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PMs TAC 2015 crazy? French course mission

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Senior Member
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Speaks: French*, English
Studies: Russian

 Message 177 of 451
09 August 2014 at 6:26pm | IP Logged 
I don't use Anki or any other program: I use a pen and a paper notebook.
I memorize the words by the simple act of writing them with a definition in french (and sometimes the pronunciation), nothing else. I learn nothing by heart.
I don't even bother to review my notebook, except when I do a second or third pass on the same material.
And it's working, as strange as it seems.
The words that I forget, I'll write them again (and again, and again...until they are memorized), but usually writing them 2 or 3 times is sufficient.
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 Message 178 of 451
11 August 2014 at 12:15am | IP Logged 
iguanamon wrote:
PM, I must be doing this all wrong because I have never used
flashcards or Anki. Somehow, I've managed to learn. My multi-track method works for me
because I concentrate on one language and actually want to learn to use it for
reading, speaking, listening and writing. My reinforcement, my "active"and "passive"
wave comes from outside sources like my twitter account where I have a constant feed of
Spanish, Portuguese and to a lesser extent Haitian Creole and Ladino. It also comes
from reading extensively, speaking as often as I can, watching TV and listening
regularly. So, I don't use "FC's"- at all. If I need to learn a word or phrase, I may
jot it down and say it out loud in a series of repetitions, but that's just every now
and then and not a part of my normal routine.

I think emk's approach could be a good and efficient compromise to look to use.
Whatever you do, try not to let form and process overwhelm substance. I follow
zenhabits, a blog about productivity and forming
habits, from a different approach. For an interesting take on how to achieve without
goals have a look at the post on no goals. Of
course, this seems counter-intuitive. You want to learn a language. That's a "goal" but
more of a global goal. What Leo's talking about in this post is not to become so
fixated on lesser goals and process that they become an end to themselves, leaving your
ultimate desire behind because the process has become the focus. "Do what you love."
This philosophy may not fit with your personality, but it's worth a look. You know the
old saying about continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results. :).

By the way, zenhabits has loads of advice about
and also here. It takes courage to change but it
can be done. Even if you don't, you've still done quite well with French, so
something's worked even if FC's are not making you happy. Bonne chance!

I just read the links on having no goals and procrastination.... Very nicely written. I
think you're hitting the target there :) It's definitely food for thought and pertinent
to my issues here. Thanks iguanamon. This has lead me to think that perhaps the
pressure I associate with reviewing cards isn't doing me any justice. I don't have to
do any flashcards at any time. Sure I could continue to enter them, but when I choose
to you review them doesn't have to be a portion of every single hour, it COULD be
whenever I choose to look at them. Again food for thought, cheers.
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Speaks: English*
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 Message 179 of 451
11 August 2014 at 12:48am | IP Logged 
Jeffers wrote:
PM, I think the only problem is with trying to do it all. You have
recently upped your conversation time using skype, and before that upped your time
watching and reading French. That means you will come across many more new words, but
will have less time to study them. But many people on HTLAL have said, if a word is
important enough to learn, it will come up again. So if you don't learn a word or
phrase today after your meetup, it will come up in some other way later on if it is
really important
. If it doesn't come up again, then it's not important. The irony
is when we spend more time learning something than the time we actually use it.

PeterMollenburg wrote:

Possible solutions

* Begin entering new words without the use of English

* Enter a limited number of new words per study session

* Ditch them altogether

* Read more

*I use English on my flashcards, so of course I'm not going to suggest you don't. I
think the objections to it are over rated (but I've written about this previously on
your log, so I won't go into it now). But if that nagging idea that there is a better
way is bugging you, then try another method for a few weeks and see what happens.

*From following your log, I think the second solution relates to your real problem. You
are a thorough man, and I salute you for that. But you can't do it all. Give yourself
a maximum number of new cards per week and stick to it. I am currently trying to learn
100 new words per month in French.

*If you are really getting bugged by flashcards, then by all means ditch them. Or take
a break. You should be enjoying your language study.

