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Alésia Chevaleret

Language Learning In Spite Of Illness

Due to my chronic illness, I’m unable to focus for long. I moved from Germany to France, thinking it would be a quick fix and not a lifelong struggle. I didn’t speak French and was only able to attend two months of class, nearly reaching a B1. Yet after a couple years moving back and forth, I found I was a C1. I’m sure I progressed because I was immersed, having to communicate with doctors and government officials, and I had an advantage because I took Spanish in school and already mastered German. Then I tried Hungarian, but just being in Hungary wasn’t enough. I’m only able to focus for 30 minutes at a time without crashing for days. I pushed myself to attend 1.5 hour long classes, but my brain hurt from contorting itself into doing more than my capacity allowed. Because post-exertional malaise is also cumulative, if I had class two days in a row, I’d spend twice as long crashed and unable to be productive afterward. Watching films and listening to music is great, but doesn’t really help me learn much. I even spent the Covid lockdown in a hostel with a bunch of Hungarians and still hardly learned a thing. I could listen as hard as I wanted, but I wasn’t going to just intuitively pick it up. I also lack the discipline required to self-study – I need something more structured. Finally, I found a way to adapt my learning to what worked for me.

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5 Comments

  • Suzanne Zaccour says:

    Merci pour ta présentation, et merci d’avoir pris le temps et l’énergie pour nous parler de capacitisme, racisme et misogynie. Ces conversations sont essentielles dans notre communauté (et partout ailleurs).

    Bonne chance avec ta fondation!

  • Heidi says:

    Wow, Dein Deutsch ist super gut! Echt perfekter Akzent.
    Weißt Du, was Du für Aussichten hast? Kann es sein, dass es Dir irgendwann wieder besser geht?
    Und ich bewundere Deine Energie. Wenn ich mich dauernd ausruhen müsste, weiß ich nicht, ob ich noch Sprachen lernen würde (vielleicht ja) und noch auf YouTube aktiv wäre (wahrscheinlich nicht).
    Und ich bewundere Deinen Mut, Deine Geschichte öffentlich zu machen, nachdem Du die Erfahrung machen musstest, dass Du wegen Deiner Krankheit verlassen wirst.
    Und ich bewundere Deine Ausdauer, unter solchen Umständen so ein langes Video zusammenzustellen.
    Szerencsém volt, nem volt szükségem feliratokra, pont ugyanazokat a nyelveket beszéljük 🙂 Nagyon sok erőt és egészséget kívánok Neked sok szeretettel 🙂

  • RonP says:

    Thank you for sharing your story Alésia and getting this message out to raise awareness – it matters. I was happy to hear you found an understanding teacher and are able to continue your learning journey, as you clearly love languages!

  • EstherB says:

    I can relate, to a much lesser degree of severity. You addressed this a bit at the end (and I don’t understand German) but I’d like to hear more about how the issues of 2020 may have actually benefited certain disadvantaged people (Like this conference becoming accessible) and also how it negatively affected them differently than people with average health.

  • Alesia says:

    Subtitles will hopefully be added soon, so please check back in regularly!

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