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B2-C1/C2 - what did you do?

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23 messages over 3 pages: 1 2 3  Next >>
Katie
Diglot
Senior Member
Australia
Joined 4160 days ago

495 posts - 106 votes 
Speaks: English*, Hungarian
Studies: French, German

 
 Message 1 of 23
04 March 2010 at 3:34am | IP Logged 
Hi everyone!

According to the descriptions given here on the forum (& elsewhere on the internet), I would class myself to be at B2 level with Hungarian.

At the moment, my studies involve:

* I'm currently reviewing FSI Level 1, with the view to begin to work through FSI Level 2. I've previously completed FSI Level 1 but thought it would be good to review the units first, before moving on.

* I have a couple of grammar activity books that I work through one day a week, for an hour or two. I use this is a bit of a review activity aswell - just something more exciting than re-reading the grammar books. (I also have a new activity book on order at the moment)

* DVDs, music, audio books, books... I haven't started to do so yet, but once my German studies are a little further underway, I plan to study from Hungarian books for German.

* I've literally JUST started to L-R with the Harry Potter books. These are the only books I have at present, which I have the English version, Hungarian version and the Hungarian audiobook.

Other than this, I have Hungarian friends who I try to speak Hungarian with in most instances. At the moment, I'd estimate that 90% of our discussions are in Hungarian because they have family here who cannot speak English. When the family is not here, I would say we speak Hungarian only around 50% of the time. (This is within my control, I've just been shy or lazy... or something). I plan to continue speaking around 70-80% of the time in Hungarian after the family leaves.

My questions is: Is there anything more I can do, or should be doing, to get myself from B2 to C1 or C2 level? I realise that it is a relatively large jump. I'd be happy with C1 level - but I'm interested to hear how you got yourself over that 'hump'?

1 person has voted this message useful



Sprachprofi
Nonaglot
Senior Member
Germany
learnlangs.comRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3912 days ago

2608 posts - 2296 votes 
Speaks: German*, English, French, Esperanto, Greek, Mandarin, Latin, Dutch, Italian
Studies: Spanish, Arabic (Written), Swahili, Indonesian, Japanese, Modern Hebrew, Portuguese

 
 Message 2 of 23
04 March 2010 at 9:30am | IP Logged 
Stop using courses, grammars or vocabulary lists. Spend that time reading for pleasure,
watching movies, writing on Hungarian forums and talking to Hungarian people (on Skype if
need be). Also talk to yourself in your spare time and see what you can say and what
words or expressions you are missing and have a Hungarian person tell you how to say
those things next time.

At this point, this is the fastest way to pick up native-like diction, native-like ways
of expressing yourself and vocabulary that is relevant to your situation and your
interests. It's also good for the intricacies of grammar - irregularities are really best
learned by exposure.
8 persons have voted this message useful



Splog
Diglot
Senior Member
Czech Republic
anthonylauder.c
Joined 3111 days ago

1062 posts - 2210 votes 
Speaks: English*, Czech
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 3 of 23
04 March 2010 at 10:14am | IP Logged 
I was about to say exactly the same as Sprachprofi.

You asked a great question - and I am as guilty as anybody of getting stuck at B2 and the comfort of textbooks in my own home, hoping that one day it would all come together and I would be fluent. Unfortunately, you eventually find out the hard way that going from textbooks to 100% comprehension is impossible. You have to accept that the intermediate stage isn't so much a "hump" you have to get over, but rather a long road of learning to survive almost by instinct in an uncertain world as your knowledge gradually grows and the uncertainty very slowly slides away.

When you reach intermediate level, then, it is time to put the textbooks away and start diving into authentic material. It is a big step, though, since you will no longer have the comfort of explanations that the textbooks provide. Instead, it really can feel like being thrown into a swimming pool and told to sink or swim. It can be quite scary at first, but after just a few months you will achieve one of the most important skills for language learning: getting used to living with uncertainty.

The level of uncertainty you are comfortable with seems to vary from person to person. I know that Steve Kaufmann says he is happy to only understand 50% of the words in a text. Whereas I can only enjoy something where I understand at least 90% of it - otherwise I can't follow the meaning, and having to look everything up is too much of a chore.

So, find a native text (such as a magazine or book) that is just a bit too advanced for you (or a lot too advanced if you are Steve Kaufmann ;-) ) and just start reading. Take a highlighter pen and mark all the words you don't know - but don't bother looking them up. It helps if you have audio too for the same text, since you can then listen to it repeatedly and see which words really stick out as those you wish you knew.

