French (my work so far and looking for recommendations)

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amadus
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French (my work so far and looking for recommendations)

Postby amadus » Fri Feb 05, 2021 6:08 pm

So, I've been occasionally lurking on this site for a few months since I've decided to really give French a try and some of the posts have been very helpful! I'm in a little bit of a rut and am looking for any recommendations going forward. I started studying around August 2020.
Briefly here's what I have done so far in French:

Assimil New French with Ease (following standard protocol)--1st wave done, 2nd wave on lesson 76
Pimsleur - I haven't been consistent with this--about halfway through French II
Assimil Using French -- on lesson 13 passive
Michel Thomas French -- listened through once
Language Transfer French -- listened through once (I think I did the whole thing)
FSI (with my wife)-- almost through Unit 2
Assimil French without Toil (with my daughter) -- passive wave I think we're on about lesson 24
Inner French podcast -- listened with occasionally looking at script up to number 27

There are some other things too I'm sure. I can understand quite a bit of French, but I'm concerned--I would really like to get conversational before this summer when I have a trip to France planned.

Any recommendations?
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Re: French (my work so far and looking for recommendations)

Postby lusan » Fri Feb 05, 2021 8:53 pm

amadus wrote:So, I've been occasionally lurking on this site for a few months since I've decided to really give French a try and some of the posts have been very helpful! I'm in a little bit of a rut and am looking for any recommendations going forward. I started studying around August 2020.
Briefly here's what I have done so far in French:

Assimil New French with Ease (following standard protocol)--1st wave done, 2nd wave on lesson 76
Pimsleur - I haven't been consistent with this--about halfway through French II
Assimil Using French -- on lesson 13 passive
Michel Thomas French -- listened through once
Language Transfer French -- listened through once (I think I did the whole thing)
FSI (with my wife)-- almost through Unit 2
Assimil French without Toil (with my daughter) -- passive wave I think we're on about lesson 24
Inner French podcast -- listened with occasionally looking at script up to number 27


Welcome...French is a really beautiful language.
Suggestions?
1. Define goal. 2. Choose a single method and finish it. Avoid scattering energy and you will get there sooner.

amadus wrote:There are some other things too I'm sure. I can understand quite a bit of French, but I'm concerned--I would really like to get conversational before this summer when I have a trip to France planned.

Any recommendations?


For conversation I would use FSI - It will take many hours... After Assimil! That put you into 1+ year of intense study.

However, I would suspect that people will speak to you in English during your visit to France. For travelling, I would use ENGLISH plus a little tourist book. Sorry to say it, but that was my experience when I got to France and Poland. Everybody would speak in English as soon as I opened my mouth.
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Re: French (my work so far and looking for recommendations)

Postby smallwhite » Fri Feb 05, 2021 9:37 pm

Since you’ve already done Michel Thomas French -
You can find its sentences on Quizlet. Practise them over and over with Quizlet. Read or listen to a sentence in English, then translate it out loud in French, then listen to the French, then read along the French. Next sentence.
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amadus
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Re: French (my work so far and looking for recommendations)

Postby amadus » Fri Feb 05, 2021 9:57 pm

lusan wrote:
amadus wrote:So, I've been occasionally lurking on this site for a few months since I've decided to really give French a try and some of the posts have been very helpful! I'm in a little bit of a rut and am looking for any recommendations going forward. I started studying around August 2020.
Briefly here's what I have done so far in French:

Assimil New French with Ease (following standard protocol)--1st wave done, 2nd wave on lesson 76
Pimsleur - I haven't been consistent with this--about halfway through French II
Assimil Using French -- on lesson 13 passive
Michel Thomas French -- listened through once
Language Transfer French -- listened through once (I think I did the whole thing)
FSI (with my wife)-- almost through Unit 2
Assimil French without Toil (with my daughter) -- passive wave I think we're on about lesson 24
Inner French podcast -- listened with occasionally looking at script up to number 27


Welcome...French is a really beautiful language.
Suggestions?
1. Define goal. 2. Choose a single method and finish it. Avoid scattering energy and you will get there sooner.

amadus wrote:There are some other things too I'm sure. I can understand quite a bit of French, but I'm concerned--I would really like to get conversational before this summer when I have a trip to France planned.

