Amanda's 2024 Log: Spanish, French, and German

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philomath
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Amanda's 2024 Log: Spanish, French, and German

Postby philomath » Mon Jan 01, 2024 5:07 am

Happy New Year! As always, I've made a new language log. My previous ones are listed below:


I generally let my travel plans determine what languages I focus on, and 2024 is no different. I'm planning to go to Puerto Rico, Mexico City, and Spain this year, so Spanish will be my focus. In fact, I've decided to take the DELE B2 exam in late November. This will be my first language proficiency exam, so I'm a little nervous, but also excited!

However, I still want to improve my French and German. For French, I would like to take at least one iTalki lesson per month. For German, I want to finish Assimil and get to the point where I can start enjoying native materials. I'm in no rush to start speaking German, but it would be cool to take some iTalki lessons in the second half of the year.

I've also been using these language logs to keep track of my creative writing projects. This year, I want to spend at least 15 minutes per day on writing. (Brainstorming writing projects will count as well.) Even though 15 minutes doesn't sound like much, I think building consistency is key to making more progress with my writing.
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Re: Amanda's 2024 Log: Spanish, French, and German

Postby philomath » Mon Jan 01, 2024 5:07 am

Reserving this space for a table of contents, links to resources, or other useful things
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Re: Amanda's 2024 Log: Spanish, French, and German

Postby philomath » Sat Jan 06, 2024 1:15 pm

01Jan24–05Jan24

Spanish
I started rewatching the first season of La casa de papel, without subtitles. I also wrote two islands, one about myself in general and one about how I learned Spanish. Right now, my biggest complaint about my level in Spanish is that my pronunciation is so rusty. I practiced speaking by myself around the house and kept getting tongue-tied. I think I just need to practice more. Reading some articles out loud would probably help.

French
Now that I've gone back to work, I've resumed reading Mon mari during my commute. I'm going to New York City in a couple of weeks, and I'm very excited to stop at Albertine and pick up more books!

German
So far I've done an Assimil lesson every day this year. :D My idea to write each lesson out by hand has not lasted long though. The problem is that neither my Assimil book nor my German notebook lie flat when opened, and it's really difficult to hold both of them open and write at the same time. So now, I read the Assimil lesson very slowly, paying attention to the grammar. Then I read it again while repeating after the audio, and finally I do the exercises. On January 5 I finished Lesson 49, which means it's finally time to start the active phase!
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Re: Amanda's 2024 Log: Spanish, French, and German

Postby jackb » Sat Jan 06, 2024 2:45 pm

The problem is that neither my Assimil book nor my German notebook lie flat when opened, and it's really difficult to hold both of them open and write at the same time.


I'm a pen and paper kind of guy so I got a few Flip Klips to hold the book down. It's small and strong enough to hold town an Assimil sized books (is that a standard I don't know about?). One of my requirements for a notebook is that it has to lay flat, but you should be able to use one for that too.
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Re: Amanda's 2024 Log: Spanish, French, and German

Postby Cavesa » Sat Jan 06, 2024 3:28 pm

jackb wrote:
The problem is that neither my Assimil book nor my German notebook lie flat when opened, and it's really difficult to hold both of them open and write at the same time.


I'm a pen and paper kind of guy so I got a few Flip Klips to hold the book down. It's small and strong enough to hold town an Assimil sized books (is that a standard I don't know about?). One of my requirements for a notebook is that it has to lay flat, but you should be able to use one for that too.


Or you can use random clean objects of sufficient weight, such as other books :-) or buy a book holder, I got one, is awesome especially for huge books.
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Re: Amanda's 2024 Log: Spanish, French, and German

Postby philomath » Mon Jan 08, 2024 4:01 am

jackb wrote:I'm a pen and paper kind of guy so I got a few Flip Klips to hold the book down. It's small and strong enough to hold town an Assimil sized books (is that a standard I don't know about?). One of my requirements for a notebook is that it has to lay flat, but you should be able to use one for that too.

Thanks for the recommendation; I just ordered a couple of Flip Klips!
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Re: Amanda's 2024 Log: Spanish, French, and German

Postby philomath » Tue Jan 16, 2024 12:49 pm

06Jan24–15Jan24

Grateful to emk and rdearman for getting the forum back up and running! I'll try to summarize what I've done since my last post:

Spanish
I started doing the first practice exam in El Cronómetro Nivel B2. (I'll discuss my score and thoughts once I finish it.) I also created two islands and started memorizing them. I wasn't feeling very happy with my pronunciation, so I spent some time repeating sentences on Speechling. Finally, I started reading La sombra del viento. I bought it a long time ago but never read more than the first few chapters.

