Zelda's French Log (+ Modern Greek)

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Skynet
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Re: Zelda's French Log (+ Modern Greek)

Postby Skynet » Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:04 pm

zjones wrote:I'd be curious if anyone else has had to do this with a course. (i.e. Please validate me.)

I have had two episodes where I had to take a break and reboot because I was just not understanding what was going on.

The first incident was triggered by watching French In Action, which ultimately strained my attention to the point of triggering headaches. I just could not cope with the audios without an accompanying transcript, so I did what I knew best - I gave up temporarily and went back to square one once I had gathered myself and licked the wounds of my bruised language ego. When I did restart FIA, I never had problems with it again.

My second incident happened when I reached lessons 32 of both GWOT and NGWE, and 16 of Cortina German. I was clutching at blighted straws and had to be real with myself: I was having issues with German (Hindsight being 20/20, I now see that it was because the books I was using had limited grammatical explanations) and needed help. I was out-of-action for three weeks and came back refreshed and with wind in my sails to master the language. I rebooted my study of German, and have not had problems ever since with it. I am ambitious with my language learning endeavours, but I am not supercilious: I know when I am encountering challenges and need to get back to the proverbial drawing board.

The joy of learning a language on your own is that you can adjust your learning curve according to your needs at a particular moment. Don't be ashamed: if you need a sabbatical or restart from lesson 10 (or even from the preamble, like I did in both cases) then go ahead. I know that this is extremely rich coming from me, but language learning is not a race.

PS: Thanks to you, I now know how to change font sizes.
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Postby Morgana » Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:53 pm

Last edited by Morgana on Mon Nov 25, 2019 5:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Zelda's French Log (+ Modern Greek)

Postby Chmury » Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:00 pm

zjones wrote:
I haven't made any decisions about what I'm going to do next, but there are a few options. I can continue from lesson 29 and work on one lesson every 2-3 days, or I can go back to Lesson 10 and try the same thing. I can also continue at my same pace to lesson 50, gaining as much exposure as I can, and then go back to Lesson 10 and do it all over again and hope by the time I reach lesson 50 I have a better foundation in the language.

I'd be curious if anyone else has had to do this with a course. (i.e. Please validate me.)



Hey Zelda, yep, I've definitely had to go back to previous lessons before and redo them, then I'd work forward a bit, then have to go back again and so on. One thing I realised is that language learning isn't entirely linear and unidirectional. When I studied Polish for a little while many years back the same amount of time it took me to complete Colloquial Spanish I was probably only half way throughColloquial Polish and constantly going back to previous chapters and looking up different case endings and reviewing so many aspects of the grammar, so don't feel discouraged. I think because we've both had success with a romance language which aren't too difficult in the world of languages, we've become used to how the learning-a-language process should go. And then we choose a really tricky and different language which doesn't conform to our previous experience. So yeah, just take it slow and keep redoing chapters and listening to audio as many times as it takes. In all honesty there were some Polish dialogues that I listened to more than 50 times while following the text, as I really wanted to hear clearly every single syllable and be able to identify the breaks between the words confidently, but I'd go back to earlier audios every day while still moving ahead with grammar in later chapters, as I found hearing comprehension to be the most difficult. Going back over things with gradually longer periods of time between reviews, which I guess is why Anki works so well (even if it can be incredibly boring at times), is one of the best ways to retain information. So review as much as you need. In the end you'll have a much more solid foundation for it. Hope you're still having a great time with your Greek studies despite its trickiness!
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Re: Zelda's French Log (+ Modern Greek)

Postby garyb » Sat Dec 15, 2018 1:10 pm

As I said in my log I'm also struggling with Assimil Greek. After around lesson 14 the difficulty really picked up and there's so much new language in each lesson, and this is coming from someone who's already worked through a few beginner courses! I'm spending about half an hour per day on it, but that's only going to increase as the dialogues get longer so a daily lesson might become unsustainable. I might have to take it down to a few lessons per week too, and do something else on the other days like revising other material or watching easy videos.
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Re: Zelda's French Log (+ Modern Greek)

Postby zjones » Sat Dec 15, 2018 10:29 pm

Skynet wrote:The joy of learning a language on your own is that you can adjust your learning curve according to your needs at a particular moment. Don't be ashamed: if you need a sabbatical or restart from lesson 10 (or even from the preamble, like I did in both cases) then go ahead. I know that this is extremely rich coming from me, but language learning is not a race.

