Uninteresting content

Steve mentions that interesting content is crucial but at my stage I’m struggling to find anything other than 2 or 3 people having a polite chat in a restaurant or whatever.
I’ve heard of Steve using. Kim Yung Ha’s podcast for Korean, is there one for French?

I have just finished the “who is she” series and don’t know where to go next. I am also on lesson 40 in assimil out of 113 lessons so I’m doing French there’s too,
Am I ready for newspapers?

Should I move onto beginner grammar courses on LingQ? Or should I look for interesting content at my level, if it exists


You could continue doing Assimil, but start looking into the FrenchLingQ conversation podcasts, particularly those with Steve and Henri Precheur (a former employee at LingQ). The quality is probably the best compared to most of the series, since it is in person with a good-quality microphone and not over Skype, with the usual sound lag and generally low bit rate. The conversations are quite wide-ranging, but given the conversational nature. not particularly difficult as far as vocabulary goes. You will probably want a good, basic grasp of the grammar of French, particularly verb conjugations, but other than that it should be challenging but interesting!

Hi Ace,

at the beginner stage it is definitely difficult to find content that is really ‘interesting’. Simply because ot the lack of words. From the point of a content provider I’ve to add that it is difficult to make content interesting and easy at the same time. You need to simplify otherwise it would no longer be beginner content.

What is interesting depends on your interests too. At a beginner stage I find lessons that show me the structure of the language with not to many words intersting enough. But that is very personal.

As much of my learning comes from listening it was important for me that new lessons didn’t have to much new words. If there are too many new words I simply could not follow the lesson. Then I got bored and I couldn’t focus on the listening.

If you are ready for reading newspapers? Simply try it. Keep in mind that there are many outside, and some use simplier language than others do.

You should also consider what your goal is. Why do you learn the language? If you goal is reading newspapers, just give it a try. If you goal it to have discussions with native speakers you should probably focus on dialogues.

Grammar is a very special thing. I think you need to learn some grammar, but you cannot learn grammar from grammar lessons only. It is a process. What I do is reading about grammar rules. The difficulty is memorizing them. So I don’t do it. But I don’t think it is a waste of time studying these rules, because when I encounter these rules in original content I can remember that there was such a rule and litlle by little (the more I read and listen), I ‘learn’ the rule. The more examples I get from content, the more I absorb the rule. From time to time I get back to the grammar rules. Often I understand then rules, where I first had no idea what the rule is about, because I remember I’ve seen examples of that in lessons I’ve studied.

I completely agree with Vera and I would add one thing. I’ve heard Assimil is excellent for most beginners from almost any credible Polyglot I’ve heard of. The thing that is good about Assimil is you don’t get overdosed with grammar. In my opinion focusing too much on grammar usually turns off 95 plus percent of students as it’s unnatural and overly complicates a language. It did this to me and I didn’t touch German for a long time after I was first exposed to it. Total beginners should be exposed to grammar in small doses in my opinion, too much is just over whelming. I think once your into the intermediate stage and have a good feel for the language I would recommend a grammar book to refer to when needed. This is what I’m planning on doing as I’m still a beginner but plan on getting a grammar book once I’m at the intermediate level. I may be a beginner but I’ve read upteen articles on language learning and feel like I have a much better sense of it since I first became interested in languages.

Funnily, I just posted on another thread about listening to intermediate conversational podcasts (even though I am only a beginner). I started listening to them because I wanted more interesting content and I have to say I am really enjoying the challenge. I have pasted in part of the post below:

I find at the moment that doing a few different lessons at different at a time is working for me. So I’ll do some simpler ones like the beginner 2 dialogues from Ab Jetzt Lerne Deutsch Private, combined with the conversational ‘German LingQ’ podcasts (Intermediate 1/2). I don’t easily understand the intermediate ones at all but if I listen to them over and over, especially after lingqing, maybe after half a dozen times or so I can pick out sentences here and there, and after while get the meaning of most sentences, even if not every word.

With some of the intermediate podcasts, I am creating 100-200 lingqs (with say 30-40% new words), so I agree 20 seems low! But then I think this is really high ratio of new words that maybe wouldn’t even be recommended. But for me, I would rather work my way through slowly, then listen to 10-minute natural conversation on a more interesting topic 30 or more times, than a really simple lesson with slow speaking 10 times (I find the latter is too painful!). But that is just me.

I think you are right that just not pressuring yourself is the key. I think I don’t feel pressured with the intermediate because I think of Steve’s podcasts where he describes just working away through his Korean podcasts, even if he only understands 30%. Plus I can see how much more I can understand just by listening to a podcast numerous times, so it feels like there is progress even if the first time I might only understand 10%. I might listen to a long (i.e. 10-minutes plus) for several days or even a week, then still come back to it. Anyway, each to their own but just to say you might be surprised how much you COULD understand with the intermediate podcasts if you kept listening to them? For me, the more interesting content definitely helps keep me motivated to listen over and over, and somehow I also think the more natural rhythms and speech of the conversation keep me more interested over the long haul.

That said, I still find the simpler beginner lessons really useful because often it’s from those lessons that I’ll find I’ve internalised a particular phrase that I can actually use in conversation. Also, I might listen to those easier lessons when I’m more tired or just create a whole playlist of them to run through. I agree with Steve and others who say that variation is powerful.

I’m also planning to start Assimil (I’ve just purchased it) and hoping it will help me with internalising grammar. I admit I’ve bought just a select few grammar book (simple ones) that I haven’t read yet but am planning to use in the way that Vera suggests. I’m actually pretty relieved that I DON’T have to memorise grammar tables after all.

"Hi Ace,

at the beginner stage it is definitely difficult to find content that is really ‘interesting’. Simply because of the lack of words. From the point of a content provider I’ve to add that it is difficult to make content interesting and easy at the same time. You need to simplify otherwise it would no longer be beginner content."

I have to compliment Vera here with her excellent content, very well put together and she really makes a lot of her lessons interesting with her pleasant voice along with her adorable daughters voice. I also enjoy a lot of evguenys lessons, especially the humorous ones, read by Franz and Reinhard, both have great voices, which makes the listening to simple content easier.