How to improve my listening so I can pass a C1 DALF listening section

Ask specific questions about your target languages. Beginner questions welcome!
User avatar
Elenia
Black Belt - 1st Dan
Posts: 1704
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 1:22 am
Location: London
Languages: English (N), Swedish (???), French (Massively Atrophied) German (lowly beginner, somehow learnt to read)


Finnish?!
Language Log: viewtopic.php?t=708
x 2740
Contact:

Re: How to improve my listening so I can pass a C1 DALF listening section

Postby Elenia » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:42 pm

Cavesa wrote:The numbers with those "many zeroes" Elenia mentions are for reading. Thousands of book pages (I take usual smaller paperback pages as a unit, but who cares about the differences in font and text density and page size at this point. It would make a difference, if we were talking about a few dozen pages, not a few thousand). The starting point is again something like B1/B2, the point coursebooks tend to leave you at.


I was actually thinking in minutes, as I count my listening goals in minutes, but I'm glad you talked about books and vocabulary anyway as it's always good to see those numbers again. It reminds me of what I am (lazily) working towards :D
1 x

User avatar
rdearman
Site Admin
Posts: 3517
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 4:18 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Languages: English (N)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1836
x 7587
Contact:

Re: How to improve my listening so I can pass a C1 DALF listening section

Postby rdearman » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:54 pm

Humm... I am not convinced about those numbers. I have already racked up over 330 hours of French in the super challenge for films and did about the same last time. I doubt I am anywhere near C1. I can understand the gist of a series without subtitles but it is a struggle.
2 x
: 3 / 100 100 Italian paperbacks:

User avatar
smallwhite
Black Belt - 1st Dan
Posts: 1800
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2015 6:55 am
Languages: Native: Cantonese;
Good: English, French, Spanish, Italian;
Mediocre: Mandarin, German, Swedish, Dutch;
Some: Greek;
Studying: Turkish.
.
x 3091
Contact:

Re: How to improve my listening so I can pass a C1 DALF listening section

Postby smallwhite » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:14 am

> "elaborate"

Thank you for asking. I prefer to answer in a public post.

> radio

> "How many hours"?

I don't remember how many hours I had the radio on in the background, maybe 3 hours a day. It doesn't matter too much because I wasn't listening to it for 3 hours. Back then I only had France Culture on my desktop, so I'd be messaging or surfing on my computer and would just listen to that radio for 3 seconds here and 15 seconds there when I'm between tasks or when I'm taking a sip of coffee, etc. That listening time would thus vary greatly depending on how easily distracted you are, how much coffee you drink, etc. I don't know how much time I ended up actually paying attention.

> "How" "evaluate myself every few days, locate my biggest weakness, and work on that for a few days"?

I spent my first 12 months of French mostly on grammar, so during months 6 to 10 I'd still have a lot of grammar I hadn't learnt yet. Evaulating myself means I asked myself "what is the biggest hurdle that's stopping me from understanding that radio?", and the answer, my biggest weakness, would be, say, "I can't tell where sentences begin". So I'd work on that for a few days, eg. I'd concentrate my grammar studies on personal subject pronouns and conjunctions because that's what sentences usually start with, or I'd read up on sentence intonation because if you raise your tone at the end of a question, then a raised tone on the radio should mark the end of a question.
7 x
Türkçe
: 386 / 520 /520 hours
: Nonfiction known words: today 96%
: 098 / 130 /130 hours
: Fiction known words: today 96%

Dialang or it didn't happen.

garyb
Blue Belt
Posts: 918
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 12:35 pm
Location: Scotland
Languages: English (N)
French (advanced), Italian (advanced)
Spanish (intermediate)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1855
x 2537
Contact:

Re: How to improve my listening so I can pass a C1 DALF listening section

Postby garyb » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:41 pm

As usual for this forum there's too much emphasis on the numbers and little mention of quality as well as quantity. 300 hours of listening doesn't mean a whole lot in itself when there are factors like how comprehensible the materials were, how much attention was being paid (there's a whole continuum between extremely focused active listening and useless background listening), whether subtitles were present, etc. But no, people just want to know how many hours and how many words to reach a certain magic point.
7 x

Cavesa
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2617
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:46 am
Languages: Czech (N), English (C1), French (C2), Spanish (intermediate), German (somewhere on the path), Italian (passive advanced, active basic)
x 7234

Re: How to improve my listening so I can pass a C1 DALF listening section

Postby Cavesa » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:40 pm

Elenia wrote:I was actually thinking in minutes, as I count my listening goals in minutes, but I'm glad you talked about books and vocabulary anyway as it's always good to see those numbers again. It reminds me of what I am (lazily) working towards :D

You're absolutely right! I usually take a double SC as a good goal and that is 18000 minutes

rdearman wrote:Humm... I am not convinced about those numbers. I have already racked up over 330 hours of French in the super challenge for films and did about the same last time. I doubt I am anywhere near C1. I can understand the gist of a series without subtitles but it is a struggle.


garyb wrote:As usual for this forum there's too much emphasis on the numbers and little mention of quality as well as quantity. 300 hours of listening doesn't mean a whole lot in itself when there are factors like how comprehensible the materials were, how much attention was being paid (there's a whole continuum between extremely focused active listening and useless background listening), whether subtitles were present, etc. But no, people just want to know how many hours and how many words to reach a certain magic point.


