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French_please
Newbie
Joined 2310 days ago

6 posts - 6 votes
Studies: French

 
 Message 505 of 1317
22 March 2013 at 12:29am | IP Logged 
I was reading you useful topic and somewhere in the middle I've notice small B2 next to French. Congratulations!

We have same goal and I'll appreciate if you could dispel my doubts. If it's possible to find vocabulary (or word list, or lexical minimum) for B1, B2? How long it will be?

I worried as I'm fan of frequency word lists, but some words rarely used in everyday speech is required for A1-2 (or it's just me who don't fly everyday and have better topics to discuss then weather & schedule) Anyway, to pass exam I need to do what they ask. So I hope to hear from you and finish advanced Assimil.

Edited by French_please on 22 March 2013 at 12:30am

1 person has voted this message useful



Julie
Heptaglot
Senior Member
PolandRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4946 days ago

1252 posts - 1734 votes 
5 sounds
Speaks: Polish*, EnglishB2, GermanC2, SpanishB2, Dutch, Swedish, French

 
 Message 506 of 1317
22 March 2013 at 12:55am | IP Logged 
I agree with emk about how useful extensive reading is. I don't read a lot (at least not novels), and only a small percentage of that is in French, and I still find it really useful. Actually, I wish I had more time (and patience).

Regarding looking words up, my rule of thumb is to check only the words that I'm really really interested in (and would bug me if not looked up). I try to switch off my internal linguist :) and reduce the number of these words to the minimum. My buggy e-book device helps me, too - I've been having problems with the dictionary feature ever since so I use a paper dictionary to look any words up. This reduces the number of words looked up (when I read something on the computer, I use electronic or on-line dictionaries much more often). Plus, I love my new paper FR-DE dictionary which would probably be useless otherwise.
1 person has voted this message useful



garyb
Triglot
Senior Member
ScotlandRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3250 days ago

1468 posts - 2411 votes 
Speaks: English*, Italian, French
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 507 of 1317
22 March 2013 at 11:22am | IP Logged 
I also do very little extensive reading, but this post makes me wonder if I should do more. I never really sit down with a book because my time is limited and I usually opt for more "high-priority" activities like films/TV, study, or intensive reading. But I remember Luca on Youtube saying that the higher your level gets, the more you benefit from watching (presumably quite "extensively") films and TV, and the more of it you can do without getting tired out, since your brain is more prepared to absorb the input. This reflects my experience - as I improve, films and TV seem to just get more and more useful. And your post got me thinking that maybe it's quite similar for reading - perhaps once you're at the stage where you can read quite comfortably without having to constantly turn to a dictionary, you can start reading lots and benefit a lot from it. So maybe it does merit a higher priority than I thought.
1 person has voted this message useful





emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3575 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 508 of 1317
22 March 2013 at 12:11pm | IP Logged 
French_please wrote:
We have same goal and I'll appreciate if you could dispel my doubts. If it's possible to find vocabulary (or word list, or lexical minimum) for B1, B2? How long it will be?

I worried as I'm fan of frequency word lists, but some words rarely used in everyday speech is required for A1-2 (or it's just me who don't fly everyday and have better topics to discuss then weather & schedule) Anyway, to pass exam I need to do what they ask. So I hope to hear from you and finish advanced Assimil.


For a DELF B2 exam, I recommend you spend a lot of time reading the newspaper and listening to the news on France Info (or RFI Monde, etc.) Typical DELF B2 topics include things like work, school, relations between men and women, the environment, transportation, the use of the French language by foreigners in France, and so on. As you can see, you can't predict the actual topics at all, but there's a pattern. These are all basically long-term, non-political issues that might appear in a newspaper.

If you want an actual wordlist, try Routledge's A Frequency Dictionary of French. If you happen to know 80% of the words between 4,000 and 5,000, you're probably in decent shape. (You'll also want to know plenty of vocabulary which isn't on the list.)

You'll also need to be able to write a letter to the editor (with appropriate salutations and Je vous prie d'agréer… closings) and a short essay defending a viewpoint. For listening comprehension, you want to be pretty solid on France Info news broadcasts, including more formal multi-party discussions. Assume lousy speakers and background noise from the street, too.

The real trick for many people is giving a DELF B2 oral presentation. You'll be given a choice of two paragraphs, each explaining a subject (you may only get to choose between the headlines). Then you get 30 minutes to prepare with no dictionary or other reference materials. At the end of those 30 minutes, you need to give a 10 minute presentation defending an opinion on the specified issue, and then spend 10 minutes responding to questions. Your presentation should be "well structured". This is a specific skill that's worth practicing with a tutor who knows the DELF B2.

As for the B1, it's typically very touristy. Can you deal with situations likely to arise while traveling, and so on.
8 persons have voted this message useful





emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3575 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 509 of 1317
30 March 2013 at 12:02pm | IP Logged 
Julie wrote:
I agree with emk about how useful extensive reading is. I don't read a lot (at least not novels), and only a small percentage of that is in French, and I still find it really useful. Actually, I wish I had more time (and patience).

garyb wrote:
I also do very little extensive reading, but this post makes me wonder if I should do more. I never really sit down with a book because my time is limited and I usually opt for more "high-priority" activities like films/TV, study, or intensive reading.

I think that TV is just as good as reading, although TV tends to feature more informal spoken language, and reading features more literary language. Of course, you really need both kinds of language. But regardless of the medium, extensive activities are critically important.

Intensive activities help the most with going from "incomprehensible" to "decipherable". But there's a huge gap between "decipherable" and "automatic", and that's where extensive activities really help. If you devote 100% of your time to intensive activities, you'll find that you can decipher most things, but never very quickly. Ease and comfort and speed all come from extensive activities.

