Tag Archives: French

A Language Learning Weekend :)

Over the weekend I decided to try out the iTalki French language test. It took about 30 minutes, assessing my French speaking and grammar levels. The test is an “automated adaptive language test,” which means it gives you harder questions if you get the answer right, and easier ones if you get the answer wrong. I messed up pretty badly in the speaking portion, accidentally giving an answer in English when I should have been speaking in French (I thought it was a sample question that wouldn’t count, but nope, it was a real question). Despite that, I still somehow managed to score at an intermediate level for both speaking and grammar, which was pretty exciting! My results came in a little higher than I expected. I also really liked that, at the end of the test, it gave me some suggestions on how to improve. One of those suggestions was to read more, so that’s definitely the plan!

Thinking of reading, I finally finished the collection of French Robert Munsch books I’ve had out from the library. I really enjoyed it – his stories were really silly, fun reads that were fairly easy to understand for the most part without having to look stuff up. I think next I’m going to read French Short Stories for Beginners by Lingo Mastery. That was the first French book that I bought for myself; I had to put it down though because I had a hard time understanding the first story. Hopefully things will go better now!

I’d love to try an iTalki test for Ukrainian too, just to see where I’m at, but unfortunately it’s only available in limited languages (currently English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Portuguese, and Italian). Hopefully they’ll add more languages soon!

But I did end up testing my Ukrainian this weekend too. I booked a lesson on iTalki with a new Ukrainian teacher. So far I’ve just been meeting with one teacher, but she was busy this weekend (it was the Orthodox Church’s Easter 🙂 ), so I decided to meet someone new and see how I do. I was super excited and quite nervous because I’ve only really spoken to my regular teacher and my dad (but just a tiny bit with him – instead we send each other Ukrainian letters in the mail, which is good practice for my reading and writing!) I was pleasantly surprised with how much I was able to understand and say!

So how was your weekend? Any fun plans for the coming week? 🙂

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Plugging Along :)

Hey everyone, how’s it going? I’m not entirely sure where the month of April has gone! I’ve been feeling super busy lately, but also feeling like I haven’t done anything, and it’s all a little overwhelming. I suspect that’s partially because after I finished Karin Dimitrova’s Reset program, I didn’t have anything else to take its place. I need to make a dedicated effort to try adding more meditation and yoga back into my days!

Otherwise, I’m still working on my language learning and on the big editing project I was contracted for. The editing project has become much bigger than expected, so it’s still going to be ongoing for awhile (quite possibly through the rest of the year).

I’ve also cut back a little bit on the language learning lately (I won’t be finishing reading 100 Ukrainian Texts by the end of the month like I had planned). 😦 In its place I’ve been trying to fit in reading for fun a little more, which I think has been a good thing. For the last few years I haven’t been reading as much as I would like to, especially since I seem to have a really hard time putting a book down once I get started. Now that I’m fitting it in a little more, I found I was able to actually stop reading at a reasonable time and get some sleep over the last few nights, so I’m quite excited about that. 🙂

In terms of language learning itself though, I’m still doing a little bit of work on each language pretty much every day. So even if it isn’t as much as before, I’m still keeping both languages fresh in my mind, and strengthening them a little bit. With French, I’ve really been focusing on earlier lessons on Duolingo, which has made me feel like I have a pretty good grasp of the basics. I’m considering booking a lesson or two on iTalki in the near future to see how well I do speaking French with a French tutor.

With Ukrainian, while it’s still somewhat slow going, I’m really finding I’m able to understand more and more now. I read a message on a Ukrainian learners group on Facebook the other day in Ukrainian and understood it completely, which was really exciting! (It was almost like I didn’t realize I was reading the message in Ukrainian, even though I knew objectively that I was reading Slavic text). I’m still working with the same teacher on iTalki, which is going really well. I’ve got some homework I need to get through over the next few weeks though, where I’ll hopefully learn some new words and phrases. Hopefully that will go well. I’m also considering booking a lesson or two with some new Ukrainian speakers on iTalki just to see how well that goes….but I’ll probably hold off on that for a bit yet (until I feel a little more confident).