Any recommendations?


For conversation I would use FSI - It will take many hours... After Assimil! That put you into 1+ year of intense study.

However, I would suspect that people will speak to you in English during your visit to France. For travelling, I would use ENGLISH plus a little tourist book. Sorry to say it, but that was my experience when I got to France and Poland. Everybody would speak in English as soon as I opened my mouth.


I fully expect to continue all the way through FSI (if my wife is willing), but we definitely won't finish before July. I think that you are right about English speakers in France, unfortunately... However, I have had to make some phone calls for reservations, etc. and got by with passable French--that was a huge boost to my motivation.

I forgot to mention that I have also done 8 chapters in French in Action (with the workbook, etc.) and have just finished my first week of Glossika GMS.
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Re: French (my work so far and looking for recommendations)

Postby amadus » Fri Feb 05, 2021 10:00 pm

smallwhite wrote:Since you’ve already done Michel Thomas French -
You can find its sentences on Quizlet. Practise them over and over with Quizlet. Read or listen to a sentence in English, then translate it out loud in French, then listen to the French, then read along the French. Next sentence.


Great idea! I'll get on this when I have free time. I also have a more advanced MT course and will probably do that. I was planning on listening to the original course again with my daughter. I know the method gets some flak, but I found it quite helpful early on.

I started MT German this week and really have enjoyed it as well. I find German so much harder than French (I'm through like 24 lessons of passive Assimil).
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Re: French (my work so far and looking for recommendations)

Postby kanewai » Fri Feb 05, 2021 10:06 pm

I think it's possible to reach a decent conversational level by midsummer, with the right focus. And contrary to almost everyone else's experiences, I found that most people in France did not automatically switch to English. The only exception was the heavily touristed area in the Latin Quarter in Paris. My thoughts below are focused on you trying to become conversational:

Michel Thomas French
Language Transfer French


- These were great to start with. Check.

Assimil New French with Ease
Assimil Using French
Assimil French without Toil


- That's so much Assimil! As much as I love the program, I find it's most useful for learning to read, and learning to hear the language. I haven't found it useful for learning to speak. There's just not enough repetition for anything to stick. I'd scale this back & just use one of the books.

Pimsleur

- This is probably the best for developing conversational ability. There's not a lot of vocabulary, but the repetition makes many basic patterns start to feel natural. If you're budget allows, I'd focus more here, and continue on through all five levels. Pimsleur 3 felt like a half-step to me (more like a level 2.5), but levels 4 and 5 have you working on more complex tenses than just past, present, and future.

- It's worth the investment. I don't think I could ever face working my way through the first three levels of Pimsleur again. However, the conversations in the advanced levels felt more natural, and I've reused them prior to trips to jump-start my speaking ability.

FSI

- This is also where I'd recommend putting your time and energy.

- The only new material you might consider is Phonétique progressive du français. I've worked through it once, and I will probably work through it again soon.
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Re: French (my work so far and looking for recommendations)

Postby jeffers » Sat Feb 06, 2021 12:02 am

I don't often disagree with Kanewai, but I am going to on this occasion. You have the Assimil, I assume you like Assimil, so stick with it but use it in a way to develop your speaking: shadow the hell out of it. This will give you the repetition that Kanewai says it doesn't have (which again, I disagree with because part of the Assimil method is that you should be listening to completed lessons often), and it will give your tongue and brain quite a workout!

I haven't shadowed Assimil French, but before my last two visits to India I shadowed Assimil Hindi and I found it absolutely loosened my tongue in a way it had never been before even when I lived in India. Pimsleur is good for developing your speaking and your accent, but the conversations are rather limited in scope and the constant English feedback is too much of a crutch, and you are pausing after every sentence. The Assimil lessons are more like full conversations. By all means continue to work on your Pimsleur lessons, and try to get through as many as possible before your trip, but make a daily habit of shadowing Assimil. How do you shadow? Basically it is trying to speak the lesson out loud at the same time as you are listening to it. The man who coined the term said it was best to do while walking and I found that to be the case as well. In the weeks before visiting India each evening I popped my earphones in and went for a half hour walk shadowing Assimil Hindi.