*I definitely support the idea of reading more. If this means you have less time to
work on flashcards, so be it. Lots of reading is an excellent way to build vocabulary.
You know about the value of extensive reading, but I'm going to advocate repeated
reading. I read an article somewhere (I can't remember where, sadly) about a study of
vocabulary gained by children when reading books. They found that the children who
read the same book 5 times learned significantly more words than the children who read
5 different books. Remember the idea of only looking up 1 word per page? Each time
you re-read a book, you can look up another new word per page. But I have found on my
re-reads of Le Petit Nicolas that I no longer need to look up words I thought I needed
to on my first pass.

Keep on truckin.

Thanks again Jeffers... This thought has crossed my mind, and it's perhaps the most
sensible yet which would appease my concern of 'losing' new words but also allow me to
ditch the flashcards at times... .

A rotation of intensive/extensive study. So, the first study hour i'd study
intensively- using whatever method- course, a text, video, in which I enter as many new
words as I like.

The next study hour(extensive), a maximum of ONE new word can enter my deck. Again I
can use whatever method I desire, even a course (not likely tho), such as listening,
reading, watching, whatever, but the idea would be extensive exposure, not intensive
word/grammar study.

I think the problem is that I probably spend too much time on my flashcards when I
review them, and too much time entering them during intensive study. I was spending
15min per hour reviewing, but upped it to 30min as I still have a massive backlog of
cards that haven't even been viewed once.

The instenvie/extensive rotation is probably the best solution so far. This way I can
still enter flashcards, yet I can also not enter them much at all during extensive
exposure (1 word a page was my approach and that still costs a bit of time), and I
would be likely reading more as often my default extensive study would be reading. As I
said courses are for more intensive study, and reading as per many ppl on HTLAL is
often extensive in nature.

As for study away from my desk, I could listen to intensive audio learning programs to
and from work (Pimsleur for example) - I enter some new cards (words) upon arrival and
relisten until I've caught all new words. Then I could listen to extensive audio
walking the dog, riding etc (news in slow French, RFI news for example) and only
entering one new word per session. This pattern I actually already do, so no change
there, I guess I'm just sharing out loud.

So it's an idea, will I actually do it? Who cares! ok, i'll update at some point,
because I can tell people will literally faint, not being able to compose themslves
under the intense pressure of anticpation of what I might or might not do. Michael
Jackson comes to mind here. Then again I'm much more famous than he ever was.
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United Kingdom
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 Message 180 of 451
11 August 2014 at 3:01am | IP Logged 
Oh my....

But still, I'm dying to know!

Also, I'm curious about how your experience with Skype has been going. Are you paying for lessons? How are they going? Do you plan for them, or does the tutor? Etc, etc.

Michael Jackson... my jaxie.
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821 posts - 1273 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: FrenchB1

 Message 181 of 451
23 August 2014 at 12:56am | IP Logged 
So i've gotten over my Flaschcard dilemma and have simply just pushed on using my same
old methods. Rediculous I know, but moving forward yes.

On the topic of moving forward my Dutch is again wavering as I study it on and off.
Welcome to my next dilemma. I'm considering dropping it and I'm pretty set that I will.

I think I need to focus on getting through my French resources and obtaining a high
level in that language. Wanderlust and taking on too much has left me with an innate
sense that my progress in French is happening due to good focus. I want to improve on
that focus while still progressing at the current level.

Perhaps a year or two more of French only before I reintroduce L3, which may again be
Dutch or could in fact be Spanish. German is on my hit list too. My list doesn't
realistically extend much further than that, but I do dream sometimes, as these are the
core languages I want to learn to very decent levels of proficiency.

For now tho I'm getting quite excited by my progress in French and feel like Dutch is
getting in the way of getting through a mountain of material, and for what? I love
Dutch, but it's looking less and less likely to serve much purpose other than enjoying
the language - which is enough reason for many of us to learn a language, but perhaps
not currently enough for me in light of my French progress. To further the reasoning, I
was hoping my wife and I would spend a substantial amount of time again in the
Netherlands in the near future, but our plans are turning more and more towards France

I have a lot of French learning material. More than any other language I've been keen
on learning due to the fact I find it harder than my other languages and felt buying
more resources would perfect my acquisition of the language by coming at it from
various angles on multiple levels. Whether I should do this material (mainly courses)
or not is irrelevant because if you are familiar with my way you would know that i'm
stubborn and I'm going to take this enduring path regardless of sound advice stating
otherwise. I think I realised it's more of a mission for me to get through all of my
material than it is to get 'there' (fluency in French) via a faster approach. I'm
certain I'll get to fluency this way anyway, but it will just take a little longer.

