Jim's log

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Jim
Orange Belt
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Jim's log

Postby Jim » Sat Apr 29, 2017 4:49 am

This is my first post on this forum. I've been learning French actively for a couple of years now, but I'm at a point where it is difficult to see the progress. My motivation isn't waning, but I do prevaricate a lot day to day. I like the idea of accountability, so hopefully this log will put me under pressure to put the hours in. Expect weekly updates.

Jim's 90 Day French Challenge

Objective
To achieve a solid B2 level in all skills and be in a position to reach C1 by the end of the year. I'm currently somewhere between B1 and B2. I can read fairly well and I'm comfortable in conversations, but I frequently make mistakes and my listening comprehension is average.

Start Date
1 May 2017 - actually this isn't a great choice because it's a public holiday in the UK and I get more done on work days, but with the start of a new month it feels more like a fresh start.

Plan
Reading
750 pages (finish La Vérité sur l'Affaire Harry Quebert and read Le Livre des Baltimore)
Also read news daily (this is already part of my daily life)

Speaking
20 hrs iTalki
30 hrs recorded (I'm most worried about this target)

Listening
50 hrs (podcasts and TV). Should be easy enough with a 40 minute commute each way.

Writing
10,000 words. I'm going to try translation on various topics to boost my vocabulary and get me out of my comfort zone.

Also
Passive to active using Richard DeLong's method
Record all past iTalki session notes and keep up to date with future ones. Review all at least 5 times.

There are also a couple of other techniques that I'm going to trial over this period, but I'll post information on that later.

Incentive
If I achieve this (or at least it hasn't ended in abject failure), I get to start learning polish (whilst continuing the French) the day after completing the challenge.

[EDITS: changing title]
Last edited by Jim on Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:58 am, edited 2 times in total.
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La hora más oscura es la que viene antes del nacimiento del sol

Merci de corriger mes erreurs !

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tomgosse
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Re: Jim's French log

Postby tomgosse » Sat Apr 29, 2017 6:26 am

Welcome to the forum. We look forward to following you. If you like, I will add your log to our Les Voyageurs French group.

Bon courage,
Tom
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Jim
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Re: Jim's French log

Postby Jim » Sat Apr 29, 2017 6:30 am

Thanks Tom, I'd love to join the group.
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La hora más oscura es la que viene antes del nacimiento del sol

Merci de corriger mes erreurs !

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tomgosse
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Re: Jim's French log

Postby tomgosse » Sat Apr 29, 2017 7:22 am

Jim wrote:Thanks Tom, I'd love to join the group.

Bienvenue Les Voyageurs !
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Jim
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Day 0

Postby Jim » Sun Apr 30, 2017 9:05 pm

First five language sessions booked: I'm ready to go. I'm currently at page 642 of La Vérité sur l'Affaire Harry Quebert, so will measure pages from there. For anyone looking for reading material at the B1/B2 level, I can thoroughly recommend this book.

Let's see how the first week goes.
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La hora más oscura es la que viene antes del nacimiento del sol

Merci de corriger mes erreurs !

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Jim
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Day 7

Postby Jim » Sun May 07, 2017 9:30 pm

So I've finished the first week of my 90 day challenge, and it's been a mixed bag. I feel like it's been worthwhile already, but I could do with a better balance in the way I use my time. Reading is ahead of target, and I'm happy with the listening given the week I've had. Writing and speaking have been a struggle, but that was expected.

I've also done:
25 new phrases plus reviews every day on Anki from Neri Rook's 16,000 sentences, which I feel has been very beneficial. I also reviewed several recordings of other vocabulary and structures which I'm choosing not to count towards the challenge.

So, in summary:
Speaking: 1/20hrs (iTalki); 0/30hrs (recorded)
Writing: 334/10,000 words
Listening: 5/50hrs (including 2hrs shadowing)
Reading: 100/750

A conservative estimate of total French time is 16hrs this week. I'm pretty happy with that given the other things going on.

