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Day 5: Learn French for 14 days

Kristel, 28, has taken on the challenge of being an active beta tester of Lingvist and will learn French for 14 days to see what it’s like to use an adaptive algorithm for language learning. Check out her previous post from Day 3.

“I have done the unthinkable – been a ‘good girl’ and gone through my assigned 300 flash cards every day. And I’ve been feeling quite proud of myself and satisfied with my results.”

Learned words total: 502 Total study time: 4 hours 26 minutes

So, yesterday I finally remembered that in addition to the “Memorize” section I should also try out some “Reading” and “Listening” exercises.

I started with listening. My statistics on the “Listening” page claim that I should already be able to understand approx 70–80% of words included in many dialogs. Not too bad, right? Again – feeling very satisfied with myself. How hard could it possible be if I already understand 70–80%?

Pardon my (incorrect) French at this point, but quoi de…?!The native speakers in the dialogs manage to sound like singing aliens! All my blissful ignorance and belief of progress - shattered.

I guess the most important lesson here is that one should probably start doing listening exercises right from the start, just to avoid creating sweet self-flattering illusions like I did.

My recommendation to Lingvist to improve the beta version:

As the flash cards in the “Memorize” section seem to be the central part of the learning method, maybe some automatic reminders should appear after every 100 flash cards or so, which would direct people to listening exercises in between the study sessions.

Lingvist replies:

we completely understand and agree with Kristel’s suggestion!

We’re working on finding the best way to direct users to reading and listening exercises. In addition to moving forward with the Memorize cards, it’s crucial to read and listen to French every day. When you’re reading longer sentences and piecing the larger context together from bits and pieces, you’ll see how the words you’ve been learning can be used in everyday conversation and what kinds of different meanings (or shades of meaning) they can take on.

For now, try to follow a simple rule. Every day, read and listen to a segment on Lingvist which has the highest % of familiar words for you. If you only do card exercises and skip reading and listening regularly, coming back to them after a while may seem daunting, because the vocabulary you’ll come across in the texts and audios will be that much harder.

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