So yeah, that’s what’s been happening with me lately. I’m mostly just doing my best to plug along. How about you, what’s new? How have you been through April? 🙂

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Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone!  How’s it going?  Last week ended up a super busy week (sorry that I didn’t post) so I was quite happy to have a weekend without many plans.  I took some time to do some stuff around the house, and ended up reading a whole book on dolphins (To Touch a Wild Dolphin by Rachel Smolker, a book I’ve had for years that I found in my basement the other day).  I had intended to read Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt, but was distracted by the dolphin book because it fit into some worldbuilding I wanted to do. I didn’t actually work on the worldbuilding though until yesterday, when I finally sat down and opened my world documents to start making some changes! I meant to all weekend, but just didn’t – lol that seemed to be how a lot of my weekend went.  I don’t mind though, because just relaxing and doing “nothing” felt good (I binged a few episodes of a show I like, and started going through a stack of magazines I have).

Otherwise, over the last few weeks I’ve mostly been busy working on book editing.  I feel like I really got back into the swing of things, so it’s been going well.  🙂

I’m also really excited because I found season 2 of Les Revenants, a French show I really liked at the library last week!  I watched the first season last fall but had a hard time finding the second season (I was hoping to have it brought in through interlibrary loans, but no luck).  I guess in the meantime, the library ordered a copy of it!  So I’m very excited to get to finish the show. 🙂

So how’s everything going for you?  Have you been up to anything exciting lately?

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Finished Another French Book!

Hey everyone, how’s it going?  I feel like this has been a really good week for French.  I finished reading French Short Stories for Beginners and Intermediate Learners: Engaging Short Stories to Learn French and Build Your Vocabulary by Language Guru (sorry, no video of me talking about it), and got through another chapter from Barron’s Painless French.  The one thing I was hoping to do that I didn’t get to was pick a new French show to watch on Netflix.  I was watching one a few weeks ago but lost interest in it (it really wasn’t my kind of show, but I did like that the episodes were shorter).  I’ve saved a bunch of French shows on my list though, so I’ll have to pick through and find something new!

While French was good, I don’t feel like I did as well with Ukrainian this week.  I did read a few stories from 100 Easy Ukrainian Texts, but not as many as I was hoping to.  I also didn’t listen to any episodes of Ukrainian Lessons Podcast (but I did listen to a lot of Ukrainian music – I’m getting to the point where I can mostly sing along to my favourite Ukrainian song!)

That’s about all I’ve got to report right now.  For this week I have to fit more Ukrainian reading in.  I also get to start a new French book – that’s going to be French Short Stories for Beginners: 20 Captivating Short Stories to Learn French and Grow Your Vocabulary the Fun Way! by Lingo Mastery.  This was the first French book of short stories that I got; I attempted to read it when I got it during the summer, but I was really struggling to understand a lot of the first story so I put it aside.  Hopefully I’ll have more luck this time!

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Ukrainian Books!!!

Hey Everyone, how’s it going?  Things are alright for me right now – I’m in a much better mental space, so that’s great!  I was worried I was going to be dead today after the time change on the weekend (I barely slept between Saturday and Sunday, then woke up a bunch of times between Sunday and Monday, and was worried I’d be a zombie trying to get to work yesterday), but thankfully I was alright!  I didn’t quite meet all of the goals I set for myself last week, but I’m not stressing out about it; the main thing was that I still made some progress!

Also, all of my Ukrainian books have arrived!!!!

the 8 Ukrainian books I ordered

The book of fairy tales is on the right (“казки” is Ukrainian for “fairy tales” or “tales”). There are a few books of short stories, and the Arthur series by Luc Besson which I thought would be fun.  I even bought a colouring book that I hope to one day colour with my niece! 🙂

I did fall behind slightly with Karin Dimitrova’s Reset program over the weekend.  I was thinking of trying to catch back up, but ended up deciding to just continue from here, rather than stress about it (lol, that seems to be my mantra right now!)

I was also very happy to finish a book I started back in February over the weekend (Life of Pi).  I thought I was going to just abandon it (I put it down for a few weeks), but ended up sticking with it to the end.  I’m looking forward to reading something new now though!

