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Do you ever just get fatigued?

  Tags: Burn-out | Reading
 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
15 messages over 2 pages: 1 2  Next >>
numerodix
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 Message 1 of 15
14 June 2015 at 3:09pm | IP Logged 
Here's something I didn't expect.

I started studying French somewhere back in 2010 or so, it went on for quite a while and I
basically hit all the milestones that I wanted to: listening comprehension, speaking and
writing, decent conversation ability etc. As with my other languages I did a lot of passive
learning, so I read some 60 books in French, watched lots of movies and youtube, and it was all
fun.

But at some point my reading started to slow down. It hadn't become easy, like I'd expected.
Reading French out loud to myself still felt like a lot of effort. After 5 pages my throat would
start to call it quits because of the R. The cognitive load from the large gap between
orthography and spoken language makes it feel like a lot of effort to read, even today, after a
whole lot of practice. It feels like a lot of work to turn words on paper into sounds.

And so I love the language, but I'm... fatigued. This didn't happen to me with any of my other
languages: Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese.

Has anyone else experienced this? What did you do about it?
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Serpent
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 Message 2 of 15
14 June 2015 at 7:10pm | IP Logged 
Do you mean this specific kind of fatigue, as opposed to a general burnout?
Reading aloud is really tougher than it first seems; I always recommend not trying to do that with a whole book but just some parts. Even in L1 we get tired of reading aloud easily. It's just considered an easy activity because it's one of the first things you normally learn to do, especially in class (and it's an easy test).

If reading is tiring, I find audiobooks helpful, and also avoiding subvocalization.
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numerodix
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 Message 3 of 15
14 June 2015 at 8:45pm | IP Logged 
Reading frustrates me the most. I feel I haven't made any improvement on it in 2-3 years now.

I don't try to read whole books out loud, just a few pages here and there. On subvocalization
I would say that I try to force myself *to* do it, simply because reading French is not
effortless and I still think I need the practice. But that's also what makes it laborious. If
I read without it I have comprehension, but I feel I'm not improving my knowledge of speech
and how syllables get vocalized.
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Serpent
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 Message 4 of 15
14 June 2015 at 9:09pm | IP Logged 
Sounds like audiobooks should help :)
What kind of books have you been reading? Is it different from what you read in Italian?
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numerodix
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 Message 5 of 15
14 June 2015 at 9:45pm | IP Logged 
A mix of things. Philosophy, fiction, business books to name a few. More or less par for my
course.
I find audiobooks in French hard to track down. Any recommendations?
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emk
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 Message 6 of 15
14 June 2015 at 10:27pm | IP Logged 
numerodix wrote:
A mix of things. Philosophy, fiction, business books to name a few. More or less par for my
course.
I find audiobooks in French hard to track down. Any recommendations?

Audible.fr has a large selection of French audio books, and I've bought them from the US without any geographical restrictions or other trouble so far. Definitely worth a look—they're all DRMed, but you can get a player for almost any device, and the selection is excellent.

As for reading, it's possible that you might have an isolated weakness somewhere in your French skills that's dragging you down. You've learned other languages before, and you've certainly gotten an adequate amount of French input. How is your listening comprehension, for example? If your listening is weak, you might try working on that for a while. Similarly, if you have trouble mapping between the spoken and written forms, perhaps some Listening/Reading would help cement that connection.

That's all I can think of. I do remember that linking up written French and spoken French was a bit tricky, though my problems mostly went in the other direction—my listening comprehension has always lagged a bit.
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robarb
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 Message 7 of 15
15 June 2015 at 1:08am | IP Logged 
Are there particular kinds of books that you read through particularly quickly and effortlessly? You could try reading
some of those to get back in the flow. For me that's thrillers and detective stories; even though they aren't my
favorite type of books, they're the kind I read most quickly; I can get hooked an go over 100 pages at once, even in
a language where I have multiple unknown words on every page.

Audiobooks are also good, as they move you forward through the text without effortful initiation on your part.

It might simply be good to do/read something else and come back when you have more energy, though. It doesn't
really sound like you are at risk of having too little reading in your studies.
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Elenia
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 Message 8 of 15
15 June 2015 at 2:24am | IP Logged 
I second robarb's advice. I have been studying French for what seems like an unreasonable amount of time, and I still find reading difficult. I do understand, it is just a chore rather than a pleasure - I would rather read in languages where I understand less, simply because it feels easier. So, I have been trying to find new things to read. I am a Pratchett fan, and the translations in to French are excellent. The language is often unusual, but because I know his style well, I can get through it without difficulty. Stepping back and taking a break from the less enjoyable stuff does really make a difference. I also find rereading to be extremely helpful, but that isn't for everyone.


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