Goals and Commitment to fluency through practice (6-month plan)

herbm us United States

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.

Also excellent:

"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.

March 29 at 06:08
  • herbm us United States

    2020-03-28 Update on LInqQ day #48

    Today I hit 40,000 known words and reach nearly 14,000 links (almost all manual and mostly phrases I want to acquire.)

    Words come less frequently now that my vocabulary has grown but I reading more so that accounts for some it.

    Glossika is at "Lesson 66" today. Rosetta Stone is approaching Level 3 Unit 1 completion (3 Units and then 2 more levels to do.)

    Reading & listending primarily to Deuil Interdit (Harry Bosch) by Michael Connelly but also some from "Sapien: Une brève histoire de l'humanité" (Yuval Noah Harari). Typically this means listening then reading, then listening again (sometimes listening many more times.)

    Sapien is the single best book anyone could read, if you could only ever read one book and one has any interest in the subject at all) if the text and audio book are available in both a fluent and the target language. (If you can find a better one then let me know.

    I now have "Homo Deus: Une brève histoire de l'avenir" (also by Sapien author Harari) and the audio for both as well and dipped into that just a bit out of curiosity.

    In addition to "La Carte et le Territoire" (Oue:lbecq) Found a new interest for a "hard" book.

    Adopting some audio/vocal "verb drills" too but haven't worked out the exact details -- this is in lieu of studying grammar.

    Anki 5000 deck is at almost 99% mature, and I am still dawdling about dumping it and finding new material

    to replace the SRS flashcard work. Trying to decide if $130 for BrainScape lifetime is worth the expense of time and money.

    I still need a good "computerized" methof of voice analysis for accept improvement -- something that would give more feedback with more flexibility than Rosetta Stone (which is good but leaves me wanting more.

    The keys to learning a physical skill are immediate feedback and high intensity practice on the difficult parts (Deep Learning as per Coyle in "The Talent Code") so having a program that just told us where we were mising a pronunciation, and better how to fix it, would be invaluable.

    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.

    94 days to go on my plan 6-month plan. (Though that isn't a cutoff.)

    March 29 at 06:16
    • Villiers gb United Kingdom

      Hello Herbm

      I am mightily impressed with your progress and the way you have constructed such a impressive pack of targets and objectives for your French learning. I too am an old guy in his 60s with plenty of time to concentrate on French...that is about 2 - 3 hours a day. After that I tend to reach a point of diminishing returns where less starts going in. This is probably due to the fact that, unlike yourself, I do not have a large variety of learning activity, that is simply importing YouTube videos into LingQ, speaking to myself whilst walking the dog and 30 minutes writing about my experiences in French language. I cannot abide doing exercises or flash cards as it all seems so boring when I can read and listen to an interesting video.

      I would be interested in knowing how long you actually take each day with your activities ...and, if applicable, how you deal with someone else in the household who does not share your enthusiasm with language learning from constantly suggesting that you should be doing something else with your time!

      April 01 at 08:26
      • herbm us United States

        I am pretty sure that I am 'studying' less than 3 hours per day -- I work and my wife is recuperating so I am helping her frequently and doing all of the chores the last 3 weeks.

        My wife is however learning French also, but not as intensively. We watch much TV together. I do most of my speaking and pure audio somewhere else or with headphones as does she.

        To specify:

        • Glossika almost one hour
        • Rosetta Stone -- about 30 minutes, maybe a bit more seldom less
        • LingQ -- focused activity about 45 minutes (but I might doodle with it while watching TV)
        • Anki 5000 deck -- about 15 minutes -- this was about an hour spread out in mostly dead time until the majority of the deck became.

        That's 2 hours of true study and never all at once.

        I listen to French YouTube etc for the news and other things in the morning while eating breakfast. Maybe 30 minutes tops.

        Listening to audio books: about 30 minute of focused listening when I go to bed but I let it play all night while sleeping -- I have finally found the near perfect headset -- soft earhooks, truly minimalist with the hook really being only a very slightly stiffened section of the wire. They don't fall out and they don't hurt when I sleep on my side against the pillow. My phone has a great battery and easily make it though the day and night but I do have to remember to charge it since it no longer spends all night on the charger.

        If you count both of those it's about 3 hours total with the studying.

        TV and movies or fun YouTube stuff. Maybe 2+ hours in the evening and we are watching about 75% french. One could argue this is 5 hours total but it doesn't feel that way since only 2 hours are actually "work" and only an hour of that (Glossika) is intense.

        The books and articles I'm reading with LingQ are things I would want to read in any case (no Petite Prince or Little Nicolas for me).

        The audio book, TV, and movies are also things that really interest me in any language -- as is the news and most of the YouTube stuff we watch. Mostly it's not "French grammar" but rather interesting podcasts that happen to be in French or which talk about the language in French in an interesting way: Hugo's InnerFrench, Johan's FrancaisAuthentique, Francais avec Pierre (& Noemi), French with Fred, Parlez-vous French with Anne Le Grande etc.

        I seldom if ever listen on LingQ since the time I am looking at a screen is devoted to using the marking lIngQs or swapping out videos. I "listen or watch" on TV or phone.

        April 01 at 16:55
  • orangenaa it Italy

    Sounds like you're killing it! Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your progress when the plan is complete (but not "complete" as language never is). I plan to do something similar!

    March 30 at 12:19
  • Administrator
    Jahrine.LingQ.Team ca Canada

    Wow, this is a full on plan! I'm glad to hear you found "Le Chalet" confusing. I thought it was going to be my show after "Zone Blanche", but I watched the first episode and felt lost. Started "Le Mante" instead, great show. I recommend it if you're into crime thrillers.

    Best of luck and keep us updated!

    March 31 at 15:16
    • herbm us United States

      Thanks for the kind words and encouragement.

      If you are able, watch Le Chalet -- it's pretty good.

      However, it is definitely DESIGNED to be confusing, or at best mysterious even if you are a native francophone and lover of mysteries and thrillers.

      They are hiding not only the big events but most of the small details and only releasing or clarifying them iteratively as the story progresses.

      Part of the problem is the names (harder for non-francophones since we don't immediately realize a name from a word we don't know) but even that is magnified greatly by the "time flipping" which avoids clarifying "who is who" except at a measured pace.

      It's really a puzzle or conundrum more than a mystery. Designed to unravel and be revealed in steady but tantalyzingly slow detail.

      I don't think it is cheating to read the FIRST part of the Wikipedia (try French) article to begin to know which name goes with which character.

      La Mante was quite good, and it shares a little bit of the "we're not going to tell you what is really happening but let you figure it out slowly" that is in The Chalet but not nearly to such an egregious degree.

      We went through "La Foret" pretty quickly which is another show in this same vein. I enjoyed it but it is the shortest.

      Also, "Frozen Dead" (I think that is the title) about a detective who investages bizarre events and murders in the Pyrennees.

      I wonder if this is a "sub genre" the French recognize. Sort of like Murder She Wrote but far more sophisticated, better written, and much less trite or simply "tricky" to hide the murderer. (BTW, I never enjoyed "Murder She Wrote" but I really liked all of the above.)

      And most of them are worth watching twice if you are learning French.

      The very best thing we've see is "Au Service de la France" (aka A Very Secret Service) which is extremely funny and interesting for other reasons. It's not quite as funny as the original MASH series but it's not that far away.

      We've already watch Au Service de la France 2 times simply because we enjoyed it that much.

      March 31 at 19:46
      • Administrator
        Jahrine.LingQ.Team ca Canada

        I'll give Le Chalet another try after La Mante then, thanks. It's true, the French do this genre well it seems. I'm really enjoying these shows. I was a huge Murder She Wrote fan as a kid though! I've seen La Foret when scrolling and thought it looked worth checking out. Thanks for the recommendations :)

        April 02 at 15:12
  • herbm us United States

    3 month update into 6 month plan -- 51 days on LingQ

    Goals and current status

    1. Fluent reading in French within 3 months (by April 1st)

    3 months in and time is up but this one is hard to score so I am going to say in summary: Near success but not quite

    I can probably claim that I read better than the 50% of US high school students do in English and maybe better than the 50% for college graduates but that is partially because I am a really advance reader in general.

    My French still has holes it it and I really need a dictionary to "get everything" and sometimes I don't understand the venacular even if I know every word in the sentence.

    This is taking longer than I expected based on my experience in Spanish -- turns out French is a much bigger and more complicated language. (Also pronunciation is much much easier which isn't a small thing even for reading comprehension.)

    I am still reading SLOWLY.

    Good news: I am certain I will be reading completely fluently within 1-3 months at or beyond a college graduate level though there is more work to do.

    Also I am going to start adding Speed Reading in French for about half my reading time. Depending on how well that works (I am already an English speed reader) then I will increase or descrease the percentage spent speed reading.

    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.)

    1.5 months remaining and I am still optimistic though less than a month ago I was wondering if fluent listening would ever start happening (so I changed some things too.)

    As of today, I follow several all French "teaching videos" where the instructors speak clearly and a bit slowly without missing anything essentials. I still need to pay pretty close attention.

    I can almost follow the news or fast native speakers who are speaking clearly such as audio books. Once I read the text for the audio book following it is pretty easy.

    3. Fluent speaking on general topics by 6 months with native speakers. (July 1st.)

    I believe this one is a fairly safe bet with 3 months to go. My study plan is much more enriched especially in regards to speaking every day.

    So far, I have had 4 sessions with my tutor where I basically just talked all in French for 45 minutes so from that point of view I could pretend success. It's pretty comfortable now but far too awful for me to claim to have met the criteria.

    My recent adoption of Glossika (2+ lessons per day for 50 minutes) is making a real difference and I have been very reliable about doing Rosetta Stone each day.

    This week I bought and adopted several new methods to improve my verbal ability with verbs (speaking not studying grammar) and with pronunciation. My pronunciation doesn't stink when I am going slow but it deteriorates when I am trying to speak freely and have to think about what to say.

    Though I really don't know how bad my pronunciation is.

    LingQ Stats day #51 all streak, almost all at double or quaduple goal:

    LingQs -- 14,300 Words known = 41,000

    Anki 5000 deck is at 98.6% mature.

    I have been intending to just retire it but haven't replace it so didn't bother.

    Rosetta Stone:

    Level 3 Unit 1 completed today. 3 more units and 2 more levels to go (5 levels --20 units total)

    Have the "pronunciation difficulty" turned all the way up so I try to get every word to "highlight" as correct in addition to just "passing" and to do it one the first try (of 2).

    Glossika -- Lesson 73 of 312 -- I won't finish by July 1 but maybe by August or September

    Reading and Audio Books -- listed elsewhere, but basically I am reading on LingQ and listening on my phone every day for significant time.

    Verb and Grammer Drills -- stepping these up as audio drills like Glossika but also as verb focused drills (French Today or a package I bought on all major tenses for the 12 or so most important verbs.)

    Discord French server -- Haven't done much there (fear factor even for me) but I am going to start talking more on their open and private chats. This is easier than scheduling chat time or tutor sessions.

    Pronunciation: I bougt a Udemy French pronunciation course all in French (Anne Le Grand I believe) and it is suprisingly good, especially for the $13 sale price. Doing that along with reviewing LRC Michigan phonetics and other YouTube phonetics.

    I haven't found anything better than Rosetta Stone for measurement and immediate feedback so I am (just) starting to use the following:

    • Audacity (free, open source) to play reference words and phrases (mostly Glossika right now) and record my own voice shadowing. Better than nothing and this tells me Rosetta Stone isn't completely wrong when it tells me my French sounds Ok.
    • Praat -- voice analysis software (also free) -- since there is nothing automatic available, I have just started learning to read a Spectragram and analyze the voice for vowel placement etc.

    Seems this isn't as hard as I expected and though I am no where near competent I can probably find the vowel vs. the consonants and maybe have a rough idea of where in the mouth the vowel was formed -- still not sure how practical this idea is, so maybe I'll just use it with the audio shadowing to "match my spectragram" to a native speaker reference.

    My first try at this has my voice matching pretty well -- at least to my poorly trained eye.a

    Bottom line: qualified success and optimist for listening in 4.5 months and speaking in 6 months with reasonable fluency -- I like the word "fluidity" better.

    Thanks for all the support. I hope this helps others to "do one more drill and to do...."

