Fluent French in 10 weeks | My language mission and my log | Forum

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Fluent French in 10 weeks
May 8, 2013
22:51
Senuloj

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Hello, all! I'm Senuloj, I'm an aspiring polyglot and am hoping to become a freelance translator.  I currently speak advanced Japanese and intermediate Spanish which has rapidly deteriorated over the past year of intense Japanese studying.  I'm by no means done with Japanese, but until I can get back to Japan I want to try to experience other languages.

I have many reasons for wanting to study French: my girlfriend studied French in school, my best friend speaks French fluently, my late aunt (by marriage) was from France, I'd like to live in Europe for a stint, and it's a language I once started (for two weeks in middle school and two hours total between then and now) and never finished.  So I'm going to see just how much I can do in 10 weeks, starting from June 1st!  I am aiming for a C1 level and I plan to study for 40 - 50 hours a week.

 

I've been working 50+ hours a week at my two jobs specifically so I don't have to work this summer, and I will be learning French fulltime.

 

Why do you think you can do it? 
Grammar has always been easy for me with new languages, so I don't expect that to be too much of a problem especially with my knowledge of Spanish grammar.

I've shown myself that I can study for long periods of time - in 10 days in Japan I studied Japanese for over 100 hours not counting time spent studying for my Japanese / Japan Studies courses or time actually spent in those courses.  

With my knowledge of Spanish, Esperanto (which I studied for about a month on and off during high school) and English I can already read and comprehend wikipedia articles in French to some degree.


My Plan:

I plan to update this thread weekly starting from June 1st with video updates in French.  I'll either be talking to myself in French or with a Skype partner.  

 

Every week I plan to post my goal for the week's end in terms of vocabulary studied, grammar patterns learned, and what sorts of things I can express (e.g. "Describe what I did during the day" will hopefully be my week 2 goal.)  I'll post a summary at the end of the week showing how much of those goals I achieved and analyzing my mistakes and next steps.

 

I'm currently thinking about getting Colloquial French as an introduction to grammar and this CD (http://www.amazon.com/French-Conversational-Understand-Pimsleur-Conversation/dp/0743550420/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368067635&sr=8-1&keywords=pimsleur+french ) just to get the ball rolling on pronounciation and listening comprehension so that I can start working on it on my own.  I also plan to get Harry Potter in French a few weeks in to read for vocabulary acquisition - which is exactly what I did in Japanese and it worked great in getting my over the hurdle of reading extensively in a foreign language.  

 

I'm hoping to find a Skype partner or several through this forum and will begin searching for them in the next few days once my job ends.  If anyone reading this speaks French at a high-level, conversational level, or is a native and is willing to speak with me for a few hours a week to see how successful this mission will be, I would be ecstatic.   

ALSO, if any French speakers live in Dallas, Texas - I would love to meet with you for a chat in person some time during those 10 weeks!

 

Advice?

While I was studying Japanese I found lots of tools that really helped me along - like a great dictionary, free audiobooks online / podcasts of various difficulties, children's stories online, etc. I'm sure someone on here knows about things like that that would be useful for studying French.  If you guys would be kind enough to post some, I can try to compile a list here in this top post here of good study tools / free resources that I and other french learners can use.  

 

I'm also specifically interested in good books in French of various difficulty levels, good television shows (be they for children or otherwise) that can be found relatively easily online and the like :)

 

If anyone has had any specific difficulties with French and would like to talk about the way they overcame those difficulties, that insight would also be much appreciated.

 

I'm looking forward to seeing you guys on June 1st!

 

 

 

 

May 22, 2013
15:37
Senuloj

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I apologize for the shameless bumping.  

 

Due to some scheduling issues that have recently arisen, I'll be starting my mission a few days earlier on May 27th.  On that day I will upload a video showcasing all of the French I remember from middle school (since I was only in french class for a total of two weeks, I expect the video to last 10 seconds) to demonstrate my starting point.  I will also post a detailed plan of what resources I'm going to use and what goals I expect to meet each day for the first week.

