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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2642 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 1273 of 1317
17 June 2015 at 10:43am | IP Logged 
garyb wrote:

I've never done the exam myself, but what I will say is that the standard required to pass it seems to be lower than what the official descriptions and checklists would suggest. I know plenty people with English C1 certificates whose English is, well, not great


That's definitely my impression as well. The graduate students I used to work with here in Berlin were all at least C1 in English, that was a requirement, but most of them were not super fluent, and certainly not comfortable in the language.

My impression is that you are probably higher and lower than C1 in various tasks on the checklist (though you could certainly pass >50% on all levels), but this is fairly irrelevant as your posts consistently show a desire to be fluent and comfortable in the language, which is not my impression of C1 (at least for English).

Edited by patrickwilken on 17 June 2015 at 10:44am

2 persons have voted this message useful



PeterMollenburg
Senior Member
AustraliaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3585 days ago

821 posts - 1273 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: FrenchB1

 
 Message 1274 of 1317
17 June 2015 at 10:54am | IP Logged 
@garyb, patrickwilken, emk

I think it could be stated that on the road to high fluency/comfort level with using the
language (at ease in almost any given everyday situation including a professional
environment relevant to your field- forgive me if a bit off in the description of emk's
goal) that aiming to sit and pass C1 and C2 exams isn't exactly heading into an entirely
different direction. I mean you'd still be learning French and it's not like passing a
C1/C2 exam(s) is going to stop you (emk) from reaching your end goal, right? I mean it's
going to help in some respects at least.

Edited by PeterMollenburg on 17 June 2015 at 11:39am

1 person has voted this message useful





emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3641 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 1275 of 1317
17 June 2015 at 12:38pm | IP Logged 
iguanamon wrote:
So, yeah, in that sense the title is disingenuous. The title should reflect what you are doing right now in the language- enjoying French and continuing to explore it.

Done! This log is now titled "French: Enjoying what I've learned", which accurate represents my current aspirations. :-) It's probably also the most productive thing for me to do at this point, short of moving to the francophonie.

Update: I reserve the right to change the name several more times until I like it. If I were going to use a French name, I think it might be Il faut en profiter.

tastyonions wrote:
Anyway, activation is a hard problem.

"Activation" can mean two things:

1. Having strong receptive skills, and turning them into productive skills.
2. Having potentially decent productive skills, but needing sleep + coffee + warmup to be truly at ease.

(2) is my real problem. You've seen how I speak French with no warmup, and sctroyenne has now seen what my French is like when everything's working correctly. (And you're both welcome to talk about it here in my log, as far as I'm concerned.) I'm beginning to suspect that being truly comfortable in a language with no warmup—especially at an "educated" level—is advanced skill.

Serpent wrote:
Very true. Also, when people sit C1 exams, they generally make sure to do exactly what you described - get a lot of input, get more sleep and coffee, etc.

Thank you for this long description of your C1 exam, and how you got into the groove before taking it. I always love reading about what people do to give their best performance.

garyb wrote:
I've never done the exam myself, but what I will say is that the standard required to pass it seems to be lower than what the official descriptions and checklists would suggest. I know plenty people with English C1 certificates whose English is, well, not great and would probably not tick most of the boxes on the self-assessment list. You don't need full marks to pass, just 50% if I remember correctly. I don't know if the French examiners are stricter, but it seems that even if your level isn't quite C1 on paper, you'd probably still stand a good chance at the exam with adequate preparation.

Yes, it's important to remember that the self-assessment checklist assumes a certain amount of self-delusion on the part of the person filling it out, and that when I scored quite respectably on the DELF B2 (which is not the easiest B2 exam in the world), the checklist told me I wasn't quite B2.

Similarly, I'm pretty sure I could pass the DALF C1 if I prepared for it. Here's what I'd do:

1. Plan to pick up as many points on reading comprehension as possible.
2. Write lots of synthèses for a while. I don't keep my formal writing 100% active, but I know how to fix it.
3. Work some more on listening comprehension. I can now enjoy at least some native movies in theaters (and most dubbed ones), but I could do better.
4. Immerse myself for a while before the exam, and hope for a good speaking day.

