Several of my blog users reported back that they had reached a testable B2 level, and that was very inspiring for me. I went on to complete Italian and German on Duolingo, to the A2 level, created blogs for my notes on each, and began interacting with native speakers on gospeaky.com in all three languages. My language experience has continued to be very challenging and enjoyable, but my hard-won French began to slip. I’ve worked too hard to let it go the way of my College Calculus, so I am returning to French on a more regular basis.
In the past, when I would find an excellent piece of French study material, I wanted to share it with my many invisible French blog users, but because of the chronological order of the previous blog’s format, it was difficult. I would tuck some of this new material into posts within the other blog’s year-long timeline, but my collection of excellent study material continued to grow, and needed a home of its own.
The only solution was to create this blog so that I may continue posting French study material that I know my users will enjoy having. The entire process of finding, and shaping the material, for me, is an excellent way to stay motivated. Not all of the material is B2 and beyond, many of it is A2/B1 but is targeted to help work on a particular facet of the language. I personally consider a language to have several components: spelling, listening comprehension, grammatical recognition, word order, reading comprehension, and speech. You may be very literate in French, but unable to speak French with others. You may be able to speak French very well, but like a child, you have no idea how to conjugate a verb properly, or know why one would use “c’est” instead of “il est”, or the correct order of words. I look for material that gives me a work out in a particular language learning area, or allows me to freestyle with it, to improve in an area.
I am not a language instructor, just someone who tries to be clever enough with Internet resources to gather enough material to get farther than I really should be able to. I construct the blog with a computer, but I study using one or two Kindles, and a pad of paper. I’ve also shared some of my earlier study methods that helped me with spelling, gender recognition, pronunciation, verb conjugation and the like, on this post.
Feel free to give any of those ideas a trial run. I hardly used my study box of tools for Italian, but for German spelling I’d often run out of Scrabble tiles. With French, I’ve got the spelling and gender down, but will always need to work on pronunciation and listening.
Using two Kindles allows me to play the video or audio on one Kindle (either at the source, or imbedded on the blog), with the other Kindle allowing me to scroll through the script and translation on the blog. You can do the same thing with a computer and two browser windows, but that’s just my process. As a self-learner, you probaby also have a process that works for you, so I try to offer the material in a simple format that can be copied/pasted to other documents. Maybe you’d like to read the text during your bus/train commute, or listen to the MP3 while you drive to work, and finish the opposite activity when you get home. The choice is yours.
Before we begin tomorrow, maybe you might like to take a test to establish your level of French: