aaleks's log

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aaleks
Blue Belt
Posts: 728
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:04 pm
Location: Russia
Languages: Russian (N)
English ( ? )
learning:
Italian, German, French
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=6724
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Re: aaleks's log

Postby aaleks » Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:42 pm

The French experiment. A little more about it (in addition to the post before).

I can't remember if I've ever written about what I'm doing exactly, how it's different from what I was doing when learning English, Italian, and German. One of the mistakes I did learning each of these languages was my approach to listening. Or maybe I should call it 'technique'. What I mean is that usually when I was watching an episode of a series, etc. I would strain my ears to make out the words they were saying being focused almost entirely on the text. Sometimes, especially when I was a newbie English learner, I even ignored visual clues on purpose. Back then I thought it was the right approach to not trick myself into believing that I could understand the language when in reality I would be able to follow the plot just because of the visual clues. Now I think that is a bunch of nonsense. I guess, at some point listening to words and at the same time not paying enough attention to the visual clues became a kind of habbit for me, I didn't even realize that I was doing that.

A couple of years ago I was thinking of learning French, and for about a year I'd been dabbling in French. Back then occasionally I would watch an episode of a series or Peppa Pig, and that was it. The series I watched back then was one of the French series I watched in the 90's. There were several of them. Not as many as English- and Spanish-speaking but the third place might be for French. That particular series I watched more then one time as was with Hélène et les garçons so some of the episodes I remembered really well, and even could recite some of the dialogues by heart. But that fact didn't help me with learning French back then. I probably learned something but mostly I relied on my knowledge of English. The same happened with Italian. In the beginning when I was trying to learn it by watching dubbed series. I learned a handful of words from the series, plus the words I learned from a textbook and a book by Frank's method. After about half a year of that kind of learning I could follow sometimes a dialogue in a dubbed series but it was nothing near my comprehension of French at the moment -- after only two months of watching Hélène et les garçons. Eventually for Italian, and then German, I opted for watching native media in the TL with Russian subtitles. In both cases it was roughly two months with subtitles, then two months without subtitles => ~my current level of French. But thanks my little summer experiment with Italian I got my own experience of learning words from context. It helped me when I started my French experiment.

So, how I've been learning, acquiring, French for these two months. The idea isn't new or mine, I came to it reading, listening, watching about other people's language-learning experience, their advice, etc. (like this video, for example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_EQDtpYSNM , AJATT, and other sites, etc.). So, what I did was I changed my focus and started paying attention to visual clues. When I was watching the first episodes of Hélène et les garçons I inderstood nothing, what they were saying sounded mostly like noise to me. And still I could understand what was going on. But then my listening comprehension started improving really fast with each day. Now, when sometimes I rewatch one or another of the first episodes so I can see my progress, it feels so strange to realize that I learned all the words and phrases I can understand now just through context, no dictionaries. Yes, I know that English and French share a lot of vocabulary, and that French is not my first second language, and so on..., but still...
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aaleks
Blue Belt
Posts: 728
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:04 pm
Location: Russia
Languages: Russian (N)
English ( ? )
learning:
Italian, German, French
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=6724
x 1323

Re: aaleks's log

Postby aaleks » Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:48 pm

WARNING! There is nothing useful or really interesting in this post. I'm not sure if it's worth to be posted at all, so I'll probably delete the post some time later. I didn't proofread so it is as it is. ... It's just sometimes writing helps thinking and coming to right conclusions. So I leave it here for a while. But there's really nothing worth reading in this post.

I spent a big part of the first month of the year... (so many words for just saying -- January :D ) so, well :) , I guess it's a side effect :) . I started this year posting more often than I deem to be healthy on efl.ru, and, of course, that didn't go, and end, well. As usual :D * . The thing -- why I'm writing about it here -- is that at some point one user started hinting that he knew something about me that I'd like to keep secret meaning this post https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 20#p124256 . To be honest, it is beyond my understanding why someone would think of something posted on the Internet in the open as a secret. My usernames here and there are different, yes. But I've mentioned and even posted links to this forum several times. Plus, at least once I posted on that other forum an extract from one of the log's entries. And if you have a piece of a text it's easy to find the original. Let alone the fact that one of the efl members mentioned that she'd read that post of mine. So no way I would think of the post as of some kind of secret. It's ridiculous. Besides, the things I wrote back then here, I have written many times there. So, eventually, I decided just to post the direct link to the post. Some time later I read the post myself -- just to know what exactly I'd written in it :lol: . I remembered what the text was about in general but not the exact wording. After all I wrote it more than a year ago. Well... the post is a total disaster English-wise. I read the posts before and the post written later, they all seemed to be of better quality. Not great but still better. There was one thing that I noticed about them -- even though I wrote them about a year or so ago, and couldn't remember how I was writing them, what phrases I checked via Google, I could see from the writing what phrases that were because they usually looked awkward, or even contained mistakes. In that "secret" post I wrote "I can't remember when I was the last time I checked and re-checked my writing as I did while writing this post..." . I think that is it, one of the reasons why the post is written su clumsy. The other reason was my emotional state at the moment of writing it.