But at this point, I'm far more likely to consider the TCF, which is capable of giving me a separate score in each skill. But it would represent a bunch of time and money.

patrickwilken wrote:
That's definitely my impression as well. The graduate students I used to work with here in Berlin were all at least C1 in English, that was a requirement, but most of them were not super fluent, and certainly not comfortable in the language.

Yeah, it's definitely possible to have a C1 certificate, and not have the level of comfort I'd like. I do know some non-native French speakers who can speak with the level of of comfort and ease I'd love to possess, but they tend to fall into three categories:

1. "Oh, I lived and worked in France for about 10 years."
2. "I teach French at University X."
3. "I'm an anglophone who has lived for a long time in Québec."

...and on a good day, I can hold up my end of a conversation with these groups, even if I'm not at their level. And I've had several conversations with French teachers where I've had to slow down, simplify my vocabulary, and explain things. That's always a bit weird.

PeterMollenburg wrote:
I think it could be stated that on the road to high fluency/comfort level with using the
language (at ease in almost any given everyday situation including a professional
environment relevant to your field- forgive me if a bit off in the description of emk's
goal) that aiming to sit and pass C1 and C2 exams isn't exactly heading into an entirely
different direction. I mean you'd still be learning French and it's not like passing a
C1/C2 exam(s) is going to stop you (emk) from reaching your end goal, right? I mean it's
going to help in some respects at least.

I just can't find the enthusiasm for an exam right now. I have no practical need for another certificate, and I don't feel like the certificates focus on things that interest me. Maybe I'll sit the TCF at some point just to get a level assessment.

Edited by emk on 17 June 2015 at 1:38pm

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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3641 days ago

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Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
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 Message 1276 of 1317
17 June 2015 at 2:27pm | IP Logged 
In honor of the title change, I'd like to share some cool stuff in French.

Some favorite French songs

Quote:
Un peu de swing, un peu de king
Pas mal de feeling et de décibels… -Jean-Jacques Goldman

Puis trip en Égypte, École française du Caire
Pour parfaire mon flow et mon vocabulaire

On m'en voulait parce que j'avais ce qu'ils voulaient
Un style qui m'était propre et le verbe au plus-que-parfait. -MC Solaar

This is a mix of stuff I know well, stuff I've just discovered, and stuff that keeps me awake in the car. Some highlights:

MC Solaar. This will come as no surprise to anybody who reads this log. :-) Old-school French rap. I use some of these as articulation exercises. It's usually well worth looking up his words.

Renaud. Profoundly cynical, but very clever. Tastyonions just introduced me to him.

Indochine. Classic 80s French rock.

Jean-Jacques Goldman. More classics from the 80s.

Stromae. A couple of recent hits. I'm still working through these albums, trying to decide which songs I like.

Others. Other songs which caught my attention.

If you're just starting to learn French, search for band name + song name + "paroles" on google.fr to get the French lyrics for a song.

If you're studying French, and if you've ever described yourself as a "child of the 80s", please do check out my playlist. There's a fair bit of fun 80s rock there. :-)

Edited by emk on 17 June 2015 at 2:54pm

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Ogrim
Heptaglot
Senior Member
France
Joined 2748 days ago

991 posts - 1893 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, English, Spanish, French, Romansh, German, Italian
Studies: Russian, Catalan, Latin, Greek, Romanian

 
 Message 1277 of 1317
17 June 2015 at 2:42pm | IP Logged 
The link to your playlist seems to be broken, it doesn't work for me.

Nice selection of music by the way. I consider the 80s to be the best decade as far as pop music is concerned, but that may be because that's the decade I was a young university student. I didn't discover J-J Goldman until the early 90s though, when I went to Paris for the first time and raided the big Virgin store on Champs Elysées (it closed down a couple of years ago, another victim of streaming and mp3 sales). I remember buying CDs by J-J Goldman, Patricia Kaas, Mylène Farmer, Indochine and Jean-Louis Aubert, and spent the summer playing French music all the time. Those were happy days!
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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3641 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 1278 of 1317
17 June 2015 at 2:49pm | IP Logged 
Ogrim wrote:
The link to your playlist seems to be broken, it doesn't work for me.