So for this week I’m going to set a few more goals for reading in French and Ukrainian, but otherwise now much more so I don’t start feeling overwhelmed again! 🙂

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A Mental Health Update

Hey everyone, how’s it going?  Sorry for not posting anything last week – I was having a rough time and wasn’t in a good mental space.  Last week was just super stressful and I just wasn’t able to do much more than work and make dinner.  I did some language learning as well, but basically just the bare minimum to keep my skills up.  Thankfully by Sunday my head was in a better space, and yesterday I was feeling relatively back to normal mentally, so that’s great news.

I’m also very thankful that I signed myself up for Karin Dimitrova’s new Reset program.  When it was first announced, I decided to sign up thinking any tools she could teach me to help with mental health during this pandemic were a good thing.  But the timing ended up perfect, with the course starting right around when my mental health was taking the worst hits.  The course definitely helped me get through last week without my mental state deteriorating further.

Over the weekend I also spent a lot of time reading Atomic Habits by James Clear.  I wasn’t expecting to connect with the book as much as I did, but I found his writing very engaging.  I also liked the idea of striving to be just 1% better each day, and how over time, that compounds and leads to great improvements.  Atomic Habits is definitely worth checking out if you’re interested in that sort of thing. 🙂

So with my mental state improving, I set myself a few goals for the week around reading books in French and Ukrainian.  Ever since revisiting my October goals, I’ve been flying through 100 Easy Texts in Ukrainian (I read over 25 stories in it in February!) and want to keep up that momentum.  I’ve also read two chapters in French: Short Stories for Beginners and Intermediate Learners by Language Guru, and discovered that the chapters are self contained stories that all deal with the same character, which is an interesting approach.  So far I’ve found the book to be alright, but I wish it had more dialogue.

Oh, I’m also really excited: I ordered myself some books in Ukrainian, including a book of Ukrainian Fairy Tales!  I love fairy tales, and I’m looking forward to reading them.  A lot of the books I bought are beyond the level I’m currently at, but I think I have a good range of things that I can build to as I continue to learn the language. 🙂

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A Big French Update :)

Over the weekend, I finished reading Short Stories in French for Beginners!  😀

To celebrate finishing the book, I made a video where I attempt to talk about it in French.  You can check it out here:

Lol, I had a really hard time making this video because my brain was stuck in “Ukrainian mode” that day – it took several takes before I got something where I didn’t completely trail off into nothingness because I couldn’t remember the words I wanted to say!

I’m still defaulting to English at times, especially when I get frustrated with trying to remember words, but I felt like I got a lot more French out in this video than in my other two French videos, so that’s nice to see.  🙂

My next French book is going to be French: Short Stories for Beginners and Intermediate Learners by Language Guru.  It’s a smaller book with only eight chapters (I think each chapter is one story), so I’m hopeful that it won’t take me too long to get through.  Like Short Stories in French for Beginners, it’s got vocabulary and comprehension questions.  But as an added bonus, each story seems to have an English translation, so that’ll be interesting to see how close my understanding of the French versions were to the English!

I’ve also read a few Robert Munsch stories in French (I took a book out from the library, L’heure de Munsch, which collects 5 Robert Munsch books that were translated into French).  That’s been a lot of fun too – while I’m not understanding every word, I’ve understood enough to figure out what was going on.  I got a real laugh out of the second book in the collection (Tire le bouchon, fiston! or Down the Drain in English), and am looking forward to reading the last three. 🙂

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Happy Valentine’s and Family Days

Hey everyone, I hope you had a good Valentine’s Day and Family Day if you celebrate it!  My long weekend was good – I was able to spend some time reading. 🙂  I also finally finished sorting through and uploading all of the pictures from my phone to Flickr – I had over 1200 pictures going back to before the pandemic hit here!  This has been a huge undertaking and I’ve very happy to have a lot more room on my phone now!

In terms of goals for the week, I got through almost everything I set for myself.  I read I think 10 stories from 100 Easy Ukrainian Texts (I was hoping to get through just 8! I now only need to read 6 per week and I’ll finish the book as planned by May!), and one full story (three chapters) from Short Stories in French for Beginners (which means I just have one more three-chapter story to go and I’m finished the book!)  Plus I managed to fit in some reading for fun!

