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emk
Diglot
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United States
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2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 249 of 1317
18 October 2012 at 11:13pm | IP Logged 
My emotional experience of learning a language, by CEFR level.

Trying to reach A1.
Good days: Whoo! Assimil rocks! French actually makes some vague sense. I can do this!
Bad days: Must. Study. Today. Cannot. Break. The. Chain.

Trying to reach A2.
Good days: Actually, French spelling and pronunciation seem fairly logical now. Whoa.
Bad days: Will this Assimil course ever end?

Trying to reach B1.
Good days: I just read a 450-page book. In French. I am INVINCIBLE!
Bad days: OK, I just read that sentence 5 times and it still makes absolutely no sense.

Trying to reach B2.
Good days: Did I just explain the pros and cons of single sex schools in French? That's, like… wow.
Bad days: WTF? I could, like, talk yesterday. Did I just manage to break my French?
Worse days: Is this going to take a million years? Am I doing this wrong? Am I too old?

Trying to reach C1.
Good days: I can do almost anything I want in French (except understand difficult audio).
Bad days: …But I do everything badly. It's going to years before I can do it well. Natives are so good it's scary.
13 persons have voted this message useful



geoffw
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Senior Member
United States
Joined 2797 days ago

1134 posts - 1865 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Yiddish
Studies: Modern Hebrew, French, Dutch, Italian, Russian

 
 Message 250 of 1317
18 October 2012 at 11:18pm | IP Logged 
Nice. I'm in step 3 there right now, and I definitely can relate to everything in your list up to that point...
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 251 of 1317
18 October 2012 at 11:21pm | IP Logged 
If at your level you say you're still trying to reach C1, then fluent French doesn't exist =D

A native said I was B2, maybe even C1, but considering your personal trajectory, I might be leaving B1 towards B2 right now.
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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 252 of 1317
19 October 2012 at 2:36am | IP Logged 
Expugnator wrote:
If at your level you say you're still trying to reach C1, then fluent French doesn't exist =D


I certainly don't want anyone to think my French is amazing!

The first panel of this Itchy Feet comic is pretty much how I feel most days—my French is basically a rough sketch, laboriously drawn, while the natives around me draw effortlessly and elegantly. Or to use another metaphor, native French is like a rather nice Roquefort, and my French is Easy Cheese in a spray can.

The good news is that I can do quite a lot with my French, as long as I don't mind doing it badly. Sometimes, for a few brief shining moments, I'm actually borderline competent.

There was a great metaphor in Assimil Using French:

1. At first, you build your language upwards, until you reach a level when you can use it.
2. Then, you build your language outwards, learning to use it in more and more situations.

This corresponds nicely to A1/A2 and B1/B2, respectively. But let me add another stage:

3. Eventually, you start filling in thousands of nooks and crannies (while still building outward).

B1 and B2 really are fantastic levels—you can already do tons of useful stuff. But if you really fall in love with your language, then they're just the beginning. So I figure it's important to enjoy the process, and to not worry too much about the ups and downs.
2 persons have voted this message useful



iguanamon
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Senior Member
Virgin Islands
Speaks: Ladino
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2224 posts - 6708 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole

 
 Message 253 of 1317
19 October 2012 at 4:23am | IP Logged 
Jimmy Buffet wrote:
I've had good days and bad days, and goin' half mad days


The poet laureate of the islands wasn't singing about language learning but he may as well have been. Great post, emk! Well said.
1 person has voted this message useful



sfuqua
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2874 days ago

581 posts - 977 votes 
Speaks: English*, Hawaiian, Tagalog
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 254 of 1317
19 October 2012 at 5:44am | IP Logged 
Great post, emk. I have had some great days down at my A2 level, but I had some real bomb outs recently, a couple of situations where I tried to actually use my Spanish for something important and failed. I'm a bit discouraged right now, but I'm more determined than ever to push through to B1.
You're an inspiration :)
steve
1 person has voted this message useful



Majka
Triglot
Senior Member
Czech Republic
kofoholici.wordpress
Joined 2766 days ago

307 posts - 755 votes 
Speaks: Czech*, German, English
Studies: French
Studies: Russian

 
 Message 255 of 1317
19 October 2012 at 9:51am | IP Logged 
One more level for you, emk:

Trying to reach C2:
Good days: wow, I didn't notice that I have just spent a week abroad, speaking only in target language, discussing everything from my family to rocket science.
Bad days: Never mind that yesterday we discussed rocket science. Today, lets talk about something easy :)
Worse days: Did I say I speak this language? Shame on me! Where is the textbook for beginners? And the grammar book? Somebody please help me!

^This^ happens sometimes. You able to understand, you are still able to speak about almost everything, but you suddenly revert to the sweating and silently swearing stage :) The next day or next hour, the switch in your head flips and you are back to speaking fluently and effortlessly.
2 persons have voted this message useful



tarvos
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Winner TAC 2012
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China
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5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 256 of 1317
19 October 2012 at 10:49am | IP Logged 
Nice metaphor, emk. Given that my French is ever so steadily increasing towards B2 (TV
shows are becoming more understandable and less of a nuisance), I can certainly relate to
your post, haha...

I wish Russian would stop being stuck at B1 though.


1 person has voted this message useful



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