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French in Action question

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United States
Joined 3967 days ago

57 posts - 80 votes 
Speaks: English*, Pashto
Studies: Dari

 Message 1 of 14
06 March 2015 at 7:39pm | IP Logged 
I couldn't find much regarding this question using the search, so I"m asking here. I
started French in Action a little over a week ago and am now on episode 9. My typical
strategy is to watch the video, and then do the audio exercise first with the
transcript and do it a second time without the transcript. I don't do the workbook
exercises, just the text workup with the textbook.

Up until episode 8 I was understanding pretty much everything being said in the videos
and audio, and didn't really have much difficulty with the work, now however, I'm
struggling to pick up a lot of what is being said on the first go, and then after
doing the text workup a couple times there are still parts of the audio that I have
trouble recognizing. My question is whether I should spend another day on the
particular audio until I get everything perfect or if I should continue moving on to a
new episode of the series each day. How did you guys use the program?
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 3854 days ago

3971 posts - 7746 votes 
Speaks: English, French*, GermanC1, Spanish, Japanese, Esperanto
Studies: Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Estonian

 Message 2 of 14
06 March 2015 at 9:01pm | IP Logged 
In case this might help: when working through a learning programme (Assimil, etc.), I tend to push ahead a bit, while reviewing the previous lesson(s) -- rather than only focussing on one lesson at a time. In your case, you could do lessons 8 and 9, then review 8 and 9 and do 10, review 9 and 10 and do 11, etc.

The general idea is that you can't be expected to understand and remember everything on the first go. My personal assumption is that I learn (and retain) better doing something quick and reviewing it in detail shortly after, rather than spending a lot of time once.

However, don't stray too far ahead if the lessons you are abandoning remain unclear, or else your problems will start piling on.

Edited by Arekkusu on 06 March 2015 at 9:03pm

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Senior Member
United States
Joined 4547 days ago

165 posts - 203 votes 

 Message 3 of 14
06 March 2015 at 9:22pm | IP Logged 
It's been some years since I completed French in Action, so my memory is a bit fuzzy, but I don't recall
understanding everything on my first listen. Since the dialogues are spoken at natural speed, and since French has
a lot of elisions, I wouldn't get discouraged about that. I think you'll find that with more exposure, parts that are
giving you trouble now will become much easier. It's a good course; I would recommend relaxing more and enjoying
it instead of trying to nail down every detail.

In my experience perfectionism tends to lead to burning out, so these days I try to work just hard enough to have
fun and not push myself too hard. And when I feel burnout around the corner, I scale back until I can feel
enthusiastic again.
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Senior Member
Russian Federation
Joined 5070 days ago

9753 posts - 15777 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 Message 4 of 14
07 March 2015 at 4:41am | IP Logged 
Often the early lessons can be done in 1 day or even less, but gradually this becomes harder (especially if you were a false beginner anyway). Seems like your original strategy was based on the easier lessons and it's time to adjust it. Don't let it drag forever; just give yourself 2-3 days for each lesson, and see whether that's enough. If you love a lesson and want to get more out of it, study more. If you're bored, go to the next lesson. Or use supplemental materials if the difficulties are accumulating. I recommend GLOSS. I'm not even learning French and I've done some lessons XD I love(d) using this site for Spanish, Portuguese, Indonesian, Serbian/Croatian... The listening lessons are great for intensive (detailed) listening. You can learn some techniques that you can apply to the FIA lessons.

Consider using the workbook too. And maybe focus less on the tasks for the text. When listening without a transcript, consider jotting down the incomprehensible parts (even simply the timing). When listening with a transcript, find the spots that were giving you trouble. Are there words you don't know? Is something pronounced differently?

If you understand much more when reading the transcript, try pausing the recording. L2 speech can be overwhelming. Try not to translate; at most, repeat the words and figure out what was said. Get ready for the next sentence.

I also highly recommend lyricstraining and music in general. Use it as a fun way to spend more time with French.
3 persons have voted this message useful

United States
Joined 3967 days ago

57 posts - 80 votes 
Speaks: English*, Pashto
Studies: Dari

 Message 5 of 14
10 March 2015 at 1:04pm | IP Logged 
It seems to have just been that particular episode. I'm up to episode 13 now and haven't
had any issue with any of them past that one episode.

As for supplemental materials, I'm using Michel Thomas and Assimil, but Assimil is
currently driving me nuts because I've gotten so use to the L2 speech of FIA that the
super slow introductory speed in the first 20 or so Assimil lessons is almost painful.
I'm also using Lingvist and Memrise on the side.

1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4038 days ago

938 posts - 1837 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: French, German, Latin

 Message 6 of 14
10 March 2015 at 11:09pm | IP Logged 
I find learning the vocabulary while studying the lesson is beneficial - I am slowing
working through FIA just for fun (I like 'doing' courses). If you use Quizlet, there
are ready made cards for FIA.
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Senior Member
AustraliaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3949 days ago

821 posts - 1273 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: FrenchB1

 Message 7 of 14
11 March 2015 at 1:23am | IP Logged 
I have used FIA a LOT over the years...

..and I've never progressed beyond leçon 26. Why?

Some might say, because I spent too long on them trying to understand EVERY detail.
Typically when faced with a new lesson I'd spend a whole week on it (using all
components of the course) and not move on until I knew 99% of the words presented in
the video episode and could repeat it all back while the video was playing at normal
speed with perfect pronunciation- I'd even look up words that couldn't be found in the
lesson material that I'd hear trying to work out what they were.... but that was just
my nature at that point in time- I didn't actually realise how much of the task of
learning a language still lay ahead of me, and thought mastering one course meant
mastering the language!

Perhaps this is why I was so stop-start. I started FIA in 1998. Would you believe it's
2015 and I'm currently on leçon 13? So you could safely conclude then.... don't
whatever you do do what I did (learn every single thing).

HOWEVER- My reasons for stopping and starting French over the years may not be related
to perfectionism, may not even be realated to my study methods, excessive use of
course material and so on. My stopping and starting could simply be a character thing,
personality thing, easily distracted, inconsistent, whatever.

All in all i no longer have procrastination issues hardly ever, and I even let many
words go under the radar as I reassure myselt that I will pick them up later and I
should progress! I'm still over-analytical and a perfectionist. I may not have gotten
past leçon 13 lately but I have completed a LOT of other courses in the last year or
so (I haven't touched FIA that much).

In short- do whatever works for you!

My recommondation tho, would be to slow down a little, try and master things a little
with good pronunciation and repetition, but down get too bogged down. (Everyone's pace
is different for different reasons/learning styles etc). And Arekkusu's advice seems
sound- skipping ahead to not slow progress, and coming back to material at later
stages to reinforce/learn what you miss is sometimes an excellent way to go.
3 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 2532 days ago

107 posts - 134 votes 
Speaks: German*, English
Studies: French, Spanish

 Message 8 of 14
15 March 2015 at 9:57am | IP Logged 
Hello there,
I just use this thread to post my own question about this program as I don't want to make a new thread with the same title or take a very old thread on top again.

I just started relearning French again and came across this course. As I didn't found the video on Amazon (and don't really know where else to get it) I tried google and found it on youtube (at least I hope it's the right thing ^^).
On Amazon I found the textbooks and there seems to be a new edition of the textbook which will be published in May or so. (just found out that it's only part 2 and part 1 in the third edition is also not available... talking about all the time by the way)
Question 1: are the accompanying textbooks/workbooks good/worth the money? or is the video itself enough?
question 2: as part 1 of the third edition seems to be published already, does anyone owns this? Is there any difference to previous editions?

thanks in advance :)

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