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LtM
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3904 days ago

130 posts - 223 votes 
Speaks: English*, French, Spanish
Studies: German

 
 Message 441 of 1317
26 January 2013 at 5:53pm | IP Logged 
Although I have rarely commented on your log, emk, I too have gained so much from reading it, not only from your specific tips and advice for French learners, but from your perspective and attitude as well. You've been open about the ups and downs of your studies, kind and encouraging toward others, and so generous with your time and efforts to share useful information, images, links, how-tos, and all the rest. Thank you so much.

I wish you the very best as you continue your journey.
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emk
Diglot
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United States
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2615 posts - 8805 votes 
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 Message 442 of 1317
29 January 2013 at 12:14am | IP Logged 
Thank you all very much for your kind words! Your encouragement and support has been enormously useful during my journey.

Here are my current plans, which are subject to change. I just want to get this down in writing for future reference.

Current status

Reading: I'm getting pretty comfortable, thanks to several months of focused effort. I can do ~80K words in a (long) day.
Listening: At 80+% across a lot of materials, but plenty of stuff is harder than that.
Speaking: I've lost fluidity outside of my core subjects, unless I'm "pumped". This may just be a matter of needing to accept more mistakes and push myself.
Writing: I've neglected writing for months now. Apparently I haven't lost anything, but a short effort would help activate my new vocabulary.

Listening and reading are both well above where I was after the DELF B2, because I've been focusing on them. And as usual, it's pretty clear how to get to C1, etc. But the sheer volume of language to master definitely goes way up for C1 and C2, and the four skills are getting harder to juggle while living in an English-speaking country.

Goals

Reading: Keep up with the Super Challenge. It's a killer, even with my current skills. But it's fun.
Listening: Try to fix the remaining holdouts by working through stacks of DVDs. Maybe some subs2srs with Intouchables, too?
Speaking: Speed up by completely deactivating my "monitor" for a week or two and trusting my natural French.
Writing: Write media reviews on lang-8.

Note that any of this is subject to change at the slightest whim.

Observations

I'm realizing how much of my rapid progress between February and June of last year depended on two things: (1) consistent daily practice of certain activities and (2) a collection of varied activities that reinforced each other. Here's what I used to do, my old "method" if you will:

1. Wrote on lang-8 every day for a month. This debugged my French, taught me essential turns of phrase (mostly thanks to Linguee), and prepped vocabulary for activation.

2. Worked with an excellent tutor 3 times a week. This helped me identify problems and pushed my oral fluency hard.

3. Spent plenty of time with French media, both extensively and intensively.

4. Used Anki to learn and consolidate interesting vocabulary, with about 20 new cards per day.

If I devote 30 to 60 minutes per day to any of these activities for a month, I can make big gains in one area. If I can work on all these things at a time, they reinforce each other dramatically. If I can have both consistency and variety, the results are great. But if I want to do 4+ things per day, every day, it uses up all my "high quality" hours for the day quite quickly.

I can't justify another big push like that unless I move to a French-speaking country or get some clients who speak French. :-) So the trick is figuring out how to combine the benefits of focus and and those of variety, all within the constraints of everyday life.

See you on Twitter or lang-8!
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Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 3210 days ago

3333 posts - 4349 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, Norwegian, French, English, Italian, Papiamento
Studies: Mandarin, Georgian, Russian

 
 Message 443 of 1317
31 January 2013 at 3:14pm | IP Logged 
emk, histoire de te mettre au courant, j'ai réçu ma copie du livre L'Agence dont je t'ai
parlé. Je l'ai acheté d'occasion à travers d'Amazon.com, d'un marchand de livres qui
s'appelle David Long 68. Il me sembre facile, le texte. Je ne sais pas quand est-ce que
je vais commencer à lire cet ouvrage, mais j'écrirai bien sûr à ce sujet.
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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3576 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 444 of 1317
05 February 2013 at 5:03am | IP Logged 
I started writing some book reviews on lang-8, but then I caught the nasty virus that was going around. While I was sick, I spent a little more time on HTLAL that I had planned. :-) And now that I've mostly recovered, my current French obsession has changed, as it often does after a distraction.

Super Challenge

As of February 28, we will be at the halfway point in the Super Challenge. I'm comfortably ahead with movies and TV shows, but I've only read 42.4% of the books. To reach 50% by the end of the month, I would need to read 739 pages. (I've already read 439 since the start of the month, so this is doable.)

Recent highlights include:

Nassim et Nassima by Ingrid Thobois, illustrated by Judith Gueyfier. This an illustrated story with about 70 pages of actual text, intended for French students of age 8 and up. It's about a young boy and girl growing up in post-Taliban Afghanistan, and the girl's desire to go to school. It's well-written, with excellent illustrations, and it's an easy read. Recommended heartily. (And if you're looking to rack up your Super Challenge page count with some interesting grade-school books, check out the other books in this series. They look really promising.)

