It has been a month of tremendous progress both in completing the Assimil lessons and in applying what I have learnt in real-life situations. From 35 lessons last month, I have completed 96 lessons now. In another week, I hope I can complete Assimil French with ease.
Unlike last month when I felt that the lessons were becoming easier, this month I felt that the complexity of lessons have gone up tremendously. I have increased the time I put into studying my lessons, but despite that I was making less progress than what I expected to make. The speed of the audio dialogues have gone up – that is part of the reason, I guess. Then, all the tenses are now introduced – future, past imperfect & subjunctive. In the first 50 lessons, when I finish the lessons and do the exercise, I used to get all the exercises and fill-in-the-blanks correct. However, this time, I was getting most of the fill-in-the-blanks wrong. But it is not a problem. I look at my mistakes very positively as they are stepping stones to reach where I wanted to reach. The more mistakes I make, the more I learn.
Apart from Assimil, I have started listening to Michel Thomas French as well. Michel Thomas course is very impressive and his approach is very innovative and refreshing. I will write a post about it once I get through all the 10 hours. I was able to blaze through the course almost answering all the sentences he asks the students to build. Definitely, Assimil has equipped me with all the grammatical structures and vocabulary. But some of the aspects of spoken french that I took a long time to figure out through Assimil were presented very well in Michel Thomas. If you are starting with French, I recommend that you start with Michel Thomas or do Michel Thomas along with Assimil. They are 2 different approaches with advantages on their own. But Michel Thomas will give you a feeling that French is very easy and he will get you talking much much faster. To me, easy or hard is in your mind and to the materials/approach that you take in the initial days to learn the language. Michel Thomas will definitely give you the feeling that French is an easy language to learn.
I also started watching French in Action by Pierre Capretz produced by Yale University in the 80s. It is an immersion-based approach to learning French and it has a cult following. I watched about 7 lessons so far and I thoroughly enjoy it. I was able to understand most of the lessons. If you want an enjoyable way to learn French, you should check this out. The videos are available for free in the US at http://www.learner.org/resources/series83.html. If you are outside the US, check them out on youtube – http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL505B8B9F38FDB303
Overall, I am happy with what I have been able to achieve in in 2 months with Assimil. I surprise my colleagues often by uttering some perfect french sentences in the middle of our conversations in English – these phrases almost jump out of my mind at the right time – that is the biggest benefit I see in Assimil.
In the next month, I intend to reduce my focus on learning more vocabulary or grammar. I have to apply what I have learnt before taking on much more. I will check out other courses that i have bought to reinforce what I have learnt. I will look for more ways to practice French. If you have any interesting ideas, please share them with me.