rocky start.
4 x

User avatar
zjones
Green Belt
Posts: 462
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:22 pm
Location: Northwest USA
Languages: English (N), French (B1 certified)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9860
x 1239

Re: Super Challenge French/ Starting Russian again

Postby zjones » Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:49 pm

James.A. wrote:Hello people!
I started learning French about one and a half year ago. I manly wanted to be able to read in the language, so I didn't paid particular attention to listening or speaking until about six months ago. Now I can read everything and I can understand about 60%-70% of the spoken language.


Hi James! Welcome. I'm very impressed by your reading level after only studying French for one and a half years!
3 x

Skynet
Green Belt
Posts: 280
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:37 pm
Location: Cyprus
Languages: BILINGUAL: Shona & English
PURSUING: French (DELF B2), German (B1?), Spanish (A2?)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=8686
x 821

Re: Super Challenge French/ Starting Russian again

Postby Skynet » Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:11 pm

James.A. wrote:Hello people!
Just joined the forum, so: first post! ...
I started learning French about one and a half year ago. I manly wanted to be able to read in the language, so I didn't paid particular attention to listening or speaking until about six months ago. Now I can read everything and I can understand about 60%-70% of the spoken language.


Welcome to the forum!

If I may ask, how did you manage to achieve that level of French reading competency in just 1.5 years? That is phenomenally impressive!!! :shock:
1 x

User avatar
James.A.
White Belt
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:01 pm
Languages: Greek (N), English (C1), French (B2), Russian (A1), Spanish (beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9269
x 84

Re: Super Challenge French/ Starting Russian again

Postby James.A. » Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:09 am

Skynet wrote:
James.A. wrote:Hello people!
Just joined the forum, so: first post! ...
I started learning French about one and a half year ago. I manly wanted to be able to read in the language, so I didn't paid particular attention to listening or speaking until about six months ago. Now I can read everything and I can understand about 60%-70% of the spoken language.


Welcome to the forum!

If I may ask, how did you manage to achieve that level of French reading competency in just 1.5 years? That is phenomenally impressive!!! :shock:


Hello people!

Ok, today, instead of writing my log, I will answer Skynet's question by telling you how I started learning French.

I always wanted to learn French. I really love how the language sounds. I love the history of the country, the people, the culture... everything! The time came the April of 2017. I started with the assimil method. I have to admit that I didn't pay particular attention to the instructions. I did two or three lessons everyday and I tried to learn them almost by heart. First I was listening the recordings and then I repeated every sentence a lot of times, almost mechanically, until I felt that I really really understood the sentence. After that I was trying to translate the English text into French, which is usually forbidden when you are on the first wave. By lesson 40, I was bored to the point of depression. And then I thought about my real goal for learning French: to read Les Misérables from the original. That was always my goal for learning languages. When I got my English C1 certification I was 17 and I couldn't even watch a film without subtitles. And then I didn't concern myself with it for 2 years. Then I thought that it would be nice to read Jane Austen in English and that was the moment that I really learnt English. And then I never read anything in Greek again! I only started learning Russian in order to read War and Peace, my favourite book of all time (Which I didn't manage... YET!) and I started learning French for reading Les Misérables! So what the hell was I doing parroting without thinking stupid phrases about vacations and airports?

I downloaded a pdf of Les Misérables from the library of Quebec (it is NOT illegal!!) and I started reading... And then I found out that I understood nothing at all, which was to be expected, of course, but I am usually a stupid person. So, after I admitted the obvious fact that it was too difficult for me (it took a lot more pages than it should have for me to admit that. I'm not proud of that), I decided to built up to Les Mis starting from Le petit prince. So I bought a copy and I started underlining the words that prevented me from understanding the main idea and searching for them in my favourite site of all times, WordRefence! I was taking a note of them in the margins of the pages and then I was continuing with the book. In the meantime I was studying French grammar. I was not learning it by heart, I was just making myself comfortable with the concepts, the declensions etc. It took me two or three weeks to finish le petit prince. And then I bought a second hand French edition of a book called "Le testament de Judas". The story was about an ancient manuscript discovered in the deserts of north Africa and the dirty game that the Vatican played in order to suppress the teaching of that priceless book. You know, Da Vinci code, but with less success and more murders. I really didn't like it. It was the French translation of an English "international thriller" that nobody ever read and it was translated into French because the first two and a half pages took place in Paris and the editor could write with big letter in the front cover the first words of the first chapter: "À Paris c'etait la pire des saisons", deceiving that way most cunningly the chauvinist Parisian who wanted to read about Paris and only about Paris. I guess the existence of chauvinist Parisian is just a myth because nobody read it in France neither. Anyway, it doesn't matter. I started it and I did the same thing that I was doing with Le Petit Prince. I quit in page 90 and I never got to point where National Geographic bought the rights for the testament of Judas and nobody died.

