Cavesa, I'm not doubting or questioning whether or not you have a C2 level in French. Your written English is outstanding, but I see that on your profile you put English is C1, and that your native language is Czech. I'm asking, because I'm growing more and more confused as to what a C2 level actually means. Check out these videos for the speaking portion of C2 exams. The first one is English, the second one is Spanish.
The reason I would like to have a clear understanding of what the CEFR levels mean is simple. When someone says they got to X level doing this, or that the best thing that helped them at this level was X, I want to make sure we're all on the same page.
While I understand that the CEFR exams are limited in terms of what knowledge and skills they test, it seems this is the most convenient means of measuring proficiency that's available to us right now.
Ah, sorry to have suspected you of doubting me. Perhaps too much of a habit.
The main problem with "on the same page" in case of C2 is actually very simple and logical. There is no higher level on the scale. Some of the new papers on the CEFR actually discuss this, but creating a new set of exams for very few people simply doesn't make much sense (let's not forget the business side of the issue). That is not much of a "we can't test every skill" issue, it is more like "we don't have a long enough measure tape" kind of issue.
So, my C2 French is definitely different from a very educated person who has lived in France for twenty years. They should logically be C4 or C5 or something
Also, the exams do not require you to be perfect at everything. The person you didn't like may have gotten tons of points in the other sections, balancing out her "barely passed" speaking. Actually, my writing score in the DALF was significantly lower than my speaking score (which I was told was rather unusual. Most people get a rather balanced result, neither too low, nor too high). My CAE writing was actually graded C2 but it was my only skill at that level, with speaking being the weakest. And there are also differences in the exam format. I am 100% convinced that the French exam writing is much more difficult and strictly and more narrowly defined than the English exam writing (a friend of mine with experience in both a French and a British school said the same thing). So, I think we are on the same page, we are just never gonna be on the same line, not unless we narrow the topic severely.
It is only natural that people at the same level vary to some extent (I have recently watched some DELE B2 videos and I would have guessed one of the girls to be C1 and the other B1. Sure, I am not an examiner and that comes into play, but there was clearly a difference between the two candidates that got the same certificate). And at C2, it is simply bound to be a much wider spectrum of ability. From people who are "merely" very good, up to native like speakers, or professional novel writers.
For all practical purposes, we can take the CEFR as the main scale, and you can get to the top even without the direct live immersion that you describe. But whether you can get to the theoretical "C4" like that, I don't know. Perhaps you can't, I have no clue.
It's honestly very confusing. Take a look at these two other videos of Spanish C1 oral exams.https://youtu.be/HyFiAzQTjJk
- perfect score on the oral exam.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7M7fCS_5Jk&t=51s
- "Ejemplo de examen de expresión oral DELE C1de un candidato APTO, aunque con una puntuación relativamente baja."
The difference between these two speakers is huge.What lead me to asking this question is the following...
Monday I worked with 2 guys from Ecuador. One of the supers on the job was from Mexico City, and the maintenance people in the building were native Spanish speakers also, if I had to guess where, I'd say central America.
The first hour or so with the Ecuadorians, we we're making small talk about random stuff like the weekend, what the building was gonna be, how Manhattan is changing, etc. I really didn't feel there was any difference between my Spanish and their's but only when we talked about things not physically present - i.e. the kind of language you would use on the phone, or over Skype.
Here are a few examples....
1. I asked the maintenance guy, "¿Aquí hay unas botellas de agua o una taza o algo así?"
- this is a very weird sentence. Normally people would just say, "Hay algo para beber aquí?
2. I asked one of the guys if he vacuumed out the dirt from under the sink and said, "has limpiado con la apsiradora ya esa mierda que estaba debajo del lavabo?"
- this is a weird sentence, especially in Latin American Spanish. One way which is a little better is "¿Ya pasaste la aspiradora debajo del lavabo?"
or even better... "¿Ya quitaste toda la mierda debajo del lavabo?"
With Spanish, I have never had 'some sort of immersion' for a long period of time. What I actually mean I found in an article written by Luca Lampariello. He breaks it down ingeniously into a linguistic macro-environment and micro-environment.
I have never had a Spanish micro-environment, with the exception of living with a host family for one summer in rural Perú, but they spoke Spanish worse than I did (they spoke Quechua,) and this was back in 2012.
To give you an example, if I had to take an CEFR like test for Italian and Spanish where they would assign me a level, I would most likely score higher for Spanish. I've read much more, I've watched 1000x more TV and I've studied and know the prescriptive grammar rules; I've had a much stronger Spanish macro-environment.
Despite all this, I would never make those kinds of errors above in Italian. I've already said things like that, and heard them said. I've been in 100's of situations where I didn't know the right way to say something, and I've asked.How to replicate this with a micro environment / 'some sort of immersion'?
Try to translate your daily conversations into your TL, text a native and ask if that's the right way to say it.
I guess also watching tons of TV, and developing a keen sense of what you would
know how to say.
Using TV to figure out the formality / informality of different words and expressions.
Get a really good tutor, or a native speaker of your native language who learned the language to a native level, and have him tutor you. He'll know all the false-cognates, misleading expressions etc. that escape L2 speakers.
That's all I can think of for now!