Then do the same with another text, and another. After a couple of days you will notice that some of the highlighted words seem to bug you (maybe because they are repeated so much, or really blocked your comprehension) and others seem irrelevant after all. Look up only the ones that bug you, and put them on a wordlist. When you have studied that list, read those same text again. Then do it all over again with a whole new set of very slightly harder texts. Then again with another set of texts, and then again, and again, and again. For months, or years if need be, until one day you find you have reached the stage where you are reading the daily newspaper or novels with more than 95% comprehension. That day does come, trust me, it just doesn't feel like it is ever going too, because the improvements along the way are so gradual and almost at a subconscious level.

There are two things going on here:

1: You are replacing short periods of intensive deliberate study, with much longer periods of slow acquisition. I have seen folks get very uncomfortable with this, since reading and highlighting doesn't seem like "real work". You just have to trust that you are absorbing things, and not be too tempted back to the textbooks (apart from a dictionary and occasional dips into a grammar to confirm things)

2: You are preparing your brain to live in the real world, where you really do have to be able to live with uncertainty. When the repairman comes around to replace the pump in your heating system you may only understand 70% of what he is talking about, but the immersion described here will have armed you for thriving in that kind of situation.

The other step relates to output. This is where you have to get used to looking foolish. The work with texts and audio mentioned above will have prepared you for the uncertainty you face in the real life conversations, now you have to build up the confidence - and that just comes through lots and lots of exposure. Practice a whole bunch of scenarios in your head, and then go out and live them in real life with a native speaker.

You will screw up more than you could have anticipated, and get embarrassed. I always say to people that each time you get embarrassed in this way you are one step closer to fearless conversation. So, you have to get back on the horse, and practice on your own, and then get out to the battlefield again. After a few months your confidence will have soared without you realising it, and it will feel perfectly natural to talk about just about anything in your target language - even if you are missing vocabulary, because you can always ask questions, explain things in other ways, and be fluent with what you have.

Edited by Splog on 04 March 2010 at 10:26am

35 persons have voted this message useful



Pyx
Diglot
Senior Member
China
Joined 3177 days ago

671 posts - 249 votes 
Speaks: German*, English
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 4 of 23
04 March 2010 at 11:02am | IP Logged 
That's a great post, Splog!



Katie
Diglot
Senior Member
Australia
Joined 4160 days ago

495 posts - 106 votes 
Speaks: English*, Hungarian
Studies: French, German

 
 Message 5 of 23
04 March 2010 at 12:55pm | IP Logged 
Great responses! Thanks so much!

So, from what you have said, I should just give up on FSI ?? .... but what about the grammar stuff once every week or so? I actually quite enjoy that - but is it worth giving it up for a while to see how I go without it? Also, should I go with L-R, or just read the native books I have, as you've described?

And as for the speaking, I've got friends who I chat with on Skype regularly, as well as some I write to. Then I also have my friends who live here. I'll be continuing as much as possible to speak Hungarian with them after the family leaves - because right now, we speak quite a lot of Hungarian.



Volte
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
Joined 3881 days ago

4475 posts - 2384 votes 
Speaks: English*, Esperanto, German, Italian
Studies: French, Finnish, Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 6 of 23
04 March 2010 at 1:17pm | IP Logged 
Katie wrote:

So, from what you have said, I should just give up on FSI ?? .... but what about the grammar stuff once every week or so? I actually quite enjoy that - but is it worth giving it up for a while to see how I go without it? Also, should I go with L-R, or just read the native books I have, as you've described?

And as for the speaking, I've got friends who I chat with on Skype regularly, as well as some I write to. Then I also have my friends who live here. I'll be continuing as much as possible to speak Hungarian with them after the family leaves - because right now, we speak quite a lot of Hungarian.


I don't think an hour or two a week of grammar will harm you, honestly - if you enjoy it, why not? FSI sounds questionable at your stage, but it's your call. Just make sure they don't cut into your time with native material too much.

As for L-R or native books, do whichever you prefer. For reading in a browser, I recommend the firefox "Quick Translator" plugin - select some text and click an icon that pops up to instantly get it google-translated. Don't rely on a dictionary, no matter what you do - but for when you choose to use one, this is a nice way to minimize the hassle. Professor Arguelles' thread on learning to read Russian literature may be useful. I found the techniques extremely valuable when my only foreign language was Italian, and was at a B2 level with it, so they'll probably help you too.



Katie
Diglot
Senior Member
Australia
Joined 4160 days ago

495 posts - 106 votes 
Speaks: English*, Hungarian
Studies: French, German

 
 Message 8 of 23
04 March 2010 at 10:15pm | IP Logged 
Thanks everyone :)

Okay, so I think - going from advice here - that I'll leave FSI alone and instead spend that time reading a bit more.

I'm still undecided on whether to go with the L-R method of otherwise... so I might do a couple of days of each, and then make a decision.

I wonder if I'd cope okay reading one book in one manner, and the other in L-R?

And I'll be sure to take a look at Professor Arguelles' thread... thanks for the link :)



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