Allons-y à la maison française

I restarted my French studies more than 5 years ago now, with the purchase of Rosetta Stone. I started, then stopped for some while, then picked it up again. Since October 24th of 2013 I have succeeded in “touching” French every single day.

But I haven’t made the kind of progress I wanted/expected to make. Some of it is that there is always something else going on and touching French often meant 10 minutes with flashcards. That’s not enough to make progress in the language, but it has been enough to halt some of the backsliding.

The tools I was using in my last post on this have changed quite a bit. I wish I could say I’m still writing, but that’s just not true. I even started a story that I was writing in French with my tutor correcting me as I went, but when she moved to France, that went by the wayside.

I’m still reading. I’ve stopped subscribing to French Accent Magazine and have started reading thinkFrench. For where I am, I find it much more helpful. They have marked many of the newer/harder/more advanced terms and vocabulary and provided translations in the sidebar. This has allowed me to actually focus on reading for sense and not stopping every few words to open up WordRefence.

I have completed four seasons of Coffee Break French and I can not recommend that series enough to anyone starting out. I used that for listening practice and, the last two seasons, as a way of getting a sense of how the language works. I can not say that I understood the “letters” the first time through and relied heavily on the premium version in the fourth year for the line-by-line work that they do, explicating the language and the nuances of construction.

My girlfriend and I had purchased many of the French Today audio books and they sat on the same virtual shelf as Rosetta Stone for a couple of years. Wanted to focus on hearing and reading, I pulled those off the shelf and have found them to be very good resources, especially for vocabulary and the actual act of listening to French speech.

The biggest thing I’ve done in the last year to gain in proficiency has been to focus on vocabulary. I bought the book Fluent Forever and began following the suggestions for building vocabulary. I created a deck of my own flashcards. The act of gathering the words to use, getting images and definitions, was an education in itself. When I don’t do anything else on a certain day, I’ll run the flashcards and my vocabulary has grown tremendously.

Now I’m getting back into Rosetta Stone with an eye towards gaining more progress in the language. I’ll use those lessons as a way to gain more vocab but then also learn to put the vocab into grammatically correct sentences! Last winter I took a French 1 class for adults through UW Extension in order to get more practice hearing spoken French and speaking it myself. Tonight (Feb 1, 2017) I begin French 2 which will be held at The French House. That will be a trip. I do not have confidence at all in my ability to carry a conversation. Which, of course, is the point of taking a class.

Souhaite-moi bonne chance !

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