Should be fixed! And I'll definitely check out your other recommendations. I always like some good classic 80s music, and anything with catchy and clever lyrics.

For those of us in the US, everything on my playlist can be bought through the US iTunes store with a search and a couple of clicks. Music seems to be one of the easy kinds of French media to buy digitally in the US; you probably don't even need to get out of your chair. :-)
1 person has voted this message useful



Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 3275 days ago

3335 posts - 4349 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, Norwegian, French, English, Italian, Papiamento
Studies: Mandarin, Georgian, Russian

 
 Message 1279 of 1317
17 June 2015 at 3:18pm | IP Logged 
'Cool' title! I'm sure you are going to have a lot of fun from now on, emk. Now you can even write a book called 'How to stop wandering and start living' for helping people learn to enjoy their studies more.
3 persons have voted this message useful



1e4e6
Octoglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 2399 days ago

1013 posts - 1587 votes 
Speaks: English*, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Dutch, Swedish, Italian
Studies: German, Danish, Russian, Catalan

 
 Message 1280 of 1317
17 June 2015 at 11:52pm | IP Logged 
garyb wrote:
I'm not sure what to say on C1. You seem to have a very honest and
realistic picture of your strengths and weaknesses, which is refreshing when many
people tend to have a falsely high or low one. I know that there's a huge difference
between "C1 on a good day with lots of preparation" and actual C1.

I've never done the exam myself, but what I will say is that the standard required to
pass it seems to be lower than what the official descriptions and checklists would
suggest. I know plenty people with English C1 certificates whose English is, well, not
great and would probably not tick most of the boxes on the self-assessment list. You
don't need full marks to pass, just 50% if I remember correctly. I don't know if the
French examiners are stricter, but it seems that even if your level isn't quite C1 on
paper, you'd probably still stand a good chance at the exam with adequate preparation.

Of course all this is beside the point since you don't seem to be interested in the
exam right now, and understandably so - why spend time on learning the specific exam
format that you could spend on more important skills, if you don't need the
qualification? I think patrickwilken is on the right lines, your goal seems to be
fluency above all. Or proficiency or whatever other word, depending on the definitions
you prefer.


I always wondered about this, and I expect higher from C levels. One reason that I am
untli now hesitant to try to sit the DELE C2 is because the image of a C2 who can pass
comfortably is like this:

When I watch any RTVE news programme, I imagine a non-native speaker who can take
their place and do the same job at the same level as a native, as well as someone whom
you meet at random and you can swear that you thought that they were a native born in
the target language country, and a candidate who can write either a novel or a
dissertation with very minimal grammatical errores, if at all. In terms of speaking,
you can ask them literally anything from any subject, be it science, philosophy, or
even going to a nightclub and they can respond in an idiomatic and completely
grammatically correct manner at native speed and accent. By extension I would expect
them to be able to do this whilst drunk, upon waking up, or whilst multitasking,
because it should be second-nature. Perhaps this is too demanding, but this is my
mental picture of what C2 looks like.

I had to a few times overview a few texts written by non-native Anglophone colleagues
with the required language certificate level, and was shocked by what I saw. Even with
spell check on Microsoft word, the amount of spelling, grammatical, and idiomatic
errors numbered close to 40 each page.

However, it is true, I have met a few non-native Anglophones who have the C1-C2 level
or at least, a high IELTS score, but if they write or speak, it is downright terrible,
and in some cases, I feel that if you spoke to them at a slow-machine like one word-
per 2 seconds speed, they still have problems understanding. I had to write down on
paper what I was saying to some non-native speakers a few times, and sometimes that
also did not work because they could understand well the written register either. I am
not sure if they just studied like hell and then forgot everything, but I wonder if
other languages are like this. I always thought that with DELE and DALF you have to
know your material so well that, as I said before, you can be drunk or just wake up
and be able to function at all of the C-level requisites.

Edited by 1e4e6 on 18 June 2015 at 12:02am



1 person has voted this message useful



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