Oh, I also fit in reading another chapter from Painless French, so that was a bonus!

So for this week I’ve set much the same goals as last week, but with a few less stories from 100 Easy Ukrainian Texts.  I’m also ramping up working on book editing, so we’ll see how the reading goes in the middle of that!

So how’s your week been?  How is everything going for you? 🙂

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Update: A Whole Lot of French + Goodbye Lucky Bamboo :(

The last two weeks have been kind of a blur (and I apologize because I missed writing an update last week).  I’ve been working on the editing project where I can.  It’s been slow work going, but at least it’s going. 🙂

In terms of language learning, I actually watched the final season of Game of Thrones in French (with English subtitles).  I put the final season on hold at the library, and thanks to delays due to covid quarantines, I finally got it.  I almost didn’t watch it because I don’t typically watch a lot on my own (although I admit I’m watching more on my own thanks to covid), but in the end I decided that I’d made it this far through the season that I might as well see how it ends.  Having it help my French learning was a definite bonus.

I did learn something very interesting about Google Play though: buying something digitally on that platform (and iTunes from what I could tell) only seems to give you audio in one language (in my case, English).  I found this out because one of the discs had a very fine scratch and wasn’t playing a scene from one of the episodes, so I bought it, but sadly had to watch it in English rather than in French.  So if you’re learning languages, especially common ones in your country/area (like French here in Canada), you’re better off watching DVDs.  Or Netflix – I’ve found lots of content in popular languages (like French, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian, but sadly not Ukrainian).

cover of Painless FrenchI was also super excited to find Painless French, a book I bought myself years ago for learning French!  I remembered seeing it at one point awhile ago, but when I started seriously learning French, I couldn’t find it and thought that maybe I had given it away.  I’m very happy to find that wasn’t the case!  I read through the first chapter over the weekend and really enjoyed it.  I’m hoping it will be a great resource for continuing to learn. 🙂

I’ve also made the decision to stop subscribing to Duolingo Plus.  Back in the summer when I was off work it made sense to subscribe since I was trying to jam in as much language learning as I could.  But now that I’m back at work (and editing), I have a lot less time for language learning.  And now that I’m done the Ukrainian tree, I’m also just not wanting to use Duolingo as much as I did.  I started the reverse tree (learning English as if I were a native Ukrainian speaker), which has given me a few new Ukrainian words, but overall I’m not really enjoying it.  I’m also not having as much fun with the French Tree and would like to have more time to go off and try other resources (like Painless French).  At this point I’m still planning on using Duolingo a bit (I would like to finish the French tree one day, even if I don’t make it a golden tree); just not nearly as much as I was.

my sad lucky bamboo plantIn other sad news, my lucky bamboo died on me. It was doing okay, then a few weeks ago I noticed the stem turned yellow.  I don’t think I did anything like last time when I put fertilizer into the water without realizing that was super bad for lucky bamboo.  My best guess this time around is that it’s due to the water; we have issues with lead in our pipes in my city right now.  I filter drinking water for me and Merlin using a filter that takes lead out, but I wasn’t using that for my plants (and the lucky bamboo is going to take the brunt of any lead that’s in the water because it’s just sitting in water).  While I’m very sad to lose it, I can honestly say I have done my best for this plant (and it was fine for quite awhile after I fertilized it – that happened back in November 2019!  It lived for over a year since that happened!)

 

I also finally got some (English) fun reading in!  I went through a bit of a dry spell this month where I wasn’t reading anything, but then a friend sent me a copy of his book and suddenly I’m reading again! But more about all of that on Thursday. 😉

So that’s been my last few weeks.  How’s everything going for you? 🙂

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Ukrainian Golden Tree!

Hey everyone, just a quick update for today: last week, I finished my Golden Tree!!!!  I made a quick video to celebrate:

And yes, it was a crazy coincidence, but I finished the Tree on Ukrainian Christmas. 🙂

Last week was also my first French Zoom meeting of 2021.  Having been away from speaking in French for a few weeks, I had a super hard time finding the words.  So I also made a French video talking about it (it was more for the practice in speaking).  Check that one out here:

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