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Going back to Europe TAC 2014 DE|FR|日本語

 Language Learning Forum : Language Learning Log Post Reply
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g-bod
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1485 posts - 2002 votes 
Speaks: English*, Japanese
Studies: French, German

 
 Message 1 of 142
24 December 2013 at 12:42am | IP Logged 
Now I'm settled on a plan for 2014, I think it's time to set up a log for the next TAC.

I think 2013 (log here) was something of a year of transition for me, as I came to admit to myself that I was ready to let go of solely studying Japanese and start studying the language of one of my European neighbours. Unfortunately I managed to complicate things for myself by picking up both French and German and realising that I couldn't let either of them go.

So I've settled on three languages, two teams (Triomphe and Spaß) and one log.

German
Current ability: I would self assess my level as being A1. I can manage in simple tourist situations and give basic information about myself. I can conduct some very basic research related to my job.
Goal: My goal for 2014 is to reach a level where I can start watching TV and reading books. Longer term I would like to reach a B2 level.

French
Current ability: Incredibly hard to self assess. Not so much false beginner as false intermediate. I can travel in France without relying on English at all, with the caveat that I've learned to be shameless when speaking a foreign language on holiday. I can read contemporary fiction and enjoy some TV, with the caveat that 5.5 years of Japanese study has left me quite tolerant of ambiguity and incomprehension. I suspect I could make rapid gains through exposure alone, although my writing needs more serious attention.
Goal: In 2014 I want to actually reach a B2 level and ideally prove it by passing the DELF B2.

Japanese
Current ability: Passed JLPT N2, which I suspect is broadly equivalent to having B2 level comprehension skills (active skills being untested in the exam).
Goal: My listening and speaking skills are at a level which suits my needs so I have no specific goals here. I will continue a regular language exchange simply because I enjoy it. When it comes to reading, I wonder if I can apply the philosophy of Team Egyptian and study just a little bit every week, without obsessing, and see how far I get.

I'm going to play around with the format of this log and try using the second post to track things like books read, TV series watched and any milestones along the way.

Edit: 24th January 2014

Having done some thinking about how much time I can genuinely spend on languages (as opposed to how much time I would spend in my fantasy life where I don't have to work and time magically freezes every time I log on to HTLAL), I've decided to set a few targets for certain activities for the year:

Core Targets for 2014
French
Read 3000 pages
Watch 75 hours TV/film
30 hours of conversation/1 to 1 tuition
Write 25 250 word essays
Complete Grammaire Progressive du Français Intermédiaire
Complete Les 500 Exercices de Phonétique (with possible exception of sections covering things which are "easy" for an English speaker like b/v distinction)

Japanese
Read 3000 pages
Watch 75 hours TV/film
50 hours of conversation/1 to 1 tuition/small group classes
Write 25 400 character essays
Complete up to 第62回 in Kanji in Context

Optional Targets (Optional because I should be able to do some or part of them, but probably won't have time to do everything)
German
Complete Assimil
Complete Deutsch Warum Nicht
Complete Begegnungen A1+
Read 1 whole book

French
Work through Le Nouvel Édito B1

Stuff I do but can't turn into measurable targets
Listen to music
Listen to radio
Listen to podcasts

Edited by g-bod on 27 January 2014 at 11:14pm

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g-bod
Diglot
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United KingdomRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4211 days ago

1485 posts - 2002 votes 
Speaks: English*, Japanese
Studies: French, German

 
 Message 2 of 142
24 December 2013 at 12:44am | IP Logged 
Resources

Kanji Drills
doriru.net
ちびむすドリル

Edited by g-bod on 15 March 2014 at 10:35pm

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g-bod
Diglot
Senior Member
United KingdomRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4211 days ago

1485 posts - 2002 votes 
Speaks: English*, Japanese
Studies: French, German

 
 Message 3 of 142
29 December 2013 at 6:46pm | IP Logged 
A Plan for January

I've spent the run up to the new year procrastinating, experimenting with resources, and procrastinating some more. My initial thoughts were to spend half of 2014 studying French and half studying German. However, I can't seem to feel satisfied about taking that approach. It makes French feel like an over-cooked steak which I have to chew my way through in order to reach the ice cream of German. On top of which, I can't really head up Team Spaß without actually starting the year with some German!

