Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

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joecleland
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Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby joecleland » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:37 pm

I am currently on DAY 43 of my language learning journey.

I'm not sure how to kick one of these off. My name is Joe Cleland and I'm 30 years old. I was born and raised in the U.S. and only speak English. I am a big Montreal Canadiens fan (don't hold that against me) and have always wanted to be able to understand what's being said during the games on TV (without CC). Once in a while someone will say something to me in French, if I'm wearing a Habs hat, and I always disliked that I couldn't communicate back. French is such a beautiful language and recently I decided I was going to learn it myself. My grandfather is in his final stages of Alzheimer's and this has been on the male side of my family. With the many health benefits of learning a language, I feel like I am extra motivated with this one particular reason alone. On top of everything mentioned, I am getting married and will be able to spend a few days in France 6.5 months from now. This means I have given myself a total of 8 months to learn, review, and practice as much as I can until I get to speak French in person. My ultimate goal is to be conversationally fluent within this time frame. I know it is ambitious, but I am very structured and passionate about achieving this goal.

For the first 30 days, I studied/reviewed between 1-2 hours every day (no days off). I have completed Level 1 of Pimsleur (completing each lesson twice). I did a review of the previous lesson every morning and the new lesson at night. I would have to stop the audio to think of the response a lot, but I made sure I understood and was able to get the pronunciation correctly and respond before moving forward. I would also review the flash cards on the mobile app before and after my lessons. Throughout the day, I would listen to rfi.fr radio, podcasts (Je Parle Baguette- Charles), YouTube, or artists on Spotify (mostly Stromae). At night, I would try to watch something in French on Netflix. I have completed 2 seasons of Marseilles, and 3 seasons of Call my Agent with English subtitles. I noticed a few words that I learned during this time but also noticed how fast they speak French in Call my Agent.

Once I have completed the Pimsleur Level 1 French course, I started Assimil French with Ease immediately (still no days off). I am doing one lesson a day. With the course I purchased, each audio file is included so I transfer every sentence and the entire lesson to Anki. This process takes maybe 15-20 minutes. I put the audio file and french language on one side and then the English translation on the other. I found this is helping me so much. I've noticed everyone seems to have their own way of using Assimil. I tried to passively study it but my brain doesn't allow me to let it go without knowing what everything means. For this reason, I have been actively studying between 1-2 hours of Assimil every day. I make sure I can translate French to English and then English to French before closing the book. Today I will be completing lesson 13 in Assimil. Oh...and I also purchased Gabriel Wyner's Most Awesome Word List You've Ever Seen with 625 most common words. I put between 5-10 words (1-page) on average every day from the book into my Anki deck. That is just a supplemental thing I am doing. Like the Assimil deck, the French word and audio is on one side and this time a picture and English translation is on the other. The way I have it set up is they will both finish around the same time +/- a few days. I plan on completing all 113 lessons with the Active approach.

I know it's only been 43 days going on a lifetime journey, but I have already learned and made good progress. Before starting Pimsleur, I couldn't even count to 3, in French. I am a firm believer in the word consistency and for this reason I do not plan on taking any days off. I am going to try my best. Even if this means my only exposure to the language is background noise (in French). I forgot to mention after Pimsleur, I reached out to a tutor on iTalki and I have already completed 2 lessons. I read that if your goal is to speak, why not start conversing as soon as you can? We have very very basic conversations. I spend 1 hour a week (outside of my study time) to work on pronunciation and problems I am encountering with Assimil. I have found this to be a great deal of help...and even comforting. I have purchased Harry Potter (Tome 1) à l'École des Sorciers but I've got a long way to go before digging into that. It's nice to see it on my desk to keep me motivated and know one day I will get to that level and pick it up.

As of right now, I'm not sure what I will do after Assimil but I will figure that out somewhere in a month or two. I have heard Glossika is a great option to supplement with every other day tutoring sessions on iTalki. I will keep you all in the loop. If you have read this, I appreciate any advice or guidance along the way. I have created a channel on YouTube, it's nothing fancy, I don't even edit the videos, but it's to track my pronunciation and progress along the way. If I ever feel i'm in a slump or discouraged I can look back and see how much I've grown through my studies. I am hoping around my 6-8 month mark I can create a 3-5 minute video completely in French!
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MorkTheFiddle
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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:36 pm

Hello, Joe Cleland, and welcome to the Language Learners Forum. You have set yourself a formidable goal, but you seem to have taken the correct first steps. I am not going to give you a lot of specific advice, because (a) I don't have much and (2) several other members are far more qualified.