After that, I bought the first proper book that I completed in French. It was called "Le palaquin des larmes" and it was WONDERFUL! It was the true story, narrated in the first person, of a Chinese woman that was married in the age of 13 with a much older and stupider man. She then escaped and came to France where she became a concert pianist. I am a pianist so I really felt connected with her, despite the fact that, admittedly, I am not a Chinese woman nor have I been married at 13 with a much older and stupider man nor have I ever been able to utter a single Chinese word, not for lack of trying. So I started doing the same thing. I was underlining words and phrases that I didn't understand and I was noting the meaning. By page 100 the strange words were fewer and fewer and by page 150 I decided that I knew enough. I put my pencil in the drawer and, for the first time I was just... reading. In French! When I finished the book, the November of 2017 had come and I was confident that I was ready for the big one! Les Misérables!

I bought it for 20 euro. It is a wonderful two tomes edition by édition Folio. I run home (I actually took the bus, but running is more dramatic) I sat by the window and for a moment I watched as the cold autumn wind, like a medieval witch, made dancers out the dead leaves with its icy magic spells (I live on the fifth flour. I can't even see the trees, let alone the leaves. What can I say? I love drama and cheesy phrases...), and I finally opened the book! Oh, what a wonderful feeling it was touching the wonderfully soft pages, white as cotton! What a joy it was reading the words of that gigantic symbol of French literature, the words of Victor Hugo himself, exactly as he had wrote them almost 200 years ago! Oh, what a marvellous moment! There was only a single problem. A problem so tiny and insignificant that I don't know why I mention it... I didn't understand anything in the first page. Well, almost anything. At least I was getting the main idea. So I took the above mentioned pencil out of its drawer and I started doing the same that I did with all the other books. It was Christmas and I was in page 100 when I advanced to the next step. Jean Valjean has just met the cruelty of the people of Dean and I could read without my phone nearby. By February I finished the book.

I read a lot more after that. Le chat by Simenon, L'étranger by Camus, Dora Bruder by Modiano, Bridget Jones: L'âge de raison (yes, I read that too... :roll: ). And that's the story of my studies of the French language. But it really doesn't matters because I have never spoken a word in that language. I know no one that speak it and finding a French language exchange partner online is a little bit easier that turning lead into gold.

Well I wrote a lot! It's a good exercise for the NaNoWriMo that will start in a few days! I will write a 20.000 short story words in English, which is not my native language. I hope it won't be a disaster!
10 x
Super Challenge: French
100 films : 108 / 100 (108/100)
100 books : 104 / 100 (104/100)

Russian:
Assimil : 65 / 100 (65/100)

German:
Assimil : 19 / 100 (19/100)

User avatar
Teango
Blue Belt
Posts: 567
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2015 4:55 am
Location: Honolulu, Hawaiʻi
Languages: native: en
advanced: de
intermediate: es, fr, haw, hwc, nzs, ru
basic: ase, egy, fil, ga, ja, jam, la, sco, sv, tok
wish list: fa, hi, hsl, sw, tu, zu
Language Log: https://teango.wordpress.com/
x 1734
Contact:

Re: Super Challenge French/ Starting Russian again

Postby Teango » Tue Oct 30, 2018 6:30 am

Congratulations on finishing Les Mis - I really enjoyed reading your spirited account of scaling this titanic tale! (and as you mention Camus, we'll say nothing more of Bridget Jones... ;) ). Incidentally, my wife was a big fan of "The Mentalist" when we watched it together a few years ago, so I might follow suit and seek out a French dub of the series too. Bienvenue et bonne chance, James.A.!
0 x

User avatar
zjones
Green Belt
Posts: 462
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:22 pm
Location: Northwest USA
Languages: English (N), French (B1 certified)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9860
x 1239

Re: Super Challenge French/ Starting Russian again

Postby zjones » Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:48 pm

James, I read your story about French last night, and it really inspired me! I love your enthusiasm and love for the French language. I feel the same way about reading in French -- it's so much fun. GOOD WORK on Les Mis too! I would be terrified to start such a large and impressive book.

It's very cool that you're a native Greek speaker, too. I just started learning Greek and I am absolutely captivated by the way it sounds and looks. :D
1 x

User avatar
James.A.
White Belt
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:01 pm
Languages: Greek (N), English (C1), French (B2), Russian (A1), Spanish (beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9269
x 84

Re: Super Challenge French/ Starting Russian again

Postby James.A. » Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:20 pm

Teango wrote:Congratulations on finishing Les Mis - I really enjoyed reading your spirited account of scaling this titanic tale! (and as you mention Camus, we'll say nothing more of Bridget Jones... ;) ). Incidentally, my wife was a big fan of "The Mentalist" when we watched it together a few years ago, so I might follow suit and seek out a French dub of the series too. Bienvenue et bonne chance, James.A.!


