Zelda's French Log (+ Modern Greek)

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zjones
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Zelda's French Log (+ Modern Greek)

Postby zjones » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:55 pm

Hello!

I've been lurking on this forum for a few weeks, and I finally gave in and registered an account. I've had a love affair with French language and French history for as long as I can remember, but I never actually learned the language since I was homeschooled and had limited access to language-learning resources. I'm in my mid-20's now and I find myself with lots of free time to study whatever I want, so I figured that now was as good a time as any to really dive into learning a language. There was no question about which language -- I've always known it was going to be French.

Past Forays into French

In the last few months, I almost finished my Duolingo French tree. Only when Duolingo pushed their new update (the "Crowns" system) did I realize that Duolingo was not getting me anywhere close to where I wanted to be. So I decided to do some research, and that's when I found this forum. I was amazed! I was a victim of popular language marketing schemes, like "No need to learn grammar!" and "Learn like a child!" and "You must have full immersion, and you will become fluent in two days!" and even "Language learning should be easy." (I exaggerate, but you get the point.) I believed this information even though it was completely contrary to the way I learn. My preferred learning method is to learn slowly, build a solid foundation, understand why as much as possible, and use lots of workbooks. (I really love workbooks...)

It was with great relief that I started reading all the opinions here, as well as the authentic advice that learning a language was indeed going to be difficult. I decided, after a few weeks of deliberation, to quit Duolingo, purchase the Assimil Français course (the one that used to be called New French with Ease), practice my pronunciation with FSI Phonology, and attempt to increase both the depth and breadth of my knowledge with any other supplements I could find. I'm not yet to the point where I can consume native media, but I'm hoping that it won't be too many months before that's possible.

Current French Study (updated 10/22/2018)

  • Harry Potter Tome 4
  • Grammaire Progressive du Français Niveau Perfectionnement
  • Watching Netflix and YouTube videos in French
  • Additional study (I have a running list of topics to study, I just pick a few and run with them)

Retired or Completed Resources

  • Coffee Break French: 1 podcast per day (retired for now)
  • Easy French Step-by-Step: 30 minutes per day
  • French Pronunciation System (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cc_X4Ho ... 3dxwP&t=0s)
  • Kwiziq: 1 month of premium, Gold in A1, Silver in A2, Bronze in B1
  • Assimil French With Ease (2014 version): 1 lesson per day + active wave lesson (completed all of passive wave, half of active wave)
  • Harry Potter Tomes 1, 2, 3
  • Intermediate French Podcast (retired)

Modern Greek

I added Modern Greek to my studies on Oct 22, 2018, after a very brief bout with German which I was not enchanted by. I am using these resources for Greek:

Last edited by zjones on Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:31 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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indeclinable
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby indeclinable » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:50 pm

zjones wrote:I was a victim of popular language marketing schemes, like "No need to learn grammar!" and "Learn like a child!" and "You must have full immersion, and you will become fluent in two days!" and even "Language learning should be easy." (I exaggerate, but you get the point.) I believed this information even though it was completely contrary to the way I learn. My preferred learning method is to learn slowly, build a solid foundation, understand why as much as possible, and use lots of workbooks. (I really love workbooks...)


Hi, I'm sorry that you had such bad experiences with "Non-explicit-grammar" methods. I do consider Duolingo and such sites a scam. But I am a fierce defender of "Non explicit grammar methods" and I believe that the only two French courses that are done well enough to actually teach you the language without explicit grammar explanations are Jensen's Le Français par la «méthode nature» and the old Berlitz method. I've had tremendous success and I'm currently relearning everything from scratch. Truth to be told this approach requires a different kind of effort, but it has the advantage of being very graduate and intuitive.

In my experience, unless you happen to have one of those incredibly controlling I-have-to-know-it-all personalities that has to have everything organised learning through a non-grammar based method is fun and stress-free.

If you wish to know more about the scientific background of non-explicit-grammar methods you might want to look up Stephen Krashen's Theory of Second Language Acquisition, or take a look at any modern book about teaching language methodology.