First, be sure to check out the Wiki whose link is near the top right hand corner of the page. Click on that and the Wiki page's Contents will have a couple of topics that might prove useful: (1) Learning Techniques and (2) Learning and Improving Your Language. Remember that those are only suggestions. Anything I say is only a suggestion or a report of what I have done.

Conversing in French means talking and listening, and many members here, including myself, believe that listening comprehension is the hardest thing to acquire in the language learning process. One thing I did to improve my listening comprehension--at the suggestion of members of this forum--was to watch and listen for 150 hours to a familiar (to me) American TV series dubbed into French. It worked to the extent that I could understand everything said in the dubbed French by the end of the 150 hours. And it happened in the last 3 or 4 episides! My next step was not so successful. I listened to 150 hours of real French using English and French subtitles and towards the end trying no subtitles. It provided some improvement, but I don't think 150 hours were enough.

Besides listening practice, you will also need vocabulary. The fastest way to pick up vocabulary is by reading. I have no special advice on what you should read, except that you will need to pick up as much French slang as you can along the way. One source of some French slang is a free on-line magazine called Madmoizelle. All credit for mentioning this has to go to member EMK, who first introduced it. Also, be aware that Madmoizelle is geared to an audience of young women.

Finally, if you have the hours you'll need to invest in your study, I think you should reach your goal in 8 months. I'm not saying you are going to be splendiferous, but you should be able to get by in many ordinary situations with a minimum of angst.
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Tu sabes cuando sales pero no sabes cuando regresas.

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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby Cenwalh » Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:26 am

I have a suggestion of a YouTube channel that you might find useful: https://www.youtube.com/user/aliceayel

The presenter tells stories fully in French, but speaks slowly, rephrasing things using synonyms and makes drawings of the main parts so beginners understand what's being said. It could be a good introduction to extended spoken French.
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joecleland
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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby joecleland » Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:28 am

MorkTheFiddle wrote:First, be sure to check out the Wiki whose link is near the top right hand corner of the page. Click on that and the Wiki page's Contents will have a couple of topics that might prove useful: (1) Learning Techniques and (2) Learning and Improving Your Language. Remember that those are only suggestions. Anything I say is only a suggestion or a report of what I have done.


Thank you for this. After your suggestions, I have some very useful information.

MorkTheFiddle wrote:Finally, if you have the hours you'll need to invest in your study, I think you should reach your goal in 8 months. I'm not saying you are going to be splendiferous, but you should be able to get by in many ordinary situations with a minimum of angst.


I do not anticipate a massive vocabulary, colloquial understandings, perfect pronunciation, etc. especially in such a short period of time. I do however, expect to be at a low intermediate level and able to have a basic conversation...hopefully :) i'll keep my fingers crossed that i reach my goal. However, after I come back from France, I intend to pick up where I left off to get to an upper intermediate. This is my overall goal.
1 x

    Complete
  • Pimsleur French Level 1 - 30/30 Lessons

    Currently Using
  • Assimil French with Ease - 36/113 Lessons (32%)
  • The Most Awesome Word List You Have Ever Seen - 300/625 Words (48%)

    Thinking about using
  • Glossika
  • Assimil Using French

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joecleland
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Location: Saint Petersburg, FL
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Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 18#p147718
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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby joecleland » Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:29 am

Cenwalh wrote:I have a suggestion of a YouTube channel that you might find useful: https://www.youtube.com/user/aliceayel

The presenter tells stories fully in French, but speaks slowly, rephrasing things using synonyms and makes drawings of the main parts so beginners understand what's being said. It could be a good introduction to extended spoken French.


Thank you very much. I will check her out!
0 x

    Complete
  • Pimsleur French Level 1 - 30/30 Lessons

    Currently Using
  • Assimil French with Ease - 36/113 Lessons (32%)
  • The Most Awesome Word List You Have Ever Seen - 300/625 Words (48%)

    Thinking about using
  • Glossika
  • Assimil Using French

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joecleland
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Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 18#p147718
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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby joecleland » Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:46 am

Today is DAY 51 of Learning French

In my introduction, I stated one of the reasons I am learning a foreign language is for the health benefits. On Friday, my grandfather passed away after battling Alzheimer's for 9 years. I was able to do a review of my Anki deck that day and learned my new vocab words (from Fluent Forever), however my typical night session of new material was interrupted with this heartbreaking call.

