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DB’s French Log 2014 TAC

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United Kingdom
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19 posts - 30 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: French

 Message 1 of 9
30 December 2013 at 4:53pm | IP Logged 
Pre-2014: BBC French Steps, Coffee Break French 1-80, Michel Thomas Foundation (which I have recently worked my way through for a second time), Pimsleur I (I have two more lessons to go which I'm aiming to complete by tomorrow).

2014 Goals:
My goal for 2014 is to reach a comfortable all around B1 level by the end of the year. To help me achieve this I am going to use the materials listed below.

ASSIMIL New French with Ease [113 Chapters]
Pimsleur II, III, IV [30, 30, 10]
Teach Yourself French [26 Chapters]
BBC MaFrance
Michel Thomas Language Builder
Michel Thomas Advanced
Practice Makes Perfect Complete French Grammar

Read 20 books [20x100 pages]
Watch 50 films/series/documentaries[50x90min]

ANKI 20 new words/sentences per day pulled from resources above

Initially, I'm going to be tackling one ASSIMIL lesson per day as well as one Pimsleur lesson. Alongside this I will attempt my first self-set challenge:

Challenge #1: Teach Yourself French - 26 Chapters in 26 days

I am also planning to join the Super challenge (in May?) which should help to give me a motivational boost with the reading. I'm aiming to start reading my first book towards the end of January. I have purchased "Easy French Reader" which also contains some exercises after each section. After that maybe "Le Petit Prince", using the Ilya Frank Method online, and then L'Étranger.

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United Kingdom
Joined 2969 days ago

19 posts - 30 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: French

 Message 2 of 9
07 January 2014 at 9:02am | IP Logged 
ASSIMIL New French with Ease 7/113 Chapters]
Pimsleur II, III, IV [5/30, 30, 10]
Teach Yourself French [7/26 Chapters]

Bonjour à tous. I hope everyones new year has kicked off to a good start.

I'm finding ASSIMIL fine so far and quite easy to work through. I'm following the steps that someone posted on this forum. I think they may have taken them from the front of the Dutch book if memory serves me right. They are as follows:

Listen without book
Listen while reading L1
Read L2 out loud refering to translation
Read L2 without translation
Listen twice while reading L1 and once reading L2
Listen without book
Listen. Pause. Shadow
Read notes several times
Read and repeat exercises

I'm only on Pimsleur II lesson 5 so far as I have found that I have had to listen to a couple of the lessons a few times over to get a good understanding of the material covered. Lesson 4 introduced "Si nous allions" which seems simple to me now but at the time I just couldn't get my mouth to replicate the phrase.

So my first challenge "Teach Yourself French - 26 chapters in 26 days" is going quite well and i'm currently on track. I'm finding that the further along I get into the book, the more words I'm having to input into ANKI which is giving me a small backlog but nothing major at this point. Unit 6 included a calendar of saints names for each day of the year which apparently until recently, French children could only be given a name that appears on this list. The good news though is that, as well as celebrating their birthday, they celebrate their saints day too. Here's to two "birthdays" a year for me from now on :)

À la prochaine!
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United Kingdom
Joined 2969 days ago

19 posts - 30 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: French

 Message 3 of 9
16 January 2014 at 1:28pm | IP Logged 
ASSIMIL New French with Ease 15/113 Chapters]
Pimsleur II, III, IV [12/30, 30, 10]
Teach Yourself French [14/26 Chapters]

Firstly, I'd like to give a massive THANKYOU to Songlines for creating and leading another French team.

ASSIMIL is going very well at the minute and I'm really liking some of the humour in the lessons. I'm still a little behind on Pimsleur at the minute and have fell one day behind on my TY French challenge due to a few long days in work. Although I am planning on catching back up so that I am on track over the weekend.

I have come across a premade ANKI deck for ASSIMIL NFWE and have been doing 20 new cards of the deck each day which has brought me up to lesson 8 so far. I'm translating from French into English using this and will be attacking it the other way around once I get to the second wave (without ANKI). I'm finding it quite helpful so far and there have only been a couple of cards that I haven't been able to recall which is great.

With Pimsleur, I still can't get my head around when to use là or ici and everytime I say one the translation that follows always seems to use the opposite. I'm sure I'll come across a rule in my other courses at some point.

I'm finding the TY French units are becoming more indepth the more I progress and Unit 13 seemed to be the most detailed so far. At the end of Unit 10 there are links to various food related sites, one of which is, which my Andoid phone informed me had a free app with over 61 000 recipes! Needless to say I downloaded it. So here is the first, of hopefully many, french recipes that I will attempt:

Croque Monsieur
(I only made two.)

