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Fuenf_Katzen
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
notjustajd.wordpress
Joined 2416 days ago

337 posts - 476 votes 
Speaks: English*, German
Studies: Polish, Ukrainian, Afrikaans

 
 Message 665 of 1317
26 August 2013 at 12:31am | IP Logged 
This is such an interesting discussion about the real differences between the levels. Slightly off topic, I finally broke down and checked the language requirements for my law school--the scale supposedly falls between a B2 and C1 (and surprisingly, the requirements aren't even much different between schools). Thinking back, that's probably where most of my international classmates fell, especially in output.


I've noticed in the US that given the right circumstances, there are very distinct differences between someone who has lived here for 1 year, 3 years, 5 years etc. Really, 7-10 seems to be the magic point where the speech is pretty similar to a native speaker (except for an accent). I think it's noticing these differences that makes me very frustrated, because realistically, without living in a German-speaking country, with a German-speaking social life, I probably won't reach further beyond a C1 level--don't get me wrong, I would be extremely happy to be at a comfortable C1. At each stage of my learning I've had different frustrations, and the B2-C1 gap is due largely to the fact that you can handle the language pretty well, and definitely have independence in it, but there is still so much that isn't known.
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s_allard
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3477 days ago

2704 posts - 5424 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 666 of 1317
26 August 2013 at 3:02am | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
...

(*) Je crois que -> indicatif, je ne crois que -> subjonctif, Crois-je que ? -> subjonctif.

Since this thread is not about correcting posts, I won't touch on the other errors, but there is one key thing that I did not want to let slip by. It is the negative verb form of croire that takes the subjunctive. The example above should be

Je ne crois pas que... "I do not believe that..."

I should point out that Je ne crois que... is valid; it simply means: "I only believe..."




Edited by s_allard on 26 August 2013 at 3:03am

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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3579 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 667 of 1317
26 August 2013 at 4:23am | IP Logged 
patrickwilken wrote:
Talking of HBO shows, I don't know if Breaking Bad would be your thing, but I really enjoyed the German dubbed version.

Thank you. The folks at SensCritique like it, which suggests that the French translation and voice acting is good enough to make it quite popular in France. I won't shell out to ship DVDs unless the French are reasonably enthusiastic. :-)

patrickwilken wrote:
emk wrote:
One of the nice things about getting so much comprehensible input is that I've really started to build an intuition for the French language. More and more often, I find myself guessing an appropriate collocation or idiom and getting a reasonable answer without knowing why.

That's really great. Congratulations.

Believe me, I'm happy about these small successes, because languages are just too big to learn to a near-native level through explicit study. As I sometimes point out, I have an excellent book of English grammar that's 1800 pages long, and it's still just a summary of the language. Similarly, vocabulary seems like a big challenge before you throw in collocations and register, at which point it becomes completely unmanageable. So even if some parts of language can be learned consciously, sooner or later I have to hope that Krashen is largely correct. And I also need to hope that adults can still more-or-less assimilate the language once they reach a certain level. Fortunately, both of these seem to be reasonably true so far.

Fuenf_Katzen wrote:
Slightly off topic, I finally broke down and checked the language requirements for my law school--the scale supposedly falls between a B2 and C1 (and surprisingly, the requirements aren't even much different between schools).

Yeah, it's always interesting to know which levels are considered sufficient for school. I'm really looking forward to my online statistics class in French this fall. I hope I'm ready to survive it.

s_allard wrote:
The example above should be

Je ne crois pas que... "I do not believe that..."

Thank you very much for the correction. I intended to write a pas but my fingers don't always take orders from my brain. And you're always welcome to correct my mistakes in French. Goodness knows I make more than my share.

...

I just finished the first episode of Survivants. Well-enough written, but surprisingly creepy. My wife's not buying into this one, which means it goes to the bottom of the list. Too bad; it's a native series and my comprehension was adequate during the first episode.
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s_allard
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3477 days ago

2704 posts - 5424 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 668 of 1317
26 August 2013 at 6:50am | IP Logged 
Although I'm a fan of Krashen and won't dispute the importance of comprehensible input +1, I also believe that the real improvement in productive or active performance comes from massive output with corrective feedback.

There is nothing wrong with consuming lots of dialogue-rich television but there are two caveats. First of all, the language may sound realistic but it is not real spontaneous natural language. It's not what you will really hear in real-life.