 

At the end of the week I will either record a video of me monologueing or speaking via skype with a native speaker.

 

I'm currently trying to knock my Japanese flashcards down to a manageable level so I can keep up with them during this mission.  So, I suppose that's my first mini-mission.

 

I will see anybody who is interested on the 27th!

 

 

May 27, 2013
15:35
Senuloj

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A brief update:

My girlfriend spent the night and early morning in the emergency room today - so I won't be able to start this project until tomorrow at the earliest.  Everyone is fine, just sleepy.  I will start as I described earlier, just one day later.

 

See you all tomorrow morning!

May 27, 2013
22:05
crislang360
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cool dude, sorry to hear about your girlfriend, and im in the french language train myself, just wanted to share some links that i think may help you

here you can see an episode of death note in french, just in case you like this anime, all the episodes are available in french

you will find other animes too, just remember to write vf next to the title, this means french dub 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Zea199KCXQ

 

http://www.booksshouldbefree.com/language/French 87 french audiobooks with respective e-books

librivox has more just look up the site

http://www.ielanguages.com/ has some good stuff, especially the amount of recordings done on normal french people ie just people talking normaly at full speed, with transcripts

 

have fun!!!cool

"Speaks: English, Spanish" "Learning:French"
May 28, 2013
09:04
Senuloj

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Wow!  Thank you so very much for all of those resources.  I will definitely be using those later in my mission.  :)

 

So, today I start my mission.  I woke up at 6:45 this morning, and am now ready to start studying.  

 

What I hope to accomplish this week is:

+ Conquer Present tense conjugation

+ Learn 300 words and 200 cognates

+ Learn most useful prepositions

+ Learn basic pronunciation rules to at the very least rule me out as an English speaker.  Whether I can get vowels properly nasalized or not is irrelevant to me at this stage.
+ Be able to have a basic conversation about, my hobbies, my likes and dislikes, my surroundings at the end of 5 days.  

 

What I hope to do today? 

+ 50 vocabulary words - including several useful verbs and prepositions

+ Introduce myself to the present tense

+ Be able to introduce myself to a French speaker

 

Today I plan to do one lesson of Pimseleur several times, read through the first few chapters of colloquial French, create Anki flashcards, and have a language exchange with one of this forums very own members.

 

-Patrick

P.S. As promised, as a reference point, here's a video of all the French knowledge I currently possess: 

June 4, 2013
13:13
Senuloj

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Alright guys, it's now Tuesday, June 4th, and my first week is officially over.  I'm going to post first, what I accomplished, where I think I went wrong - how to improve those things, and where I want to go during this next week.

 

What I accomplished:

I managed to study for 39.9 hours, which is barely short of my goal of 40 hours.  

I surpassed my goal of 500 words of vocab by putting 613 words into my anki deck. 

I am more or less familiar with the present tense of er, ir, re, and some irregular verbs.  

I can talk about my hobbies, where I'm from, my family, and things I like.  

 

I also managed to learn the past tense (avoir ...é) and the imparfait tense, which puts me ahead grammatically.

 

Where I went wrong:

I didn't get nearly as much speaking practice as I wanted - I was hoping for at least 3 hours, but I only managed to be speaking with a native for 1.5 hours.  Partly, it's because it's difficult to schedule with the time difference, and the other part is that I haven't been pursuing it as actively as I should be, because doing pimseleur and studying flash cards is much more comfortable.  I need to rectify this.

 

I don't think I have been using each of my hours to the fullest extent.  I need to be more vigilant with my time.

 

I was not able to get a full 8 hours of studying on any one day.  I need to work my time management so that I don't have to study for 7 days just to hit 40 hours.  I want to hit 50 hours this week in 6 days.

 

I am not necessarily happy with my current speaking ability.  It just about matches my ability to speak Spanish after 3 years of high-school Spanish, it requires a lot of pauses and does not come naturally.  To fix this I'm simply going to have to speak more in French on a daily basis, whether with partners or not.  I want to try to speak in French for an hour every day this week.  