  • 4 tranches de pain de mie
  • du fromage râpé (Gruyère)
  • du beurre
  • sauce béchamel
  • 2 tranches de jambon

Préparation de la recette :

Préchauffer le four 240°C.

Faire la sauce béchamel.

Placer sur 1 tranche de pain de mie lègérement beurré une couche de béchamel, du gruyère râpé, 1 tranche de jambon, de la béchamel et du gruyère râpé. Fermer avec la 2ème tranche de pain de mie et recouvrir les croque-monsieur de béchamel et de fromage râpé.

Poser les 2 croque-monsieur sur la plaque du four recouverte de papier alu (attention à ne pas les laisser bruler dans le four). Cuire 15 à 20 mn.

Déguster accompagné de salade verte.

And the result was délicieux! Voila!

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United States
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 Message 4 of 9
16 January 2014 at 2:05pm | IP Logged 
(I'm going to write in French, but please don't hesitate to ask me for a translation into English.)

Ça a l'air délicieux ! Je pense que ton plan est très bien conçu, et que tu vas faire beaucoup de progrès cette année. Bon courage !
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 Message 5 of 9
16 January 2014 at 6:47pm | IP Logged 
Your plan looks awesome, and ambitious! How are you liking Teach Yourself French so far? I have used several TY books, but the reviews of TY French were quite poor by comparison. Let us know your opinion in comparison to the other materials you are using. I recently got Hugo's Complete French (the slightly older edition, like new, for £6 or so) to use as a grammar review. It looks good, but I've only reviewed as far as the second chapter. I actually wish I had bought it when I started French a couple of years ago.

Your reading ideas look great. I have heard (from emk I think) that Le Petit Prince is a bit difficult for a beginner due to the tenses used. Since you are thinking about doing the Super Challenge, I'll suggest two more books for you:

Le Petit NicolasYou have linked to the Le Petit Nicolas books on another thread. I highly recommend them because they actually make me laugh out loud! The audio on the website you linked to doesn't work for me, but I have the audiobook on CD and it is also fantastic. The great thing is that I find it an easy book to read again.
La sorcière de la rue MouffetardOne more light reading suggestion is "La sorcière de la rue Mouffetard" by Pierre Grimpari. I have only listened to the audio book so far, because I'm taking a bit of a break from reading a lot until the Super Challenge begins.

Edited by Jeffers on 16 January 2014 at 6:49pm

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 Message 6 of 9
19 January 2014 at 12:09pm | IP Logged 

your progress is swift, keep it up and you're likely to pass me with Assimil sometime through the year! Good
luck with the super challenge!

Like Jeffers I avoided TY French due to poor reviews, despite having used TY Beginners Dutch & TY Dutch
which were both good courses IMO 6 or 7 out of ten. Hugo is quite good, plenty of exercises but if you're a
real beginner a steep learning curve with a lot if grammar over a short period of time= good overview, 7.5/10
for me. Good luck with your studies DB!!

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United Kingdom
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Studies: French

 Message 7 of 9
19 January 2014 at 12:21pm | IP Logged 
Read: [5/2000]

Thanks emk, it really was très délicieux! I've had many more attempts at them since.

I bought TY French several years ago from a book shop so never seen the reviews prior to my purchase. Having seen them since on Amazon, I can confirm I'm in agreement with them. There is a real feeling that the course was put together in a rush. You are asked questions on material that hasn't yet been taught. However I could answer these from my little previous experience but that's not the point. I find some question pointless and don't actually test you on the topics being covered. I do like reading the small snippets of cultural information that give a great insight into the country and I have picked up a fair bit of vocabulary so far.

It isn't the best course and definitely couldn't be used as your main method of learning. But since I've invested in it,I'm going to plough on with it (quickly with my 26 day challenge)and then put it to rest and move onto something else (peut-être Hugo in 3 Months).

Thank you for your recommendation of La Sorcière de la rue Mouffetard. I've just read a 5 page extract online of the title story and really enjoyed it. La Sorcière really didn't have much luck with Nadia at the market did she! I've added the book to my Amazon wishlist ready for a future order. I've recently received my copies of Le Petit Nicolas and L'Étranger:

I will be reading these on my computer first using Ilya Frank for Le Petit Prince and a parallel reader with audio that I have for L'Étranger. I do prefer I real book though and will be reading these when I revisit all my reading material for the Super Challenge. It will be nice to see how much I've improved at that point too.
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 Message 8 of 9
19 January 2014 at 12:21pm | IP Logged 
I want to wish you bonne chance as well. It's very exciting to read about your adventure with French.

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