Plus, extensive activities help enormously with maintenance. I've been working 60-hour weeks this past month, so I have neither the time nor the interest for studying French. But I can generally find the time to sit down and watch an episode of Ulysse 31 every other day. That's not studying—it's robots and spaceships and 80s children's television. The same goes for Les Mondes d'Aldébaran: cool, mysterious aliens and a repressive planetary government; what's not to love?

The best native materials and the best conversations have a sort of forgetfulness to them that I really prize. I'm so busy watching spaceships, or trying to explain an idea, that I almost forget everything is happening in another language. And this isn't an artifact of being a strong B2—I've been getting caught up in good books since A2. Not all of our time in a language should be about the language itself.



We have French family visiting for Easter. Last night, the transformation in my French was remarkable—I started off stumbling over easy stuff after a long week of intense work in English. But as I spoke, I got faster, and by the end of the evening, I was animatedly explaining why Bernard Werber is a perfect example of why French science fiction books lack about 60 years of stylistic maturity (except for Les fourmis, which is nicely original), but French bandes dessinées are wholly admirable.

This morning, I work up around 5am, and was ruminating to myself in French, where I thought, les photos que j'ai prises. Now this is interesting, because it involves a tricky gender agreement of the past participle with the preceding que. Now, I've known this rule intellectually for quite a while now. But it's another thing entirely when that sort of subtle grammar (involving gender, no less!) is completely spontaneous at 5am, and the alternative feels painfully wrong. I really prize these moments, when my "organic" French is able to nail stuff that I've never drilled or seriously practiced. I guess all that immersion really pays off!

And I take this incident as further evidence that my brain is rejecting its simplistic system of French grammar (which is pretty much limited to simple cases of article and adjective agreement) and it's finally starting to try more sophisticated hypotheses. The mental sensations feel the same way the subjunctive did last spring, or the way en and y did when they started becoming automatic.



As a student, I have one big advantage: I speak French at home with my wife, and she speaks it to our kids. Within that environment, my French is quite solid. But this advantage is by no means overwhelming, or even sufficient: a single Meetup in French, or a visit from French family, pushes me to a whole different level. It's much easier to learn a language from a community of people, all of whom are busy and who make only limited accommodations for me, than it is to learn a language from a single person in a single context.

I'd like to think that a month of full-time immersion in a French-speaking community would push my speech skills up to a real C1. The passive knowledge is there, despite a few lingering weaknesses in listening.

Edited by emk on 30 March 2013 at 6:09pm

4 persons have voted this message useful





emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3575 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 510 of 1317
30 March 2013 at 6:29pm | IP Logged 
I finally had a little free time this morning, so I finished volumes 4 and 5 of Les mondes d'Aldébaran, which have been sitting on my shelf all month. I really need to reassemble my "scanner" setup and post some more pages soon. There are some terrific scenes in volume 5, where the group is forced to land in a swamp full of amazingly ferocious beasts, and the artist is clearly having fun. For me, these drawings are the principal charm of the books.

Let me repost my old scans from book 1, which was previously discussed during my series on cool BDs:







If you like science fiction, and you're looking for natural conversational French, this is a great series. The language is both realistic and relatively easy, and there's enough suspense to keep me turning the pages. And now that I've finished the series, I'd say that book 5 amply delivers the strange aliens promised by the opening scenes above.

Geoffw managed to find a site where you can read the entire series online for 10€.

4 persons have voted this message useful



Bakunin
Diglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
outerkhmer.blogspot.
Joined 3173 days ago

531 posts - 1126 votes 
Speaks: German*, Thai
Studies: Khmer

 
 Message 511 of 1317
05 April 2013 at 5:50pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
I finally had a little free time this morning, so I finished volumes 4 and 5 of Les mondes d'Aldébaran, which have been sitting on my shelf all month. I really need to reassemble my "scanner" setup and post some more pages soon. There are some terrific scenes in volume 5, where the group is forced to land in a swamp full of amazingly ferocious beasts, and the artist is clearly having fun. For me, these drawings are the principal charm of the books. [...]

If you like science fiction, and you're looking for natural conversational French, this is a great series. The language is both realistic and relatively easy, and there's enough suspense to keep me turning the pages. And now that I've finished the series, I'd say that book 5 amply delivers the strange aliens promised by the opening scenes above.

Geoffw managed to find a site where you can read the entire series online for 10€.


Wow, thanks for the recommendation! I've just read the first volume on IZNEO and really enjoyed it, almost couldn't put the book down (or rather close the browser window). I also like the drawings, they are simple and clear, and quite expressive.

Edit: Ooops, I've read volumes 2-4 already, and will probably read volume 5 later today. I wish there were books like this in Thai... emk, do you know any other SF books (or series) you could recommend?

Edited by Bakunin on 07 April 2013 at 8:43am

2 persons have voted this message useful



Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 3209 days ago

3333 posts - 4349 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, Norwegian, French, English, Italian, Papiamento
Studies: Mandarin, Georgian, Russian

 
 Message 512 of 1317
07 April 2013 at 4:19pm | IP Logged 
emk, I've reached about 20 hours of French with no subtitles. I know it's not much, but
it was enough to "wake me up" when it comes to understanding spoken French. Do you have
an idea of how progress works regarding listening comprehension, when you start watching
movies/TV series in French? Are there any different levels/phases of comprehension you
have been able to map?

So far, I can watch the episodes comfortably. There are very few unknown words on an
average episode, and I believe the little I don't get is related to words I still don't
know. Sometimes, though very seldom, I can isolate an unknown word I hear and look it up.
I can only understand well enough when I use earphones, but I think it's also a technical
issue. I'm wondering what comes next. Maybe I should try non-dubbed, more slang-
influenced materials once I'm done with this one.


2 persons have voted this message useful



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