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Learning French (efficiently) 🇫🇷
Saturday, May 14, 2022; ago; Download .md

With this document, I plan to record my progress in learning French. I began my studies sometime in July on 2021. My purpose and motivation of learning is to achieve a minimum level of B2 proficiency in speaking, listening, reading and writing.

Currently Reading  : Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours

Last Watched        : Dix pour cent (Call My Agent!)

10 Month Update:

  • Dealing with both university and work has been a bit difficult. My French studies had to take a back-seat for a little while (though not a complete halt). The good news is, I’m done with university (🥳).

  • My Anki streak is the longest it has ever been. I’m reviewing my flashcards regularly and slowly (but surely) getting a strong grasp on tenses and conjugations.

    New streak!
  • I’ve managed to get a great deal of immersion done by playing the new Pokemon Legends: Arceus completely in French. This game has a LOT of un-skippable dialogue.
Pokemon Arceus in French
I'm being forced into reading a LOT of French.
Perhaps a bit much...

  • Apart from that, I’m very nearly finished reading Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours by Jules Verne. My reading speed is now fairly rapid. I’m able to understand the content well enough (even the tenses!) without needing to consult a dictionary too often.

  • To supplement my reading on days when I don’t get time to read any novels, I’ve subscribed to a few French newsletters. One of them is delivered daily, while the rest are weekly. They talk about a variety of topics, from food to politics. It has been a joy to read these.

  • I’m having regular conversations with my French tutor twice a week. I also hop onto Discord where I’ve made some friends (French and Canadian), who I try to talk to often while playing some Rocket League. Over on IRC, I occasionally talk in the #français channel on Libera. One of my friends regularly sends over French music they enjoy (Hi jvoisin!), which I then attempt to understand (and occasionally sing a cover of).

  • At this stage, all my devices have their language preferences set to French.

  • I more or less exclusively listen to French music nowadays (though still struggle to understand hearing it the first time).

5 Month Update:

  • Had to take an extended break from my French studies for a while. Paused for about 3 weeks or so but I was able to get through my backlog fairly rapidly.

    Broke my 62 day streak. Back at it now.
  • Surprisingly enough, my comprehension feels a lot better than before. Even without constant consumption of French media or active studies (apart from my Duolingo streak).

  • I feel I’m ready to begin consumption of French literature and media again. I’ll try to finish Dix pour cent before the end of January.

  • I also managed to record a cover of one of my favorite French songs, Les Champs-Élysées by Joe Dassin:

3 Month Update:

  • My reading speed is fairly rapid at this point. I’m able to “read” without pausing too much to think about the meaning of a sentence/word. I say “read” in quotes because I tend to neglect the tenses but I’m able to get the general idea understood.

  • I still need to work a lot on generation. I have the words present in my head but joining them together is still a bit difficult. I think I’ll start regularly posting on /r/WriteStreak now.


Need a lot of work on using the correct tense, as well as keeping in mind the 16 être verbs.

  • My French tutor conducted a reading comprehension test, along with quizzes about the content. I was able to read and understand it fairly comfortably, without needing too many hints. He later told me that’s a B1 level comprehension test.

  • Here’s my speech after ~95 days of study. Still needs a lot of work.

Current Study Plan

  • Study 20 new flashcards a day in Anki to build my vocabulary:
    I use a pre-made deck called “5000 most frequently used French words” which has served me well so far.
  • At least 30 minutes of immersion a day (be it passive or active)
  • I’ve started using Linguno.com every day for their excellent conjugation drills.
  • One module of Michel Thomas’ French audio course
  • A few cards of “Assimil New French with Ease
  • 2 hours of French conversation per week with a native speaker (I found a great tutor from https://www.italki.com/)

Potential Improvements

  • Using the pre-made deck has been great for kick-starting my vocabulary, but I believe I’m at the point of diminishing returns. I’m going to slowly transition from using a bilingual pre-made deck to a strictly monolingual deck of cards that I make myself. I’ll be using a technique called “sentence mining”. Essentially, I immerse myself in French media, writing and conversations and everything I don’t understand, I make a flashcard for.
  • Duolingo is of very little help, but I keep using it to maintain my streak (and also see at a glance how many days I’ve been studying for).