The BBC's Planète Terre, Quebec edition. 15 episodes of spectacular nature footage, each with 50 minutes of standard French narration and 10 minutes of Quebec French for the "making of". (There's also a separate European translation which apparently contains some scientific errors.) When you're lying sick and exhausted on the couch, with a pounding headache, it's nice to have to have some slow, clear French with pretty pictures. :-)

Angel. The spin-off series of Buffy. A little darker, with less silly relationship drama, at least so far. This is another very good dub, a bit closer to full native speed and mumbling than Buffy.

Gender and the method of loci

An interesting discussion here at HTLAL about how native speakers deal with gender. I'm still wrestling with gender. I know the gender of all the words I use regularly. But I've concluded that I learn words much faster than I naturally learn genders, so there's always a lot of vocabulary where I'm uncertain. From what Arekkusu said, it sounds like native learn genders slightly slower than they learn words, but not by much.

So, how can I learn genders faster? It turns out that humans have several different kinds of memory, and some are much faster than others. One of the fastest kinds of memory is spatial memory, which was heavily used before the invention of the printing press, and is still used today by most world-record memory holders.

So here's what I'm trying:

1. I picked two towns that I know very well. One is for masculine words, the other for feminine.
2. When I need to learn a gender quickly, I visualize an object somewhere in the appropriate town.
3. If I forget, no problem. I do it again.

It takes maybe 2 or 3 seconds to really "see" the scene in my mind's eye. For example, une ombre becomes a shadowy street in the "feminine" town. And so far, my recall after a day or two seems to be noticeably better than with non-spatial mnemonics, at least for the effort invested. I think I'll keep trying this.

How Language Learning Works, part 37 or so: comprehension

For a long time, I thought that there would be some magic day when everything would "click". And some people seem to experience this. But at least for me, the way that it works is that I eventually see every French word, expression and piece of grammar so many times that it becomes familiar. There's nothing really magical about this process. If I see an expression like s'en vouloir, either I look it up in the dictionary, or I eventually find an example where I can figure it from context. Then I run into another 10 or 50 times, and it just doesn't surprise me any more.

I don't know, somehow I expected something more dramatic. But that's it. The good news is that the process snowballs dramatically: The more I know, the faster I learn.

Edited by emk on 06 February 2013 at 4:43pm

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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3576 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
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 Message 445 of 1317
06 February 2013 at 4:39pm | IP Logged 
Rockin' the Super Challange these last few days. I re-read Le Petit Prince yesterday, and discovered that it's now an easy, nostalgic read. Then two more episodes of Angel last night, which is pushing my listening comprehension a bit.

And then, in a moment of enthusiastic folly last night, I dove into Les Trois Mousquetaires, and had managed to read almost 50 pages by this morning. This is not one of those books where I could read 10 pages a day—that's pretty much stall speed for overblown 19th century prose that's trying to recreate the 17th century. But if I read fast enough, well, Les Trois Mousquetaires is marvelously sensationalist popular entertainment, with duels and intrigues and all that sort of thing. I'm reading the Kindle edition with the popup French dictionary, which really helps with the vocabulary de cape et d'épée.

I probably won't finish Les Trois Mousquetaires this time around. After all, it's 893 pages, and I still have 620 pages to go before the end of the month. So when I get distracted, I'll probably re-read Le vieil homme et la guerre to quickly boost my page count. But for now, Un pour tous ! Tous pour un !


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tastyonions
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
goo.gl/UIdChYRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2709 days ago

1044 posts - 1823 votes 
Speaks: English*, French, Spanish
Studies: Italian

 
 Message 446 of 1317
06 February 2013 at 5:09pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
Rockin' the Super Challange these last few days. I re-read Le Petit Prince yesterday, and discovered that it's now an easy, nostalgic read.

That's a great feeling, coming back to something that seemed so difficult before and finding that it's now easy.
1 person has voted this message useful





emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3576 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 447 of 1317
12 February 2013 at 3:17pm | IP Logged 
tastyonions wrote:
That's a great feeling, coming back to something that seemed so difficult before and finding that it's now easy.


It really is a great feeling.

On an unrelated note, I've been a little bit preoccupied lately thanks to the stomach bug that's going around. But I managed to get in some more reading while recovering.

My goal by the end of the month is 50% of the books finished, and 75% of the films. Here's where I stand:

Books: 46.7%
Films: 74%

Or to look at it another way, I've read 846 pages this month, and I have 327 to go, and it's only the 12th. It's been a little intense. :-)
1 person has voted this message useful



kujichagulia
Senior Member
Japan
Joined 2891 days ago

1031 posts - 1571 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Japanese, Portuguese

 
 Message 448 of 1317
13 February 2013 at 2:33am | IP Logged 
@emk - Encouraging stuff here. Thanks for sharing!

I really, really need to get back to doing my (Half) Super Challenge. I watch Japanese TV every day; I should have knocked the film portion of the challenge off my list already!


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