I guess you can say I am 1 lesson behind, however I am going to try and make it up this weekend. I have currently completed lesson 20 of Assimil French with Ease.

I have also completed my third 1 hour iTalki session with my online tutor. I feel my private sessions are giving me a little more confidence when trying to form a sentence or speak. Also, with my tutor I feel like I know more words than I thought I actually know. This was a major boost of confidence when working through one of his prepared lessons for me. He had a reading lesson to work on my pronunciation and then I would have to answer his questions in French. Although very basic, it was new for me. I will start to create YouTube videos to add to my post for idea of how my progress sounds throughout the way.

My input this week has been strictly YouTube. Throughout the day, I have videos playing and when I feel I have heard enough or need background noise, I've been playing French music or podcasts. One artist that I have on repeat this past week is Angèle. Here is my favorite song by her...https://youtu.be/Hi7Rx3En7-k...it's definitely a more chill vibe than Sexion d'Assaut or Stromae that I have been listening to. I hope to find some more good artists in the coming weeks.

Also, I'm hoping to find another good television show to watch in French. I know people are watching American Television dubbed but I wasn't real big on tv series so I don't really have a go-to unless we're talking Game of Thrones and I don't know if I even want to go down that road LOL. I'm keeping my eyes pealed. If you're reading this or providing suggestions, I just want to let you know how awesome you are!!!
5 x

    Complete
  • Pimsleur French Level 1 - 30/30 Lessons

    Currently Using
  • Assimil French with Ease - 36/113 Lessons (32%)
  • The Most Awesome Word List You Have Ever Seen - 300/625 Words (48%)

    Thinking about using
  • Glossika
  • Assimil Using French

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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby DaveAgain » Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:21 am

joecleland wrote:One artist that I have on repeat this past week is Angèle.
She does make some very funny videos. I like the 'je veux tes yeux' one.
Also, I'm hoping to find another good television show to watch in French. I know people are watching American Television dubbed but I wasn't real big on tv series so I don't really have a go-to unless we're talking Game of Thrones and I don't know if I even want to go down that road LOL. I'm keeping my eyes pealed. If you're reading this or providing suggestions, I just want to let you know how awesome you are!!!
Some of the first french TV I watched were the 'aventures de tintin' cartoons, and 'blake et mortimer'. Documentaries are generally easier to understand than fiction, Arte.tv is where I watch most of mine.
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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby Morgana » Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:48 pm

I'm very sorry to hear about your grandfather. I hope you and your family are able to find solace in the memories you have from before this time, and in knowing your grandfather is now free of this illness and no longer suffering.

joecleland wrote:... I've been playing French music or podcasts. One artist that I have on repeat this past week is Angèle. Here is my favorite song by her...https://youtu.be/Hi7Rx3En7-k...it's definitely a more chill vibe than Sexion d'Assaut or Stromae that I have been listening to. I hope to find some more good artists in the coming weeks.
Since the quote here almost sounded like an invitation for recommendations :) I wonder if you're familiar with Yelle? Based on Angèle, Stromae... maybe you'd like her (but no worries if not!):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMeyvg1M52k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JguiLaavmoI
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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:37 pm

Please accept my condolences for your Grandfather.
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Tu sabes cuando sales pero no sabes cuando regresas.

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Re: Learning French (self-study) - Joe Cleland

Postby StringerBell » Wed Aug 28, 2019 11:09 pm

Hi Joe!

I've been collecting a list of resources for languages that I'm not learning and don't really intend to. Why? I don't know, maybe I have a problem! :lol: Or maybe it's to pass them on to other people. Anyway, here are some of the resources I've seen others recommend that you might find useful:

1) Learn French - le français naturellement with Alice Ayel

2) Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode transcripts

3) Inner French podcasts with transcripts

4) French newspaper articles for kids

5) French in Action - Learn French through these TV episodes created to help people learn French

6) There's also always LingQ - I'm not sure if you know about it. You can sign up for a free account and there's a ton of audio + text for various levels and languages.

I look forward to reading about your experience learning French!
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