So I have decided that for January I will actually try to commit to studying two languages at once. This is something that I've not really succeeded at yet (I have a tendency to just swing from one language to another) but I will just try to stick to this plan for a month and see what happens. If it's a disaster, French may just turn into a perfectly cooked piece of faux filet after all.

I've settled on the following plan:

German:
Study one page a day, 5 days a week, from Begegnungen (1 page takes around 20-30 minutes depending on the type of activity) Kapitel 4/p92 finished 31/12/2013
Maintain an Anki deck of any vocab I pick up from Begegnungen 159 notes/274 cards 31/12/2013
Mess around on Duolingo just enough to make sure my husband doesn't get ahead of me (5-10 minutes a day) Level 7/856 XP/274 words 31/12/2013
Listen to Deutsche Welle Warum Nicht whenever I feel like it Season 2/ep17 in Dec 2013

French:
Try to study from Le Nouvel Édito B1 for 30-45 minutes a day, 5 days a week Unité 1/Dossier 1/Grammaire - Rappel p18 31/12/2013 (p18 Échauffement left to do)
Maintain an Anki deck of any vocab I pick up from Le Nouvel Édito 98 notes/142 cards 31/12/2013
Get some grammar revision from Grammaire Progressive Niveau Intermédiare if I feel like I have room for more study Chapter 1/p11 complete 31/12/2013
Study a section of Les 500 Exercices de Phonétique once or twice a week Partie I/2 p22 complete 31/12/2013
Find a Skype tutor and talk to them once a week
Watch TV, listen to radio/podcasts, read stuff <-- in italics to remind myself how important it is

On top of this, I will be attempting to maintain:
Japanese:
Do my weekly language exchange
Do a little kanji study every week with Kanji in Context/Anki Review of 第20回 complete 29/12/2013 20 cards in Anki
Watch TV and read stuff

I started settling into this routine on 29th December and have updated the list on 1st January to show progress where relevant as of the end of 2013, so that I have something to compare it to at the end of the month.

For the last few days of 2013 I found it surprisingly easy to fit everything in, without a hint of brain melt. However I was in the middle of a very lazy stay at home holiday. The test will be how things work out once I'm back to work tomorrow.

Edited by g-bod on 05 January 2014 at 9:32pm

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BAnna
Triglot
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United States
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409 posts - 615 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Spanish
Studies: Russian, Turkish

 
 Message 4 of 142
30 December 2013 at 12:18am | IP Logged 
Thanks for heading up Team Spaß. I look forward to reading about your progress and how you juggle learning multiple languages at once (of particular interest to me since it's something I'm trying for the first time this year).
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Cavesa
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Czech Republic
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3277 posts - 6778 votes 
Speaks: Czech*, FrenchC2, EnglishC1
Studies: Spanish, German, Italian

 
 Message 5 of 142
30 December 2013 at 7:47pm | IP Logged 
Hello, teammate!

That sounds like a solid plan, I am looking forward to reading about your progress. :-)
1 person has voted this message useful



g-bod
Diglot
Senior Member
United KingdomRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4211 days ago

1485 posts - 2002 votes 
Speaks: English*, Japanese
Studies: French, German

 
 Message 6 of 142
01 January 2014 at 6:30pm | IP Logged 
So as the night draws in on the first day of the new year, my brain has threatened to melt already. It's not a multilingual issue this time though. French is causing me trouble all on its own. It feels like I've definitely graduated to the "difficult" class, thanks to an introduction in Le Nouvel Édito to the numerous rules over agreement of the past participle. I ended up cross referencing with my Schaum's grammar and think I've finally started to make sense of how it's supposed to work, but I will try to write it down here as part of the learning process (and please, if I make mistakes, either in my understanding or my French, let me know!).

I already knew that with verbs which take être in the passé composé, the past participle must agree with the subject.

Turns out that with verbs which take avoir, the past participle must agree with the object, but only if it shows up before the verb, for example:

La lettre que j'ai écrite

A bit counterintuitive given that verbs which take être agree with the subject but I can run with it.