 

I am still not sure about the pronunciation differences between some of the tenses in French and even if I am pronouncing them correctly.  I will spend some time this week listening to native speakers pronounce them and try to imitate. 

 

That r sound is giving me a hard time.  I often feel like a drowning fish.  

 

Where I'm going:

This week I'm going to try to maintain my 600 words a week pace.  It is manageable for me to study 100 words a day, but I have to be smarter about how I approach it.  

 

I want to study the simple future, the conditional, and the remainder of the complex indicative tenses.  I hope to be able to tell someone what I did as a child, my "history", what I hope to do in the future, and describe a small scene.  

 

I will also be finishing up Pimseleur and Colloquial this week.  

 

I will also be spending more time reading children's stories and practicing listening comprehension via the bookbox stuff provided above by the wonderful crislang360.

 

Video:

 

This is my week 1 video.  I realized after uploading it that the audio was quite low.  It's possible that if your speakers are better than mine you will be able to hear it without putting your ear on your speakers.  I just attempted to record another video and the audio was also quite low.  I'm going to have to find a better free video recording program.  Any ideas?

 

Some thoughts:

 

My knowledge of spanish has definitely helped me during this first week of French study.  The idea of multiple conjugations for different endings of verb, of an informal and formal you, of an imperfect and past tense,  are all things that I'm relatively competent in.  

 

90% of the words I've learned this week have been cognates with either Spanish or English.  For example: In English we have "dance" in French they have "dancer".  In Spanish there is "decepcionar" (to disappoint) and in French there is "decevoir".  

 

Most of the French words genders have matched up to their spanish counterparts.  

 

Lots of constructions like "help to" "try to" "learn to" are parallel in Spanish in terms of preposition used.  

 

I hope this advantage helps me move even faster during this second week!

June 4, 2013
17:00
ModernSpartacus

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Wow, this is amazing. I've had 3/4 years of high school french + another week on my own at a 45 min-1 hour per day, and you are way more advanced than me!

Native: English

Learning: French

Want to learn: Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Italian, German, Elvish, Russian, Latin, Ancient Greek.

June 11, 2013
09:50
Senuloj

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It's amazing how little you can learn at school! I was the top of my class in Spanish, and I feel like my French is better than my three years of Spanish after only two weeks.  I feel like you can learn much more when you have momentum and motivation.  

 

Which are two things I've actually been lacking this week, so I want to write about them.  

 

I've never had a lack of motivation in my studies, because while I was at school I have my GPA to consider, and while I was in Japan I felt like it was my last real chance so I better buckle down and study.  My attachment to French isn't tied to any GPA, and I don't have as deep an affection for it (yet) as Japanese.  So, this week, when push came to shove and I hit down periods in my study, I collapsed.  I only managed to get about 20 hours in this week. 

 

Why did this happen?  Two reasons: My motivation wasn't strong enough and it wasn't at the forefront of my mind, and I didn't work hard enough to keep up my momentum.  

 

I've been working out a plan to strengthen my motivation and keep it always something that I'm thinking about  as well as to figure out how to keep my momentum high.  I think it's important to have your motivation written down somewhere so you can read it over every morning and remind yourself why you've devoted so much time to studying. 

 

Momentum is so important with language study, especially intense language study.  Reason being that, frankly, studying a foreign language is exhausting and often very frustrating because you're constantly trying to do something just beyond your abilities and improve.  When you have momentum, you can feel yourself making progress, which helps you "roll-over" the frustrating parts of the day.  

 

I've found that when I wake up in the morning, it's easy for me to just roll through 2 or 3 hours of study before going to see my girlfriend because I can build up the momentum, but after I get home in the afternoon with working out, eating, etc. I lose my grip on my momentum because I'm being interrupted every hour or two - and once my momentum's gone, I hit a snag and I just can't get past the frustration.  

