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Moving from B2 to C2

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Serpent
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serpent-849.livejour
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 Message 153 of 177
07 March 2015 at 3:44am | IP Logged 
Very true, and with "*just taking a piss" the problem is not just the missing article, but the lack of a continuation. "*just taking a piss out of you" might not sound very grammatical but it should be much more clear to non-British speakers.

In general I'd say idioms are not much of a problem at C1-C2 unless you love them and can't help using them all the time.

Let me also paste my post from the maintenance week:

For me one of the joys of early input is exactly that I can have interesting contexts for boring words and learn the literal meaning through figurative phrases.

I think we mostly differ in what we consider to be learnable through input. s_allard says learning the idiomatics through input is a given, but "there's still a problem of correct usage" (implying passive-only acquisition). Many tend to think that not all grammar can be learned through input, especially the morphology. Others say that some types of grammar just require more input (and more balance between the listening and reading), and I tend to agree with them.

It's also the question of what counts as massive input. For me SRS is part of the input because it just helps me see the cool examples again. And things like Twitter and Facebook also count.


more posts can be viewed here btw - I hope Cavesa copies hers too!

Edited by Serpent on 07 March 2015 at 4:04am

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tarvos
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 Message 154 of 177
07 March 2015 at 3:57am | IP Logged 
Well I mean there are idiomatic phrasings you can't get around learning, but these come
up so early you can't really avoid them in any way.
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Serpent
Octoglot
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Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 4782 days ago

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Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
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 Message 155 of 177
07 March 2015 at 4:03am | IP Logged 
One more cause of disagreements is that s_allard sees a common pattern for a relatively specific group of classroom/formal learners and concludes that nearly all learners are like that. Indeed, it's common to learn the literal meaning and then build up on that, it's common to struggle with grammar and have many gaps to cover between B2 and C2; for relatively good learners it seems common to enjoy learning the vocabulary and always want more. It's common to be able to understand everything but struggle to speak. It's common to keep translating from L1 way beyond the beginner's level. Of course these are common, I don't doubt that s_allard sees this a lot. Especially with Canadian learners who speak English or French and learn the other one. Cool.

But HTLAL shows what a diverse crowd we are. Many members aren't native speakers of English (or French), many learn more distant or completely unrelated languages, many love grammar and have no major problems with it. Many face no external pressure like exams, job interviews or simply living in the country where your L1 is not enough. (or the pressure is different from what you expect, for example for Cavesa whose professional life didn't depend on passing this specific French exam urgently) And long-term HTLAL'ers tend to be highly motivated. Many are much, much better learners than the ones s_allard or anyone else knows in real life.

s_allard, you've been recommended many times to read some logs of actual HTLAL members instead of building theories based on your relatively small sample. Sadly you don't seem interested in almost anything but defending classroom learning, tutoring and the 300 word kernel.

Edited by Serpent on 07 March 2015 at 4:06am

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Serpent
Octoglot
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serpent-849.livejour
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 Message 156 of 177
07 March 2015 at 4:05am | IP Logged 
tarvos wrote:
Well I mean there are idiomatic phrasings you can't get around learning, but these come up so early you can't really avoid them in any way.

True, I meant specifically at C1/C2, which is what this thread is about. Edited the post.
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s_allard
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 Message 157 of 177
07 March 2015 at 4:43am | IP Logged 
It's unfortunate that the lasts posts of the maintenance version of this thread have not been incorporated into
this version because we have moved on past this tiresome discussion about idioms. As per usual, I won't waste
my time responding to posts that take my name in vain. I suggest we move on to another theme. Here is a copy
of one of my recent posts from the other server:

Since the theme of idiomatic vocabulary seems to have petered out, it might be interesting to have a
look at another topic: how to develop good pronunciation. It's interesting to note that the CEFR
language assessment model does not mention pronunciation at all: there is no assessment of
pronunciation. I think the assumption is that pronunciation inevitably improves with proficiency. This
is probably quite true but it does mean that one could possibly be quite proficient in various features
of a language and have rather mediocre pronunciation.

In any case, every learner has in mind what a native speaker sounds like, and that is the gold standard.
We hear actors and radio or television personalities and we want to sound like them. The problem is
for adult learners who are not living in the country of the language, achieving anything close to native-
like speech is extremely rare.

That said, the first goal is to be intelligible so that people can at least understand what you are saying.
And then you do what you can to get better. I won't get into all the details now, but, essentially, we
would be working diligently on items such as:

1. Articulation of individual sounds
2. Articulation of connected speech
3. Intonation
4. Rhythm
5. Fluency and the elimination of disfluencies
6. Syllabic and word stress
7. Decoding the written language for reading aloud
8. Eliminating or attenuating the interference of the native language

I should also add that there are issues of choice of regional accent and social register. For example, in
English, there are major varieties such as British, American and Australian English plus regional and
class differences within each of those varieties.

There are two last points I would like to make. Firstly, I believe that considerable repetitive practice is
absolutely necessary here. It takes time and effort to get the vocal apparatus used to producing new
sounds easily. I do not believe that just listening to examples of speech will automatically produce
good pronunciation.

That said, I recognize that some people believe that lots of listening will do the job. If that works, fine.

