So in testing this “mass sentence method” I’ve been reasonably consistent thus far. As mentioned in my last post this method grabbed my attention because it gave me a way to gain massive exposure quickly before I attempt to take the B2 examination.
The more research I do on this, I like the direct sensibility it contains. If you can shoot for 50,000 sentences you have actually listened to an interpreted mentally (which a person can do in 3 weeks) then listening comprehension should increase. Plus reading French aloud for two hours a day can’t hurt either. The consistency will be the key to making this work.
La consistence sera le clé pour acés le correct chemin.
This method is by no means for the weak-hearted. It is pretty hardcore and you need to be patient. Similar to when I was in Japan and recognized my first Kanji character and could “see” a day when I might be able to read Japanese, this is similar. As I was reading through hundreds of sentences in one sitting, I started to notice a buttload of similar patterns.
Now this isn’t a new revelation, but I’ve never done this approach to this extent. When I was doing hardcore Japanese SRS, I was doing maybe 250 cards per day and working on memorizing vocabulary and grammar patterns. Imagine if I was doing 1000 sentences per day. Not SRS, but just reading.
So back to French. Many patterns repeat and also vocabulary repeat. Some sentences are still a bit difficult to read grammatically (all the contractions and what not) but its not terrible. In fact, most of the sentences are about regular day to day things and its pretty cool how often many words repeated.
So basically I have to record these sentences bilingually. So you read the English and then the French. Afterward, you take time to listen to your recordings over time, ensuring that you listen to the Fresh new sentences within two days of recording.
Now, here is what I don’t know. I’m not sure how to create an accurate review schedule using this system. So far it takes me about 12 minutes per 100 sentences reading at a reasonably fast speed. I was doing my French Tateoba Anki deck that had 1795 sentences. I am looking at other decks with intermediate sentences and I’m about to start an Assimil deck that has 1000 sentences. But what this means is on average, per 1000 sentences you are looking at 120 minutes (2 hrs) 10,000 sentences would be 20 hours of recorded material.
So it looks like:
1000 sentences –> 120 mins
10,000 sentences –> 1200 mins
review time for each 1000 (x 10) = 1200 mins per 1000
review time for all 10,000 = 1200 X 10 = 12,000 minutes.
Time = 500 hours roughly.
So this is just a rough outline based on what I’ve seen thus far. On day one I listened to about 500 sentences while I was excercising, and then today in the morning I listened to several hundred before starting my new set. I will have to get very creative to review this much information… but I am guessing that after I hit 5,000 sentences, so many expressions and phrases will mirror one another that I won’t need to seriously “worry” about remembering everything, but I should be able to eventually translate what I’m hearing simply because of the amount of data and the frequency with which I’m listening to it.
Inherently the problem with “systems” are time and effort and a calculable absorption rate. With Anki, you will eventually memorize terms and phrases over time. Can you reproduce them easily? That’s a different story. I found that if you can read say, 500 sentences easily, it does not necessarily equate to speaking the sentences clearly as well.
Either way, this is the path I’m on right now. Massive exposure to thousands of sentences per week (for now) feels better than studying 200 per day.
MASSIVE FREQUENCY EQUALS RELATIVE MEMORIZATION
This is similar to cramming the day before an exam, but with a different purpose. Normally a person might not see a sentence pattern 100 times in one day. Using flashcards, they might see it once or twice per day during their study schedule, and then they cumulatively develop the short, mid-term and long term memory related to that as time passes. But imagine seeing the same grammar pattern 100 times per day for say 3 weeks straight. In only a few days, that pattern would be memorized in your mind, and you would be able to produce it. Also, common words repeat quite often and these would also be memorized if you are seeing the words say 50-100 times per day as well.
I discussed this on my Japanese blog as well, I called it “natural SRS” because basically when I was a kid learning English, I didn’t have these systems available. I just read A LOT and then the more you read, the more patterns become familiar and then you are also able to reproduce them. This is an aspect of that. What also happens over time is that there are only so many ways to say common expressions. After you hit a certain number of sentences (about 6,000) there aren’t many ways you won’t have seen to describe regular things. Of course there would be “beautiful French” or possibly “academic French” that you’d see in newspaper or journals, but that is different. After only two days of simply reading sentences out loud i’ve already noticed a slightly increased comprehension of fast-spoken French speech in some of my media. This is primarily because I am recognizing sentence patterns containing words and grammar i’ve recently read. basically it is hard to hear what you don’t know, and hard to know what you’ve never heard.
I have to make a note on this, the increase in my comprehension is incredible to me. I’m listening to Stargate Atlantis in the background as I am typing this, and I’m somewhat following what the characters are saying. Normally it would just be noise. But i’m hearing the character talking about something with the human body, conflicts with aliens and other things. This is just after two days. Imagine, ten, or twenty or one hundred? Can fluency really be a matter of all this brain-beating? C’est tres intéressant non?
Si on veut devenir un personne que parle Français couramment, est-ce que vraiment une situation òu on doit frappe beaucoup de connaisance sur la tête toujours?
(literally: if one wants to become a person that speaks French fluenty, is it really a situation where on must knock lots of knoweldge on the head everyday?)
That was me trying to translate the last sentence of that last paragraph. It is really interesting how I am also remembering the accents over certain words. Again, a matter of frequency, not writing. If i see intéressant fifty times in a day, its hard to forget the spelling or the direction of the accent.
I also read through a French article today that spoke about the role of Tumblr as a new form of lookbook for designers. I read the article without the need to look up more than one or two words. I could understand 95-100% of the grammatical structure and the rest through context. It’s weird, after reading so much French, now when i read articles, i am getting the “feel” of it, without needing to look everything up. I am very curious to see how my reading will be after i hit 6 or 7,000 sentences in another four days.
GOOD SENTENCE MATERIAL
I’m trolling through Anki decks and academic Anki decks that contain one to two thousand sentences. Since these are sentences that are taught to students, I don’t have to worry about them being incorrect. I just have to read them out loud. Based on my progress so far, my aim is to hit 10,000 sentences in ten days or maybe push harder on one day and see if I can do 2,000 sentences in one day (4 hours of reading). At the ten thousand mark I want to see how I feel mentally after seeing more French sentences that i have ever read before. Will reading become much easier? Will my speaking explode? Naturally I won’t have memorized 10,000 sentences in 10 days, but I will have repeated speaking and reading similar patterns thousands of times a week, versus maybe a dozen times a week which i was doing before. I’m already remembering some patterns such as pas moins de (no less than ) dans mon avie (in my opinion) puis-je~? (can I~?) je n’amais vu (i have never seen) je n’amais entendu (i have never heard ) je n’aimas~ (i have never ~)
I’m not getting ahead of myself here, I have seen these things so many times in just two days it isn’t even hard for me to say it. If I ever do 100,000 sentences my French will be ridiculous. But the goal is to try and hit 20,000 if possible in several weeks as a booster for my exam.
In another day or two, I will try and see how I can create production practice from this. Meaning, I will see how to produce well written sentences based on what I can say. My writing isn’t strong yet, and i’m hoping that i will be able to write good sentences from memory after seeing them a bazillion times.
Since similar patterns will blend, I won’t have to focus on memorization because of massive frequency. I will see how much I am able to remember after say, five days etc.