 

Some things that I've noticed that really snag me up are: listening comprehension and practice with language partners.  I still have so much trouble with these that I can often barely understand what I'm hearing, and I am so much worse at speaking when I have a partner in front of me.  I get frustrated with myself for not being as good as I want to be (which will take me 8 more weeks still! I lose sight of that) and since I have no momentum to say "Yeah, well you were doing a good job with that news article" or "You're conjugating much faster!" and roll me through, I get frustrated and take a break, which further drops my momentum until I'm tired and ready to give up.

 

I'm glad I've had this unsuccessful week, because it's given me a chance to analyze my behaviours to try to figure out what I can improve upon to study more effectively.  

 

3 Ways I've come upon to keep momentum up are:

1) When you get home, try to get momentum up by studying something moderately challenging within 15 minutes of walking in the door.  

2) Try to do difficult study in blocks of a few hours, so you have the momentum and confidence to keep pushing at it.

3) Schedule something restful but beneficial after anything that is particularly frustrating.

 

In regards to number 3, just using contextese, I can watch and understand the general gist of cartoons.  So, this week, EVERYDAY after my language exchange, I'm just going to sit down and watch a french cartoon for 30 minutes.  It's good because I can still actively practice my listening comprehension, get used to how spoken French sounds, the sorts of phrases that are commonly used, but still be resting from the exchange.  

 

Another, more involved way, to keep up momentum is to have relatively detailed plans.  What I mean is that if you have a weekly plan with 21 small goals to meet by the end of the week, you're more likely to follow it than if your goal is simply, "Better listening comprehension by next week."  When you meet those goals, if you understand how they contribute to the larger goal, it's much easier to keep the work you're doing from feeling "tedious and meaningless" because you're very aware of what it means to your study.  

So, for example, my "goals" this week will be:

Monday: Do easy french article

            Listen to heidi for an hour

            Practice Imperfect and Composed Past conjugations in monologues and with a conversation partner

Tuesday: Practice Imperfect and Conditional

             Do listening exercises

Wednesday: Practice Future

               Do listening exercises

With my ultimate goals for the week being "Listen to news in easy french fresh and understand 80%" and "Conjugate comfortably in most persons of all tenses".  

So I can see how my little goals build into my big goal.

---------------

I'm hoping to really take what I think I've learned about motivation and momentum to make this week even more successful than the first week.  I'm planning be very strong in French by the end of week 4, and that will only happen if I can keep my momentum up and my motivation strong!

I'll be posting EVERYDAY this week to briefly detail my blunders on a day by day basis!

P.S.  Here's this week's video.

 

 

Keeping Myself Honest:

So, rather than shamelessly create a new post, I'll edit this one:

 

Wednesday:

I managed to study for 8.3 hours today, I input 160 new vocabulary words into anki and studied them, I spent nearly five and a half hours working on listening comprehension (what I consider my biggest flaw) and I'm ready to do it all again tomorrow!

 Thursday:

Got in 8 hours of studying today and hit my vocab target.

Friday: 
Only managed to study for 4 hours today.  Getting home at 4 after the Man of Steel premiere was not good for studying today :p

 

Saturday:

I had a surprisingly tough time getting going today, so I only managed 5.5 hours, I also am lacking about 10 vocabulary words.  To get to 45 hours, I'm going to have to do 19 hours within the next two days.  Well, I guess we'll see if I can!

June 18, 2013
08:42
Senuloj

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Whew, well, at the end of this week I managed to get in 40 hours of study in the end, but I almost fell off yesterday.  Luckily, I was able to remember my goals and the reasons I'm doing this and remotivate myself to finish out strong.

 

I believe this week has gone pretty well. 

 

I've:

-Kept pace with 135+ words a day with pretty solid retention (since most are cognates with english or spanish)
-Listened to and worked with articles in "Le Journal en Francais Facile" every day, I can understand 50%+ of what's said the first time through.

-Spent some time watching anime in French.

 

I haven't:

-Managed to speak very much in French except to myself.  

