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High school German to C2 in 3 months!

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73 messages over 10 pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 1 ... 9 10 Next >>
irishpolyglot
Nonaglot
Senior Member
Ireland
fluentin3months
Joined 3742 days ago

285 posts - 892 votes 
Speaks: Irish, English*, French, Esperanto, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Sign Language
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 1 of 73
28 March 2010 at 1:27pm | IP Logged 
Hi everyone!! I'm Benny from Ireland. I've learned a bunch of languages before and have been trying to promote the idea of efficient immersion as a means to reach fluency quickly.

For the next 3 months I will be in Berlin - my current level of German is quite abysmal. I got a C in my end of high school exams, after FIVE years of studies, and when I first briefly visited Germany in 2004 I couldn't even order a train ticket in German. I tried to speak a bit, but my approach back then was flawed so other than getting a general feel for the language actually in use, I didn't improve much on my level.

I am taking on the challenge once again, but this time am aiming ridiculously high as I plan to sit the Goethe-Zertifikat C2: Zentrale Oberstufenpr√ľfung exam at the end of June. Hence the title "high school German to C2 in 3 months". I don't think I'm supposed to include links in this log, but you can find more details of this on my fluent-in-3months blog (link in my details on the left).

I am well aware of how hard this exam is, as I have already sat the equivalent C2 examination in Spanish (DELE superior) and passed. I did the B2 (DELF) in French and found it too easy, so I prefer to aim high. Even if I don't pass, aiming this high and "almost" passing will ensure that I will have greatly improved my German in an extremely short time period. I will however be trying my best to achieve the best result, as I did in Spanish.

I have created this log for the purposes of transparency, to show people what I do in my first days in a country to attempt to speak as much as possible. My approach and advice are quite different to some other experienced language learners in that I mix input with actively using the language in two way communication with others as soon as possible, making lots of mistakes, and being very active in human contact. Most of my advice is based on gaining confidence and learning to be comfortable in talking with people in the language and frankly I think this is equally as important as having a good store of vocabulary and grammar if you plan on actually speaking.

Despite that I will be trying out some input based learning techniques that I have largely ignored up to now, as I am always open to improving on my method. I'll review several of the most highly recommended ones to me in individual experiments.

Since I already have a blog and an e-mail list for those interested in my 3-month "missions", the purposes of this log will be to give further information on my short-term progress for those interested in reading it. I will update it several times during the first week (I move to Berlin tomorrow) to outline what I have been doing to make sure that I am living a life almost entirely through German despite having a very low level of it, and how I am improving it. After that I will try to update it every few weeks if people here are still interested.

Of course, I look forward to reading your replies and getting tips on improving what I'm doing. I'm hoping to not receive too many negative comments as my approach is quite unconventional and my conviction in its effectiveness has angered some people even though I am genuinely trying to spread a positive message and encouraging people to speak. Everyone has their own approach to learning languages, so I'm just going to share mine with those curious ;)

If you can't travel or don't want to, that's fine, but a lot of people don't have that choice (those moving to their spouse's country, those transferred for work reasons, immigrants...) and then there are people who simply don't have the patience for long-term focused study and input. If someone has the possibility to immerse themselves in a country then I want to encourage them to take it sooner rather than later. Preparation in advance of lots of input is ideal of course. In my case I do no such preparation so that these experiments truly last just 3 months.

Hopefully you will enjoy reading my brief updates. Thanks!
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brian91
Senior Member
Ireland
Joined 3553 days ago

335 posts - 437 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: French

 
 Message 2 of 73
28 March 2010 at 1:36pm | IP Logged 
Ausgezeichnet. I hope to do a Goethe Institut exam when I'm older and for the moment do well in my oral exams
which start next month (Leaving Cert). How did your Leaving Cert orals go for you? Or were you not that interested
in languages back then?

Berlin geniessen!

- Brian, 18



Edited by brian91 on 28 March 2010 at 1:39pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Sprachprofi
Nonaglot
Senior Member
Germany
learnlangs.comRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4579 days ago

2608 posts - 4866 votes 
Speaks: German*, English, French, Esperanto, Greek, Mandarin, Latin, Dutch, Italian
Studies: Spanish, Arabic (Written), Swahili, Indonesian, Japanese, Modern Hebrew, Portuguese

 
 Message 4 of 73
28 March 2010 at 2:30pm | IP Logged 
What CEFR level would you say your German is right now? C2 is a really high aim, because
there are typically several years between C1 and C2, possibly one year if you study full-
time.