I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has found shadowing to be particularly useful. It's too early to say at the moment, but I'm far from convinced about its merit.

Next week I'm going to focus on consistency. Doing at least a little, even if only 15mins, of each core activity every day.
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La hora más oscura es la que viene antes del nacimiento del sol

Merci de corriger mes erreurs !

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PeterMollenburg
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Re: Day 7

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sun May 07, 2017 9:52 pm

Jim wrote:So I've finished the first week of my 90 day challenge, and it's been a mixed bag. I feel like it's been worthwhile already, but I could do with a better balance in the way I use my time. Reading is ahead of target, and I'm happy with the listening given the week I've had. Writing and speaking have been a struggle, but that was expected.

I've also done:
25 new phrases plus reviews every day on Anki from Neri Rook's 16,000 sentences, which I feel has been very beneficial. I also reviewed several recordings of other vocabulary and structures which I'm choosing not to count towards the challenge.

So, in summary:
Speaking: 1/20hrs (iTalki); 0/30hrs (recorded)
Writing: 334/10,000 words
Listening: 5/50hrs (including 2hrs shadowing)
Reading: 100/750

A conservative estimate of total French time is 16hrs this week. I'm pretty happy with that given the other things going on.

I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has found shadowing to be particularly useful. It's too early to say at the moment, but I'm far from convinced about its merit.

Next week I'm going to focus on consistency. Doing at least a little, even if only 15mins, of each core activity every day.


Hi Jim!

Your plan looks well pretty well balanced, but with a few tweaks required as you go perhaps, which you're already on the lookout for (stating your reading is ahead). Keep analysing your routine on occasion looking for gaps you can plug and you'll do fine provided you remain consistent.

On your time, you're averaging over 2 hours a day and that's excellent! Keep it up and again, you'll progress nicely.

Shadowing-
I have found it enormously useful. For me, it's value is in developing good pronunciation, rhythm and intonation. I started off slow when learning phonetics and the individual sounds of French- easy lessons of various courses such as Assimil, analysis of specific phonemes, and as I progressed I would ensure I could shadow each lesson practically flawlessly before moving on to the next- to have the proununciation, speed, rhythm, intonation (and understand the lesson material) running confidently before progressing. This helped gradually build up my ability to speak faster while retaining good habits of pronunciation and so on. And this is why, for me at least, I was never going to jump into native content at an early stage. I don't understand how that is possible without ending up with numerous fossilised flaws, but we all learn differently :) So, for you Jim, shadowing may be useless, or you might find with time, it has value, but for me, it worked wonders ;)
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Jim
Orange Belt
Posts: 117
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Languages: English (N), French (intermediate), Spanish (frosty intermediate)
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Day 14

Postby Jim » Sun May 14, 2017 4:27 pm

That's the second week completed. I should have done a log years ago - I am really feeling the benefit.

Speaking - 1hr 40 mins
Writing - 1,049 words
Reading - 113 pages and finished La Vérité sur l'Affaire Harry Quebert. Bien qu'il dise qu'"Un bon livre, Marcus, est un livre qu'on regrette d'avoir terminé", je dois avouer que ça m'a rendu très heureux de l'avoir terminé ! It was a good book at just the right level for B2.
Listening - 4hrs

With other activities, total time not less than 19hrs

It's an improvement on last week. The speaking time is less than I'd hoped, but it doesn't include the 45 minutes spent every day on Anki reviewing and repeating sentences, which I feel is very beneficial.

