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Moving from B2 to C2

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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2696 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 49 of 177
17 February 2015 at 6:06pm | IP Logged 
Cavesa wrote:

So, I highly recommend acquiring the related vocabulary, phrases and style. Wikipedia
helps, or there are many websites dedicated to scince, history and so on. Popular
science books are great, and lots of other media meant for natives. Textbooks for
highschoolers are awesome, even though rarely found outside the coutry. Such
vocabulary is expected from anyone speaking the language but unlikely to be found in
frequency dictionaries.


Another great and usually free resource is a high quality newspaper - that is if you are lucky enough to be studying one of the bigger languages.
1 person has voted this message useful



mrwarper
Diglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
Spain
forum_posts.asp?TID=Registered users can see my Skype Name
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1490 posts - 2500 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*, EnglishC2
Studies: German, Russian, Japanese

 
 Message 50 of 177
17 February 2015 at 9:45pm | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:
[...]How do we get to this level? It's not by necessarily studying obscure points of grammar or studying more fancy words. It could be just mastering the details of things we already know.

It should be both actually -- you don't want to be routinely derailed by stupid words or constructions seemingly popping out of nowhere because you didn't bother to check 'obscure' areas. None of them will rear its head often, but most of the time you can be sure some of them may do. Still, truly mastering all the more basic stuff will likely take you much longer, if only because more practice is needed to fully iron out mistakes in wide areas than it is to 'acquire' new minor points here and there.

Cavesa wrote:
6. Mr warper, you note about learning a subject on university classes without attending them made me smile. I passed my immunology exams without having never attended :-)
Well, and a few more weren't that far from it.

I passed a number of university exams studying exclusively on my own too -- I guess that's one good thing that came out of having really lousy teachers :-)

Sometimes the system can degrade too, which leads to weird situations. I recently tutored a Physics graduate on Physics to help him pass some public examination and, for example, I found out he had gaps in his knowledge of Quantum Physics that could be covered with what I had studied in General Chemistry in my first year, a subject he studied only marginally. I can imagine if I had to impart the classes he attended with a syllabus to cover, there would be only so much that could be done to ensure everyone met the course prerequisites before starting. Multiply that by n subjects and m years and the picture is not nice.

This is of course the excuse my bad teachers would hold too, but back then we had a good reason to tell it was all bollocks -- the good teachers in other groups or courses who consistently did better jobs at it.

Apologies for going a tad off-topic :)

Quote:
3. Great point by sallard is finding out the amout of work needed and planning it out.

Due to individual variability and issues with measuring the work needed, as a tutor I prefer to do this only to avoid or address wildly unrealistic expectations on the part of students -- which happens quite often anyway.

For example, I often tutor people who want to pass a set level exam by studying X hours a week for Y months before sitting their exam, and I always go, "OK, let's assume for a minute the Cambridge guys actually know their stuff. They say it takes 150 hours or guided studies per CEFR level. We are here, we want to get there, and we have so much time left... so you're telling me you want to gobble x months of studies in one third the time without tripling the weekly hours?"*.

For somebody who will accept that such approximations are just ballpark, though, it may still be very useful. I mean, if someone reasonably knowledgeable (a tutor!) says it takes some 100 hours to learn something, it doesn't mean any given learner will learn it in 100 hours -- what they're actually saying is that one can't expect to learn it in 10 hours, and they shouldn't desperate before it hits the 200 mark. Bearing that in mind, this is of course a very useful element for planning ahead.

*Of course studying more or less hours per week will speed up or slow down studies but, as been mentioned or implied, there are clear limits to what can or should be done before grinding to a halt -- too much study will cause saturation, too little will ensure you forget between sessions, and nobody wants either.


Edited by mrwarper on 17 February 2015 at 9:47pm

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garyb
Triglot
Senior Member
ScotlandRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3370 days ago

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

 
 Message 51 of 177
18 February 2015 at 10:38am | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:
How do we get to this level? It's not by necessarily studying obscure points of grammar or studying more
fancy words. It could be just mastering the details of things we already know.