    April 01 at 03:53
    • orangenaa it Italy

      I’ve been on the fence with whether or not to get Glossika. I preferred their previous format. Do you believe it played an integral part in your progress? Do you feel it’s worth it?

      April 01 at 08:25
      • herbm us United States

        Glossika audio program. Get it on ebay or Amazon. The web version is completely borked in my opinion and I had a polite conversation with them, through including the inventer of the program, and they don't think there is a problem and I don't think there web program is worth time or money.

        No, Glossika wasn't absolutely essential -- only the Anki deck, reading, and listening were absolutly essential, but some form of speaking essential. No way around that: We cannot develop muscle or new brain structures without significant training and work. The tongue is a muscle and coordinating though and speaking through that muscle is as much (more really) a skill requiring actual work than any physical sport like ice skating, gymnastics, the violin, martial arts, etc.

        Is Glossik highly important? Absolutely, Glossika is the best thing that I am currently doing for actually speaking. It could be Pimsleur, Michel Thomas, or something similar but my current opinion is that Glossika done intensively is the best bang for the buck and the effort. I do about 50 minutes per day to finish it in about 6 months. There are 312 "Days" in the full 3 levels which will take almost a year at 1 day per lesson.

        This is the most difficult thing that I do -- it is the most intensive. It requires the most commitment and perserverance. It can't be done casually or during all "dead time" -- you can do it while driving or exercising (I do stationary bike at my doctor's order). You can't really do it effectively in bits and pieces -- it needs roughly an entire lesson (18-28 minutes) done as a unit with full concentration.

        In contrast I do flashcards off and on all day -- also I do much of my LingQ that way.

        Right now, if forced to choose, I would keep Glossika and give up either Rosetta Stone or LingQ first -- though I would only be able to give up LingQ by continuing to read on my own. I could now give up my Anki or flashcards safely but that work was needed to get quickly and efficiently to the point that everything else works.

        "Massive input in context" requires a minimal level of being able to understand that context -- 2000-5000 words of real vocabulary, not inflected variants, enables reading real material at various levels of adult interest.

        My only question for you about Glossika being worth it is this: Do you have the discipline and commitment to do at least one 25 minute session, at least every other day, for 6 months to 2 years?

        If yes, the money for the audio program is almost trivial. The effort is great.

        I am at about 1 month of Glossika and on Lesson 75. I won't quite finish by June 30th (my size month plan) since I started only in late February.

        It is making a difference that is perceptible every week.

        (Today's practice doesn't make today better -- it makes for improvement one to two weeks in the future.)

        Unlike reading and watching interesting video or hearing audio Glossika is NOT fun in and of itself. (Unless you can bend your brain around it and somehow reframe it as fun to try to keep up.)

        It is almost purely like weight lifting or running -- some people can find bliss in a long run or heavy weight session but mostly our "fun" comes from the knowledge that we are getting better and the "game mechanics" of running one more mile, or lifting a bit more weight, or doing more reps, or getting to the gym 3+ days a week etc.

        This pleasure for most people is a version of "Game Mechanics" psychologically similar to the Game Mechanics of "streaks", "LingQs", "Known Words", lessons completed, words read, etc.

        Game Mechanics aren't nothing even though we know they are NOT the real goal.

        "Learn in Your Car" is also good but not even in the same league for intensity, effect, and depth of the program. (I use it as a supplement if driving which I don't do much and Glossika is now taking precedence.)

        April 01 at 15:25
        • orangenaa it Italy

          Thank you so much for your thorough reply! I definitely can commit the time and effort needed so I think I'll give it a try for a month and then go from there. Thanks again!

          April 01 at 21:06
          • herbm us United States

            Buy the 2016 audio program on ebay or amazon for about 1/2 price. And you can probably send it back to Amazon if you hate it.

            You want to do the version that has "semi-random" repetitions of a set for each day. They introduce a new subset each day.

            After they get the program up to 20 minutes or so (5 days or so) they start dropping older sentences as they add more at the end of each Day/Lesson.

            Each phrase is prompted in English:

            You get enough time to repeat, they say it, and if you hurry you can repeat it again after it's given in French.

            Ideally, I say it BEFORE the response is given, with the speaker, and one again after. before the next English prompt is spoken.

            For longer or newer phrases I can't reach this ideal and may not even be able to say it once through. I simply do my best, say what I can, listen to the answer if needed, and try to say something each time.

            After a bit, I can at least stumble through each one -- expect this to be HARD.

            Not ever phrase is hard, they through in an easy one very now and then, and some are monstruous. Just keep going.

            The result comes from doing a little better each time -- one more rep, adding a few pounds to the bar, being a little more perfect in form.

            Some days I stumble all over myself, even on the older phrases, and sometimes even the very next day, the hard ones come fluidly -- but overall the progression is obvious.

            Each week it's easier to do the longer and more complex phrases and the shorter ones least are are becoming part of my "vocabulary", not so much as words but as whole thoughts and ideas.

            Remember, for the vast majority of speech, we do not speak in "words" but rather in phrases, sometimes filling in a "blank" with a custom word but within a well known phrasal structure.

            I think the randomness is a necessity -- they idea is you can't predict what the next one will be (they follow a bit of order on newer phrases) so you must be able to "find" that phrase without thinking -- at least one some level it moves the phrase to automaticity.

            3000 automatic phrases is nothing to scoff at -- even if you only end up with 1500 that are fully automated it will increase our speaking an enormous amount.

            There is NO grammar -- they don't tell you than you are using the present tense, of the future, or the passe compose, or the imparfait, much less that you are correctly using two or more in the same sentence or phrase.

            Presumably that will continue into the use of the subjunctive and all of the other tenses that are common in speech.

            They don't mention gender or anything about all this -- you just learn to DO IT.

            I've done Pimsleur deeplly in other languages and other audio programs as well and though and audio program was always an important part of "my method" but my early estimate is that Glossika Audio 2016 is far better but admittedly far more work.

            (Michel Thomas, Pimsleur, Rosetta Stone's audio, Learn In Your Car, Vocabulearn, Penton/Immersion all have value and over the years I've given each of them more than a fair chance.)

            If anyone has a better audio program I want to know about it.

            April 02 at 01:09
            • forestfloor ca Canada

              Do you happen to have a link to Glossika Audio 2016 on ebay or Amazon? I've only come across kindle & paperbacks, but the audio files.

              April 04 at 12:47
  • herbm us United States

    This post is intended to help others -- not to seek help though I'll take it if offered.

    The last few days have not be encouraging even though I continue to follow the plan and do the work, and to be clear still enjoy most of it.

    The idea is to allow other people to see that no matter how hard we work or how committed we are to success there may still be days -- only a few I hope -- when we don't see the progress or know precisely how we can continue to improve.

    Glossika is working though it is hard to do -- it's real work and the analogy with weight lifting is almost exact: It feels like doing something really difficult without purpose in the moment.

    Probably I would have just skipped it the last few nights despite the improvements it's offering me except that having posted this accountability thread it felt like I had to keep going. In any case, Glossika lesson 85 (of 304) is done and it doesn't seem to get any harder week to week even though the phrases are much more complex and technically more complicated now.

    Working right at the edge is where practice is most efficient, but it's also where it is most trying.

    (This is straight out of "The Talent Code" by Daniel Coyle and other similar books though Coyle's is so far the best single book on the subject, see also, "Bounce" by Saed (sp?) and similar.)

    My Anki 5000 deck passed 99% today but it feels like I am just spinning my wheels on that and the only reason I don't quit is because it needs to be replaced with something better not dropped.

    Listening seems to get better sometimes, especially if I have read the passage. Reading is Ok, but truthfully LingQ feels almost like marking time or playing a video game in terms of productivity.

    Gradually, I am converting some of my French to ordinary "fast reading" and pushing to speed read some of it which I think may help.

    The problem is not the words, the raw vocabulary, whether reading or listening but rather the phrases and the smearing (beyond liason) where fast French leave out whole syllables or even whole words and where knowing a word (slowly) by sight is not nearly the same as being able to hear it, must less being able to understand it without translating so as to keep up with the rest of the sentence and the one after that.

    There's a YouTube channel "French Pronunciation Dictionary" by David Tolman at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWdP6FZhp8meWiihf3GdB_g/videos (ignore the name it doesn't really have that much to do with his real value) who has ideas on this, a way to analyze the transcript and then improve the ability to hear the audio verson as a native would.

    Also at: https://fluentlistener.com

    I can't testify this is the right way but it's reasonably certain he understands the problem and that he has a plausible method to directly address it -- and that he believes in and uses explicit methods not just hand waving or "do more listening" type advice. He has real exercises and I am starting to do those.

    They are a more formal version of what I was doing and starting to suspect would work so I have some faith, just no proof yet.

    In any case, for rapid progress we needs explicit methods to invoke "Deep Practice" (also called "Deliberate Practice" but even though this is the original name it is subtly incorrect.)

    The methods of Deep Practice have been producing olympic and world champions for decades (if not longer) whether they were done deliberately or by chance and circumstance (Brazil's world cup soccer rise to fame was an accident of circumstance while the training of the first 3 Female chess grandmasters was a deliberate experiment by their father and mother.)

    I'm well into Rosetta Stone Level 3 (of 5) and about to finish Unit 2 of 4 in the level or 10 of 20 for the whole set which will be HALF WAY. I would probably stop this if it weren't giving me the chance to do pronunciation with feedback from the voice analyzer though I remain very dissatified with the amount of this exercise and the level fo feedback -- it's basically Pass/Fail with no indication of what was incorrect much less how to fix it.

    You must just LISTEN to yourself and judge that IF it was wrong then you must have not pushed the U all the way to the front, or fully rounded your lips for OE (eu) or opened your mouth enough to change OE to the sound of soeur and fleur etc.

    The "sound analysis lab" in Rosetta Stone is only a bit better than nothing -- you can only get into it when you are already on a "speaking" exercise, and if you get the pronuciation right you can't go back (easily) to re-do it if you don't feel like it was good enough.

    Inside the RS speaking lab, the spectrogram is so small that it is useless (for me) to read -- now that I know how to read a spectrogram a bit it's disappointing to see that graphic and yet know it is totally worthless for actually diagnosing anything. The only real use is being able to say the phrase over and over while having it "scored" for correctness.

    Oddly I am getting dinged partially (not missing just not getting a full light up when succeeding) on things like "que" which should be easy for me. U's and the infamous Rs are actually pretty easy for me and they sound right to me as best I have come to understand and appreciate the sound.

    The odd issues are probably the places that WERE easy and I didn't focus on them since it wasn't initially necessary so I am hopefully cleaning up my originally terrible pronunciation.

    So as a side project I continue to work on learning how to read the spectrograms and developing a work flow that will be reasonably efficient to choose, cut, match and record, then analyze myself and correct.

    It's looks like I have exhausted the (easily found) video resources on reading spectrograms and using them specifically for language acquistion and pronunciation improvement -- especially for French.

    So I think the way forward is:

    • More (and more) reading -- and doing it faster not more carefully at least 50% of the time
    • More and more listening -- and doing this with more reading and repeating the same thing
    • More Glossika -- try to keep going for another 115 days or whatever it takes to finish Level 3 (312 lessons) -- actually 115 days sounds better than I thought but it's still 16 weeks of daily grind though I need the exercise anyway (doing the bike at the same time on doctor's orders)
    • Learning to do voice matching with spectrograms and actually doing a LOT of them every day.
    • Grammar oriented audio drills -- not "studying grammar" very much, just doing drills that require repeating or using the correct tenses, sentence patterns etc.
    • Maybe doing BrainScape "verb conjugation flashcards" (to replace the 5000 word deck)
    • More phrases and more vocabulary through LingQ and reading.

    April 07 at 02:35
    • matilda1 au Australia

      Wow, you have one hell of a study plan! All the best, I've enjoyed reading your progress updates today. It's motivating me as I'm also learning French but not nearly as intensely as you are :)

      April 07 at 03:42
      • herbm us United States

        Thanks for the kind words of support and it helps to know that there are people like you and the others in the thread who enjoy or in some way benefit from my post.

        Anything to keep us moving forward, not matter what our goals or how much time and effort we intend to apply, staying with any plan is never trivial over the long term.

        For me, if I didn't have a goal with time commitments, then I wouldn't be motivated to study each day -- at least not every day. Making it explicit means I have a check list of things that are getting done every day and things that I can add if there is extra time.

        I am not sure I could have committed to any plan much over a year -- who knows that 2021 or 2022 will be like (and I'm getting older.)

        So figuring that 1 year was about my maximum CERTAIN determination, I decided to aim for half of that. If I don't succeed then I'll be miles ahead of where I would have been in a year or two if that were the actual plan.

        Also, if I were not going to succeed then I would like to find that out sooner than later and move onto studying something else. (I am always studying something, but right now it is primarily human languages, French first.)

        Next year it might be Spanish or some other language, or I might fall back to programming languages or operating systems and network services. (My work.)

        The main difference between studying French intensively now and studying something in the background is that I am studying with a purpose and a schedule. Sometimes I do that with programming languages and sometimes I just write programs in a new language.

        Human languages are harder -- there's no syntax checker built-in and no tool tip bubbles over people's head. You have to produce in near real time and don't have time to google even if you are reading and there are more than a few words unknown.

        By comparison, I can be comfortable in a new programming language in about 2 weeks IF I am actually WRITING programs that I care about -- we've never met anyone who learned to program without actually writing programs that mattered (to themselves.)

        Thanks again. It's been a flat week. I am going to surge again "real soon now"....

        April 07 at 06:22
        • matilda1 au Australia

          I am also someone who needs to set goals. I too found having a checklist and ticking off each lesson or activity absolutely crucial. In my first 2 months, it helped me stay focused and motivated and get a good base in the language. However, in my 3rd month, I hit a bit of a wall and lost motivation. I think I burnt myself out with my intensive and rigid study of beginner material in the first 2 months. I think I started spending more time rewriting my checklists and devising new study plans than actually spending time with the language!!! Now that I'm coming in my 4th month, I'm finding I can actually start to enjoy and comprehend (just) more interesting native level material and have conversations with online tutors, so I've stopped the checklist for now, and am just incorporating the language into my life. I might go back to using a more rigid system at different times.

          So I think the key for me is to know when it is worth sticking with the plan and knowing when to let it go and let my inspiration guide me. All the best!

          April 09 at 08:11
          • herbm us United States

            That makes sense and I am glad you have regained your path to progress.

            When I was feeling less than enthusiastic, I took very careful stock to decide if I was burning out and decided that other than the hour of Glossika that was definitely not the case. Glossika hasn't really burned me out, it's just hard to start an hour of such intense work everyday, especially near the end when I am tired.

            I don't really write my lists day to day, and if I did it would be on computer where only updates were necessary -- though I probably spend too much time with posts and threads like this one and in offering help on other subjects to people on various forums.

            It's in my nature to share, whether from selfish reasons or out of generosity it helps keep me "in the game" and motivated so I'll probably continue. (Though I have cut down on helping a friend in a computer programming language. He was always too busy when I had time and I can't give him an hour or two every time he calls now. Still it feels wrong to do that.)

            But I do have the good or bad (either at times) habit of spending a lot of time researching French resources, trying out things, looking for "more" or "better" without always accomplishing anything. (e.g., Hunting up more french pronunciation and phonetics rather than just repeating what I have found until perfected.)

            It's a form of both pleasuse and procrastination for me -- and it also pays off frequently due to having much better resources so the bad part of the bevavior gets re-enforced by the actual benefits.

            That "third month" you experienced can be very difficult as I think it is the level where we don't quite have enough words to "read and listen to interesting material" and yet are tired of children's books and trivialities.

            This is the main reason I start with the 5000 word frequency lists in a new language. I get through the first pass of 3000-5000 words in the first month and by 5000 (headwords) mature in the 3rd month I am reading fairly well (with dictionary support. and cognates.)

            I agree about sticking with the plan or starting something new. My habit if it helps you is to add the new thing first if there is any time, then drop the activity it replaces only after the new one proves itself. As long as the new one is short enough to jam into the day.

            Also, you've seen the problem of staying with an activity beyond the point where it is (highly) effective -- sort of coasting along on something that is a habit but no longer paying off greatly.

            Your post and my experience with similar is precisely the reason for my posting what to me sounded like a less than optimistic message.

            Realistically if we don't plan for the hard times we'll hit that wall when they almost inevitably appear.

            It sounds and looks like (from your profile) that you are doing great.

            Are you making the goals you set for yourself, over and above doing the work?

            Or rather: Are you learning as you planned to learn and what is missing or better than you expected?

            April 09 at 14:37
            • matilda1 au Australia

              It's nice to hear other people's experience (both the triumphs and the pains). Glad to hear I'm not the only one spending more time than I'd like to admit researching about "language learning". But as long as we're still studying our French as well, I think it's ok, I think of it like a separate hobby in and of itself. Now if could just start doing this research in French, my progress would increase exponentially!

              I'm quite happy with my progress to date. I only had one real goal for the year - reach a B1 level by the end of the year (not necessarily to take the DELF exam but I'll probably just hire a new tutor to give me a mock test and gauge my level). This goal is enough of a challenge where I need to work towards it but still be very realistic. One of my tutors has said I am currently a strong A2 in oral expression, so I am on track to reaching my goal. Being an exceptionally shy person and having trouble expressing myself in my mother tongue English, the speaking progress is the most pleasing to me. I seem to not have as much of a problem with shyness when talking to language exchange partners or tutors in French, I guess it's due to the fact that I know the other person expects me to not be articulate or be a good conversationalist. I'm also happy with my pronunciation even though it's nowhere near perfect. I put in a lot of work at the beginning on pronunciation and it seems to have paid dividends.

              My listening comprehension is by far my weakest point, though this seems to be the case for everyone learning French. One of my tutors has told me I need to try xercises as it's the best thing for improving both my oral comprehension and writing, so I'm going to start incorporating them into my routine. I've only done a couple so I don't know if it's working yet..

              April 09 at 23:21
            • StewartLikesLingQ us United States

              Hi Herb! This is a great thread. I'm just curious how often were you studying the 5000 words in the first month? Was it about 1 hour like you do with Glossika now and then with your other reading/activities on the side or was it hours and hours of flashcards at first to build that word bank in your head? Did you start from a pretty beginner level and how long did it take for you to feel comfortable with it? I ask these questions because I was building my own word frequency cards (based on my experience of needs and what I hear or see in Brazil) for a while and cramming them for hours a day but then I'd eventually burn out after about 3 weeks and quit everything haha. I've done that more times than I can count over the past year. But if I can visualize an end to the misery than I can get back on the horse.

              Also with Glossika, I keep reading you don't like the new online version but I can't find an offline version of Brazil Portuguese to purchase where I am so I'm a bit stuck with the online version. Anyway, is your main gripe that you can't use the mp3s on your bike and only on a laptop? Or is there something really different from the book version to the website version? I enjoy being able to walk up and down stairs while listening to Pimsleur so if I can't do that with Glossika then that's disappointing. Since my wife is Brazilian I considered just recording her saying the sentences for me if that's the case and putting them into flashcards to loop the audio 5-10x.

              April 22 at 12:22
            • StewartLikesLingQ us United States

              (I'll reply to this post since I can't reply to your reply haha.)

              Thanks for the details!

              1 Hour is more than doable and not going to burn me out. I'll get back to it and use a minutes restriction on this and add more minutes after completing my other daily life To Do list. Honestly my life spins a bit out of control if I don't limit myself on language study because I just get too obsessed with cramming but then I turn the rest of my life into a mess and then I just burn out eventually.

              I appreciate flashcard study although i really hate Anki. I use flashcards deluxe or Quizlet. Anki has always given me migraines for some reason. FD and Qz do what I need as far as SRS, review games, and adding computer generated Audio from Google or Amazon voice.

              Speaking of which as far as Glossika I suppose I could just download Amazon's BR-Pr voice into my flashcard app (very simple to do and can be randomized) but I'll email you to see about finding those proper Mp3s for much higher quality audio and join the JoyTan slack to see the benefits of that. But I'm really impressed how far computer generated audio has come which is likely do to Amazon Alexa and Google Home being in everyone's homes these days.

              I'm using a google doc daily diary for my Personal accountability which my wife checks in on and gets on me if I haven't updated it. But I should probably move it onto this site to keep my LingQ use up as well.

              I agree that making decks is a huge time waster because I can get too obsessed with always looking for more cards to make and focus less on actually practicing the cards. I should also note that this is a major reason why I hate Anki haha. The few times I've tried to be an Anki user it always took me hours to set up cards. Flashcards Deluxe (my main app) and Quizlet (I just use this for extra review tools) are so freaking easy to set up cards super quick but I understand Anki offers tons of extra options that users demand and better stats to have a better clue of your progress but ya, huge time waster for me hence why I dropped it.

              Anyway I do agree finding pre made cards is very beneficial.

              For listening I've been searching desperately for Podcasts, Youtube channels, TV Shows with accurate transcriptions/subtitles which has been a really shocking process because there's not a huge source of native Brazilian Portuguese content with (non auto generated) subtitles/transcripts. I also wanted to watch Dubbed TV shows I like on Netflix but the netflix transcripts are so inaccurate compared to the dubbed audio. It's really baffling how bad it is, I don't know how Netflix doesn't require the subtitles to match the dubbed audio. But recently I've found enough of the above and discovered Amazon Kindle and Audacity for Brazil has extensive amount of material so I'm good to go.

              April 22 at 18:02
    • herbm us United States


      • 45,000 Known words & 16.5 K LingQs
      • Finished Rosetta Stone 3rd unit of Level 3 -- 1 more on this level and 2 more levels to go, working on the 4th & final Unit of Level 3 (of 5) (11 of 20 Units complete -- moving along well)
      • Anki 5000 and now reversing them. *
      • Added BrainScape (more flashcards) to do LOTS of verb drills. **
      • Glossika Level 2, Lesson 7-8 tonight, only 200 more to do (100 days at 2 per day.)
      • Seriously working David Tolman's (of FluentFrench.com and YouTube) method of "hearing" a language and improving pronounciation at the same time, along with voice analysis and recording my voice. ***

      We're are watching the last episode (Season 2, Episode 8) RIGHT NOW, and it got really good so now we'll have withdrawal until we can find something else good in French to watch.

      * Started reversing my Anki deck and suspending any cards that are easy -- need to augment my speaking (production) vocabulary. Reading and recognition is fine. Mostly I've been depending on reading, listening, Rosetta Stone, and Glossika to do this without really working on it.

      ** The verb patterns simply worked.

      I had already worked out a "summary" verb patterns for French conjugation while skimming over conjugation in lieu of studying grammar. Turns out that I really did "get it" based on that and general feel absobed from reading, Rosetta Stone, and Glossika.

      I didn't know every element of every tense but with each one it took only a quick pass or 2 to firmly know the patterns.

      I'll post it if I can finish organizing it, I only did about 80% of the work to write it down, and it is a bit idiosyncratic to my way of thinking. If someone wants to review it directly then message me and we'll exchange texts to help me "clarify" it before a public posting.

      Need to obtain most of the irregular verb stems (past participle, etc.) to finish this. By this time I know the majority but having a deck to quickly polish this will help. Might be in BrainScape as I am skipping all around their tons of decks (only real reason I paid for a lifetime membership. Anki is as good or better as a tool, but BrainScape is competitive and it has loads and loads of French decks that are high quality and extensive.)

      *** David Tolman methods are working to "hear" French -- it involves working an natural speech audio using a transcript and translation and repetive listening and out loud pronunciation of every item -- there's too much to explain so it sounds "to obvious" said this way.

      ("French Pronouncing Dictionary" channel on YouTube & FluentFrench.com)

      To be clear: I am convinced it works, but don't yet have proof enough to be absolutely certain.

      This work is really important to finishing my goals which are in serious jeapordy at this point. Likely I want (quite) make the goals above by the planned date of July 1 (6 months). Hopefully I will be pretty close and can finish up in 1-3 extra months.

      However, I haven't given up and I am digging deeper to find a way to succeed, without adding to much time to my study. Focusing more and finding better methods to add.

      I've known since learning to read Spanish in 3 months almost a decade ago, that "forcing" vocabulary and using that to force reading was easy. Ok, at least straightforward, doable and not too painful.

      However, forcing speaking was not something I expected but that seems possible as well at this point though I need to do more (speaking AND forcing of it.)

      The problem has been "hearing" French. I make progress but so far it hasn't been possible to "force rapid progress" like with reading. Improvement is excruciatingly slow but steady only by working very diligently at it.

      Glossika helps but it's not teaching me to hear "uncareful speakers". It's main purpose is to produce speaking ability.

      Robert Tolman's method is offering me serious hope that this can be fixed.

      So I am still working for a July 1 success and it's clear to me without that goal my progress would be nowhere near where it is now.

      75 days remaining.

      April 17 at 01:44
      • matilda1 au Australia

        Good Stuff ! Keep up the great work !

        I have similar issues with my listening comprehension, but I believe that even though doing more active listening and different exercises helps a lot , there is simply no getting around the time in days, weeks and years that it takes for our brains to get used to the sounds of a new language, i.e. it is just not possible to "cram" for listening comprehension. It takes time.

        I was wondering if you've tried any dictation exercises for it, and if so, if you found it useful. I've started doing dictation daily for the past week or so, and I've seen an improvement in my oral comprehension already. It is tiresome but I'm convinced it helps so I'll continue with it. I'm assuming the Robert Tolman Method you've mentioned uses a similar principle or is there more to it?

        April 17 at 06:19
        • herbm us United States

          > Good Stuff ! Keep up the great work !

          Thank you for the kind words of encouragement. Every little bit really does help.

          > I have similar issues with my listening comprehension, ...

          This is a universal for anyone trying to learn to actually understand ordinary speech of arbitray speakers.

          There is much discussion of the problem, but very few people that directly addresses the techniques to address the problem.

          > ...but I believe that even though doing more active listening and different exercises helps a lot , there is simply no getting around the time in days, weeks and years that it takes for our brains to get used to the sounds of a new language, i.e. it is just not possible to "cram" for listening comprehension. It takes time.

          > .. here we disagree in general, while is of course takes some amount of time there is no reason to believe that time itself does anything.

          This is repeatedly shown to be true in every area of learning, and including mental and physical development.

          Probably methods lead to rapid results and ineffective methods are seldom if ever sufficient merely by doing them longer and waiting.

          There is also a principle in rapid learning that you must reach a certainly level of input and work to see any improvement.

          This is something I think of as "critical mass" -- learning is non-linear especially in the extremes.

          Learning faster actually helps you to learn faster as there is little time to forget what you have learned yesterday before reinforcing and extending it tomorrow.

          I've seen the evidence, including academic and anecdotal, but I've also experienced the effects of accelerated learning and even invented some explicit techniques fors throug learning various things -- including physical skills which typically are those that require "time" to allow muscles or neural nets in the brain to grow.

          This time is however short by the standards I am considering. 6 weeks to a few months for large changes and noticable improvements on a weekly or biweekly basis, frequently in hours or days.

          In fact, we almost never learn slowly -- typically we may spend a long time "getting ready" to learn a new thing but the learning is usually over in momeents.

          We may forget over time if we don't review it, but the actual learning is almost instaneously unless it requires physical changes -- like growing new muscles but even those are short term effects by comparison with the time most people take to improve.

          The trick is to find the "deep practice" that optimizes the time you spend.

          Even if that turns out to be slower than we hope it will provide results that are an order of magnitude over "typical methods" in every case I've seen.

          > I was wondering if you've tried any dictation exercises for it, and if so, if you found it useful. I've started doing dictation daily for the past week or so, and I've seen an improvement in my oral comprehension already. It is tiresome but I'm convinced it helps so I'll continue with it.

          I've only done a very little bit, and generally was avoiding it as something related to learning to write correctly -- which I care very little about -- but that small exposure (Anne Le Grand's course on Udemy) caused me to rethink if this might be a better tool than expected.

          Sometimes the best methods are incredibly easy to take up but also incredibly annoying or tiresome to perform.

          Weight lifting by repetivite useless movement, speed reading by exercises that are by intention impossible and tedious, and jump starting language learning by simply memorizing 5000 words are all clear examples of this.

          They work, but they aren't but they aren't pleasant in and of themselves unless one "learns to love them" for the effects. (Game mechanics come into play here.)

          So you have convinced me to add this in systematically for at least a few weeks and then evaluate.

          > I'm assuming the Robert Tolman Method you've mentioned uses a similar principle or is there more to it?

          I think it is a similar principle -- teach yourself to hear the small things, and you can learn to hear in the large.

          Hear teach yourself means to perform exercises that force your brain to do primarily these things:

          • Create new neural networks (the actual connections and growth of "brain muscle")
          • Notice the critical distinctions
          • Train your brain and "ears" to hear those distinctions more efficiently and more automatically (perhaps by conscious practice but with the goal of unconscious and automatic response.)
          • Optimize the time spent. Focus on the things and items that provide the most return.
          • Eliminate as much tediousness as possible.

          Optimizing the time spent is one of the big ideas in "Deep Learning". One can spend 10,000 hours becoming a master or one can spend 1,000 hours of Deep Practice and do the same in far less calendar time.

          Talent is largely a myth. Mozart and Michael Jackson both put in the time, but Mozart did it as a very early age and Jackson did it only after failing to make his high school varsity basketball team.

          Dictee's may work, the primary concern I'll likely have over time is how to focus them on the "right thing".

          I am pretty sure David's methods of listening do this, or at worst give me the tools to do it myself.

          Over the last 24 hours I had an interesting experience working with this -- and also with my wife who has lost much of her hearing.

          We're trying to use these methods, and learning French in general, to trick her brain into re-learning how to "hear" even English. There is information still available and her hearing aids help, but part of what they do is "frequency shifting" and other modifications to the sounds, not just "volume boosting".

          Sounds she used to hear at one frequency or in one manner maybe be present in "different places or forms". Her brain needs to be forced, or tricked into "learning" to here the information that is now encoded using a different encryption key.

          It's seems to work, and coaching her on "how" to do it gave me clues I might never have noticed about "how" to perform this practice (which I have shared with David who finds them interesting at least.)

          So what happened? I had a short passage, just 4 1/2 words. "Comment c'est venu" which I "knew" the speaker supposedly said but where the last word or two were completely untelligible or at least unavailable to my ears.

          I listened to it repeatedly for some minutes and attempted to hear it Wed night. It was so obvously impossible at the time and I was also so hoping that a couple of weeks practice might work that I explained it carefully to my wife and made it very explicit in my memory so that if a week or so from now it "changes" the difference will be noticable and my memory won't be in doubt.

          Last night, I went through it again, and also started to use the spectrogram analysis (which is beyond what David does.)

          But there was a "problem" before I could find the sound on the spectrogram and determine if it corresponded to the "missing phonemes" they become evident

          I heard them. It's that simple.

          With what amounted to just a bit more practice and less than 24 hours of time. I heard the sound.

          At first, I thought maybe it was simply my knowledge of what was there, but I kept playing with the spectragram and audio trace and it wouldn't go away anymore. I was faint but present.

          About that time I notice that where it appeared the "energy" trace of the audio was about 1% of the sound volume of the surrounding sounds. It was simple attenuated and so compressed into the following phoneme as to be almost indistinguishable to my untrained ears and brain..

          It also turned out that there was a clearly present additional sound on the end of the word (unvoiced fricative, probably SH) that was present but not part of the word as written or normally spoken.

          The speaker had simply stopped his vowel sloppily and air continued to pass out of his mouth making that hiss which was actually much louder than the "missing" phoneme.

          Though it was in a different place (happened later) it through off the rhythm expected and made it difficult to synchronize the rhythem or the beat of the phonemes expected with what the ear was hearing.

          Once heard, it couldn't be "unheard".

          (I have seen and heard another example of this 'rhythm camaflage", but not as clearly magical.)

          As a side note, I once took some training in aerial photo reconnaisance while in the Army. It was similar: We learned to "see" things that the average person couldn't see or couldn't comprehend and decode. Most of this was not through long practice but by being shown the direct methods of which clues experts had learned to look for.

          This remind me that "color blindness" is known by the military to be an ASSET in photo reconnaisance and camaflage detection.

          Perhaps more interesting is that hypnosis can induce temporarily induce the effects of color blindness in people with normal vision and thereby give access to the advantage.

          One wonders if there is an evolutionary reason for about 1 in 7 men being color blind and about the same number being left handed.....

          Some who can see the enemy before others is an advantage in war even if he has other disadvantages.

          Someone who has his weapon on the "outside" when on the left side is also an advantage. (Soldiers have to be trained to get some of them to hold their rifles to the left when one the move.)

          April 17 at 13:22
          • matilda1 au Australia

            You certainly know your stuff :) I hope you have a great week of French learning !

            > .. here we disagree in general, while is of course takes some amount of time there is no reason to believe that time itself does anything.

            Actually, I think I mostly agree with you on this point - a certain level of intensity and having effective methods are necessary to make clear and rapid progress (a few minutes a day over time is like doing nothing). Though there are only so many hours in a day, and I had just thought you were being very hard on yourself for not being "fluent" at listening after only learning for a few months, but it seems you are aware of this and that you find having ambitious goals motivating. Your progress is absolutely insane! I am the opposite with this - I tend to want to set lofty goals, but psychologically it doesn't work for me. I end up overwhelmed and if I fail to reach the goal, I am discouraged and just give up entirely. Whereas, I've learned that if I set up a series of "small wins" that I can easily achieve, the feeling of winning motivates me and I end up outperforming these easier goals and also stay sticking with it. To each his own. :)

            > So you have convinced me to add this in systematically for at least a few weeks and then evaluate.

            Dictee's may be doubling up on the work you're doing with Tolman's method (which seems to be the same basic idea but more focused, specialized and convenient), but nonetheless, it's still worth a shot giving it a go to see how you like it.

            April 18 at 01:11
            • herbm us United States

              Yes, we almost totally agree after all, it seems -- we were just focused on different aspects.

              I absolutely agree with the "small goals" idea. This is precisely the method I teach for building quality software without large delays.

              So if you notice, my original plan had a 3 month, 4.5 month, and 6 month goal breaking it into 3 parts. However people might call those 3 goals "lofty" (3 versions of fluency).


              Hearing fluently is definitely a miss as of 2 days ago but I had long still technically possible since I made a mistake on dates and there is almost a month remaining, but I'v moved this to being harder than speaking. Surprised me but good adjustment.

              This is one of my main focuses. If I could get this fluent then learning vocabulary and more natural speech would be so much easier, perhaps even self-sustaining which is a major goal.

              [END EDIT]

              Also, realisticly I might not make this one even in 6 months -- unless there is a significant breakthrough and/or steady progress kicks in very soon.

              Speaking can arguably be called a VERY limited pass already -- I have had several 45 minute conversations where I did most of the talking and stayed in Spanish without undue effort but it's not something I am ready to declare anywhere near a real success.

              There is still a chance for this one if I do enough speaking and don't burn all the time learning to listen. FYI, I don't care about my tutor "talking to me in French" since that isn't going to help me as efficiently as a variety of recorded material so that time is spent with me answering his questions and trying to tell stories etc.

              In addition to these milestones, I have a series of goals for every day -- and largely use "streaks" and other "game mechanics" like those on LingQ or ones I invent.

              The mid-term goals kept me working on the daily and weekly ones.

              However, I had the first one, reading fluently, almost in the bag before I started or so I thought -- it seemed to be certain it was doable because I had done it in Spanish previously.

              There were a few things I didn't count on though and it's arguable whether I made that benchmark or not. No issue, though because it is getting done even if a bit late.

              1. Limit of about 3 hours per day -- when I did Spanish I didn't have a day job so I read more. Forgot about that. It wasn't possible to just power up and adding more time -- everything I added had to fit the time or something else had to be dropped.

              2. Studying for speaking & hearing -- with Spanish it was an explicit decision to skip speaking (at that time) and listening was only a "nice to have".

              3. My wife wasn't studying Spanish so we weren't doing all our TV time listening to Spanish so this took time -- hopefully it has helped enough to justify the time but it was fun and has kept me up to date about my (lack of) ability in listening even as improvements kept coming.

              4. French is harder than Spanish -- shocked me to realize that. Reading Spanish with enough vocabulary is almost trivial. French is so figurative and idiomatic that it's far more likely to know all the words but have only a vague idea what the meaning of the sentence might be.

              No excuses and I arguably did make 3 months to speaking at the level I set (rather low) and I can finish it off at will to beyond college level.

              On adding Dictee -- I was thinking maybe 15 minutes a day. Might be able to sneak that in for a couple of weeks to evaluate.

              We'll see.

              I also made a couple of errors:

              1. 10 days off Glossika, life intervened to initially interrupt it but there was not a good reason for a 10 day hyatus.
              2. Idling too long on my Anki 5000 French to English deck. Inertia and my vocabulary is Ok and LingQ is helping with that.
              3. Not serious enough about doing Rosetta Stone every day in the first 1-2 months. I probably could be close to finished now.
              4. Waiting too long to start LingQ -- partly due to the terrible "free trial" but if I know then what is obvious now a month earlier would have been reasonble.
              5. Slow start on Glossika -- not really an error since there was no way to know and I was trying various audio programs looking for something that really worked.
              6. Slow to pay for BrainScape (part of #2) and I was just being cheap until sure it was worth the money. ($130 lifetime.)
              7. Didn't know how hard "hearing" would become to keep advancing -- again, not really an error.

              Only by having clear goals could my studying be kept on track this long and it will pay off even if my "goals" are late coming.

              In my experience, having a goal to "do X by date Y" pretty much guarantees most people won't finish all of X if date Y is more than a month or so in the future.

              At best it is a 50/50 chance if it is a realistic but agressive goal with no padding.

              When we shoot for a barely reaching moon, we might only make orbit but we will be staged for the next leg of the journey.

              And I haven't given up on making it -- pessimistic but that just means keep to the plan unless it can be improved.

              Also, it might while I am proud of my progress it not a conceit and though the misses are recognized I am not ashamed of them either.

              Simply evaluating the facts of the past, to figure out the path to the future.

              April 18 at 02:10
      • StewartLikesLingQ us United States

        (reply #3, again I can't reply directly)

        Flashcards Deluxe is cheap which is good but only works on mobile devices. The developer responds to all emails and forum posts if you have a question. But I love that app. I think the website has a card search feature too you can source from.

        Quizlet is on both phones and web portal and a good source of cards (but I don't know the card quality) but I use it only for the test features. Not my main driver since it starts asking for subscription fee for some features.

        Ya I suppose transcripts/subtitles for TV shows / Movies that aren't 100% accurate don't bother me too much because generally actors are speaking very clearly. But for podcasts there aren't any apps or sites yet that make transcripts automatically (apparently Google Podcasts is working on this but it's not an available feature yet) so I strictly listen to ones that blessed the world with providing transcripts because I really can't handle podcasts for native speakers yet without some type of reading material to follow along. Especially because of how native speakers blend their words or just completely drop the first part or last part of a word. I don't remember this being an issue for Spanish but Brazilians drop so many sounds I feel like it's as hard as learning English pronunciation but the difference you can't know English pronunciation just by reading it where technically you should know how to speak a Portuguese word according to proper phonetic pronunciation but so many words are not often fully spoken and sometimes they skip right over saying certain words but if you check the transcription it's supposedly there. I remember the first time I tried to listen to one podcast for native speakers and transcribe it myself and it sounded like complete gibberish. After I read the transcription I was shocked because I knew all the words but they said these words NOTHING like you'll find in Portuguese audio lessons for language learners haha. Depending on the channel YouTube struggles a lot with this as well so it's almost like learning a different language sometimes. Thus I really really REALLY value transcripts to study how the language ACTUALLY sounds.

        I'll go ahead and Post It Note the methods on my desk to keep motivation up. Effective methods certainly appear to be your specialty so I'll be following your posts to see whenever you find new methods to try out.

        April 22 at 22:57
        • herbm us United States

          Though I don't know about Portuguese it would seem likely that it wouldn't be a lot worse than French for having good content available with closed captioning or transcripts.

          A couple of suggestions:

          Try to find "TED Talks" from a Portuguese version -- they exist for French, and likely for Portuguese including the Brazilians.

          Try to find "course work" for school children. This was initially harder to find for French but once I rigged my searches to look in the right places it was a gold mine.

          Google trick that few people use: Specify the site and give only a top level domain

          • site:PT | site:BR

          As to hearing that is precisely what my new method (Subvocal Shadowing) and David Tolman's methods are designed to work explicitly.

          My evaluation is that these methods work extremely well, and my only reservation is that no one else seems to have describe any of this in any detail though I'll bet lots of people use the methods either unconsciously or without explaining their method.

          One thing about making methods explicit is that they are easier to improve and refine or to use explicitly where they work the best.

          My ability to hear has gone up markedly in the last week since finding David's work and even more in the last 3 days since starting to use "SubVocal Shadowing".

          Combining the 2 is something that I've only started to test tonight and it seems to work well also -- perhaps even better.

          April 23 at 00:56
          • StewartLikesLingQ us United States

            Thanks for the David Toleman/subvocalizing tip. I checked out his site and listened to his Echoing demonstration. Then it dawned on me how I've echoed before to really get the grasp of different English accents (Irish/British/Australian/Other American accents). I was watching an Irish TV series and I ended up echoing the main character so much I (no joke) got kind of stuck in an Irish accent for a few minutes and I was even thinking in an Irish accent. It freaked me the hell out hahaha. I also remember this happening when I was around a guy from New Jersey with a thick accent and I kept copying all this guy's expressions for 10 straight days I came back to Texas and it took me a day to snap myself out of doing a Jersey accent. As far as Portuguese, I remember a day a few months ago when strangely everything I was hearing I was understanding. The same way you describe listening to that news broadcast. I wasn't echoing outloud but it occured to me I might have been subvocalizing. I think that's possible because I was on a marathon of cramming vocabulary and listening and listening and doing more listening and echoing then. Then one day it was like a switch flipped and I was suddenly understanding the radio, what people on the street were talking about, what the taxi driver was saying. It was freaky as hell because before that day I just thought I was beginner level. So ya I think echoing/subvocalizing are really important methods. And one more thing, when I was a kind memorizing scripts for plays at school, I wasn't echoing but I was reading out loud again and again and again and again. It was probably this that created the feedback loop and I was able to memorize lead parts in plays. So yes, fully support these methods.

            April 25 at 02:16
            • herbm us United States

              I love you post.

              The post's with encouragement and congratulations are helpful but posts like yours where someone descrives their own experience of using things similar (or instead of) that work for them are even better since it gives me ideas.

              David is primarily emphasizing working on sections repeatedl with echoing and call/response or echoing aloud while the speaker continues for more advanced people.

              To me these are not the same technique and they do address two overlapping but different aspects and skills.

              The repetition on one difficult phrase or passage is mainly about hearing (with learning to speak that way as a secondary effect.)

              The continuous (and concurrent) echoing (some call it shadowing but I think that is different also) is more about hearing the full flow of the speech.

              Then my technique of SubVocal Shadowing is almost totally focused on hearing to understand in the moment.

              It doesn't help improve future hearing by teaching the surprising ways that things can sound that we think we already know, but it's really about just "getting it" right now.

              That's the way I separate them -- and to be explicit I use all 3 for different types of material each day.

              One might expect that Subvocal Shadowing is my favorite because it is my own discovery but the main reasons that it's my most common technique are:

              1. It's immediate -- it works to better understand speech right now.
              2. It can be done without any special equipment and without tieing up our eyes and hands (while working, driving, excercising, lying down to sleep etc.).
              3. It can be alternated with passive listening -- checking in whenever the thread is lost.
              4. It helps me so much when listening to news where the speakers will continue long enough to "check in" but where the speakers also change frequently.

              Working a passage really helps me to hear difficult things that were literally beyond my current level of audio decoding.

              This is almost magical too -- I've made notes of phrases and passages (mostly from David's material) that were literal "unhearable" and then a few minutes, hours, or even days later "it's impossible NOT to hear it."

              This is such a big effect that without the notes even I wouldn't believe it later.

              The main difficulty is that it focuses so much time and effort on such short passages that we only learn a little, at least consciously.

              It's difficult to know how much that will affect our future hearing ability on other passages with similar types of deletions, liassons, de-emphasis, speed, etc. that native speakers use constantly, and that other native speakers hear without effort most of the time.

              For a while, I really worked at shadowing/echoing aloud but it so gets in the way of my hearing what the speaker says that it doesn't seem to be the most efficient.

              I don't know the proper mix and I am reluctant to stop the two aloud practices in case they are critically important to rapid progress.

              Glossika and Rosetta Stone along with more vocabulary work also help but it's now important for me not to "coast" through that vocubulary work but rather keep pushing.

              For several days I've been pushing Glossika to do an extra lesson or even 2 so now it's past Level 2, Day 30 -- it seems impratical to keep it up at this level for another 59 days but I like the effects.

              Mainly I wish that I was talking to real people more and that there was a better way to fine tune my pronunciation though I work on that as constantly as possible.

              I'm thinking to start a "daily recording" session where I just speak for 30 (?) minutes without allowing myself to leave French. Sort of a "private podcast" (because I doubt anyone else would want to hear it.)

              Though making it public would motivate & even force more improvement probably.

              April 25 at 10:43
  • CodeRed82 us United States

    I've posted this before, but Awesome work my friend. I am happy to see you are working as hard as you are. I love seeing your progress. Keep it up bud. I can't wait to hear when you have reached a state in the language that you feel comfortable conversing in most subjects.

    -Cody C.

    April 08 at 22:35
    • herbm us United States

      Thank you so much.

      Hearing people respond helps keep me going.

      Heck even if people were critical and told me I am doing it wrong or ineffectively that would encourage me too. It would actually be a benefit to hear opposing opinions.

      Though I can talk about anything now it won't be pretty and I am still reticent about starting conversations (so I pay a tutor to listen to me and make corrections for 45 minutes.)

      I was not really discourage the last week or so but my optimism wasn't high either -- I began to wonder if 6 months would be even close to enough. I am definitely going to find out and this just prompted me to find more and better methods, time permitting.

      The dealine in 83 days is looming much closer than I would prefer.

      If I can fix the hearing and understanding issue, I'll probably make it -- reading will be pretty much a done deal from here.

      Today a very kind gentleman who teaches French actually called me from France in response to one of my (long) emails thanking him for all the resource he posts on YouTube and his website and asking technical questions about his methods for learning to hear French (or other languages.)

      It seems he is on to something as real and as important to hearing as Steve and LingQ are to reading efficiently.

      It would be really great if he and Steve could figure out a way to work together and if I knew Steve it would be an introduction I'd try to make.

      In any case he was very gracious and very interested in my side of this problem. He is the closest thing I've found to someone directly addressing the "learn to hear and understand" efficiently issue with real techniques.

      Tonight I finished Rossetta Stone: 2nd Unit of Level 3

      Big milestone: That's exactly half of the Units in all 5 levels of the full course.

      Whoooo-Hooooo. Oooh Laa Laa

      And with 'only' 10 Units to go, I have a chance of finishing them in the 83 days remaining.

      Glossika is at 90-91 tonight and I have to go do that now.

      Argh. Another hour on the bike and non-stop talking. :) :) :)

      April 09 at 03:36
      • CodeRed82 us United States

        Again my friend, I applaud you. These are awesome things to read, and those small milestones to grow daily into a big mountain. Keep up the hard work.

        Well, who knows about the Steven and your new friend from Youtube, maybe after this, Steve may be interested in meeting him. The world works in mysterious ways.

        Keep pushing every day my friend.

        You have the support of us.

        April 12 at 00:43
        • herbm us United States

          I will -- and since this thread is not about cheer leading I will admit that my odds of completing the goals on time are pretty dim.

          This doesn't mean I'm slowing down, but rather if anything looking (somewhere desparately) for more tricks or more work that can be done in the time available.

          There alwasy seems to be a reason that i don't get around to speaking more and it's likely *me*, but that is something that will increase in the remaining days.

          To be fair, the plan was always intended to be very agressive in order to determine what was actually possible and there is no way my progress would have been so rapid without such goals.

          For instance, there is no way that I would be doing an hour of Glossika (argh), 30-45 minutes of Rosetta Stone, and an absolute minimum of 100 LingQs per day along with flashcards, listening, and reading every single day.

          I notice that I now have the second longest LIngQ streak among the INSANE and I am only 8 days behind the leader. :) :) :)

          Last night I recorded all 55 minutes of speaking with Glossika -- only listened to a bit but it wasn't as bad as I feared. My idea is to keep learning how to analyze voice spectrograms but time spent doing that is time I don't spend studying French.

          Part of my method for accelerated learning (and that was actually my successful business for over a decade) is that short deadlines and studying twice as much is actually much better effective than doing something twice as long.

          Maybe far more, as much as a (true) order of magnitude.

          Cramming works -- as most good students can tell you -- but it is incorrectly rejected by many learning theorists because typically it is done in spurts.

          'Continuous cramming' is highly effective when focused on the right material and methods -- you not only learn more, but you learn new things that link to what you have just learned before the prior learnings are forgotten.

          There are analogies from speed reading, weight lifting, and other things but I need to go ride the stupid bike and talk to Glossika still tonight....

          One way or another, I am going to do all that is reasonable in the next 80 days -- and I'll start making a real plan for the following 30 and 90 days so that the momentum will continue.

          April 12 at 03:03
  • herbm us United States

    LingQ lost a detail post, unless it magically reappears, that I was very proud of tonight.

    Glossika == Finished with lesson 104 (of 312) and completed Level 1 -- about 40 hours of speaking.

    LingQs == 15,000

    Words known == 44,000

    Finishing Rosetta Stone Level 3 unit 11; will finish level 3 this week and have 2+ months to do the last 2 Levels (8 units).

    Started actively adding speaking using David Tolman's "echoing and shadowing" from https://fluentlistener.com methods and material. (I joined this site for $100 because he's doing important work.)

    Added more Anki cards (reverse 5000 back to French) and BrainScape verb drills (joined there too for life).

    Doing verb audio.

    Continuing reading and audio books ("Sapien" & "Deuil Interdit" mostly) as well as podcasts (Au Coeur d'Histoired, FluentListener, etc) -- and my wife and I continue to watch TV and movies in French (Marseille is our currnet serices. It's Ok, not great.)

    Recording my voice most days, and starting to do spectrogram analysis as well as just listing to how (bad) I sound.

    Once again, the crappy LingQ programming has really irritated me -- if this thing wasn't so wonderful I'd really hate it.

    Update next day: Started Glossika Level 2, and did 4 "days" (lessons) since they start (and end) with shorter lessons due to not adding the new items all at once (or at the end.)

    Kicked my butt. Almost every sentence was a tough as most of the hard ones in Level 1.

    By the way, for anyone trying this I wouldn't be able to do 55+ minutes straight through if I weren't riding the bible -- I also wouldn't do the bike as long and probably would be doing good to make it 3 days per week, or at all by this time.

    The method:

    • Media player on phone with headset
    • My android pad on bike reading stand (it sits there really well even though the clip is too small)
    • Pad has the text in PDA or Office doc
    • I stripped of all English and IPA or extraneous stuff. from the Glossika doc, so I only have just the French one.
    • Each item is formatter with a hanging indent and single column narrow enough to fit at good font size on the pad.
    • Margins minimized so the text almost flows straight from page to page.
    • Ideally every other paragraph would have some highlight or something to help find the place.
    • I ONLY read when I can't keep up -- I glance at text when needed and look away as much as possible.

    Note: If I keep looking it is HARDER to say without looking. It really requires just making mistakes at some point and listening carefully. (Take off the training wheels for each phrase quickly..)

    Tenses are getting more complicated and so are the pronoun grammar items.

    Starting Level 2 was much easier psychologically that doing most of the recent lessons.

    April 14 at 02:53
  • MarkE us United States

    Wow herbm how did you get so many hours of listening in such a short amount of time

    April 19 at 15:55
    • herbm us United States

      TV, movies -- we listen to almost solely French language TV.

      I listen to other things, especially an audiobook every night at bedtime.

      Frequently I just play podcasts or other things while workig.

      I don't count TV time when figuring how much "studying" I do, but I do put it in every few days for the "listening" value.

      So after about 110 days at almost 4 hours per day (which includes a couple of hours of studying with audio) it's come to about 400+ hours.

      April 19 at 19:58
  • herbm us United States

    New optimism the last 2 days, and in fact I am highly excited by having invented a new technique to both hear spoken language better immediately and to train oneself to improve understanding when listening over time (quick Internet searches the specific technique and my previous searches for any type of actual technique have come up dry).

    If this proves to be true, it will be analogous to what LingQ facilitates with reading and what massive "comprehensible input" a la Steve Krashen does through reading.

    Better yet it will be easier than reading since it requires nothing but audio that you could in theory understand (part of) if you had a clue what the sounds meant. (That is you know much of the vocabulary but can't "hear" at speed.)

    Send me a personal note (herbmartin at that google mail place) if you can wait. I'll post in a few days when I have worked out the key points so it won't mess people up by trying it wrong.

    I not only think there is now a good chance for fluent listening by July 1 but the original date of mid-May is now not out of the question.

    This method works to hear more now -- they question is if it will be "self-sustaining" to that we can learn how to do it better primarily through simply practicing it through using it to hear.

    Those of you who have been kind enough to follow my study will be the first to know (along with David Tolman. Although David didn't give me the method, he gave me all of the preliminaries that led me to consider this idea and to try it.)

    Basically it is "subvocalizing while listening". I know, that's too darn easy, and the explanations will follow but that all anyone really need to know to work it out if one is determined enough to simply do it and keep doing it.

    As of tday 2020-04-20 =- Monday

    • LingQ Known Words 46,000+ and LingQs 17,000+
    • Glossika Level 2, finished Lesson 17 (edited)
    • Rosetta Stone -- almost finished with last Unit of Level 3, so this will leave 2 more Levels to go after sometime this week.
    • Spoke for a solid 45 minutes again to my tutor and I'm upping the frequency to 2-3 times per week (which probably means 1-2 in reality).
    • Figured out a good way to implement a similar idea for Speaking (as for Reading and Listening) but haven't put it into practice much less tested it yet. (Sometime this week.)
    • New Anki and BrainScape decks are working pretty well, though I am not maxing out the reviews (yet) like is my habit when starting out. Only doing about 200 reviews per day. Need to get this back to about 300-400 but that takes a LOT of time and attention.
    • Listening is working, but what David teaches and my new invention. Excited.

    I am trying to hold the time "studying" per day to less than 3 hours, though I might up it a bit to get things sorted out for a while.

    Remember, it was clear that when it looked dim that I wouldn't give up, and would fight tooth and nail to figure out a way to beat the clock...don't bet against me though it is still far from certain.

    April 21 at 03:21
    • matilda1 au Australia

      Fantastic! Great that this new technique has gotten you back on track to achieving your goal. If you post more on your method, I'd definitely be keen to read and learn more and give it go myself too :)

      April 21 at 12:04
      • herbm us United States

        It's becoming more and more certain -- and effective, in just 72 hours of fairly light practice. Though I did step it up a bit starting last night.

        First the caveats and warnings:

        • It's not totally magic (no "poof" here) -- immediate improvement is possible but it will take hours of listening and actively employing the method to obtain breakthough results and those hours may take days or weeks to accumulate.
        • It does require work. Imagine reading your first text on LingQ in a foreign language and the effort it took to read that and the following texts are you increased the reading difficulty level.
        • You need audio content beyond your comfort level but where you would know many, most, or perhaps almost all the words if you saw them written and had time to puzzle out the meaning.
        • It would probably work for easy children's stories read by adults with clear voices and a small vocabulary, or even for venacular and noisy dialog for those with an advanced vocabulary and existing skills on ordinary speech but I haven't tested any of that yet.
        • The method is a bit tedious -- you have to remember to deploy it and remember to keep reactivating it as you brain is distracted or bored (by listening to something vaguely comprehensible.) -- This is the weight lifting of "hearing speech" with one wonderful exception, it helps you hear better even while you are practicing it while weight lifting makes you weaker during and following practice.
        • It's so simple that most people will not even think it is a "method" and will dismiss it.

        Here is is:

        Subvocalizing or Silent Shadowing of everything you hear a speaker say

        (without reference to printed transcripts).

        1. Listen to material you can physically hear clearly (loud enough, lack of backgroung noise or music) where know much of the vocabulary if it were written or were spoken clearly and distinctly in isolation.
        2. Note how much you can or cannot understand for a few moments.
        3. Start subvocalizing each word you hear as the speaker continues.
        4. If you miss a word, just pick up whatever the speaker is saying at that moment.
        5. Accept ambiguity -- this is practice to hear and not necessarily hearing so accept that you will not understand everything and that many things will be vague or perhaps ambiguous.
        6. Avoid the temptation to translate when you suddenly realize you can understand words that were even hearable a moment ago.
        7. Do NOT stop to translate dates or anything like that -- just stay with pronounciation EVERYTHING you can hear -- but in your own head.
        8. Don't speak out loud -- that's another drill for another purpose.
        9. Mumbling is Ok if you need the feed back to keep you vocalizing but likely "silent speech" is more effective and efficient long term.
        10. You do NEED to hear YOUR words in your head so vocalize slightly or mumble when you feel you aren't hearing.
        11. If hearing is difficult, then vocalize ANY sound -- not what you think the speaker is saying but what you think you hear no matter how off that seems.
        12. When the speaker switches to a different person, expect to lose the "hearing" so immediately re-double your effort to silently shadow the new speaker.
        13. Note that you will have some speakers who are more difficult to hear even with the same material (for me this is children, women with high voices, region accents, mumblers, those who speak exceptionally fast or become excited), so when voices change or get difficult just concentrate on saying what you hear within your on head.
        14. Listen repetively to the same material, or to repetive material like the 24 hour news which repeats the same stories and concept multiple times per hour and only adds new material incrementally..
        15. Avoid subtitles and don't look at them if present, especially in your own language. Subtitles are not evil, especially in the target language, but they are NOT suitable for this exercise. Also avoid reading most crawlers or graphics at the bottom the news screens IF it isn't helping you understand without losing the shadow.
        16. Stick with it -- 5 minutes (on the clock) is a long time to stick with it if you aren't understanding you are subvocalizing constantly so if nothign happens find easier material.
        17. When you get excited to hear words and ideas and start marveling that that go right back to just internally tracking and shadowing what you near.
        18. Repeat as often as you are able - and anytime you realize you aren't hearing something you wish to hear.

        Keep a written record of how much you think you hear and understand. If this works for you like it does for me you are going to rapidly be uncertain that you couldn't already hear that well.

        I am sitting here with the French news (France 24) on in the background maybe no active attempt to hear what just yesterday was almost impossible to track, and it's starting to become difficult for me NOT to hear and understand what is being said.

        This is especially true of the news anchor (who happens to be a women most of the time on France 24) -- every time she says something my hearing "snaps back" in to her questions for various guests.

        If I just start actively shadowing every current speakers most of it comes into "focus".

        One of the coolest WEIRD things is that many times I suddenly realize the word being shadows is somethig entirely known to me but with a pronunciation totally unpredictable and unhearable for me otherwise.

        This also includes things that are "out of context" (for me at least).

        I am pretty sure what is going on.

        • Massive comprehensible input (only it's speech now)
        • Occupying our speech centers so we can't think in our own language (very important at first)
        • Keeping us focused on something we don't initially understand and can't yet fully understand -- getting bored and thinkig about other things or even what you are hearing is going to interrupt the flow.
        • It keeps us either LOOKING at the SPEAKER or not looking at other things (perhaps when listening to an audio book.)
        • Improving our hearing and understanding even 5% or 10% is incredibly motivating. Make sure you stick with it long enough to this to happen.
        • It's a feedback loop, the more you hear and understand the more you CAN hear and understand because the context increases.
        • Activating Mirror Neurons in our vocal production system which are known to help in understanding the words, facial expressions, and actions of other people. (Mirror neurons one of the main ways we decypher facial expressions.)

        Summary (all of the above is to answer questions you will have as I did while working it out):

        • Subvocalize inside your head by shadowing every sound of every speaker you are hearing whether you understand the word or syllable or not.
        • Just keep subvocalizing
        • Accept ambiguity and just wait while subvocalizing -- you are training this as much as you are training hearing and understanding.
        • Have fun and enjoy hearing and understanding more of what you subvocalize.


        April 21 at 14:59
        • matilda1 au Australia

          Very interesting! Thanks for sharing. Occassionally, when I'm reading along to an audiobook, I will close my eyes and focus really hard just on the audio, and I notice that the way my brain naturally tries to comprehend what's being said is to subvocalise everything it hears, and sometimes it'll also bring up the written form of words into my minds eye. But I only do it for very brief times like one sentence because it is quite exhausting. So your method makes complete sense and I shouldn't have a problem with the actual technique as I do it instinctively when I focus intently. It'll just be a matter of doing a lot more of it.

          April 21 at 21:36
          • herbm us United States

            I had done a ton of "concentrating" and a ton of "zen" no-mind just let it flow but once I started explicitly subvocalizing to "lock on" the audio change very quickly.

            Do it as long as you aren't locked in - I can't see it doing any harm when I am understanding but the moment the thread of hearing or understanding disappears I make it very explicit.

            Likely it will automate as our understanding and capabilities expand.

            My wife has significant deafness and also less vocabulary then I do at this point but she locked in on it quite a bit right away for easier material, and almost immediately noticed that once you can do it, then it is hard not to do it.

            We all have this issue when sitting near a radio or a TV that someone else is listening to or watching. We hear it whether we want to or not.

            Generally, we can occupy ourselves by excerting some concentration or if we find our other material (e.g., reading a book) compelling.

            One of the best effects is when the speaker on TV or audio changes. This give me a way to lock into the new voice.

            It's moving my hearing from "a lot of words' and 'some understanding' to "almost all words" and quite a bit of understanding for things like the news and podcasts or YouTube intended for native Francophones.

            It is more difficult for me to use on fragmented speech typical of movies or TV dialog especially with background noise or music.

            Ultimately, it is "just a tool" though as simple as it is, the value likely rivals that of LingQ or reading in general since it gives us a way to take a decent vocabulary and PUSH IT into being able to gain comprehensible input.

            Even if it turns out to be largely unnecessary in a few weeks or months, it's going to be part of my "practice" (weight lifting for the brain) for at least 15 minutes or so per day unless something better comes along.

            And remember, ambiguity is Ok -- we do this naturally in our native language which is highly redundant but being comfortable with ambiguity when we aren't certain of what we are hearing in general take a bit more determination.

            90% of the time if you have enough vocabulary then the ambiguity seems to resolve in time for the sense to be made before the following speech and the next idea appears.

            We can hold about 10 seconds of "audio" in our short term memory but 10 seconds is a LOT OF WORDS, usually a couple of sentences, maybe 20+ words.

            Let me know how you do and especially any issues or problems you find.

            April 21 at 22:32
            • matilda1 au Australia

              Thanks for your reply. You've convinced me that this technique is the way to go, a lot of upfront effort but it'll get easier and less and less necessary.

              I'm going to try to just make the effort to add this method into my existing listening routine, i.e.

              - passive listening (TV, podcasts, etc), interspersed with some focused "subvocalising" listening.

              - listening while reading, interspersed with focused "subvocalising" just listening.

              - dictees - i.e. listening to short audio clips several times.

              I'll be attacking the same problem from multiple angles, and I'm sure that one or a combination of these things will give me results eventually.

              April 21 at 23:47
        • forestfloor ca Canada

          I've started using your subvocalizing method while listening to podcasts, Herb. What a brilliant discovery.

          I've looked for something similar to David Tolman's method for languages other than French but not really found anything comparable. speechling.com has a dictation feature (you listen to a sentence in your target language then try to type out what you heard). Do you think that would have some of the same benefits of David's method?

          April 26 at 01:16
          • herbm us United States

            That is wonderful news, please keep it up -- and please let me know when it works and even if it doesn't. (That's how you can best thank me unless you can come up with additional or even better methods.)

            As to the "listen-write" method that is basically a Dictée or very similar and mathilda thought that was a good idea and I do something like that for at least learning to hear and read so yes, I think it is worth trying at a minimum.

            As to it being brillian, it does make me feel pretty smart but it really is so simple that it's hard to believe it isn't common knowledge. <GRIN>

            April 26 at 02:47
    • herbm us United States

      Quick note:

      Optimism remains and even increases. The simple subvocalization method works and becomes automatic and less of a burden the more I practice it.

      My guess is the behavior will largely automate and pass to unconscrious, especially as skills improve. Then it will only be necessary to concentrat on using it for speech that is more difficult to hear and understand.

      Reason for this update:

      I went back to David's ( ) content after skipping a few days playing with subvocal shadowing and my comprehension on that material had improve a lot.

      The understandable parts were easier and the hard parts were about 50% understandable.


      His methods are STILL VERY IMPORTANT. Subvocal Shadowing doesn't replace them, at least not totally, but it make it easier for focus on the truly difficult parts and to consolidate the things you learn from working those parts.

      Moral: Don't throw babies away with bathwater.

      For non-Native English speakders: "Don't throw the baby away with the bathwater" is a well-known English idiomatic maxim that means, "Don't lose the good parts when removing the waste or the unnecessary elements of a method or solution."

      April 22 at 21:05
  • herbm us United States

    2020-04-28 (almost 4 months into the 6 month plan)

    48,000 known words

    18,000 Lings (created manually)

    79th insane streak day

    143 (of 312) Glossika lessons

    Rossetta Stone: Finished Unit 1 of Level 4 (only 7 more Units remain)

    1000+ words into the English to French 5000 word list.

    I have really pushed on Glossika and Rosetta Stone recently, including 6 days of upping the count to 3 lessons per day -- and still being able to keep up. Where once 1000 new words per day was pretty easy, finding 100 or so per day can be a challenge (though I don't focus on this and I am down to being largely satisfied with 100+ links to continue my streak but mainly to read for listening better.)

    At the rate of 3 lessons per day, it would be possible to finish all 312 Glossika lessons but that is not something I've decided to do, or even necessarily required each night. Even 2 lessons are already a lot of work.

    It is getting difficult to find "new words" in LingQ through ordindary reading that interets me, even by the measure of LingQ which counts every inflected form.

    Listening mostly to Deuil Interdit (Bosch by Michael Connelly) and reading it in LingQ

    (Also still listening to Sapiens, Fluent French, and several all French podcasts, and news etc.)

    We're watching "Osmosis" (not very good but watchable) and various other NetFlix titles in French with French subtitles, or sometimes with English subtitles..

    (When alone, I am trying to turn off the subtitles more and more.)

    A caution on the method of Subvocal Shadowing needs to be offered to avoid disappointment:

    After an initial boost the rate of improvement doesn't seem to continue -- my thinking on this is that it just allows you to understand (more of) what you already could read but it doesn't necessarily create new improvements at that same higher rate.

    This still leads to additional improvement, since we learn by increading our "comprehensible input" this allows us to increase our rate of comphrehesion more quickly and to more quickly lock onto a new voice or new material.

    It's probably the case that what we "can hear" is closer to what we could read in a single pass -- without resort to going back and figuring out the sentence and piecing together the meaning.

    Listening is different from reading because we can't control the speed -- it just keeps coming and we must either understand it on the first pass or we mostly miss it.

    It's harder to learn most new words through listening since we can't resort to a dictionary quickly enough to be of much use for most words.

    For me, this means that reading the same material, either before or after listening, it an important step for learning to hear as well as for hearing more in the moment.

    This all remains something to be developed and fully understood....

    With only 63 days left on my 6 month plan, fluent listening seems less than likely -- though still vaguely possible.

    Rather than becoming discouraged by this likely truth or giving up, I am continuing to push to find out what really is possible for me to accomplish.

    One encouraging thought:

    I have just about as many days to use LingQ as I have used so far, and around half of both Rossetta Stone and Glossika remaining along with enough time to complete the "brain load" of the 5000 words from English to French to improve ACTIVE vocabulary.

    Given what I have learned in the past 4 months, and that much of my current methods were begun only about 2 month ago, this means I have between 50% and 100% chance to improve.

    That is not nothing even if the clock seems to be rushing on....

    April 29 at 03:21
    • StewartLikesLingQ us United States

      Great update.

      Since I found your post it's really gotten me to focus on self studying better than I ever have and follow your learning plan (not doing as many variety of activities every day but definitely spending at least 3 hours on 2-3 activities) giving me much more structure but also feeling much more relaxed because I've had a breakthrough in figuring how to to search for youtube videos with closed captions, using the Duolingo stories for Portuguese has been really helpful/entertaining, and I've changed how I use flashcards (less forced memorization and just more reviewing sentences I've vacuumed up from lessons I import into LingQ to get my brain used to seeing grammar structures or remind myself of new vocabulary). I've had my Lingq account for 5 months but barely touched it much but I'm sticking to using it for everything I do now. Thanks for the inspiration.

      It sounds like you are in that level of your language learning that Steve talks about where you have achieved a great level of vocabulary but then you feel like you're still struggling a lot which begins the long trek through the desert not knowing how far you have to go but in reality you're making progress even if it doesn't look like or sound like it (in your case with your listening skills). Anyway, I hope you'll be able to at least see the edge of the desert by the time you get to 6 months. How are the speaking lessons going with the tutors?

      April 29 at 15:01
      • herbm us United States

        It is truly gratifying that my posts have had even some small benefit to you and it sounds like you have found methods that work for you.

        As to the tutors that really only helps me with speaking, mostly through my choice, and my largest concern is not doing that enough due to various scheduling issues (his and mine) as well a procrastination, or perhaps reticence, on my part.

        Yesterday I upped the release rate (new cards) on the French to English deck to 65 which will get me through the 5000 deck by July 1. 65 may not sound like a lot of cards to those who don't do spaced repetition but already the daily reviews are up around 170 and that will grow, probably to around 300=400 in the next couple of weeks

        It reached over 800 for a bit when doing the English to French direction at 100 new cards per day. It's easy to get overwhelmed when new cards and returning cards start adding up. though I am also just suspending, i.e., retiring, cards which are well known to me.

        Maybe a "trek through a desert" is a good metaphor since the main issue is not to know how to push forward, in which direction, if there is somewhere reachable on the other side, if one is wasting energy/time/resources traveling the wrong route, or even going in circles.

        I can force vocabulary and reading, even speaking, but forcing "hearing" is much more difficult to arrange.

        My latest idea (just last night) was to revisit InnerFrench (Hugo) and similar who are speaking strictly French but as teachers who are careful with both vocabulary and pronunciation, and who speak a bit slowly.

        During the first 5 (starting at the beginning some 100 or more podcasts or so back, it's almost easy for me to hear and understand virtually every word. It only requires a bit of attention to keep up and I even have a moment or two to figure out a word here and there while still hearing what he is saying.

        So the main question will be if this leads progressively and steadily to better understanding or is merely an indulgence which feels good but accomplishes very little.

        We learn best when we are fastest and most succesively when we are mostly succeeding but working right at the edge of our capability. (Deep Practice aka Deliberate Practice).

        62 days remain in the plan, and a sense of urgency helps with learning a great deal.

        April 30 at 05:56
  • herbm us United States

    Posting this because it's useful perhaps for someone else to hear and as a record, and to say thank you:

    Today was not a great day, French was Ok, but work, life, health, stuff. If it weren't for the plan, this thread, and you folks I would probably have blown off LingQ, Rosetta Stone, and Glossika.

    I am way tired.

    LingQ is done (barely at 105) and I'll somehow do the other two though minimums probably.

    So thanks everyone who has contributed or who even reads this.

    Thank you.

    May 01 at 01:18
    • nsprung ca Canada

      Keep it up - your commitment to learning is very impressive.

      May 01 at 03:46
  • herbm us United States

    Because I've been doing 3 Glossika "Days" (lessons) per day a big milestone just fell:

    • Glossika Level 2, Lesson 52 is complete. (156 of 312 lessons in all 3 Levels)

    ...but there is good news and bad news in that:

    • Glossika is 50 complete
    • There are 156 Glossika lessons remaining to complete all the rest of Level 2 and all of Level 3.

    Which is the good news and which is the bad news depends on the way we view this.

    As a realist, for me it's simply that half is done and half remains.

    Perhaps the best way to look at it is to realize that were I not improving greatly there is no way that I would have persisted with this every day and there is really no way I would be willing to accelerate this to 3 lessons (1.5 hours) per day.

    So this means that I have the opportunitey to double the improvement Glossika has already provided.

    It sounds pretty good that way.

    Aren't we all looking for a way to "double my learning".

    Also, work on my new method to improve speaking ability has begun in earnest -- not much accomplished yet but at least now the work is actually being done and it's no longer just a planning.

    Hearing is improving but the daily improvement is still maddenly slow and irregular.

    Subvocal shadowing is probably the single most value tool base on effort versus efficacy that I have so far found.

    It's making the difference between "hearing some words" and actually "understanding" each new levels of difficulty.

    Newscasters are in and out of reach for me -- but only a week or so ago they were almost always beyond my ability.

    It's sort of like a radio station that does in and our as we drive cross country (maybe you need to be old to really understand this metaphor so perhap it's like the when the network bandwidth gets crowded or cleared.)

    There are several "internal voices" that are likely to interfere with understanding difficult speech passages so I've given them (temporary) names:

    1. The Translator -- the voice trying to put it into our native language
    2. The Day Dreamer -- the voice when we feel disconnect and bored. "Gee I wonder what's for dinner..."
    3. The Doubter -- "Is that really what she said?", "Will this every work.?"

    Just silencing these voices is worth the effort to shadowing just to avoid the interference within our own minds.

    That the subvocalization actually allows us to match again the external sound and thus by activating our motor neurons we engage our mirror neurons involved in understanding other people and increase our understanding much closer to our current theoretical maximum.

    And so far, I can find no significant disadadvantages to using it. One must remember to do it, and put in the effort but that is actually pretty trivial and can be done without any extra equipment or even with our eyes closed.

    One fun test of Subvocal Shadowing is to put on something like a TedX talk in French and then simply do something else but every so often just "pop up" realizing I haven't got a clue but almost immediately "check in" by begining to use the subvocalization.

    I will remind you -- and myself -- the most important think beyond USING the method is REMEMBERING that "ambiguity" is acceptable.

    Relax and stay with the shawod of the speaker.....

    May 03 at 11:25
  • herbm us United States

    LingQ 90th insane streak day -- I love LingQ, have learn a lot but there really have been no breakthroughs

    Rosetta Stone Unit 14 of 20 is complete.

    48,069 words known, and 19,204 LingQs

    Glossika Level 2 Lesson 63 is done -- need to pick up the speed to finish by July 1. (167 of 312 complete)

    Anki 5000 French to English -- 20 is mature/retired, 66% unseen (turn passive vocab to active)

    Brainscape -- not doing this enough or regularly enough (time)

    Reading -- Bosch/Connnelly and Sapiens books are getting close to finished but I still can't follow the audio unless I've already read the text.

    My new "pronunciation improvement" trick is the new podcast quality mic I bought which has a jack for my headset which gives me immediate feedback on my pronunciation even when not recording. Helps immensively to hear my mistakes. See thread here for details:

    Also the Facebook group "Pronunciation Best Practices" (language agnostic) is well-worth checking out and the PDF "Kjellin-Practise-Pronunciation-w-Audacity.pdf" by Olle Kjellin in "Files" section is definitiely worth the time to read (and study) 22 pages.

    Hearing & Understanding fast spoken French remains a problem though sometimes the news is almost understandable if I really concentrate.

    Discord French group remains a disappointment. Try it, but I am not going to waste very much time there.

    My "words known" now go up only a fews words per day despite always having more then 100 LingQs. The material I am reading simply has no new vocabulary.

    In more than a week since breaking 48,000 words I've added less than 69 despite 1200 more LingQs.

    May 09 at 17:16
    • t_harangi us United States

      Clearly you're tackling this goal with a lot of commendable dedication, and I have to applaud you for that, but I do think your overall methodology might create some imbalanced results that are hard to qualify on the short run. I'm speaking specifically about the 48,000 known words. I'm not sure what your criteria is for marking those, but based on my experience I'm skeptical about learning that many words in a 5 month period. All the more so because your overall words read is about 800K which, for 5 months starting from scratch, sounds very high to me for conscientious reading, and the same time sounds very low to have learned 48K words from it. (As a comparison, I think I tend to be a fairly liberal marker of known words, and over the course of 3 languages, I've been in the ballpark of about 20-25K known words marked for every 1,000,000 words read.)

      To be clear, in the long run, this won't matter, because if you stick with it, those 48K words will solidify just fine, but on the short run you'll have this imbalance that is represented by your stats of known words vs. experiences with listening comprehension.

      I'm just bringing this up so that expectations can be compared, and to point out that most students should expect to have to read more words over a longer period of time, and hit different comprehension benchmarks when using LingQ.

      May 09 at 21:24
      • herbm us United States

        Thanks, all attempts to help are appreciated.

        You analysis is however faulty so it's leading to incorrect conclusions in this case.

        There is no really need to mark known words so those are words I didn't mark as unknown which is pretty easy to do: You either know them in context or not and LingQ's idea of a known word includes all of the inflected forms which means about a 3 to 1 inflation factor.

        On the other hand, I did mark 19k LingQs manually because I turned off the automation for that and go to a lot of trouble to find unknown words (in the blue) by primarily to check and mark a lot of phrases.

        Doing 100 to 900 LingQs per day (213 average) adds up to a lot of careful reading.

        In fact I am more concerned about reading too slowly and wasting too much time with LingQs and such.

        Being a VERY good reader, in general, it is really know issue to read such a SLOW pace.

        My reading comprehsion is very near fluent.

        French as you know has a lot of cognates so reading in context you will occasionally have to check one for alternate meanings but that's pretty quick with LingQ to help.

        Thanks and feel free to offerr any other thoughts or suggestions....

        May 10 at 01:35
        • t_harangi us United States

          Sounds like we're using different methodologies and criteria, which is totally fine. I think you mean that you have the "paging moves to known" feature enabled, which I myself never liked as I always felt that encouraged too liberal of a word marking and has the potential to flood one's word counts with proper nouns etc, which end up inflating the count over the long run.

          Instead I use the keyboard shortcuts to go through the text and mark words as "known" as opposed to "unknown" -- with some practice of the arrow keys this can be done at the speed of reading. I feel this is more intuitive to learning on the long run since we don't start out from the position of the "known until proven otherwise" but instead of a standard of "unknown until proven otherwise."

          The only reason why I brought that up is because you mentioned that "hearing and understanding fast spoken French remains a problem," and that "news is almost understandable when you concentrate." Those assessments pointed to an imbalance to me because with 48K known individual words, the way LingQ counts them, those activities are usually not a problem. I think News usually becomes the first understandable native content and it usually happens to me at about 10K known words on LingQ. And listening to fast spoken speech starts to become comfortable about 30-35K known words. With actual speaking fluency soon to follow.

          Again, this is just a different way of tackling it and none of it matters on the long run. I have no doubt that you'll make progress and achieve your goals.

          May 10 at 02:46
          • herbm us United States

            Another thing that helped me in the beginning is first learning (at least to recognition) the 5000 most common headwords (or nearly so) in French, so my reading vocabulary was in the high 90% range even before I started using LingQ.

            I absolutely agree about disabling the automatic marking, for only for LingQs.

            It's not worth my time to mark a bunch of blue words I can immediately see are known -- which has been almost always -- even though I manually check the few that are suspect.

            Also, I would like to see you keyboard technique for doing that manually as the LingQ movement and marking rules (as badly as they are defined) have always seemed abysmal to me -- one of the worst features of LingQ.

            Many people might not understand the reason for knowing your technique but I am a "keyboard" sort of person and use such techniques in almost every program in favor of the mouse most of the time.

            It's a skillset and if you've found a way to keep from interfering with reading speed then that would be valuable.

            May 10 at 12:06
            • t_harangi us United States

              The keyboard shortcuts are fairly easy, but they do take some practice to get fast at. For best results the "auto LingQ creation" option should be turned ON for these. The shortcuts are:

              • left/right arrow - goes to next shaded word
              • up/down arrow - moves to next/previous option on blue pane -- this is where you can mark a word "Known" by clicking up to that option
              • enter - create a LingQ with the selected hint or open the selected dictionary
              • shift + left/right arrow - next/previous page

              Word Status

              • 1 - Status 1
              • 2 - Status 2
              • 3 - Status 3
              • 4 - Status 4
              • k - known (green check) -- this the way to mark a previously LingQed word "known"
              • x - Ignore, remove

              Additional options.

              • + (plus) and - (minus) - increase or decrease font size
              • s - plays tts audio
              • a - plays sentence audio
              • t - add tag
              • shift + t - show sentence translation
              • d - check dictionary
              • h - create LingQ and focus cursor in hint field
              • e - choose selected hint and open dictionary
              • b - go to next blue word
              • shift + f - flag selected hint

              Audio Player

              • spacebar - Play/Pause audio
              • ctrl + x - Rewind audio x seconds

              The one thing that's not mentioned in this list is the Command-W function which closes any pop up screens which happen a lot when you try to link a word that's not in the dictionary.

              May 10 at 15:22
  • anis_lec us United States

    Good Job! Keep on!

    May 10 at 03:55
  • herbm us United States

    100th insane streak day and continuing with Anki every day (300+ reviews each day) but I've been lazy.

    For over a week I've let Glossika and Rosetta Stone alone. I've been reading but not listening to audio books, just the news and a few YouTube videos in French.

    May 20 at 01:17
    • StewartLikesLingQ us United States

      Congrats on 100th day. I'm 24 days in on a streak of at least 50 a day, have had a few 100 day streaks, and have peaked at over 300 a few days ago when I had a bunch of extra time. It's been a very productive month since I found this thread and got inspired. I was trying to include Pimsleur and Glossika as well but I was only doing those during exercise and now I've stopped exercising for a week so I've let those fall by the way side for a bit. I thought about getting back into them while I'm not exercising but they are just so boring compared to Youtube videos/podcasts/articles/etc I realized I get way more out of just focusing on material I like so if I were you I wouldn't get bummed about not going on with Glossika/Rosetta Stone at your level of 48,000+ words. I haven't seen the advanced levels of both of those courses but I wouldn't be surprised if you were way beyond them in vocabulary but I now remember you use them as a pronunciation training so I guess that's your main purpose for it. But if I were to really drill pronunciation I think I would start reading a book outloud or record it and send it to a teacher and just insist I get corrected on every little thing. That's basically how I remember learning English pronunciation as a kid with reading every night with my parents. Anyway I've seen a really impressive improvement in my ability to read and understand many people talking lately, watch through some videos without looking at the subtitles, and absorbing words much more rapidly and saying them in times I really need to communicate something my wife doesn't know the English word for. I've gone through one stint of reviewing flashcards that I'm constantly creating from sentences i'm mining from material I read but for the most part my vocab from simply reading transcripts and listening to it spoken in video/audio content has been enough to get new vocab in my head. I wish I had realized this long ago but again, my main hurdle before was finding youtube content i liked with subtitles and after I discovered the subtitle search trick all my struggles for having enough Youtube Videos to watch have disappeared. Although I'm still really struggling with some types of content such as news articles which are filled with a lot of unfamiliar vocab not used in normal conversations, I'm still figuring out slang in sketch videos or Brazilian music, but thankfully my wife can translate those for me, but oddly enough my biggest challenge is understanding my mother in law haha. I've been around her so much I would think I'd understand her by now but I still really struggle with her Portuguese. I guess it's a matter of finding material that uses the language like she does. Before the pandemic I considered staying at her house for a week just to really get used to it and crack the code but that's out the window for now haha.

      That's all from my side. Best wishes for your studies through the end of the month.

      May 22 at 11:16
      • herbm us United States

        Thank you for all of the kind words. I do need to kick back into gear.

        Doing more than most people even now but it really is just idling.

        May 23 at 01:54
  • herbm us United States

    Still slacking, but I did finish my first full length book, Deuil Interdit. And I am getting close to finishing Sapiens.

    Since I like to read at least 2 books in parallel, I'm going back to "La Carte et le Territoire" by Michel Houellebecq. Much more of a literary book and it's going to need to get a lot better if I'm going to finish it this time.

    May 25 at 01:11