Thank you, I appreciate your advice very much! I know how hard you push yourself with language-learning, so it's nice for me -- a relatively casual learner -- to hear that even the most proficient and efficient learners have to go back and re-do lessons.
Morgana wrote:It sounds like the dialogues in the Greek Assimil course are comparably difficult to the dialogues I have in my Colloquial Icelandic course. I basically just go slow and only progress to the next dialogue/section after I have got some grasp on all of the new vocab that was introduced in the previous dialogue. It does make it go much slower, and sometimes I feel bored/put off and end up not working on it for a couple days here and there. So maybe my method isn’t the best, but I think you’re much more disciplined than I am and I bet you’d not get so easily demoralized as I do :lol:

Thanks for your advice! But I think you may have the wrong idea about how easily I get demoralized, haha! I love that you and others on the forum like to share the emotional and motivational struggles involved in language-learning because it makes me feel less alone. The only reason I don't give up is because I'm also very stubborn and have already made language-learning part of my personal identity. Honestly, if you could hear my self-talk you'd probably be surprised. I remember hearing a quote like "If we could hear each other's thoughts, we would all be considered crazy." :lol:
Chmury wrote:So yeah, just take it slow and keep redoing chapters and listening to audio as many times as it takes. In all honesty there were some Polish dialogues that I listened to more than 50 times while following the text, as I really wanted to hear clearly every single syllable and be able to identify the breaks between the words confidently, but I'd go back to earlier audios every day while still moving ahead with grammar in later chapters, as I found hearing comprehension to be the most difficult. Going back over things with gradually longer periods of time between reviews, which I guess is why Anki works so well (even if it can be incredibly boring at times), is one of the best ways to retain information. So review as much as you need. In the end you'll have a much more solid foundation for it. Hope you're still having a great time with your Greek studies despite its trickiness!

Thanks Chmury! This is exactly what I plan to do with my Greek! I'm kind of a nutter about looping audio and chorusing the words back, I guess I will just need to continue doing this with Greek. I'm going to have to look at your log (I assume you have one?) and see how you work on Polish and Anki. I'm very resistant to Anki -- I don't like the way it looks and I don't want to drill flashcards, but I also want to be efficient since it seems like Greek will take a long time. It's interesting to me that I feel like I have a lot in common with Polish learners. Maybe it's just the cases, similar difficulty level and smaller number of resources available for learning.
garyb wrote:As I said in my log I'm also struggling with Assimil Greek. After around lesson 14 the difficulty really picked up and there's so much new language in each lesson, and this is coming from someone who's already worked through a few beginner courses! ...

Yeah I read about this in your log the other day. You're more advanced than me, and seeing your honest opinion about the difficulty of the course helped me see my situation more clearly. So thank you. In this case I really do think it's better to slow down than to push yourself through new levels when you're not ready. After completing Assimil French I thought I already knew how an Assimil course was paced. The Greek one is totally different, though!

Anyway... thanks for all the replies and validation, guys! :P It's hard for me not to be discouraged especially after having successfully completed an Assimil text on time (i.e. one lesson per day), but I'm glad to hear that others have had similar experiences. I'm going to make a new post with my plan for Greek.
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Re: Zelda's French Log (+ Modern Greek)

Postby zjones » Sat Dec 15, 2018 10:49 pm

Okay, as promised in the previous post, here's my current plan for Greek, subject to change:

I am going back to lesson 10, which is the first lesson where I started to struggle (they introduced a medio-passive verb, new random vocabulary, and the speakers started speaking more quickly). Here is my current plan:

1. Listen to the previous day's lesson and decide whether or not I am comfortably familiar with the content. Am I ready to move on?
If YES:
2. Proceed to next lesson.
3. Complete a regular Assimil lesson with lots of audio-looping and repeating back. Understand all important grammar concepts in the lesson, using English resources if necessary.
4. Translate the whole lesson from English to Greek by speaking aloud (yes, I plan on doing the active wave from the beginning).
If NO:
2. Work on previous lesson using a variety of CREATIVE resources like drilling, drawing pictures of what's happening, visualizing the scene as the audio plays, getting clear on specific grammar points, playing the parts of characters, translating from L1 to L2, creating new sentences etc.
3. Request help on the WordReference Greek forum if needed.

The reason for creative exercises is because I can only do so much drilling until my mind goes numb. But if I'm standing up in the living room with a phone to my ear and pretending I'm Nikos chatting to Kostas, it becomes a lot more realistic. I also like drawing cute little stick figure diagrams, so I want to use that to my advantage whenever I have the energy. My husband doesn't seem to mind all my craziness. :lol:

Disclaimer: I cannot draw 3d ports or quais... or boats apparently.

Image
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Re: Zelda's French Log (+ Modern Greek)

Postby jonm » Sun Dec 16, 2018 12:38 am

That's such a cool approach! I really like the idea of listening to the previous lesson and deciding whether you're comfortable enough with it to move on, and if not, reinforcing it in those creative ways that you mentioned. I might try some of those techniques. They sound fun, and great for coming at a challenging lesson from different angles.

I'm really enjoying hearing you and garyb share your thoughts on this course. I've got it all ready to go, and I even did the first few lessons (which make the course look easy, little did I know!), but then I decided I was juggling too many new languages already. Probably better to wait till I could give it more time, but very interested to hear how things go, and it makes me eager to do the course before too long.
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Re: Zelda's French Log (+ Modern Greek)

Postby Chmury » Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:44 am

zjones wrote:
Thanks Chmury! This is exactly what I plan to do with my Greek! I'm kind of a nutter about looping audio and chorusing the words back, I guess I will just need to continue doing this with Greek. I'm going to have to look at your log (I assume you have one?) and see how you work on Polish and Anki. I'm very resistant to Anki -- I don't like the way it looks and I don't want to drill flashcards, but I also want to be efficient since it seems like Greek will take a long time. It's interesting to me that I feel like I have a lot in common with Polish learners. Maybe it's just the cases, similar difficulty level and smaller number of resources available for learning.