This seems like a good point to me, although again I'm basing it on instinct rather than experience: I feel like I'd speak my languages pretty damn well if only I could fully use and apply all that knowledge I already have. Being able to use the wide range of vocabulary and expressions that I can recognise, nailing the grammar points that I can explain in theory but often mess up in practice, employing the most appropriate expression for a particular situation. Obviously that knowledge isn't perfect, and filling in the gaps also merits some attention, but I don't think that's the main point.

I feel like I've been at C1 level for listening and reading for years, yet the same level for speaking and writing remains elusive. I can't speak for C2, but it seems like going from B2 to C1 is a question of activating and strengthening existing knowledge more than gaining new knowledge. Hence the focus of my "TACtivation" log for this year. How to do that in practice? I'm not sure, but so far it seems that for me, lots of input, lots of production practice, and some grammar study are all important. And some immersion on top of all that would no doubt do wonders.

Edited by garyb on 18 February 2015 at 10:41am

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Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
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Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
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 Message 52 of 177
18 February 2015 at 11:23am | IP Logged 
Both are important. Granted, I did take a pretty unique CEFR exam that had an explicit "grammar and vocabulary" section (a remnant of the previous system, abolished soon afterwards), but my advanced grammar was tested to its very limits and I definitely wished I had practiced it more. But I did score C2 in that section :-)
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s_allard
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3593 days ago

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Speaks: French*, English, Spanish
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 53 of 177
18 February 2015 at 2:55pm | IP Logged 
garyb wrote:
...
I feel like I've been at C1 level for listening and reading for years, yet the same level for speaking and
writing remains elusive. I can't speak for C2, but it seems like going from B2 to C1 is a question of
activating and strengthening existing knowledge more than gaining new knowledge. Hence the focus
of my "TACtivation" log for this year. How to do that in practice? I'm not sure, but so far it seems that
for me, lots of input, lots of production practice, and some grammar study are all important. And some
immersion on top of all that would no doubt do wonders.


This is probably the situation of many people, including myself. Reading and oral comprehension are
not a problem; the real challenge is speaking and writing at comparable levels of fluency and accuracy.

The explanation is pretty simple. Reading and listening are passive tasks; everything is given to you.
You just have to figure things out. Not to say that it's easy but you can guess a lot and gloss over
things you don't understand. You can't do this with the productive skills.

I believe that much of the solution to this problem is simply brute force, i.e. writing and speaking a lot.
I have found that writing at least one page a week and correcting it with my tutor has worked wonders
for my written and spoken Spanish.

We tend to measure how many words, pages, books or hours that we consume but rarely do the same
for what we produce. We hear a lot about massive input + 1. Where is the massive output + 1? And
that's the problem. All that reading and listening don't do much good if you are still stumbling when
you are writing or speaking.
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Cavesa
Triglot
Senior Member
Czech Republic
Joined 3172 days ago

3277 posts - 6778 votes 
Speaks: Czech*, FrenchC2, EnglishC1
Studies: Spanish, German, Italian

 
 Message 54 of 177
18 February 2015 at 5:00pm | IP Logged 
I don't agree. Lots of listening input, that's what made me fluent when speaking.

I am fluent, I speak freely without searching for words or getting stuck at grammar
and without causing any discomfort to a native speaking with me, I can speak about
anything I want. My accent is minimal and only shows sometimes. And all that thanks to
lots of listening input. With such a large amount of immersion, you needs just a few
hours (no matter whether with a tutor or just a random native) to get your speaking to
fluency and at least C1, not months and months of corrections from a tutor. Actually,
those few months with a tutor lately haven't changed my speaking at all after the
first hour or two. Writing was the main point of our meetings and all the speaking,
including corrections, was more a maintenance than progress.

Before my tv series devouring, I was at the lowest passable point for a B2 exam,
despite having taken French at highschool and therefore getting corrected as much as
it was possible within the classroom setting limitations (and the teacher and
classmates there had been of exceptional quality, considering it was a highshool). I
needed bits of time to remember some words, I used mostly basic vocabulary despite
knowing much more passivley, I used to make tons of mistakes. In short, I used to
think less fast than needed when speaking in French.

