French In Action, as a learning device?

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Carmody
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Carmody » Fri Apr 07, 2017 5:59 pm

Thoughts on getting through FIA the final chapter # 52.

The Pros
*The extreme wealth in depth and breadth of material
*Having spent 8---e-i-g-h-t--- months of my life on this, I now know where I want to drill down and spend my time on the different parts of the course material.
*It is not a perfect course but I am not a perfect student. For me this is as good as it gets. No regrets.
*What I found of critical importance is that learning French for me is all about
*Importance of Reviewing. Anybody can go through this material but it is in the review that one soaks up the details and learns.

The Cons
*The guilt that the course engenders over not doing each and every exercise is very considerable. Capretz, the author, says at the beginning of each chapter that one is not expected to get everything the first time through.
*That the grammar was not as extensive as it might have been.

Thanks
My thanks to Tom Gosse for getting me going on this course. Without him, I would never have invested this amount of my life in it.

My thanks to rdearman for reminding me that language learning is "hard work." This FIA is hard work, for me at least.

My hope is for people not to give up on FIA. Take a bit from it and then come back repeatedly through successive ‘waves of review’ to get more. It will always be able to be of help to you, but only if you keep on keeping on with it.
FIA really is not a course and certainly not for beginners, rather it is a library of material that is arranged in orderly fashion and that one needs to keep revisiting. The Workbook and the 100 plus pages of notes that I have taken since the start will be excellent material for me to use for further review.

Finally, it is my hope that this FIA thread will be of help to those who wish to give a go at FIA. It will repay the effort put into it.
Last edited by Carmody on Fri Apr 07, 2017 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby jeffers » Fri Apr 07, 2017 6:04 pm

By the way, the Man in Black has a slightly increasing role as the story moves on.

Speaking of the story, I have to say I was disappointed with the way the story progressed. You spend a lot of lessons waiting for something to actually happen, but most of the episodes just talk about what they will be talking about and it's really only near the end that the story actually moves forward. No spoilers here, but the final episode is all story and no lesson. I think what happened is they ran out of episodes, so just ended it rather abruptly.

I think I would have felt differently about it if I was doing the full course, but I was just watching the videos so the story was the main driver keeping me interested in continuing.


EDIT: a big congratz! on finishing FIA, Carmody.
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Elexi » Fri Apr 07, 2017 7:25 pm

Congratulations - that is a major achievement - and in so short a time. :ugeek:

As to reviewing I totally agree - it is essential to getting to the core of FIA. It is heavy lifting though - I am still building my Memrise course of the vocabulary and workbook sentences - the data entry and extraction of the audio is tiring in itself.
Last edited by Elexi on Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Carmody
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Carmody » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:03 pm

What is surprising is that no one ever mentions the fact that Capretz and Abetti put in a Herculean effort to record all those audio files and they never let the side down once. Really impressive in my book.
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Xenops » Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:38 am

It your comment earlier, Carmody, that made me start harvesting sentences from FIA so I don't forget the content. I've started putting them in Anki, and I will make progress when my semester is over.
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Carmody » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:36 am

Glad to hear my FIA comments are of some help to you. Since you sound concerned in your Log re pronunciation you may wish to focus on the Audio Files part of FIA since there are so many.

And congratulations on your great progress with the pronunciation and being able to understand what the teacher said in French when you visited her.

You sound at maybe a B2 or C1 level. Well done! You are far more advanced than I am but I wish you well.
Last edited by Carmody on Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Elexi » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:29 am

A tip if one wants to enter FIA sentences into Anki, etc is to buy a smart phone scanner app that comes with OCR - For example I use an app called Scanbot. I saves a great deal of time and the OCR allows one to cut and past from pdf into a word processor. I can probably enter all the workbook sentences in a chapter in about 5-10 minutes.

I also scan books and courses to PDF using Scanbot - the ability to transfer it to my tablet and use the dictionary link for words I don't know has made it a breeze compared to the past.
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Xenops » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:50 pm

Carmody wrote:Glad to hear my FIA comments are of some to you. Since you sound concerned in your Log re pronunciation you may wish to focus on the Audio Files part of FIA since there are so many.

And congratulations on your great progress with the pronunciation and being able to understand what the teacher said in French when you visited her.

You sound at maybe a B2 or C1 level. Well done! You are far more advanced than I am but I wish you well.


You are too kind. :D I should have specified in my log: the instructor spoke to me initially in French, which consisted of "have a seat", "do you have the dialogue with you? Read it aloud", etc. After I read the first part of the dialogue, she switched to English.

Elexi wrote:A tip if one wants to enter FIA sentences into Anki, etc is to buy a smart phone scanner app that comes with OCR - For example I use an app called Scanbot. I saves a great deal of time and the OCR allows one to cut and past from pdf into a word processor. I can probably enter all the workbook sentences in a chapter in about 5-10 minutes.

I also scan books and courses to PDF using Scanbot - the ability to transfer it to my tablet and use the dictionary link for words I don't know has made it a breeze compared to the past.


Thank you for the tip. I know I make cards in a laborious fashion, but I find that is when I first really start learning the word or sentence structure, by typing every part out. No, I don't make cards quickly, but if I over learn when I make the card, I think I'm accomplishing the same thing. ;)
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Seneca » Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:44 pm

Carmody,
In terms of the grammar not being as extensive as it could be, do you mean in absolute terms or simply in comparison to the amount of vocabulary (or whatever metric you are measuring)? What I mean is, do you still get all the grammar you need to get to X level, or is it actually skimpy and you would have a 10,000-word vocab but only know a Michel Thomas/Dover Essential's worth of grammar? <---an exaggeration to clarify the question.
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Carmody » Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:32 pm

Seneca, that is a totally fair question, and thanks for the clarification.

I believe FIA is strong on vocab, oral, and cultural aspects. It does have a lot of grammar but not as much as it could. Your suggestion for a clearly defined metric here is totally fair and I am puzzled how I might provide it. The only thing I think I can say is that it does provide considerable grammar for the language learning level it addresses but not in the depth and breadth that it does on Oral skills. In summary it is a great beginning and a good basis to build on for future learning.

Just by way of full disclosure, I am at A2 and I feel that I never get enough grammar. I need to learn lots more.

I think FIA is a really worthwhile course but only if it is handled correctly. One should not get bogged down by doing each and every exercise in the textbook and the workbook. Maybe think of it as a museum where you walk through spending more time some places rather than others. The big thing is to not get bogged down in one place but to keep moving. Then after your initial walk through (or the first wave) of the course lasting maybe 8-16 months, then you can go back and focus where you chose.

The major thing is to not let it grind you down but to keep your interest and momentum going.
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