Assimil is also a great choice and I'd be thrilled to hear your comments on it. There's also a ton of excellent YouTube channels that can help out (like Français avec Pierre, Français Authentique or Grammaire Française).
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Omnis lingua usu potius discitur quam praeceptis, id est audiendo, legendo, relegendo, imitationem manu et lingua temptando quam creberrime. – Iohannes Amos Comenius

garyb
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby garyb » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:37 am

Good luck on your French journey! Assimil is a great choice: I think it strikes a good balance in terms of how much explicit grammar it teaches, although some do supplement it with other grammar study, and the language is modern. I'm not a fan of the FSI Phonology course and I struggle to understand why it's recommended so often - it's dull and misses some important points - but learning the sounds is very important and it's better than nothing. I've seen a couple of people recommend CLE's "Phonétique progressive du français" as a better alternative, although it's not free. I wish I had had something like that at the start of my French learning.
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Carmody
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby Carmody » Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:49 pm

Bienvenue et bon courage!
:D
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zjones
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby zjones » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:58 pm

garyb wrote:Good luck on your French journey! Assimil is a great choice: I think it strikes a good balance in terms of how much explicit grammar it teaches, although some do supplement it with other grammar study, and the language is modern. I'm not a fan of the FSI Phonology course and I struggle to understand why it's recommended so often - it's dull and misses some important points - but learning the sounds is very important and it's better than nothing. I've seen a couple of people recommend CLE's "Phonétique progressive du français" as a better alternative, although it's not free. I wish I had had something like that at the start of my French learning.


Hi! Thanks for the tip! FSI Phonology is pretty dry. After about one lesson, I feel like banging my head against the wall, but it's still doable. I will check out CLE's phonetic course, even though I'm hesitant to spend more money at this point.
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zjones
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby zjones » Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:15 pm

April 17, 2018

Sadly, my Assimil course hasn't even shipped yet, so it won't arrive until next week. I'm anxious to get my hands on it!

Yesterday I came across an interesting website, Une dictée par jour, http://unedicteeparjour.fr. The entire website is in French, and it took me awhile to figure out what to do. Essentially it's a website for practicing dictation. Each dictation is graded by difficulty. From easiest to hardest: vert, bleu, rouge et noir. I did a short vert dictation yesterday, Neige et Soleil. My listening skills are not great, but I got most of it right. I think I had about ~11 errors, many of which were venial.

I also had some fun looking around the RFI website. I was a little disappointed with my listening comprehension (which is most certainly at A1), but I assume that it will improve with time. I'm starting to recognize patterns and sounds more easily.

Oh, there's one other book I ordered from Powell's when I placed the order for Assimil. It's called English Grammar for Students of French and it sounds like an excellent resource for someone like me who doesn't remember much grammar.
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Lawyer&Mom
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:40 pm

Les Journal en Francais Facile. It’s a ten minute podcast from RFI that provides an overview of world news in simplified French. Just start listening to it. They have transcripts you can read or not. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t understand it all right away, the French isn’t that simplified. News is such a familiar format, lots of repetition of vocabulary, and you may already be familiar with the stories being covered.
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Carmody
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby Carmody » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:48 pm

Yes I practice with Une dictée par jour. I am still at the beginners level, so I listen to the readings in Green.

Good luck.
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zjones
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Re: Zelda's French Log

Postby zjones » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:58 am

April 19, 2018

I thought my Assimil course was supposed to arrive this week, but it hasn't even shipped out of the warehouse yet. Boo. :|

I've had a blast working through this short playlist on French Pronunciation from the University of Michigan: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBZcHkPESuK-2a6SHfP45aJSGp8a3dxwP. The videos are a little old, but I found them extremely helpful. I definitely needed some help differentiating between the French nasal vowels.

My experience with Lingvist has been... meh. Most of the vocabulary seems to be geared toward a working environment, which doesn't apply to me, so I find the sentences to be boring and humorless. Maybe I will go back to Duolingo for a little while.

I have a short list of vocabulary words that I'd like to remember, but I'm not sure what I should be doing with the list. I tried making a deck in Anki, but the creation of the deck was a chore so I quit. I was also trying to attach Forvo sound files, so maybe I was getting too ambitious? There's a pile of index cards in the office, so I'm considering taking the old-fashioned flashcard route.

So, my changes this week will be:

* Take some time off from Lingvist, and start using Duolingo again
* Decide on a method to learn basic IPA for French vowels and consonants
* Make an Anki deck or flashcards... doesn't matter which one, just do it
* Make an effort to get in more listening practice
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Postby Morgana » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:16 am

Last edited by Morgana on Mon Nov 25, 2019 5:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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