The second point is that I also believe that in the area of pronunciation, the use of a native resource
person is the most efficient and effective way to achieve good results quickly. Pronunciations mistakes
are hard to correct on one's own. This is more easily done with someone else, and a lot more fun.

Again, I recognize that some people take a different position and believe that all this can be done
without the services of a resource person. This is probably true but I believe that using a resource
person, where available, is the fastest way to get good results.

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tarvos
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 Message 158 of 177
07 March 2015 at 5:09am | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
One more cause of disagreements is that s_allard sees a common
pattern for a relatively specific group of classroom/formal learners and concludes
that nearly all learners are like that. Indeed, it's common to learn the literal
meaning and then build up on that, it's common to struggle with grammar and have many
gaps to cover between B2 and C2; for relatively good learners it seems common to enjoy
learning the vocabulary and always want more. It's common to be able to understand
everything but struggle to speak. It's common to keep translating from L1 way beyond
the beginner's level. Of course these are common, I don't doubt that s_allard sees
this a lot. Especially with Canadian learners who speak English or French and learn
the other one. Cool.


I would even say my success in my good languages overwhelmingly does not come from
formal learning. I have had success with private tutoring but those have for the most
part been very personalized classes, and these tutoring classes I don't use to teach
me grammar but to get exposure to things I would not normally otherwise expose myself
to, or to get help with aspects of the language that I'm really poor at and need help
with. My good languages, with the exception of French (where I have extensive formal
history) and German (which I studied at school a long time ago) don't rely on much
formal tutoring at all and when I have used tutoring, it has always been with a very
practical aim behind it (I did a lot of Romanian tutoring to improve my writing and
speaking for example, very actively, but it was very hard, I had to use complex
vocabulary and I have had to do volunteer work in Romanian). My Swedish is practically
99% self-taught, for example, and my Russian has only seen a very limited amount of
evening courses (but a good amount of tutoring at advanced levels).

I'll give an example of how I effectively use tutoring to improve my Russian (which
may I add is at a fluent level, something like C1:)

- I take specific reading classes where I have to read the text out loud and note any
incomprehensible words - and then state what I think about this text in depth. The
selected texts are complex articles - the last ones I did were blogs about CO2-neutral
housing projects in Norway, a construction site in Australia built of prefabricated
modules that were designed to minimize energy loss, and so on. Vocabulary here would
include things like "solar energy storage device" "excess heat recycling" and so on.
C-level targets that are only good to know if you, like me, actually have a background
studying solar energy at university.

I have to read the entire text out loud. This exercise is done so that I don't f**k up
stresses in my Russian (I have three major problems left in my Russian and stress is
one of them). My teacher rigidly corrects every stress mistake I make. This is also
why I do not read too fast - and often I can self-correct stress-mistakes now, even
though I may misplace them on new or guessable words.


Note that all of the pronunciation stuff is done in context: there is a theme to the
texts and it's all about subjects I am familiar with to a certain degree. I studied
sustainability and chemical engineering at university and have even done research on
charge separation in molecules intended for solar cells.

This is a C-level tutoring exercise you can do (switch themes though if you're not
coming from an engineering background like I do).

I also wrote particular blog articles which I had corrected which were about
literature (a review of Master and Margarita), poetry, creative writing, even a guide
on how to fill out a tourist visa form for China!

This is how I concretely use tutoring at my level when I'm in the C ranges. I have
done similar exercises in French where I am at a comparable level, and I could
probably handle something similar in Swedish too.

Note how the Russian exercises focus specifically on my weaknesses in Russian:

- correct formulation of phrases, not sloppy long-winded noodling. Correct use of
prepositions mandatory! (I once had to do a similar exercise in French where I had to
use as many French prepositions as possible in a creative writing text. Including
really obscure ones!)
- Stress mistakes (and slight pronunciation mistakes; I can correctly pronounce
individual sounds but I need to produce them coherently in context, although my speech
is more than coherent in Russian)
- practice with complicated grammar aspects I haven't mastered 100% such as the
aspects
- vocabulary holes on topics I don't normally speak about in Russian but am
knowledgeable in in English and Dutch.

If you use your tutors this way, and actively target your weaknesses, it will make you
gain momentum even at a level where progress seems non-existent. I have plateaued out
in Russian a long time ago, and my Russian is not perfect, but nowadays I can nearly
always spot my own mistakes when I write something and I have a huge vocabulary
spanning many topics and can use many colloquial phrases and idioms correctly. I also
have a very good accent that allows me to pass unnoticed and doesn't really irritate
people.



Edited by tarvos on 07 March 2015 at 5:10am

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Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 4782 days ago

9753 posts - 15776 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 
 Message 159 of 177
07 March 2015 at 6:53am | IP Logged 
Yeah I can say pretty much the same about my Finnish, except that I've not got corrections since low B2. But I think I've spent more total time in Finland than you in Russia. Portuguese is moving in the same direction too, despite no travel opportunities.

Edited by Serpent on 07 March 2015 at 6:53am

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tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
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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 160 of 177
07 March 2015 at 2:23pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
Yeah I can say pretty much the same about my Finnish, except that I've
not got corrections since low B2. But I think I've spent more total time in Finland than
you in Russia. Portuguese is moving in the same direction too, despite no travel
opportunities.


The former is definitely true, but I use Russian so often daily it doesn't matter.


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