 

My main goal for this week was to work on listening comprehension and vocabulary expansion, which I believe I've been pretty successful at.  When I watch TV in French, I can usually understand the main point of what's going on just by picking up snippets of phrases, and sometimes I'll pick up entire sentences and be very proud of myself.  

Even with week 2's lackluster performance, I still believe I'm on track to reach my week 10 goal.  I have most important French grammar (in terms of tenses and such) floating around somewhere in my head, and I'm planning to continue plowing through vocabulary as quickly as I can.  I can currently speak French better than I could speak Spanish after my first semester of college Spanish (which was the second year level) - and my knowledge of grammar is far more complete.  My goal is to be able to speak French as well as I could speak Spanish after finishing the Spanish language curriculum at my school by the end of NEXT WEEK.  

 

To do this, simply put, I need to step up my game.  I want to spend 3 to 4 hours everyday speaking - whether it's to myself, doing the picture exercises that someone brought up in an advice thread, speaking with my girlfriend, at a conversation club, or with my exchange partners.  I want to spend more time frustrating my brain and forcing it to use French, so I want to cut off as much English as possible during the day when I'm not out with my girlfriend.  I also want to study for 50 hours this week, so most of my day everyday is in French.  I want to go to sleep with French bouncing around in my head.  

This week is going to be particularly exhausting and frustrating, but I'm sure in the end it will be worth it!

 

Here is my week 3 video - I just woke up and the first thing I did was record this video (because today's my breakday and I want to goof off!), so I won't be speaking as well obviously as I do after I've been studying or speaking for a while.

 

I'll see you guys next week!

P.S. the steps I took to ensure my motivation stayed high were successful!

June 25, 2013
10:37
Senuloj

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Week 4 of my mission is now complete.  

 

I studied for nearly 50 hours this week.  Here are my current stats for studying: 127 hours completed, 2482 vocabulary words input into my anki deck and about 20 hours spent speaking.  

 

I almost reached my goal of 2500 words by week 4, and I did reach one of the goals I was hoping for.  

 

Having studied Spanish and Japanese, I know that there is a hump in language learning where you have to force out the language you're learning, the words, the grammer, because it doesn't feel like a cohesive system that exists in your brain.  I was hoping this week to more or less get over that hump, and I have.  I still pause and make grammatical mistakes, but getting the language out of my mouth is much easier and I can relatively easily rant about familiar topics to myself.

 

Though I know that my method needs work, the steps I took to accomplish this were: 

-Keeping myself only in the language for hours at a time.  

     When I would sit down to study, I would stay away from english media (like facebook, this site, etc.).  I would even  

go so far as to text my girlfriend (who understands french) in the language and read french wikipedia during dinner.  When I had things to think about, I would try my best to work through them in French, even though it was time consuming and painful.  

-Speaking in French as much as possible.  Beyond just trying to think in French, I also tried to speak in French for two hours a day.  Unfortunately, this week, it's been a real challenge to catch my conversation partners, so most of my conversation was with myself.  Speaking to yourself has the positives that you can speak only about what you want / know how so you can practice tenses and grammar patterns to your hearts content.  I think it's good for convincing yourself that French / your language is actually a language and getting your mouth used to pronouncing the sounds.  I've become about as good as I am talking to people in Spanish at talking to myself in French.  But, it has a few drawbacks:

1) You get no listening comprehension practice at the same time - understanding people speaking french to me is still embarassingly difficult.  

2) You don't get used to the pressure of speaking with a native, so your gains are slower and your ability to speak to yourself doesn't necessarily carry over to speaking with a native.  As long as I can get out whole phrases, I can speak quickly when speaking to a native, but when I have to respond quickly (as in, "Oh, really? What happened?" "Oh, that sounds fun!") and in short bursts, my brain can't respond quickly enough.  

