This month, I have been able to spend very little time in learning French compared to previous months, due to other priorities taking over. I am well on my way into reading my second full-length French book – The Linguist by Steve Kaufmann who started the LingQ service. I have read about 10 chapters so far and I understand most of what I am reading and my confidence in understanding written French is increasing. LingQ website provides a facility to mark unknown words in every passage I read and then it calculates a statistic of how many words I know based on the texts I read and the unknown words I mark – as of now, it says that I know 3213 words in French.
There are some caveats into interpreting this number as the method of counting words employed by LingQ has limitations – proper nouns are counted as distinct words, different conjugations of a verb are counted as different words and even singular and plural forms of a word are counted as distinct words. However I think that the primary value in having such a number is to give you an idea how well you are progressing. As I read more using the LingQ service, this number will continue to increase and I can use that as a barometer of my progress in French.
Last month, I have spent more time in using the LingQ service as I really enjoyed using it to read more French. I would even say that the site is addictive. Each time I open a new passage to read, the site tells me the number of new words and then I read the passage to mark the real new words and then I add the rest of the words to my known words list. At the end of it, I have a handful of words in each passage that I don’t know and the site helps me to focus on those words and master them. The LingQ service has an iPhone App also. I mark the unknown words when I am on a computer and then I read the passage multiple times and do quizzes on the unknown words using the iPhone app whenever I find little windows of time throughout the day.
I have also listened to the Michel Thomas French Vocabulary course which I felt was a big disappointment and not worth the investment of my time. This was the only course in the series which was not created by Michel Thomas himself and it shows – though the creator of the course tried to use many of Michel Thomas principles, the course is still lackluster.
I have covered a few more lessons in Assimil Using French course – now, I have completed 9 lessons. The depth of the lessons in this advanced course of Assimil is amazing – in every lesson, lot of idiomatic structures are introduced. But the lessons in this book are not as interesting and funny as the ones in the Assimil French with ease book. So, it is a bit of chore to complete lessons and to repeat the audios to let the content sink in.
That is all for this month. Hope I can spend more time with French next month. See you then in the next progress report.