I’ve been reading through a lot of the French-related posts on Spanish Only recently, and I’ve gotta say, there’s a heap of good stuff there.
For example, courtesy of Matt’s and Ramses’ blog, I found about “Let’s Play”, which is… terrific. People have, in many different languages, recorded themselves playing video games and giving commentaries on them. Couldn’t find a lot of stuff in Cantonese, but there’s a lot of French content out there.
Another handy trick Matt wrote about recently (same post) is audio SRS cards. He’s fine-tuned a system of using Audacity to splice audio from .mp3 and .mp4 files, and this means that Anki cards can be created pretty quickly. Check out this link for more info: http://www.spanish-only.com/2011/12/play-french/
Currently, I’m trying a 50-a-day challenge, which I’ve so far been doing for about 8 days – it’s simply to make sure I clock up an extra 50 French Anki cards each day. Naturally, this is only possible with a solid immersion environment, but it’s going pretty well so far, and I’ve become acquainted with a lot of extra French over the last few days.
Something I’ve been trying with Anki reps is, after reading out a sentence once, repeating it without looking at the screen. This has been part of an effort to improve my French output, especially with regard to things classified as grammar.
It’s been quite useful to try this, I think – there’s a danger with language learning that’s biased towards input to be unable to produce the language easily and correctly later – and this is an easy way of practicing correct, verifiable output without hunting down native speakers to practice with.
Why French? What happened to Cantonese?
My Cantonese is, as mentioned a few posts ago, now pretty awesome, and although there’s a lot I can still learn and improve on, I want to take a break from it for a while. I’m not going totally cold-turkey – I’m still clocking up at least an hour’s practice each day (from radio shows, songs and speaking to people) – but I’m not coming back to it full-time for around three months.
The French is actually a professional necessity since an increasing number of people are paying me to learn it. (Although, it should be said that the level is very basic.)
Although my French reading’s always been relatively good, speaking and listening have been at standard one would expect from someone who “learnt” the langauge at school. So, that’s why the next three months are being spent blitzing French, in much the same style as Benny’s three month missions.
Other reasons include: checking that it’s possible to learn a language without living in a country that speaks it (many students here complain that’s why they can’t learn English well), fun and capitalising on my large bank of European Nintendo games (which mostly have a French option but not Chinese).