 

I've also been practicing listening comprehension a lot.  One way is that I've been listening to "le journal en francais facile" for about an hour a day.  I listen to it once all the way through to try to see how much I can catch, once while reading along with the transcript, and then I go through it slowly, shadow the sentences, write down new vocabulary, and listen to each segment a few times to make sure I can hear it.  

Because of this and a growing familiarity with the topics (same ones everyday) I can understand 60 to 70% of the news on the first go.  In addition to this, I have also been watching Bleach in French.  

 

I wouldn't consider watching Bleach serious listening practice, but I think it does serve a purpose, as I'm actively trying to understand sentences and most importantly it keeps me in the language.  By watching something fun I'm doing two things to my brain: 1) Telling it that there are fun things to do in French, not just painful ones.  In fact, I'm doing most of my fun things in French 2) Keeping myself in French even when I'm tired or want a break.

 

I've found that my comprehension of the episodes has improved significantly and I only rarely don't get the gist of each sentence, and oftentimes I'll even catch whole sentences in their entirety.  

 

I would recommend finding anime in your language for a few reasons:

1) It's generally entertaining and fun to watch.  

2) It's simple to understand.  Anime's are in general marketed towards children and there are almost always enough context to help you either understand the words or understand the situation.  So you can give words a context (Like, I hear the word "vaincu" in the context "Il m'a vaincu, c'est pas vrai!" a lot.) and you can enjoy the episode even if you can't understand all the words.  

3) Anime is, like it or not, a worldwide phenomenon.  Finding anime in your language for free online is going to be significantly easier than finding a sitcom from the host country.  For example, I've had no trouble finding the first 30 episodes of Bleach, and when I want to watch something in Japanese I can find the spanish subbed versions and cover up the subtitles.  

4) Let's you stay in the language while resting!

 

So, in short: easy to find, fun to watch, alright for learning (as long as you are actively trying to understand what they're saying!)

 

Unfortunately I'm not going to post a video update today.  I may post one tomorrow after ranting to myself in French a bit.  

 

I'm hoping to maintain my pace of vocabulary acquisition and start reading the first harry potter book in French this week.  I also am planning on getting much more legitimate spoken practice.  I broke down this weekend and spent 2 hours on italki sending messages to 20+ french speakers and chatting with them (in french) on italki.  I managed to get a few to add me on Skype, so I should have many more opportunities to practice French this week!

I'll see you next week!

June 28, 2013
09:33
Tuco
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J'ai aimé bien l'idée de régarder des animes. Même si je ne suis pas tellement passionné pour eux, ça vaut la peine d'essayer, je crois. 

 

 

 

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June 29, 2013
17:27
nikki210
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Hi,

it's cool to be able to see your plan and your progress!

A couple of questions:

1) Are you finding the Colloquial Grammar book helpful? I already have a couple of French language books so if I were to invest in another one I'd want to make sure it was worth it.

2) How are you choosing the vocab words you'll study each week? Where do you select them from?

 

I'm in Cannes for the summer, and though I studied French for 8 years and was fluent at one point, I haven't practiced it in 10 years, and am painfully reminded every time I leave my apartment how much I no longer understand. I would love to set up a plan like yours - but I think I need more guidance on how to pick and chose to make a plan. 

Help is appreciated, thanks!

June 30, 2013
10:42
Dean

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Great journal. You are extremely dedicated which is great.

 

It looks like you're well on your way to fluent French. 

 

If you need a conversational French tutor, visit Chalksy.com and find online french classes. Here is one that I've recommended to a couple of users on this forum: http://www.chalksy.com/class_page.php?class=132

 

I hope you managed to reach your goal.

 

All the best!

 

Dean

Currently on a Spanish learning journey. Contact me if you'd like to speak Spanish on Skype. I use Chalksy.com and Duolingo.com. 

July 1, 2013
07:57
kang_ji_hun
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Hey, brother. I just set up my account here so I could comment on your thread. I think you're doing great work, and you're giving me a good example of how to set and reach goals, and keep yourself accountable.

I'm going to start my Korean journey in a few days, so I'll keep up with you and let you know how I'm doing.