I hate the myth that by passive activities, you get only the receptive skills. That is
pure nonsense. Yes, you learn the receptive skills before the productive ones this
way, which is fine. But your active skills won't stay unaffected. It is all connected.
Sure, you won't speak like a native without having ever tried before but listening and
reading gives you a huge pool to draw from.

My trouble at the C2 exam wasn't fluency or accent. Sure, sometimes I speak faster
when I am not that tired or nervous but my tutor had warned me against speaking too
fast as it may come at cost of being precise. And neither the other C2 candidates I
heard speaking before the exams used the excited-Doctor-Who-speed, so I don't think
that should be any problem. Nor the vocabulary, despite messing up one word due to
mixing it up with it's English counterpart, that was just one second of stupidity. I
spoke no less naturally than with the tutor a few days earlier, which means noticeably
better than his other student, aiming for dalfC1.

No. I made several grammar mistakes, that's what I consider my largest threat to the
passing grades when it comes to speaking. And when the first one was pointed out, I
got a bit nervous and was suddenly much less confident in the grammar. I know at least
of two or three grammar mistakes, which is more than I should have made there. That's
what I got for returning to formal grammar learning too late. Don't put your grammar
books aside for too long until you are totally 100% sure about every point of grammar
in all the situations even when you are tired, nervous or drunk. :-)

So, my experience points out it is possible to get fluent and to the C levels this way
(whether to C2, that is still unknown). To get there from the intermediate stage
devour lots of input, study and review the grammar and get an opportunity to speak for
a few hours from time to time.
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s_allard
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3593 days ago

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

 
 Message 55 of 177
18 February 2015 at 5:37pm | IP Logged 
Cavesa wrote:
I don't agree. Lots of listening input, that's what made me fluent when speaking.

I am fluent, I speak freely without searching for words or getting stuck at grammar
and without causing any discomfort to a native speaking with me, I can speak about
anything I want. My accent is minimal and only shows sometimes. And all that thanks to
lots of listening input. With such a large amount of immersion, you needs just a few
hours (no matter whether with a tutor or just a random native) to get your speaking to
fluency and at least C1, not months and months of corrections from a tutor. ..


Wow. I'm impressed and intrigued. With lots of listening input,"...you needs just a few hours to get
your speaking to fluency and at least a C1...'" I am astounded. What have I been doing wrong? After
hundreds of hours of listening to Spanish, hundreds of pages read and countless hours of grammar
study, I didn't notice that my Spanish became "fluent" in a few hours. In fact, it is very much a work in
progress. And with a tutor. Something's wrong.

Edited by s_allard on 18 February 2015 at 5:38pm

1 person has voted this message useful



robarb
Nonaglot
Senior Member
United States
languagenpluson
Joined 3222 days ago

361 posts - 921 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese, English*, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, French
Studies: Mandarin, Danish, Russian, Norwegian, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Greek, Latin, Nepali, Modern Hebrew

 
 Message 56 of 177
18 February 2015 at 5:48pm | IP Logged 
If you are already understanding at C2 level in a passive language, you can get speaking to C1 level in a few
hours.
Hundreds of hours and hundreds of pages is probably not enough to build up the necessary base--we're talking
about someone who knows all the necessary words, can recognize correct and incorrect grammar, and identify
and
predict common turns of phrase. When that person starts trying to talk, they will likely produce something fairly
accurate, but halting. Not everyone can pull it off so quickly, but yeah, in that situation some people can get
fluency
that fast. (Obviously, to reach a level of fluency worthy of C2 or comparable to your passive level, it would take
longer!)

Based on what you post here, I assume you learned Spanish often pushing the boundary of your knowledge while
working with speaking. In that case, of course it will take more speaking time (and, the reading/listening time
required will correspondingly decrease).

If you feel that it took an inordinate amount of time to get your Spanish speaking up to the level you'd expect
given your passive skills, then we can talk about why some people take more time than others to go active to
passive, but it's not impossible.

I remember speaking A2~B1 Dutch the first time I ever tried to speak it, at which time I was probably
understanding at about a B1~B2 level. After 6 hour-long sessions with a native speaker, my speaking was
probably at a similar stage to my listening.

Edited by robarb on 18 February 2015 at 5:59pm



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