Good luck!
1 person has voted this message useful



irishpolyglot
Nonaglot
Senior Member
Ireland
fluentin3months
Joined 3742 days ago

285 posts - 892 votes 
Speaks: Irish, English*, French, Esperanto, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Sign Language
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 5 of 73
28 March 2010 at 3:45pm | IP Logged 
@Brian Good luck in your orals!! Back in the Leaving Cert I hadn't the slightest interest in languages. The ironic thing is... my Leaving Cert German result was a "C2" - not quite the same type of C2 as the one I'm aiming for now :P

@Judith Right now, it's hard to pinpoint. I know some pretty difficult grammar but I still can't remember basic words and phrases. I imagine after one week when I get back into it I'll be B1 with the combination of my academic background and my current tricks, and then up to B2 within a few weeks. I'll progress up levels quickly based on what I've learned to do for other languages. Whether I make it all the way to C2 or not will have to be seen! :)

As I said, I know what C2 means based on my Spanish exam, and I've also been a teacher for the Cambridge exams equivalent for English. So based on how I realistically know what these levels mean, I decided to give this C2 thing a try :) My chances are slim - but I like those odds ;) Since I don't need this diploma for professional reasons, this will be a fun experiment for me. The same casual attitude meant I was relaxed for the Spanish exam and that helped me pass.
1 person has voted this message useful



irishpolyglot
Nonaglot
Senior Member
Ireland
fluentin3months
Joined 3742 days ago

285 posts - 892 votes 
Speaks: Irish, English*, French, Esperanto, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Sign Language
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 6 of 73
29 March 2010 at 10:21am | IP Logged 
***********
DAY ONE
***********


I had hoped to have prepared a little in advance this time, by simply reviewing my old notes on German to refresh my memory, but spending time with family took precedence!

This means that I really am starting the mission today! My flight to Berlin leaves in a few hours and I can't take any books with me since (as always) I'm moving everything I own with me on the flight, so I am quite restricted in terms of weight.

So I am doing the following to make sure that I have study material with me for the bus to the airport and for any wasted time on the flight, and in general over the next weeks:

* I found several PDFs online of German grammar rules for the purposes of refreshing my memory. I've imported these PDFs to my iPhone and will be studying them that way.

* I had taken several books out of the library to study, but never got around to them. However, they came with a bunch of CDs, so I'm going to rip the audio off them now and put them on my MP3 player to listen to as I study on the bus/flight

* In Dublin, I'll be in the city centre before getting the bus to the airport, so I'm going to the Eason's bookstore to get a book that has been quite handy to me in the past for other languages. I forget the name of the publisher, but it's a book small enough to fit in your pocket, specifically for learning vocabulary. Words are separated by category and level of difficult in each themed chapter. This will always be in my pocket for the next weeks and I'll study it in the airport/flight over.

When I arrive, I will certainly be more than ready to ask for a U-Bahn ticket. The flight gets in late and I'll be staying in a youth hostel. I'll likely just go straight to bed, so all I need to do on my first day is get public transport, ask directions on exiting the station and check into my room.

Normally I use a phrasebook to learn such terms at the beginning, but I'm confident that I can piece the sentences together based on my combined study of grammar and vocabulary today. The possible conversations from these 3 requirements are very very restricted, so I'd argue that you could do this for most languages if you were confident enough, despite knowing nothing but these phrases. This time I have an advantage of course, but I've done it before starting from scratch.

So today I will indeed be speaking German ;)

Then tomorrow I go flat hunting!! :)
1 person has voted this message useful



brian91
Senior Member
Ireland
Joined 3553 days ago

335 posts - 437 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: French

 
 Message 7 of 73
29 March 2010 at 11:18am | IP Logged 
In 2003 I visited O' Connell St in Dublin. I was more inspired not by the Spire, but by a Lonely Planet German
phrasebook I bought in Eason, which I studied all the way home on the (then orange) Intercity train to Cork, and
that's why I'm
studying German in school today.

I was in Berlin in April last year, and went to the Jewish Museum (Kreuzberg), the Resistance Museum, the
Fernsehturm and so on. My favourite memory though was smoking an American Spirit cigarette alone outside an
Italian café which is right beside the Brandenburg Gate.

Edited by brian91 on 29 March 2010 at 11:19am

1 person has voted this message useful



Sprachprofi
Nonaglot
Senior Member
Germany
learnlangs.comRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4579 days ago

2608 posts - 4866 votes 
Speaks: German*, English, French, Esperanto, Greek, Mandarin, Latin, Dutch, Italian
Studies: Spanish, Arabic (Written), Swahili, Indonesian, Japanese, Modern Hebrew, Portuguese

 
 Message 8 of 73
29 March 2010 at 11:23am | IP Logged 
GermanPod101 has several podcasts dealing with the language needed to rent apartments,
which you may want to listen to before taking that step.

Intermediate Series Season 2 Lesson 35 - Talking about what you're looking for
in an apartment (culture point: Berlin neighbourhoods)
Intermediate Series Season 2 Lesson 36 - Understanding apartment ads (culture
point: special German concepts like "Kaltmiete")
Intermediate Series Season 2 Lesson 37 - Making an appointment to look at the
apartment / Getting additional information while looking at the apartment (culture
point: steps to renting an apartment)
Intermediate Series Season 2 Lesson 38 - Understanding some of the legalese of
the apartment contract (culture point: German house rules)

See you soon!


4 persons have voted this message useful



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