I'm actually from Dallas, Texas! I'm traveling in Europe at the moment, but I think I'll be back in Dallas at the end of August. Maybe we could meet for a coffee sometime.

Good work! Keep it up!

강지훈

July 1, 2013
08:42
Senuloj

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nikki210 said
Hi,

it's cool to be able to see your plan and your progress!

A couple of questions:

1) Are you finding the Colloquial Grammar book helpful? I already have a couple of French language books so if I were to invest in another one I'd want to make sure it was worth it.

2) How are you choosing the vocab words you'll study each week? Where do you select them from?

 

I'm in Cannes for the summer, and though I studied French for 8 years and was fluent at one point, I haven't practiced it in 10 years, and am painfully reminded every time I leave my apartment how much I no longer understand. I would love to set up a plan like yours - but I think I need more guidance on how to pick and chose to make a plan. 

Help is appreciated, thanks!

1) I felt like the colloquial grammer book was helpful because it had a lot of text to read in French which was relatively easy and I feel like it covered the necessary points about essential parts of the grammer.  I finished that book within the second week and have been using about.com's articles on French and wordreference to deal with new grammer that I come across.  Also, the kindle edition of colloquial french is $10, so if you need a refresher course, you can't really waste your money :p

 

2) For a while I was simply learning the vocab from colloquial and getting supplementary vocab from this list of the top 10,000 written words in French.  But, that became tiresome rather quickly because, one, it's written french, so not stuff that's used always in speaking, and two if there is a word on the list (like parreseux) it'll pop up later in a different form (like parreseuse).  

I've been listening to the journal in Francais facil and getting a lot of my vocabulary from there.  So I know lots of words like "suicide" "attentat" "repression" "bombe" etc. And I've also been reading Harry Potter and getting lots of vocabulary from there (like "briller", "essuyer", "sort", "sorciellerie").  I think it's good to get vocabulary from things you're using, because you'll naturally practice them and they'll make you better at doing those things.  

If your french was quite fluent at one point, why not try to revive via Tim Ferriss's method?  http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2007/09/20/how-to-resurrect-your-high-school-spanish-or-any-language-plus-be-on-the-cbs-early-show/

As a last piece of advice, I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about picking a plan if it's keeping you from starting.  The most important thing is that you find something you can do in the language that will contribute to vocabulary growth and grammer acquisition and that you force yourself to speak at least a little everyday.  I often question myself if what I'm doing is the most efficient for learning, but I know that even if it's only 80% efficient, it's better than wasting a week trying to find something perfect.  And, even if reading harry potter again and watching a few episodes of anime isn't the most efficient part of my studies, it keeps me in French and it does help.

Good luck reviving your French! I'll be going through the same struggle with my Spanish after this mission ...

July 1, 2013
08:44
Senuloj

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To everyone else,

Thanks for your encouragement and responses! After a few weeks of just me talking to myself, I felt like no-one was bothering to read this anymore :)  One more day of hectic studying and then an update!

July 1, 2013
17:22
Reve
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Bonne chance à vous!  I've been wanting to improve my French, so following your progress might encourage me a bit/remind me to stop slacking :-)  I appreciate your vocabulary-learning tips, sometimes it's hard to determine what words you "need" to learn, especially at the more-or-less beginning.  

 

Have you ever heard of Imagiers, "Learn French with Vincent?"  His videos are fantastic.  They may help you with your grammar, vocabulary, and listening comprehension, especially since he's recently recorded some French lessons in French (as opposed to English, Spanish, etc).

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEf0-WZoqYFzLZtx43KPvag

https://twitter.com/imagiers

http://frenchwithvincent.wordpress.com/

Speaks: Learning:  On Hiatus:    On Wishlist:

July 1, 2013
19:21
nikki210
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I hadn't heard of Tim Ferriss before, so thanks so much for sharing! Yes, I agree - not getting too stuck in the planning part is key, just like not speaking out loud isn't going to get you very far. I think for me I get caught up on wanting to make sure that what I'm doing is *the* most efficient route, even though that's unanswerable and different for everyone. 