Merci beaucoup, mon ami! Oh, thank god my girlfriend doesn't like that show, so I can watch it in French! :D The dubbed version is really good! I don't particularly like the voice of the main protagonist (i.e. the mentalist himself), but at least it is not annoying, I am just nitpicking.

zjones wrote:James, I read your story about French last night, and it really inspired me! I love your enthusiasm and love for the French language. I feel the same way about reading in French -- it's so much fun. GOOD WORK on Les Mis too! I would be terrified to start such a large and impressive book.

It's very cool that you're a native Greek speaker, too. I just started learning Greek and I am absolutely captivated by the way it sounds and looks. :D


Thanks for your kind words, zjones! I'm so glad my story inspired you! French is just the best! Yes, Greek is a wonderful language! If you have any questions about it or if you need any native resources (children books, school books etc), don't hesitate to PM me! I imagine that the Greek language doesn't have that much resources. So good luck with your Greek!
Last edited by James.A. on Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:21 am, edited 2 times in total.
1 x
Super Challenge: French
100 films : 108 / 100 (108/100)
100 books : 104 / 100 (104/100)

Russian:
Assimil : 65 / 100 (65/100)

German:
Assimil : 19 / 100 (19/100)

User avatar
James.A.
White Belt
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:01 pm
Languages: Greek (N), English (C1), French (B2), Russian (A1), Spanish (beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9269
x 84

Re: Super Challenge French/ Starting Russian again

Postby James.A. » Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:14 am

Hello people!

First of all, some days ago I decided to participate to NaNoWriMo! So yesterday I was plotting my new book, which is always exciting. Why do I tell you about that, you say? It has nothing to do with foreign languages, you say? Nay, my friends! I will write it in English, which for me is a foreign language. I just realized that I have already told you about that in my previous post, so it's not news for you, but I will not change my introduction to the subject of NaNoWriMo because it took time to write it and because I like that I used the word Nay, a word that I always wanted to use and never found the opportunity. So I will write my book in English and I'm really anxious about it. Writing is from me really what I most like doing and I don't know how I will react to the fact that I won't be able to completely express myself as I do from the time I was born in my native language. I also think that it would be horrible and the language will be childish and unnatural. But I always wanted to write in English. First of all, the last 7 years of my life the vast majority of the books I have read was in English and I can remember only 1 book that I read in Greek. Furthermore, the prospects for us novelists in Greece are non existent (and for the amateur novelists that have only published short stories like me, the prospects are even more non existent :D ). So, why don't I try my luck in English? After all, Joseph Conrad was Polish and he managed it perfectly! More than perfectly actually! I think that I will create a thread in the Multilingual Room and I will post my work there every other day or so. It will be my first attempt at writing in English, so it will most probably be awful, but I feel that instant criticism would be good for my insecurity. I haven't decided yet for sure, though. We'll see!

As for my French super challenge, I decided to take a break from films and I read some books. In August I bought a French edition of Bulgakov's The Master And Margarita, so I thought about starting that. BUT on Monday I watched with my girlfriend the wonderful "Interview with a Vampire" (in English unfortunately), so I bought the French Ebook of Interview with a Vampire and started that instead. It is good but not wonderful. I think that reading it in French is a huge boost to the way the book is written. My mantra these days is "Everything sounds better in French". The book's eroticism is amplified by the sensuality of that wonderful language. It would be an interesting experiment to read it in English too. Would it feel the same? Something I read in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy came to my mind. The Guide to the Galaxy was an encyclopedia that contained everything that a Hitchhiker should know about the Galaxy. At some point someone sued the Guide for being inaccurate because this inaccuracy caused the death of a group of tourists. In court, the Guide's defence was that the way the article was written, though inaccurate, was much more poetic and beautiful than the truth. And what is more true than beauty? So the Guide was acquitted and life itself was found guilt of mere ugliness. (Or something along these lines). Well, who knows, if that inaccurate article was written in French, even life might have been a little bit less ugly. I read 100 pages, so 2 book down, 98 to go!

About Russian, I spent these days revising the 15 lessons I already did. I am more or less satisfied. Tomorrow I think I will continue and start studying 1 lesson per day every day as instructed. I will follow the instructions to the letter from now on. I promise.

Two days ago I found the sweetest video ever!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tozhe0yTAqo
(I hope it's nor restricted in your country!)

I love the song, I love the crazy trumpetist that sends kisses through his trumpet with so much passion, I love the old man with the sexiest Spanish accent in the world. But most of all I LOVE with every fibber of my existence the toothless lady that leans with such grace against the threshold! Now I have to resist to the impulse to start again Spanish. I should not do that! No! I have to follow my plan! Just French and Russian!
1 x
Super Challenge: French
100 films : 108 / 100 (108/100)
100 books : 104 / 100 (104/100)

Russian:
Assimil : 65 / 100 (65/100)

German:
Assimil : 19 / 100 (19/100)


Return to “Language logs”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests