Aaaaaand as I said yesterday, language learning / practice is a rollercoaster, right?! Haha.
Today, in the lift (we share our building with a French bank) I was able to listen to a conversation in French about the environment, and understand it!
It’s such a small thing, but the little successes are probably what we need to cling on to, especially given I was feeling really flat and like I wasn’t progressing yesterday.
It’s the small victories, people.
On y va!
Videos I’m loving this week…
In the evenings if I have a spare 20 minutes I’m watching a dubbed version of ‘Mean Girls’. It’s SUPER FAST (and loses something in translation) but it’s fun 🙂
And then… (as discussed in previous blog posts I like to listen to a mixture of interviews and slower content like Francais Authentique, but the key is that it’s 100% in French, to adjust to different voices, speeds and accents… and then also people who are fluent but it’s not their mother tongue, so Rachel Martino below speaks with an American accent, for example!)
And a bit of a brain-melting one for speed, so I put on the subtitles so I could read the French to help me keep up…
& one in English with French subtitles for French reading practice…
I almost forgot I scheduled an informal tuition session on Italki with a french tutor called Audrey. It cost me 9 euros – how amazing is that?!
I spent a lot of Saturday weirdly stressed about it. When I signed into Skype I was terrified.
But guess what?!
It was amazing! I forgot how good it feels to speak only French and be forced to find ways around the things you can’t say, or ways to explain them with the words you do have. We spoke only French for about 50 minutes and talked about everything – me maybe getting married in France in 2020, why I’m learning French, what it is I like about France, how it’s different to England, how expensive London can be, how my French tutor said it’s tricky to move here because of needing guarantors for flats etc, and I talked about our time here as broke London newbies but that it’s better now… loads of stuff.
And when I went into the kitchen afterwards amazed that she’d understood a word I said, my fiance was like ‘Oh my god…I knew you knew some French but I had no idea that you actually can like… speak it. I’ve never heard you actually fully speak it before, it’s crazy!’
And it did feel pretty cool, mistakes and all… all part of the learning curve, right?!
I’m scheduling one per fortnight for now, and I’ll go up to one per week once I’ve done some of the grammar brushing up I want to do.
I can’t recommend Italki enough as a way to connect with tutors who are more affordable than in-person stuff here in London.
Sooooooooo earlier today I dropped a quick post about my frustration with my language learning activities, and feeling rubbish and bleh.
However, I decided to get my act together – people learn languages EVERY DAY. I can motivate myself to work hard and gym a lot, so I figured I can apply that to this and fix the problem.
I did a little bit of searching for inspo – watched a couple of polyglot videos – and then implemented one of the Francais Authentique tips which is listen to content that interests you.
So all the fitness, personal development and weird geeky tomb raider documentaries I watch in English in my spare moments? I youtubed ‘documentaire’ + ‘tomb raider’ and watched this documentary (‘La renaissance de Tomb Raider’) with French audio and French subtitles. But you can do this for anything! I’m going to watch some history, archaeology, religion and meditation-y ones tonight.
Then I started working through this playlist of ‘Developpment personnel’
And finally I really, really enjoyed this video so you might like it to help you get out of a language rut. Chill out about grammar and understanding everything and just consume content you find interesting!
Language learning fatigue…Anyone else experience this?!
It’s bloody hard work sometimes making yourself watch or listen to things in a foreign language, doing your duolingo flashcards etc after a long day, or first thing in the morning on the tube before gym and work!
But you know, I’ve been managing to stick to doing it daily anyway, some days for longer than others… but lately, no matter how much I study or listen to or even understand, I am just feeling overwhelmed and frustrated that it’s never ending! If I understand one thing, there are a MILLION MORE I don’t understand… If I understand one speaker, I don’t understand 20 others!
I know as kids we take 4(ish) years of doing nothing else but absorbing to learn our native tongue, so naturally it takes a long time to claw out this amount of time as an adult, plus we’re super distracted by a million things… but still. It would be nice to feel progress haha!
I may just be having a blue week, for various other reasons, which is making me feel down on my language learning too… but yeah… kinda wishing I could download a microchip in my brain or something and be fluent!
Before I write this I feel like full disclosure is needed haha! I am by NO MEANS an expert at learning languages! I only speak my native tongue fluently, sadly, and to try to rectify this I am in the process of working on my French, which I’ve boosted on and off, with long breaks for law school etc… but as I’ve said in a previous post, I’m rebooting my efforts and jumping back into French now I’m safely settled in at my firm.
But advice I’ve implemented from other language learners and polyglots online that has made a huge difference not only to my motivation, interest and comprehension of audio in French is this:
KEEP UP YOUR EXPOSURE TO THE LANGUAGE EVERY SINGLE DAY
Now I don’t study full time… I’m a trainee lawyer in a city firm, I have a fitness blog and whole host of other commitments. But I’ve really noticed improvements since making these small tweaks to my routine.
Stop scrolling on instagram! Replace that dead time with watching fluent French you tubers.
Listen to podcasts and songs in French on at least one of my commutes (which takes 40mins-1hour per day.
Complete my duolingo app goal (30XP so basically x3 sessions – can be done in 10 mins or so!) every day.
If I have time to watch movies/episodes – I watch them in French not English.
When walking down the street, try to think about your plans, or describe what you see in the language you’re learning. Have little mini monologues in your head explaining your job, your interests, where you’re going, what you’ve just done…
Send a message on Italki every day in the language you’re learning with a language exchange partner. Or at the very least write a notebook entry for native speakers to correct! I’m in shock as this one I wrote about the area of law I want to specialise in (private equity!) only got ONE correction and they gave me an A+ and I was blagging the entire thing as I’m not really v good at explaining technical legal/commercial stuff in English let alone in French! I’ve posted it below, with the corrections I was given!
It means that you’re exposed to lots of French audio every single day and your brain can start to make the links.
I base a lot of my routine on the tips given by Johan in his course Francais Authentique – check out his youtube!
Mon apprentissage de droit, et quel est le spécialité que je voudrais a ce moment
Je voudrais (peut-être) avoir une spécialité en ‘Corporate’ (Google m’a dit en français c’est droit des sociétés), en particulier en ‘private equity’ (tu le connais? Je sais pas la traduction, mais c’est ou une enterprise, par example, va acheter un autre, normalement avec ‘leveraged finance’ (financement a effet de levier) et après environ cinq ans (ou au moins entre cinq et dix ans) il va le vendre pour un profit).
Mais pendant mon ‘apprentissage’, je travaille pour deux ans pour mon cabinet d’avocats et tous les six mois, je change le department ou je travaille, donc on peut ‘tester’ quatre types de droit, chacun pour six moins.
Corrected post by native speakers:
Mon apprentissage en droit/ma formation en droit et quel est la spécialisation que je voudrais (faire) en ce moment.
Je voudrais faire une spécialisation / je voudrais me spécialiser en droit des sociétés et, en particulier, en “private equity” (connais-tu ce terme? Je ne connais pas la traduction mais on parle de “private equity” (fusions-acquisitions) lorsqu’une entreprise, par exemple, en achète une autre, normalement avec un financement à effet de levier) et qu’après environ cinq ans (ou du moins entre cinq et dix ans), elle (= l’entreprise) va la (= l’autre entreprise) (re)vendre avec du profit.
Pendant mon apprentissage/ma formation, je travaille durant deux ans pour un cabinet d’avocats et, tous les six mois, je change de département. Donc, on peut ‘tester” quatre types de droit, chacun durant six mois.
spécialité = mot féminin –> l’article = la
private equity : d’après le site www.lexgo.be cela pourrait être “fusions – acquisitions”
Si tu as des questions, n’hésite pas. If you need more information, don’t hesitate to contact me.