You haven't mentioned any sort of watching or TV, but if you are going to speak to real French people then you need to at least get used to what it sounds like at a regular pace. For your purposes right now, I would suggest finding something that you could keep watching new episodes of until the regularity of it makes anything new in it familiar. For example, before my last trip to France a few years back I started watching every daily episode of Plus belle la vie, a soap opera. I'm no fan of soap operas, but it was a great aid to my ability to participate in conversations when I got there because most of the show is just a variety of people having a variety of conversations. Other suggestions would be to watch a game show regularly, or something like C'est du gâteau (aka Nailed it! France).

Finally, if your goal is speaking then you really need to find a way to practice speaking with someone. I still haven't done this myself with any of my languages, but a tutor or language exchange partner seems to be a great idea. Because you want to be conversational by this summer, I would try to do this as soon as possible.
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Re: French (my work so far and looking for recommendations)

Postby kanewai » Sat Feb 06, 2021 6:01 am

jeffers wrote:I don't often disagree with Kanewai, but I am going to on this occasion. You have the Assimil, I assume you like Assimil, so stick with it but use it in a way to develop your speaking: shadow the hell out of it.
Ahh, we're not so far apart here! Shadowing the hell out of Assimil sounds like a good approach, and I might try it myself soon. I was more struck by the use of three Assimil courses, rather than the use of Assimil itself.
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Re: French (my work so far and looking for recommendations)

Postby issemiyaki » Sat Feb 06, 2021 12:34 pm

Hi,

I was where you were. Frustrated and convinced that audiobooks would, in the end, give me what I was looking for. Well, books (and audiobooks!) are a GREAT start for sure!

But, I would strongly recommend that you find a tutor on iTalki, A.S.A.P., like yesterday! They are reasonably priced and you can even pick which country your tutor hails from. (Warning: you have to shop around to find the right tutor, but it's doable.)

Also, you must be consistent. I have seen amazing results thanks to meeting with my tutor online, consistently, week in and week out, often, SEVERAL times a week. This is the work that I had to do.

And if you remember only one thing from this post, remember this! Make sure your online tutor uses an external microphone, particularly if we're dealing with French. Many will say: "Oh, yes. I have a microphone built into my computer." Bull ! Tell them to call you back when they have ordered their EXTERNAL microphone from Amazon. That is: either the microphone is part of a HEADSET, or it's a stand-alone microphone that you need to PLUG INTO the computer. And do not bend on this! This is YOUR progress we're talking about. iPhone headphones are ALSO not acceptable in my book.

French is a very slippery language and you can easily mishear things. "d'heure en heure," might sound like "RUR," and trust me, the list goes on and on.

With a good microphone, you can CLEARLY, and I repeat CLEARLY hear everything that comes out of their mouths. Which will be key for you, particularly if you're seeking to bolster your conversation skills, because you can't respond to what you don't understand, or to what you misunderstood. I can't tell you how many tutors I have dropped because they wouldn't invest in an external microphone. Are you kidding me? I they aren't willing to step up their game and offer a professional-level product, then they don't deserve your hard-earned money.

So, I would recommend that you find a tutor on one of those exchange platforms, like iTalki, and start talking away.
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Re: French (my work so far and looking for recommendations)

Postby lusan » Sat Feb 06, 2021 4:14 pm

issemiyaki wrote:Hi,

But, I would strongly recommend that you find a tutor on iTalki, A.S.A.P., like yesterday! They are reasonably priced and you can even pick which country your tutor hails from. (Warning: you have to shop around to find the right tutor, but it's doable.)

Also, you must be consistent. I have seen amazing results thanks to meeting with my tutor online, consistently, week in and week out, often, SEVERAL times a week. This is the work that I had to do.


Indeed....
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