The point is I need to stop google-checking my writing. I've written about that many many times already. I have made and announced the decisions to stop doing many times as well. Even in one of those year-old posts I wrote about it. The problem is I don't know how to do that. I failed so many times. Besides, I guess, it might be not about writing per se but about posting my writing. When I post it here I do the checks in a (maybe vain) attempt to make my point clearer, and the text more readable. When, rarely, I post something on efl.ru that is another story, the one I wrote in that old post. Either way, every time I have reasons or excuses why I must check and re-check my writing. Oh! I forgot the best one -- that's how I get feedback. I mean, since I learn on my own and there is no one to ask usually those google-check are often the only feedback I get. I really use it for learning but I think there's supposed to be the time when one takes off the training wheels.

*Just in case if anyone is interested why I keep going there -- unfortunately, that forum seems to be the only still living forum where I can post in my native tongue, and sometimes I just want to talk about language learning in my native tongue as well.
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aaleks
Blue Belt
Posts: 728
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:04 pm
Location: Russia
Languages: Russian (N)
English ( ? )
learning:
Italian, German, French
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=6724
x 1323

Re: aaleks's log

Postby aaleks » Wed Jan 29, 2020 5:52 pm

Learning like a baby

There's one thing I want to be clear about -- I'm not trying to learn French, or any other language, like a baby. To be honest, I resent the comparison of input base approaches with the way a baby learn the first language. That is not what I'm trying to do. In my French experiment I'm trying to learn a language as an adult using all my experience, education, and general knowledge about the world and languages. The main difference between what I'm doing and the traditional method is that I rely on my brain and its ability to analyze and systematize information instead of using a textbook to learn the basic and dictionary to look up new words. I just want to know how far that will get me. At what point my French will stop progressing? How much and how fast will I learn using this approach as an adult who doesn't have 8-10-12-14-16 hours a day on learning languages but usually only 1-2 hours?.. And so on.
I'd say I'm actually learning French as the average language learner. Okay, maybe a bit more as the average language enthusiast :) But the key word here is 'average'.
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aaleks
Blue Belt
Posts: 728
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:04 pm
Location: Russia
Languages: Russian (N)
English ( ? )
learning:
Italian, German, French
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=6724
x 1323

Re: aaleks's log

Postby aaleks » Sun Feb 09, 2020 8:46 pm

This time it's going to be short. It's late where I live so I just don't have time to write a long post. I wouldn't have posted at all if it hadn't been three months since I started my French experiment. A kind of anniversary. So I feel like I have to make at least a short update.

I have watched all the episodes of Hélène et les garçons. Yesterday I stared rewatching the series almost from the beginning, I skipped some of the episodes. Anyway, within last two days I watched three or four of the episodes I had watched during the first week of the experiment. There's one good thing about watching something way about your level -- you can watch the same series all over again later and still have fun :D . Even though I could follow the plot back then a lot of things went past me. Dialogues, jokes I didn't have the vocabulary to understand most of them. Besides, at that time, often I just couldn't hear where one word would end and another would begin. Now I'm catching up on the dialogues, jokes and maybe even turns of plot I didn't understand or missed when I was watching the episodes with almost zero French. Of course, my listening comprehension is far from 100% but it's improved a lot for these three months. And what is really important to me -- I've made this without looking up even one single word in a dictionary. I'm going to continue rewatching the series. I don't know if I'll watch it to the final episode again. I haven't decided yet. We'll see. I think I won't post any plans on what I'm going to do because I may change them any moment.
5 x

aaleks
Blue Belt
Posts: 728
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:04 pm
Location: Russia
Languages: Russian (N)
English ( ? )
learning:
Italian, German, French
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=6724
x 1323

Re: aaleks's log

Postby aaleks » Wed Feb 12, 2020 7:26 pm

There's one thing I've been thinking of writing about but keep forgetting to do it. When I started my experiment with French I didn't list French among my languages in my profile. There're two reasons for that.

