French Progress Report: 6 months

It’s been about 6 months of living in France and studying french. Some days are good days, some days are bad. Some days I feel like I haven’t made any progress and I’m going to be stuck. But I have to remember my comparison with other languages. In Spanish I could barely read or speak except for basic stuff, in french I can read and understand and get a grasp on what people are saying or what is happening. I have to constantly remind myself of how I’m improving and what is gettin easier. I have been somewhat applying the Fluent Forever method, but for a while I stopped and hit a dead point. I realized just recently that one of my weak points was still translating french back into English for comprehension. I was slowing myself down because I was thinking in two languages.

Getting Back on Track

To get back on the Fluent Forever trajet I began updating my flash cards little by little. I deleted all the English and started putting in photos. Why didn’t I do that before? J’ai la flemme (basically I was lazy). Even just today I realized one of my grave mistakes. I am still using and relying on Linguee and Google Translate. Way too much! I downloaded a monolingual dictionnaire française et from now on I plan to use that more often, including complex things like figuring out if a word is masculine or feminine. Why didn’t I do that before? Well simply I forgot about this step until it was mentioned in an article I read. I also bought a grammar book online. It’s about time I have an official grammar book that I don’t have to return to the library. It’s important and previously I just didn’t want to spend the money.

What Has Improved Since 3 Months Ago

For starters, I started a french class. It’s not the best ever, but it’s good to be around people from all sorts of backgrounds and learn from them. It is an A2 class and we are all about the same level, but it’s been interesting to note the abilities of writing and speaking. I use the Latin alphabet for English, same with french, plus English is very similar to french in many ways, so for me it’s easy to read and write. For others, particularly those in the Middle East, it’s easier to pick up the speaking because the Latin alphabet is unknown or unfamiliar. I think it’s good for me to get these wider perspectives, but also learn new things, ask questions, and practice exercises. I am forced to speak, thus I do, and i come back from my classes feeling at least slightly for confident. 

Another thing I feel I have greatly improved on is general reading and listening. It’s just easier now. I’m better trained to listen for the different sounds and I’m more familiar with how to pronounce things. It just all takes constant time and consistent effort. It’s a marathon, not a race. 

Moving Forward

It just takes more time and practice. I must continue to not translate and instead imagine la situation. I want to do more and more flash cards and build my vocabulary, I think it’s starting to get a bit stale. I also would like to work on reading more. Augustin and I have also kind of been slow to read the books he got me for Christmas. The children i nanny had a Calvin and Hobbes book and I enjoyed flipping through that. The words are easy enough, I’ve already read the English books, and there are pictures for each scenario, c’est parfait! À tout à l’heure!

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