Yeah if you can somehow weave imitating and echoing back audio into your daily studies I think your pronunciation, comprehension, and word retention will be so much the better for it. I'm a big fan of Anki simply because of the results. It works incredibly well, you're essentially creating your own dictionary relevant to you, and whenever I use it, I always speak the sample sentences out loud, so it's an extra 15 minutes of pronunciation practice each day too. Sometimes when I read in Spanish I'll also read out loud and when I was first learning languages I'd go for evening walks everyday when the sun was setting and just have random conversations with myself (there goes that weirdo again speaking to himself in foreign languages as he stops to smell all the eucalypt and acacia flowers and pat the dogs...). Seriously though, I think it helped heaps. I'd also sing along to a lot of songs too and learn all the lyrics, which I think probably helped even more as your copying a native speakers pronunciation and if it's a good song, which when it comes to Spanish and Polish there's so much good music, you might listen to the same song literally hundreds of times and go back to those same songs and albums each year. Music's a massive factor for me when it comes to language learning, and whether the language in question has a good music scene or not can make or break whether or not I have the motivation to learn it.

Yeah I've got a log, it's basically entirely in Spanish though, but I am considering returning to Polish in the new year. Kind of like you, my Spanish is pretty good and simply reading and listening to podcasts will maintain it and improve it, so now I need a new challenge. I'm just having a bit of trouble deciding which language as nothing's particularly jumping out at me at the moment.

Yeah that's probably it, and the constant state of bewilderment. Such cool languages though. Would love to know Greek myself, and it's got such a unique and beautiful script! All the best Zelda!
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Progress!

Postby zjones » Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:32 pm

Modern Greek

My studies are going well - actually, better than that. They are great. I'm spending more time on Greek than I was doing previously, but everything feels much lighter and more engaged.

I added an extra step that I didn't outline in my previous post. I think it's a great and useful tool, so I'm going to share it here in case it helps anyone else. After browsing through the audio and text of each 'new' lesson, I write some notes in a journal. The note contains the lesson name, the date, and two short paragraphs, Strengths and Difficulties. They aren't exact antonyms but they are the words that I like to use. Writing these notes help me clarify what I need to work on every day, and they have become invaluable for pinpointing tricky areas. Hopefully these notes will serve as a reminder of my accomplishments when I look back on them. Here's an example:

Lesson 14, Ο Σαρωνικός κόλπος
Strengths: I understand a large chunk of the lesson, I can hear word separation well. I can visualize the lesson as it is being described.
Difficulties: Vocabulary and prepositions in line 6. I struggle to process the meaning and parse the sentence, the words run together. I need to drill audio and use visualization for this line and the translation exercises. Also, my brain won't let go of the idea that there's a B-sound in το βουνό. There isn't.


I've been pairing my Assimil studies with Anki. I know, I know. I still don't like Anki, but I've never doubted its effectiveness. It was time for me to set my personal feelings aside and use it, because I wanted new ways to refresh Assimil content. For anyone interested, from Assimil Greek Lesson 12 and on I am putting the entire lesson into Anki, split into lines just like the lessons. The front of each card is in English (translated from French, of course), and the back of each card is in Greek and has the corresponding Assimil audio file added. When I see the front of each card, I translate it into Greek aloud and then I flip the card.

Front: I have been waiting for (I wait for) Niko for half an hour already.
Back: Περιμένω τον Νίκο μισή ώρα ήδη.
[sound:S05 (4).mp3]


So far I haven't been annoyed by Anki, but I've only been using it for 4 or 5 days. I am also using it for some pesky little French words that I've seen a million times and I just can't seem to retain, like envahir. To make it more bearable, I've been creating a specific study ritual before I use Anki. It involves being wrapped in a giant blanket, a giant cup of coffee or tea, and a Study with Me pomodoro video because I don't like feeling like I'm studying alone. Yeah, I baby myself, I know. But it totally works.
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Re: Zelda's French Log (+ Modern Greek)

Postby zjones » Thu Dec 20, 2018 4:03 pm

French

Finished: Autre-Monde Tome 2: Malronce

Started: Autre-Monde Tome 3: Le Cœur de la Terre
Kindle version and Audible audiobook
Reading through a chapter or two at a time, looking up unknown text, and then following by listening to the audiobook and reading along.

Started: La Canique de Noël (A Christmas Carol)
Kindle version, free
One of my favorite Christmas stories, I was introduced to the 1984 film version when I was a kid and I watch it every year. I may or may not finish reading this in French, I just wanted something new to dabble in for the holidays.

Started: The Hookup Plan / Plan Cœur
French Netflix Original show
Watching with subtitles. The slang in this show is incredible. I can't understand most of what the characters are saying. I will need to rewatch this and pause every few seconds so I can look up all the unknown words and phrases.
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