So I think Dutch has seen it's day for now. Stay tuned, next week it will be back!
(maybe even within the hour).

I'm thinking L3 will be invited back into my life (VIP/VIL invitation) once I get
through all my courses, OR after a year or two of solid French, OR upon reaching either
C1 or C2 level in French. Damn! My screen suddenly shifted and I thought I'd lost all
this text! How ghastly! I almost thought I was going to have to tell everyone all about
myself all over again. Me, me, me!

As for my current French progress...

I'm definitely understanding more French in the form of television - news mainly, and
i'm certainly becoming more comfortable with varioius forms of French media - podcasts,
reading via feedly (tnx to emk) and websites in general.

Jeffers my skype sessions are paid. I have had 2 now.. or is it 3? Anyway I'm not
overly liking them.. yet, but i'll keep it up. The meetups are generally a little
better- it's much better speaking with a real live actual person face to face IMO
whether they are other learners or native speakers. Although the last meetup was
rubbish as there was a speaker/learner who was NOT advanced, NOT intermediate and
DEFINITELY a beginner who totally butchered the language. I have respect for all
learners, but if you're a beginner and can't speak to save yourself, go and study some
French at least and enter a beginner's level meetup. This guy I think is fairly regular
too (first time I'd met him tho), so it wasn't a one off mistake. Anyway it was
frustrating as flow was CONSTANTLY interrupted. Again I have a lot of time for learners
of all levels, but he simply didn't belong in the advanced group.

As for my use of courses vs native material - I've been back focusing on courses (well
one) during my focused study time at my desk. I'm doing this since I figured time away
from my desk is relatively plentiful anyway and filled with a lot of native material
such as the news, podcasts and reading websites. My SC is suffering tho as films &
books aren't being utilised much lately. This is whey I saw the SC rules as a little
distasteful since i am watching and am reading a lot, but all in all it makes no
difference as I'm progressing and using native material and that's the main thing.

Enough waffle...
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 Message 182 of 451
29 August 2014 at 8:13am | IP Logged 
Je n'ai pas eu l'intention d'écrire quelque chose aujourd'hui, mais en parcourant justement divers blogs j'ai
envie d'écrire quelque chose, et pourquoi pas en français...

J'ai presque terminé le cours Colloquial French. Je suis en train de faire leçon 17 (il y a 18 leçons). J'ai aussi
commencé à utiliser le cours Living Language Essential French dont j'ai déjà atteint leçon 8 sur 10. Living
Language Essential Language est peut-être (d'accord, sans aucun doute) trop facile pour moi mais, puisque
j'étudie à fond Colloquial French en ajoutant les cartes (flash cards) et en utilisant beaucoup de dictionnaires
(oui 'dictionnaires, au pluriel), je crois que c'est utile d'étudier quelque chose plus rapidement aussi (Essential
French), et bien sûr pratiquer ma prononciation et intonation.

Je ne lis pas beaucoup ces jours-là et je ne regarde pas beaucoup de films non plus. Mais puisque j'ai
travaillé pendant la nuit hier soir et je me sens comme je suis presque mort j'essaierai de regarder quelque
chose dans quelques minutes...

J'espère que tout le monde est en train d'apprendre leurs langues, sinon qu'ils rêvent dans leurs langues !

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 Message 183 of 451
29 August 2014 at 8:44am | IP Logged 
Nice bit of writing there. I'm not quite ready to respond in French, but it was good to read.
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Senior Member
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821 posts - 1273 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: FrenchB1

 Message 184 of 451
29 August 2014 at 10:04am | IP Logged 
Jeffers wrote:
Nice bit of writing there. I'm not quite ready to respond in French, but it was good to read.

Merci mon ami :)

Je n'ai pas encore regardé quelque chose en français. J'ai dû en fait promené notre fils (notre chien). J'ai
saisi l'occasion pour écouter un peu de "News in Slow French". C'était seulement 8 minutes, parce que j'ai
reçu un appel de mon père pendant qu'on se promenait. Comme tu vois, je profite des occasions pour
apprendre un peu plus de cette belle langue :)

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