French
I finished reading Mon mari. Just in time, too, because this weekend I finally got to visit Albertine Books, a French bookstore in Manhattan. I didn't get to browse for as long as I would've liked, but I bought two books. I'll definitely go back the next time I'm in NYC!

German
I kept up a pretty good Assimil streak until my trip to New York. On the train ride back to Boston, I tried something new: doing a Pimsleur lesson without repeating the answers out loud. Basically I just listened and said the answers in my head when they prompted me for a response. I know that isn't really how you're supposed to use Pimsleur, but I haven't had time to do the lessons lately, and it must be better than not doing the lessons at all. I think I could do this on my commute sometime.
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Re: Amanda's 2024 Log: Spanish, French, and German

Postby jeffers » Tue Jan 16, 2024 3:33 pm

philomath wrote:
jackb wrote:I'm a pen and paper kind of guy so I got a few Flip Klips to hold the book down. It's small and strong enough to hold town an Assimil sized books (is that a standard I don't know about?). One of my requirements for a notebook is that it has to lay flat, but you should be able to use one for that too.

Thanks for the recommendation; I just ordered a couple of Flip Klips!


The specific problem with Assimil is that they are relatively small and very thick, so any standard tool would struggle to keep it open. Once your Flip Klips arrive, let us know how they work out!

One thing I found helpful when working on some Assimil courses was to do dictations of lessons I've already completed on the passive wave, but before I worked on them in the active phase. Basically write while listening, using the pause button as needed, and then check how good your listening was. This should also help lay a bit of a foundation for writing down the road.
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Re: Amanda's 2024 Log: Spanish, French, and German

Postby philomath » Mon Jan 22, 2024 4:35 am

16Jan24–21Jan24

Spanish
I continued doing the first practice exam in El Cronómetro, finishing the listening section and the first writing task. I also practiced my first two islands some more. When I first resumed Spanish, I felt like my pronunciation was terrible, and I was getting tongue-tied on simple sentences. I decided to do a bit of Pimsleur Spanish III, which seems to be helping. So far I've done Lessons 1-3.

On Sunday I had my first Spanish lesson in a long time, with a new teacher from Mexico. It went well! Since it was our first lesson, we just discussed general topics like language-learning. For the next lesson, we agreed to discuss an article that he will pick out.

There are so many things I want to do lately, and so little time to do them. I made a list so I won't forget anything:
  • Do practice exams
  • Listen to Radio Ambulante and other podcasts
  • Watch La casa de papel
  • Do Pimsleur Spanish III to improve my pronunciation
  • Make more islands and practice them
  • Spend some time on Quazel
  • Take iTalki lessons
  • Study grammar using The Ultimate Spanish Practice and Review
  • Read La sombra del viento
  • Read news articles and write responses
  • Write in my journal

French
I listened to an episode of Transfert.

German
I did some more Assimil and Pimsleur German II, but not much. The Flip Klip arrived in the mail and works pretty well for holding open my Assimil book! But it is hard to stay motivated with German when I'm having so much fun with Spanish.
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Re: Amanda's 2024 Log: Spanish, French, and German

Postby philomath » Mon Jan 29, 2024 3:59 am

22Jan24–28Jan24

Change of travel plans this year, because I managed to get a ticket to Wimbledon! I love London and I'm a fan of tennis, so I'm excited. That means I probably won't go to Spain this year, but oh well. We need to decide where to go for our honeymoon (July 2025) so maybe we'll pick Spain then.

Spanish
I listened to a few episodes of Radio Ambulante and watched an episode of La Casa de Papel. I also did Pimsleur Spanish III, Lessons 4 and 5.

In addition, I tried using Quazel for Spanish rather than French. They changed the tree and now you can do a placement test. It placed me in "late competent 1". The first task was an interview for a documentary filmmaking position. It was difficult because I didn't know what to say about filmmaking. In the end, I looked up a famous documentary filmmaker and tried to write from his perspective. I'm not a fan of the new Quazel though.

Finally, I had two 30-minute iTalki lessons. One was with a new teacher. He was nice and we talked about traveling, but we didn't make a plan for our next lesson. The second lesson was with the teacher from last week. It was good as well, but I wish he had corrected my grammar more, because I know I made some mistakes.

French
I had a 45-minute lesson with Kevin. Despite having focused on Spanish recently, I thought I did a pretty good job speaking French.

German
I did Assimil Lessons 57 and 58. After that, I got too busy with work and didn't make time for Assimil. I don't really enjoy the lessons, but I feel like I'm learning... I will be very happy when I finally finish though.
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