First, my goal is not learning French, it might've been any other language. I'm glad that it's happened to be French though because it's a language that used to be my favorite when I was still in school (maybe since I was 10 years old or so). And because I watched a lot of French movies, series, read books written by French authors in my teens and young adults years I know what to expect from French media, and what I might like to read, watch, etc.

Second, it's hard for me to decide on what my level is even for English. I think I'll probably edit my profile some time later deleting "beginner", "fals-beginner" and just listing all the language I will be learning at that time as "learning: ...".

Will or will not be French one of those "learning" languages depends on the results of the experiment. I understand that in some or maybe many people's eyes what I'm doing is wasting my time. But it is my experiment and I look at it differently. One of the reasons why I'm doing it is that I really I want to try the approaches that I wasn't bold enough to use when I was a beginner English learner. Some of the approaches I believe, assume, should work about other I'm not sure. But I'm interested to try them out anyway and have my own experience. Even if that experience would be a failure. On the other hand I, of course, don't want wasting my time so the experiment is not going to last forever. There's a final date of the experiment. In fact there are supposed to be a kind of semi-final and final. So depending on what I think of the level I've reached at the moment -- failure or success -- I will either quit or continue learning French. We'll see.
(Uhmmm... Of course I may quit before reaching any date :roll: but that's the worst case scenario, so to speak...)
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aaleks
Blue Belt
Posts: 728
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:04 pm
Location: Russia
Languages: Russian (N)
English ( ? )
learning:
Italian, German, French
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=6724
x 1323

Re: aaleks's log

Postby aaleks » Sun Mar 08, 2020 9:07 pm

French

I did the Dialang test, the Reading part.

The result is a bit weird, but well...

Placement test feedback
Your score:438

Your test result suggests that you are at level B2 in reading on the Council of Europe scale. At this level people can understand articles and reports about contemporary issues when the writer takes a particular position on a problem or expresses a particular viewpoint. They can understand most short stories and popular novels.

25/30


I started reading my first (and by now the only) book in French about a month ago (February 9th). I had never read the book in Russian but I saw a French mini-series dubbed in Russian maybe 10 or so years ago, and last year I watched an Italian version. So, I'd kind of known that the killer is the butler, so to speak :D . Well, I really know who is the killer and their motives. But series are series, as many book-to-film/movie adaptations they are not accurate, and the Italian one is a rather loose adaptation. In short, even though I know some turns of the plot, there is a lot of new information in the book for me to learn.

When I opened the book and read the first page it was like watching first episode of Hélène et les garçons - I could not understand a word. Partially due to the crazy French spelling. I probably knew some of the words but couldn't recognize them. I guess, if my goal was to learn French that would discourage me from reading further but my goal was (is) to know if and how learning a language without assistance of textbooks and dictionaries works so I continued. I probably really need to keep something like notes because I don't remember when exactly the first "understanding" momemt happend - within the first five pages (I'm trying to read at list 5 page per day), or the next day. Either way that had not taken too long. And then with each day my comprehension of the text kept growing and improving.

As a side note, I think, I should explain how I deal with the spelling. In the early-mid 2000's I thought of learning French and tried to learn it but I never got beyond learning how to read. Back then it seemed to be not too difficult and logical, even when there were twice as many letters than sounds. But it's been about 15 years ago and, of course, I have forgotten all those rules. I remember that the letters like "t", "s", maybe some others, at the end of a word are often not supposed to be pronounced. Something like that. Mostly I'm just guessing, for example, if I've heard the word before, and often read other words by analogy. That way I figure out the spelling of French words.

