The inevitable (?) plateau

General discussion about learning languages
User avatar
Green Belt
Posts: 400
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 7:11 am
Location: The Netherlands
Languages: Native: Italian
Speaks: English, Dutch, French, Spanish
Understands but not yet speaks: Romanian
Studies: German
Can't wait to put his hands on: Scandinavian languages, Slavic languages, Turkish, Arabic and other stuff
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5141
x 522

Re: The inevitable (?) plateau

Postby Tristano » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:28 pm

Oh I'm not going to study the kitchen sink's terminology unless I have to mail a plumber. But it is enough to feel stupid during a conversation in a pub for a good five seconds before I wash the shame sipping a good red beer.
3 x

User avatar
Black Belt - 1st Dan
Posts: 1605
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:13 am
Location: Hollandiában
Languages: Native: Dutch, English
Expert: French, Russian, Swedish, German, Romanian, Esperanto, Spanish
Advanced: Italian, Mandarin, Portuguese, Greek, Czech, Norwegian
Intermediate: Hebrew, Icelandic, Hungarian
Beginner: Breton, Korean, Finnish, Polish, Japanese, Bulgarian
Read-only: Danish, Latin, Afrikaans
Language Log: ... PN=1&TPN=1
x 2839

Re: The inevitable (?) plateau

Postby tarvos » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:51 pm

It's not a plateau, it's a gently inclined slope, and the real problem is you can't see the incline because it's not steep enough to see, but it's enough to wear you out.

My experience with getting languages to levels above B2 is that it just takes a lot of time, experience, and situational usage. I cannot overstate how important massive input is at this point, and when I say massive, I mean massive. Nobody really wants to switch from their native tongue to their TL but you have to be that foolhardy in order to get to the place you want to be. You can get to reasonable quite quickly in nearly every language (I managed to get to reasonable in Mandarin under a year, and that's despite the hurdles in reading and so on.) But it's one thing to be able to express yourself and another to express yourself as natives would. And honestly, I don't feel the need to go that far - a proper, elegant, fairly standard language use will do nicely for me, and if they think I'm a foreigner, well, that's because I am one.

But once you hit that moment where you've gotten to "I can do most of this without thinking too much" but you still feel sort-of-uncomfortable with what's going on, if you feel like it's not the same - that's where you need to get to massive input. Because to really get the same feel your half an hours a week are not enough. You've got to really find everything you can get your hands on and burn through that material like the oil-addicted SUV-driver you are.

As for grammar - it can be part of the plateau, but most of the grammar is going to be related to small things you need to pay attention to. Just focus on the things that give you most trouble - don't re-do the articles if you already know them. Identify, target, and destroy. You'll find people keep throwing targets at you for shooting practice - welcome it like the sharpshooter you are. And if you really have a bit of self-confidence - don't stop shooting until you've hit all the targets on your range. Then do the next round. There'll always be something you missed out on.
14 x
Black crow on a tombstone.
Preferred pronouns: feminine.

Return to “General Language Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest