Goals and Commitment to fluency through practice (6-month plan)
My plan starting from January 1, 2020 (Originally wrote this on Jan 16th)
As of the end of March I will be 3 months into the 6 month plan & at day #48 of LingQ with 3 months remaining on this schedule. Doing about 300 LingQs and 800 words per day at this point.
1. Fluent reading in French within 3 months (by April 1st)
2. Fluent listening to live news, most (French) TV series and movies, native French language YouTube (e.g., TedTalks) within 4.5 months. (May 15th.)
3. Fluent speaking on general topics by 6 months with native speakers. (July 1st.)
4. I don't have a commitment to writing. If speaking is reasonable I'll just use Word/Open-Office spell and grammary checking along with Google translate to clean up my mess.
Feel free to tell me where you think I am not doing this optimally and to kick my butt if I don't post regularly with additional progress.
Fluent reading is reading as well as the 75th percentile of (American) high school students, preferable above 50th percentile of 1st year freshmen at a major university. Somewhat subjective but I understand it pretty well, and I was already close at 1.5 months.
Fluent speaking: Able to carry on a French conversation of indefinite length (30 minutes plus) comfortably and without "translating" most ideas while having almost no desire to revert to English -- certainly no necessity to revert.
Also, being able to give a 5-10 minute (prepared) talk in front of a group of native French speakers while holding their attention and having them enjoy the experience.
(I am a public speaker, coach and trainer so I think this is realistice but a very optimistic goal.)
What I am doing:
1. Anki Deck (currently closing out 5000 most frequent words at 99% of "marture cards" after about 1 month.
Also, Forever Fluent (Gabe's) pronunciation etc. decks/app. (Update: 84% at about 2 months into it.)
I will NOT stick with these decks as they just provide ammunition or raw material for everything else.
Update: 2020-02-21 Time to find new flashcard decks, phrases and conjugations probable.
About 150-700 reviews a day. (2020-02-21 down to 200 reviews per day.) Now down to 50 reviews per day. Just idling, need a new SRS goal.
2. Rosetta Stone -- do all 5 levels by July 1st or Sep 1st at latest. Doing about 40 minutes (3-5) drills per day which puts a Unit about 10 days and a Level at 40-45 days. I am current on Level 2, Unit 1 (half way) after a month.
Not everyone has as high an opinion of RS as I do, but it works for me and I most use it for to do things:
a. Improve Pronunciation (I have the difficulty cranked to max and wish it would go higher -- I hold myself to "no weak" words in the visual feedback.
b. "Think in French" by refusing to translate when I answer or select a response.
Getting all 5 levels done by July 1st is not a certainty. CORRECTED: This thing takes time to do right and my prediction is 155 days from my current level, if I am very aggressive. Technically doable but it is right at 135 days remaining so I'm behind already. (Doing it by Sep or Oct is very reasonable with the extra 30-60 days.)
3. Listending to audiobooks -- quite a bit. Germinal is good, and now I am listening to "Sapiens -- Une Breve Histoire d'Humanitie" repeatedly and reading it on LingQ.
Update 2020-02-21: Sapiens is about 95% understandable now and I enjoy listening finally though I am only on Chapter 12 'officially' I have heard most of this several times and I am trying to get through ALL of the vocabulary for the book.
Sapiens had 9300 unique 'words' containing more than 3 letters and not-capitalized when I extracted and loaded them to LingQ. A high percentage which were theoretically unknown (75% perhaps) so that is what ran my word count up when I passed the "J"s alphabetically. knowing almost all of them. At this point most of French is just cognates for an English speaker.
4. Listening to various French podcasts, TedTalks, live news, and TV/films daily instead of English. (My wife and I love TV and she is studying French too.)
My favorite so far: "Au Service de la France" (NetFlix) funny even if you don't speak French. We've gone through twice with subtitles and will probably watch soon without.
"The Chalet" (NetFlix) but be warned it is intended to be confusing even for a native speaker.
"Une Village Francais" -- We've actually finished all 7 seasons, 72 episodes.
(more and I'll update soon.)
Harlin Coban's "The Stranger" (NOT Camu.) has good dubbing.
5. LingQ -- supporting all of the above and goal set to 50 LingQs per day, but realistically I try to double this at least. I have only been here 7 days as of today and it will probably sound like bragging to say that today (day #7) I passed 10,000 words, 2000 LingQs (200 learned but only because I haven't gone back to marked many of them) and 90k coins.
Update 2020-02-18: streak day #9 here 2500+ LingQs, 12000+ words.
Update 2020-02-19 streak day #10 here 2700+ LingQs, 15300+ words.
Down to about 200 Anki reviews per day since I am closing on "all mature" at 83%.
Trying to catch up Rosetta Stone even though I have added significant LingQ work.
(Seriously I am reading a ton of stuff and my biggest problem is wanting to read everything in LingQ)
Update 2020-02-21 streak day #12 finished with 20,400 words & 3700 LingQs.
I went a little crazy adding another 300 LingQ for the day.
I bought a year and
I believe the '90 day warranty' offer is entirely safe for LingQ. <grin>
2020-03-28 -- 40,000 words and 13,800 LingQs. I've read 500,000 words according to LinqQ not including outside reading.
6. 2-3 Audio chat sessions with native French speakers per week, including a tutor lesson ever week or so.
7. Daily "text chats" with native French speakers -- how I find audio partners and helps me figure out "what I know" and can say. I'm moving most of the casual chat to the Discord French channel.
8. Use French Wikipedia & Wictionaire Francais (and other web sites) for my general purpose information & definitions,; these would normally be researched in English -- also learning a new programming language using a French language text.
9. Update: 2020-02-21 Probably going to add BrainScape membership. It's cheap and they have a lot of good flashcards. Considering buying the FrenchToDay 3 verb, pronunciation, and conversation packs.
10. Glossika x2 lessons per day while doing my doctor mandated exercise on the stationary bike. On 66+ of 312 lessons at the end of March.)
What I need:
1. Better pronunciation, especially from and for Reading. Unlearning and relearning things I have learned incorrectly. The only real method I have is careful study, listening (including to myself) and Rosetta Stone pronunciation tools cranked to max difficulty.
2. More "structural phrases" than raw vocabulary -- most of my LingQs are now phrases rather than words. Glossika is helping with this -- and of course LingQ.
3. I am just below the ability to hear normal spoken French without looking at subtitles or missing a lot. With subtitles I am pretty close.
4. Reading, I need a bit more to be "high school fluent" but it's jumped even in the last 2 weeks. (More below in update/followup.)
5. More speaking -- need to seriously adopt a "conversation audio set" and work through all the levels on a daily basis. -- I adopted Glossika at about 2 months and I am now "65 days into it at 2 months of practice."
6. Grammer (Not my focus but I have a plan for this) -- doing audio verb drilling now.
7. More speaking, more often. Hard for even someone with my lack of shame and my full commitment to initiate as often as I would like. Speaking and sounding foolish is not trivial, even though making those mistakes are a prerequisite to success. Oddly speaking which I though would be the hardest seems to be the most "on track" skill.
To the extent that the above (unfortunately) sounds like whining or discouragement I apologize and assure you that I don't really need more encouragement but simply trying to realistically convey that despite progress it's not always easy and I am really conscious of having used up (over) half of my scheduled 6 months. July is starting to look really close.
(I'll keep going but realistically I am not going to let this drag out for years.)
What I need is (even) better methods and a more focused and effective way to study.
The alternative is to simply grind it out like we must do when learning our first 1000 words and trying to read mostly childish or simple texts to get started.