But what about reflexive verbs? Well, in my innocent pre-intermediate days I trusted that since a reflexive verb takes être, the participle would agree with the subject. And isn't the whole point about a reflexive verb that the subject and the object are the same thing, for example:

Elle s'est lavée = She washed herself

Well not exactly. Turns out you can se laver les mains as well (that is, a number of reflexive verbs can take direct objects), in which case the past participle behaves the same way as a verb which takes avoir, so there is no agreement:

Elle s'est lavé les mains

Unless, as with a verb which takes avoir, the direct object shows up before the verb:

Elle se les a lavées

But there is another special type of reflexive verb, which Schaum's calls a "reciprocal reflexive verb" and which I understand to be something that two or more people do to each other (which should provide plenty of entertainment when I get round to making up my own example sentences). Here, whether or not the past participle needs to agree depends on whether the verb takes a direct or indirect object.

écrire à qq'n : Ils se sont écrit (They wrote to each other) > indirect object, no agreement
voir qq'n : Ils se sont vus (They saw each other) > direct object, agreement required

Schaum's also notes a small number of special cases for verbs taking avoir, which I'm not going to worry too much about squeezing into my head just yet, except for the fact that it looks like you don't need to make modal verbs agree with the direct object:

Les choses que j'ai dû faire

I am totally missing the logic and regularity of Japanese grammar right now! I guess I will just have to come back to review the principles and do some practice exercises over the next few days before I leave it to time and exposure to aid the acquisition of the rules.

Edited by g-bod on 01 January 2014 at 6:32pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



Mohave
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United States
justpaste.it/Mohave1
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291 posts - 444 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: French

 
 Message 7 of 142
01 January 2014 at 8:03pm | IP Logged 
g-bod wrote:
So as the night draws in on the first day of the new year, my brain has threatened to melt already. It's not a multilingual issue this time though. French is causing me trouble all on its own. It feels like I've definitely graduated to the "difficult" class, thanks to an introduction in Le Nouvel Édito to the numerous rules over agreement of the past participle. I ended up cross referencing with my Schaum's grammar and think I've finally started to make sense of how it's supposed to work, but I will try to write it down here as part of the learning process (and please, if I make mistakes, either in my understanding or my French, let me know!).

I already knew that with verbs which take être in the passé composé, the past participle must agree with the subject.

Turns out that with verbs which take avoir, the past participle must agree with the object, but only if it shows up before the verb, for example:

La lettre que j'ai écrite

A bit counterintuitive given that verbs which take être agree with the subject but I can run with it.

But what about reflexive verbs? Well, in my innocent pre-intermediate days I trusted that since a reflexive verb takes être, the participle would agree with the subject. And isn't the whole point about a reflexive verb that the subject and the object are the same thing, for example:

Elle s'est lavée = She washed herself

Well not exactly. Turns out you can se laver les mains as well (that is, a number of reflexive verbs can take direct objects), in which case the past participle behaves the same way as a verb which takes avoir, so there is no agreement:

Elle s'est lavé les mains

Unless, as with a verb which takes avoir, the direct object shows up before the verb:

Elle se les a lavées

But there is another special type of reflexive verb, which Schaum's calls a "reciprocal reflexive verb" and which I understand to be something that two or more people do to each other (which should provide plenty of entertainment when I get round to making up my own example sentences). Here, whether or not the past participle needs to agree depends on whether the verb takes a direct or indirect object.

écrire à qq'n : Ils se sont écrit (They wrote to each other) > indirect object, no agreement
voir qq'n : Ils se sont vus (They saw each other) > direct object, agreement required

Schaum's also notes a small number of special cases for verbs taking avoir, which I'm not going to worry too much about squeezing into my head just yet, except for the fact that it looks like you don't need to make modal verbs agree with the direct object:

Les choses que j'ai dû faire

I am totally missing the logic and regularity of Japanese grammar right now! I guess I will just have to come back to review the principles and do some practice exercises over the next few days before I leave it to time and exposure to aid the acquisition of the rules.


I was banging my head on this exact topic yesterday in French Without Toil! Here I was thinking verbs conjugated using avoir were so straight forward!!! Great explanation! Looking forward to being on Team Triomphe with you as well!
2 persons have voted this message useful



sctroyenne
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Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish, Irish

 
 Message 8 of 142
01 January 2014 at 10:29pm | IP Logged 
Oh! Have you gotten to the part yet where some of the verbs that take être as a past participle sometimes take avoir instead? Such as in the case of J'ai sorti la poubelle --> Je l'ai sortie.

While in Paris, I came across this in a bookstore in the French language section intended for native speakers, Accorder le participe passé:



It was almost 200 pages long.


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