Turning back to reading. The book I'm reading is about 400+ pages long, at the moment I am ~ 200 pages in (which means that I need at least as much time to finish it). More often than not I can understand dialogues, description of surroundings, actions and feelings of the characters. But that doesn't mean that I understand all of that 100%. It's hard to tell what level of comprehension I have right now. It varies from page to page and from day to day. My acquaintance with the plot becuase of the series helps me not to get lost. And recently I've started watching the French version so it help me better guess the spelling of words. But as I said above there are differences between the book and both adaptations so I can't always rely on them. For example, the story is set on an island, and there is an old lighthouse. At some point in both - the French and Italian series - the light (lantern? beacon?) goes off and the main character drives there to see what's happened. But it the book that thing - the light, or what it's called - has been broken for years but then one day the main character sees it working and that's why she drives to the lighthouse. Another example, in both mini-series the main character breaks in a house - in the French version she picks the lock, in an Italian version she gets in through the balcony on the second floor, then the police arrives and she has to run. But in the book the front door stays wide open, so no breaking happens just entering. And no police arriving either.

I think that's all by now. The post looks a bit unfinished, but it's too long aready, and it's too late. Maybe I should make the updates more often so they weren't so long, and typing them wasn't so exhausting.

P.S. Sorry, I didn't proofread the text so it might be quite a mess with all kind of mistakes :oops: . Maybe I'll do it later.
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aaleks
Blue Belt
Posts: 728
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:04 pm
Location: Russia
Languages: Russian (N)
English ( ? )
learning:
Italian, German, French
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=6724
x 1323

Re: aaleks's log

Postby aaleks » Wed Mar 11, 2020 5:34 pm

My score in Dialang test, a kind of summary, and other blah-blah-blah's

I decided that I would take the test when I noticed that I could understand most of what I was reading. On the one hand. I was curious to know what level I might have according to the test; on the other, I was going to post an update here and I wanted to have something more substantial that just my word when speaking of my progress.

If taking that test for listening comprehesion two months ago I was OK with guessing half of the answers, this time I approached it more seriously and really tried to understand each task and the questions taking time to read it carefully. I think there might've been a couple of times when I guessed, or tried to guess the right answer but just those one-two times, and because there's no option "don't know" or the like.

I didn't expect getting B2. My self-assessment was A2:
"In the self-assessment task you gave responses which we would normally expect from a learner at level A2. However, your test result suggests that you are at level B2."
And I thought that I might get B1 if I got lucky, so to speak. A month ago I did similar test for Italian (I mean Dialang - Reading) and got B1. I don't believe, of course, that my reading comprehension in French is really as good as it's supposed to be at a B2 level. At the same time it's good enough to read and understand a 'normal' book written for native speakers. It might be easy in the sense of vocabulary, as many other modern books are, but still it's not a grader reader. I've never really learned the French grammar, so sometimes I have to re-read a sentense if it is too long or too complicated grammar-wise.

If anyone's interested in how I figure out, or maybe guess, the meaning of (new) words from reading a book just an example. Recently I've "learned" a new word - menton, which means a chin in English. First I noticed the word. Just read it and for some reason remembered it. There are many French words I don't know so each word has its time, or maybe has to wait its turn to be noticed (sounds rather poetic lol). Sometimes this first time, sometimes the next time I'll notice, pay attention to the context - so in the case with "menton" from the context I saw the word in I understood that it was something human body/face related. At that stage I become more focused at the word, it's like at first you see a big picture, and then start zooming in on it and better see that particular word. And often from the next context the meaning of a word becomes obvious. There are stubborn words which meaning is not easy to guess but I know if I am patient the meaning will reveal itself, what is important is not to jump to conclusions. But there are many words which meaning is obvious from the first encounter - I just read and understand even if I see those word the first time. As I've, probably, written before, from the way I'm describing the process it might seem to be slow and tedious but in reality it's fast and I'd say easy. So far, everything goes better than I expected when I started the experiment.

I believe I've mentioned that before that one of the reasons why I decided to make this experiment is me being not happy with my English in general and overall. My main problem is not vocabulary, or even grammar or accent, it is lack of confidence in my output (which is writing in the first place but I don't think that with speaking it would be any different). What I noticed while doing that reading test for French was that if I knew something I really knew it. In the case with English I first relied on a dictionary, then tried to rely on grammar explanations. But it seems I've never relied on myself, my understanding of the language. So I always second guess myself. Maybe my French experiment will help me to cure my English just a little. Or maybe prevent me and my other languages from falling in the same lack-of-confidence trap, or vicious circle, or whatever it might be called.
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