Secondly, you have to literally speak the language to really assimilate it. You have to mouth it and you have to use it in context in order to learn it.

It's not surprising that when you look at learners of any age who have achieved very high levels of performance in a foreign language, you see massive exposure and actual use by dint of some combination of living, studying, working and loving in the language, all combined with explicit correction.

Formal study, in my opinion, has its limits, not because formal study is too long or complex. Formal study can speed up the learning process. The problem is that it's still not the same as actually using the language.

A winning combination would be massive exposure, massive use, formal study and corrective feedback
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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2580 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 669 of 1317
26 August 2013 at 9:01am | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
patrickwilken wrote:
Talking of HBO shows, I don't know if Breaking Bad would be your thing, but I really enjoyed the German dubbed version.

Thank you. The folks at SensCritique like it, which suggests that the French translation and voice acting is good enough to make it quite popular in France. I won't shell out to ship DVDs unless the French are reasonably enthusiastic. :-)


Aren't their any French DVD rental places near you? Or the equivalent of a French Netflix? One of the big advantages for me in Berlin is that I can go to the local video store and rent a movie for 2 Euros.

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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3579 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
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 Message 670 of 1317
26 August 2013 at 5:53pm | IP Logged 
patrickwilken wrote:
Aren't their any French DVD rental places near you? Or the equivalent of a French Netflix? One of the big advantages for me in Berlin is that I can go to the local video store and rent a movie for 2 Euros.

Nope. There's two problems here: (1) there's really that much French material available in the US, and (2) Americans tend to learn French because of the artistic and cultural associations, which has a huge influence on what's actually available.

So it's relatively easy to find films d'art et d'essai, which—as many HTLAL logs will show—are very much an acquired taste. Places like the French Cultural Center in Boston have large libraries, but they contain vastly more French philosophy and history than light reading. Sometimes I'll get lucky and find some Vargas novels at the university library.

But if I want pop culture, science fiction, books about cryptography or BDs about kayaking, then I have to either ship it from Amazon.fr (which is expensive), visit Montreal (which is more expensive) or buy it from Schoenhof's in Boston (which is even more expensive still, but the guy who's always working the register has excellent taste in French books).

Once past B2, keeping up with the Super Challenge and a steady diet of interesting TV averages $100/month. (Not everything I buy gets read or watched. SensCritique is hugely useful for minimizing the bad stuff.) And there's plenty of times I read stuff in English for lack of fresh, cool things to read in French.

I've always believed in public libraries, but doing the Super Challenge while taking my kids to the tiny town library has filled me with a towering jealousy and a profound conviction that libraries are critically important to creating readers.
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geoffw
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2735 days ago

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

 
 Message 671 of 1317
26 August 2013 at 6:23pm | IP Logged 
Are you close enough to try the Boston Public Library? It's mostly dated stuff, but certainly covers more than
art and philosophy, and is a reasonably large French section (for a US public library, I mean).
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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2580 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 672 of 1317
26 August 2013 at 6:55pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:

Once past B2, keeping up with the Super Challenge and a steady diet of interesting TV averages $100/month. (Not everything I buy gets read or watched. SensCritique is hugely useful for minimizing the bad stuff.) And there's plenty of times I read stuff in English for lack of fresh, cool things to read in French.

I've always believed in public libraries, but doing the Super Challenge while taking my kids to the tiny town library has filled me with a towering jealousy and a profound conviction that libraries are critically important to creating readers.


What's your taste in scifi? I like Verner Vinge, Alaister Reynolds, Iain M. Banks, Richard Morgan, Greg Egan, Stephen Baxter...

I can get some German translations via the Amazon store. If you search with "French Edition" (in quotes) all the French books will pop-up, and you can do a subsearch for Kindle books. It doesn't look like a huge selection, but it's better than nothing.

One of the big advantages to living in Berlin is that I have been able to join the regional library system for 10 Euros/year. They have a lot of DVDs for rent. It's pretty hit and miss, as about half of them are unplayable on my computer, so I use Handbrake to rip them and it saves me the trouble of getting halfway through a movie to find I'll never get to the end.

Amazon.com doesn't seem to allow this, but here's a trick that will bring up all the authors that have French ebooks on Amazon.co.uk. I am guessing the selection is actually the same as the US, unless there is some copyright restriction.

Authors in French for Kindle from Amazon.co.uk

Edited by patrickwilken on 26 August 2013 at 7:01pm



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