Thanks so much for the tips and the encouragement!

July 2, 2013
06:09
felicitates
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Bonjour!~ I've had a lovely time reading about your language mission. I've been living in France for a month now and I've had such a terrible time trying to learn it. Your thread really gives me encouragement and your advice is phenomenal. I really can't wait to read more of your posts in the future! Bonne chance! 

July 7, 2013
11:29
Senuloj

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Well, this is tremendously late.  I only managed to get in 32 hours last week (the week this update is about), which put my grand total at the halfway point at 178 hours.  I was aiming for 200, that's not that bad.  

 

Unfortunately, this week turned into a long break for me, so I haven't done any studying at all since last week.  I decided to take a long weekend because of fourth of July (so instead of one day off, three) which quickly became four and then five.  In fact, this morning, I spent more than an hour watching youtube videos, just because it's more fun than dealing with the 2000 anki cards that have stacked up.  With an intensive project like this, it's definitely hard to jump back in after being off - even more so when your anki deck keeps stacking.  While taking 5 days off doesn't seem like a big deal, it's 7% of the time I've set aside for this mission.  

 

I definitely don't regret taking time off, it's been really good for me to spend time not super stressed out about getting in 8 hours a day, and to have a lot of time to spend with my girlfriend watching TV and playing videogames and once I get rolling again, I'm sure gettnig 8 hours of sleep for 5 days in a row will pay off.  

My one word of warning about this whole experience would be, if you set yourself a short time table to do something - like 10 weeks, you shouldn't plan any sort of big break until the very end.  It might seem like a good idea to rest in the middle, but the best way to keep doing something that's hard is momentum and consistency.  Which you completely lose by taking a long vacation.  Then, if you extend your vacation too long the anxiety starts to creep in about whether you can really complete the mission, now that you're so behind, and then you start to lose confidence in your ability to speak, understand, study which makes it hard to start up again and I could see leading many people to simply abandon the prospect altogether, rather than face failure - but like Benny says, just because you didn't achieve your aim doesn't mean you haven't achieved something.  We need to think in degrees of success and not condemn ourselves so harshly for our mistakes that we lose the ability to move forward. 

Looking forward, I have 4.5 weeks left in this mission (left in this city, actually, then I move back home before I go off to school again).  My initial goal was 400 hours by the end of 10 weeks.  I still, against all odds, think I can do it.  I want to try to finish 20 hours by the end of Tuesday this week - and then rather than a full day off every week, I will only take a half-day, so I will still get 5 hours of work in on Tuesdays.  This is the strategy I use while studying at university, I get Friday afternoon off, every other time is work time, and I manage to keep going without being burned out for about 10 weeks.  I'm sure I can keep this up for 4.  My hope is that the extra time spent studying on Tuesdays will make it easier for me to reach 50 hours a week, which will allow me to hit 200 hours in 4 weeks plus the 20 hours this week.  This would just barely bring up to 400 hours. 

In addition to this, after I get home I have two weeks where my girlfriend is at school and my classes haven't started yet.  I hope to use 10 of those days to study French intensively to work on, probably, reading (since it'll be the easiest to maintain once my period of intense studying is over).  

Now, some week specific updates:

-Speaking is still my weakest point, besides my accent, I believe I can speak as well in French as Spanish.  

-I've currently eclipsed what all the Spanish classes at university taught me in terms of grammar, vocab and listening comprehension for French.

 

Moving forward I want to keep up my breakneck pace of at least 100 words a day (for another 3000 by the end of this project), there is a French conversation table nearby I would like to check out, and I need to encourage my girlfriend to put up with my terrible French.  I also need to find a way to meet with my French conversation partners on a more regular basis.  

 

I will hopefulyl return the Tuesday after next with a success story about completing 70 hours of study with at least 10 hours of practice with native speakers!

A bientot, mes amis.  

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