Next week I'm planning to extend my memorisation experiment. I first used memorisation techniques during law finals over a decade ago, and they were effective for remembering the names of hundreds of cases (I didn't know it had a name then, but it was effectively a memory palace). Since then I did a masters degree and again used similar techniques with good results. It's fair to say that memorising vocabulary has only very limited uses and I have memorised French vocabulary before which led to learning a lot of really low frequency words, but I can see value in extending my vocabulary where it needs it by being more selective about what I do. Key points:

  • Memorisation doesn't suit everyone, but I enjoy the challenge and can see long term benefits.
  • It must be consolidated through exposure in reading and listening to native materials.
  • It provides no context: again, you need native materials to back it up.
  • It only helps acquire passive vocabulary. Work needs to be done on productive skills to make it active.
  • It's important to pick the right vocabulary to learn. Starting at A and working through the dictionary is hopeless. But memorising say 50 words on a particular theme (say food and cooking) can easily be consolidated by watching things like Le Meilleur Pâtissier and reading food blogs.
  • Nouns are much easier to memorise than other words.
To test efficiency, as an experiment last week, I picked 10 words at random from a vocabulary book. Spent 2 minutes memorising them in the morning. Reviewed them later that day by writing them out. Corrected them. Reviewed the next day and then again about four days later. All in, it's taken about 10 minutes over a week with virtually 100% recall. I'm going to try to expand this over the next week to see where it takes me. I'll let you know how I get on.
3 x
La hora más oscura es la que viene antes del nacimiento del sol

Merci de corriger mes erreurs !

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Jim
Orange Belt
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Jour 21

Postby Jim » Sun May 21, 2017 9:04 pm

Cette semaine ne s'est pas passée aussi bien que j'aurais souhaité et je n'ai pas consacré assez de temps à étudier français. Je pourrait dire que c'était à cause de mon travail —c'est vrai que j'ai été complètement débordé au cours des dernières sept jours— mais je dois constater que j'ai été aussi un peu négligent en ce qui concerne mes études. Bref, malgré mon sens de culpabilité je suis confiant que je pourrai recommencer de nouveau mes travaux la semaine prochaine.

Les chiffres
Lire - moins de 10 pages. J'ai lu quelques articles sur internet mais pas grands-choses
Écouter - 6 heures pendant mon trajet
Expression orale - 1 heure
Écriture - peut-être 500 mots (avec ceux-ci)

Anki - Heureusement je suis parvenu à revoir toutes les cartes chaque jours.

Total: vers 12 heures

Ma petite expérience de mémorisation avait pris un bon départ mais depuis mercredi je n'ai pas fait beaucoup et je crois que je n'ai appris que presque 120 mots. Je ne sais pas si je passerai beaucoup plus du temps à mémoriser pendent les semaines qui viennent, ce n'est pas une priorité pour moi.

Lors d'un défi comme celui-ci il va être toujours des problèmes ; le plus important est qu'on ne perde pas la volonté est heureusement je reste plein de motivation. J'avoue que la semaine prochaine sera mieux : je vous tiendrai au courant !
1 x
La hora más oscura es la que viene antes del nacimiento del sol

Merci de corriger mes erreurs !

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Jim
Orange Belt
Posts: 117
Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:18 pm
Languages: English (N), French (intermediate), Spanish (frosty intermediate)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5766
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Day 28

Postby Jim » Sun May 28, 2017 10:57 pm

Again a dfficult week to keep French on track. I started reading SuperFreakonomics in French which was a bit slow, though it's exactly the sort of thing I like to read, so worth the effort. Work was busy again, but the hardest has been a two year old invading my French time by waking up an hour and a half early on a few occasions. Oh well, can't complain, at least she's started sleeping through more regularly!

Despite the difficulties, I feel pretty good about my studies. Many thanks to PM for his account of successes at B2 (and beyond), his achievement this week has helped me maintain confidence that chipping away at it every day will ultimately get me where I want to be.

The stats:

Reading - 25pages
Listening - 6hrs
Writing - c.500words
Speaking - 1hr

Anki: all cards
Did a bit more grammar work this week too.

Total time: c. 14hrs

Much work to do, but staying positive.
1 x
La hora más oscura es la que viene antes del nacimiento del sol

Merci de corriger mes erreurs !


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