Hello! I’ve been browsing the forum for a few months and thought I’d join to benefit from the knowledge around here, for some community, and to keep me honest! I’m English, based in the UK, now doing a job that requires me to use English quite academically each day but also leaves a fair bit of free time for outside interests. Which is where foreign languages come in! I left secondary school with French, German and Spanish at the same level (though I’d studied them for different lengths of time). I then studied French and German at university and worked in France for a while. Thanks to other massive time commitments from graduation to now, I haven’t used much of any of them for years: the occasional French and German on trips, an abandoned German course, and quite a lot of Spanish at work for a while (also a long time ago now, really) when there was no other option.
I’ve been trying to revive them over the past few months, French in particular. With the new year approaching, what better time to set some goals for the next year?!FRENCH
I want to aim to get certified at C2 level by the end of 2020. My motivation is both personal and professional: I don’t want to lose the skill and enjoy it in any case, and also want to have professional options open to me that having the certificate (and having better French!) would provide. My framework of tasks currently looks like the following:
I want to finish going through Grammaire progressive – niveau perfectionnement
. I’ve been quite diligent at going through this, doing the exercises, and making myself flashcards. I’ve then been revising my cards each day, and referring back to the book when I’ve forgotten a rule. I should start the last unité next week. I think progress might then slow down a bit as some of the chapters there look quite heavy.
Once I’ve finished that book, I want to spend my rote study time going through Vocabulaire progressif – niveau perfectionnement
. I’ll aim to go through a double-page spread a day.
I’ve just organised a tutor
for one-on-one sessions. I’m going to use these sessions to focus on my oral French for the moment. I’m listening to something on some kind of thorny contemporary issue from France Culture or equivalent and then preparing a short presentation on it. We’ll then discuss the topic. This is very painful but probably good for me! He’s also agreed to look at/correct my written work. My writing is quite strong (if I have time to think/review etc…); I’m going to try to get started with this asap but whilst the oral is still so hard, I’ll probably not put too much pressure on myself to write as well. I’ll also be able to use him to answer queries that emerge out of my reading/listening/other work.
I’m reading Code 93
(crime fiction) at the moment, and will continue with this, and the rest of the books in the series (which I deliberately chose as it’s something long-ish that I can get into). I’m looking up words as I go – I was debating the merit of doing this, but having built up a list of vocab already from other books I’ve read over the past few months, I am finding that words are reappearing, both in books and podcasts, and noticing them is helping to make them stick.
to podcasts, but this is really just a means to fill dead time, and I’m not too sure how much it is helping. I may as well continue, though, as I have to walk a lot and there’s no harm in having earphones in whilst doing so.
I’m also watching
various series/films etc. I had been doing so without looking anything up, but I have recently watched Bienvenue à Marly-Gomont writing down anything I didn’t know on a sheet of paper and looking those words up later, and found that process both efficient and helpful, whilst not spoiling my enjoyment of the film.GERMAN
Eventually I’d like C2 for German also, but I think C1 is a more realistic first step. A lower level exam is not worth actually sitting for me, so it might just take longer before I'm at a level when I can sit an exam. When I did the course I mentioned above, I tested into the C1 classes. I am so rusty though! I haven’t made as much progress with German so far, nor have I really decided what to focus on. It’ll have to adopt a similar approach to French, albeit it always feels so different as the two languages make completely different demands, and have completely different difficult spots.Grammar
: I have Hammer already, as well as the Lehr- und Übungsbuch der deutschen Grammatik, both of which pre-date the German spelling reform (which I never properly studied). I’m not entirely sold on either of them. If anyone had any recommendations as to a good advanced German grammar that suits independent study, I’d be grateful to hear it. The answer may well be that I just need to knuckle down… If so, the second book is probably the one I’ll go for, as it’s monolingual and I feel better about it.Vocabulary
: I have Using German Vocabulary and need to sit down and work with it. Again, not really feeling it so far.Tutor
: TBC. I just tested someone out and it was horrible! To the extent of putting me off German forever… I know I just need to try again but ugh.Reading
: I have read one fiction book and have just ordered others from the same series. This is the only thing I'm actually really enjoying with German at the moment. I do like the language, honest!Listening/watching
: again, I have started listening to some podcasts and watching some series. I’m going to rewatch the series I’ve finished (Criminal Germany) and note down unknown vocab. Podcasts will probably stay passive listening for the same reasons as above.SPANISH
I think this is going to have to be on my to do list, because the above workload is already quite heavy.
And that's about it! Looking forward to "meeting" you all here, and participating in this community.