The numbers I mentioned are in no way universal, but I believe they are a very good lead. My guess: I think most people not knowing a very similar language already would fit somewhere between 200 and 500 hours for the mainstream languages.

Garyb, you are right. I didn't add the conditions to those numbers.
What I am talking about is listening (watching) while paying attention, not background. Without subtitles, or with target language subtitles in several episodes at the beginning).
2 x

Sarafina
Orange Belt
Posts: 195
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:02 pm
Languages: English (N)
French (B1)
Japanese (Beginner)
x 302

Re: How to improve my listening so I can pass a C1 DALF listening section

Postby Sarafina » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:17 pm

Cavesa wrote:
Sarafina wrote:I asked this question before. I got some nice answers but I'm someone that likes really specific advice with an estimated time frame of when to expect to reach certain milestones.

My listening is probably if I am being generous is probably at best scrapping B1. I've been watching French YouTubers, shows on Netflix and listening to some French podcasts. Although I don't do it consistently enough because I get frustrated by the lack of progress and just waiting for it to click.

Does anyone have any specific method/process to improve their listening quickly? How does one do active listening as opposed to passive listening? Does there any listening exercises that you would recommend? How does it take to see serious progress?

Does anyone know any resources that will needed for being able to having listening of around a C1 level?


The estimated timeframe based on my own progress (mainly) and progress I've read from others on this forum:
-start: somewhere around B1 or B2, with very little experience beyond the CDs that came with a coursebook and similar stuff
-Beginning the first tv series:really lost at first, getting used to it a bit during an episode or two, getting the gist is not that much of a problem
-By the end of the first season: a huge leap forward, a lot of details are clear too, but it is not that comfortable and tiny pieces all over the series are missing
-A few seasons later: very comfortable, almost as comfortable as in the native language
-A new series: a shock again, getting used to a new series is faster this time, but still requires a moment
-very comfortable in a season or two
and so on.

A realistic timefrime from B1/B2ish listening to C2 listening: 250-300 hours. I have no clue where to pin the C1 flag.

DALF: Even the C2 tasks are far from hard for someone with approximately this amount of experience with tv series (+ a bit of movies and other things mixed in the lot). Sure, other genres, like tv discussions, are great but they don't need to make a huge part of the listening routine, unless you want them to. Work on your vocabulary, your reading or work with courses secondarily helps with listening too (as you cannot understand spoken words that you don't know at all).

The preparation books may definitely be helpful before the exam, but the listening tasks are easy, once you get used to normal content for natives. I am actually very sceptical about the possibility of reaching C1 or C2 listening only with the courses for learners. I hadn't done the listening part of my C2 DALF preparation books as it was easy and I didn't have time to waste. No problem at all, it was probably my strongest skill anyways, thanks to all the normal practice. (I wish I could talk like this about writing, that was a different story :-D )

A practical note: a few loooong listening practice sessions once a week help much more than short bits every day at the beginning. I don't think you can get the necessary momentum to move forward, rather than just maintain, but this is just one experience based opinion among many.

A catch: you need to get rid of subtitles and other crutches at some point and it will be discouraging. But you need to do it. The longer you postpone it, the later you'll get to it. I find it crazy that some people really wait with real use of the language until after a C1 exam.

I hope I didn't discourage you too much! The best news about all this: you can definitely reach this goal by having fun. By having fun for a few hundred hours. I had spread my 250 hours over three years or so. But I think half a year is possible, if you are in a hurry, don't need to spend majority of your French time on other aspects of learning it, and if you don't mind tv series addiction :-)

The numbers with those "many zeroes" Elenia mentions are for reading. Thousands of book pages (I take usual smaller paperback pages as a unit, but who cares about the differences in font and text density and page size at this point. It would make a difference, if we were talking about a few dozen pages, not a few thousand). The starting point is again something like B1/B2, the point coursebooks tend to leave you at.
5000 is a really nice goal to get almost comfortable, to miss just "details" (even though quite a lot of them), but you really can improve the fluidity and speed and general comprehension with just that few books (5000 pages, that's just 10-15 usual fantasy novels).
10000 leads to solid comprehension with few unknown words (that usually don't matter much), speed and enjoyment improvement.
20000 and you'll choose the language version of your next book just by the price and cover design, no problem with French :-)

To sum it up: It takes much more time and efforts than people think (and that is why they give up on extensive activities usually), but it is up to you how dense can your personal program be. It can take a few years. Or less (I can imagine a few fractures to be an ideal opportunity to devour a few thousand pages and spend a few hundred hours with a tv series, not that I'd wish anyone, including you and myself, anything bad). But it's fun. If it's not fun, you are not using the right tv series.


Thank you so much. Would you suggest that I get rid of subtitles all entirely or is it okay to use French subtitles if the video I watch has that option? I've found some TV series in French that I enjoy watching and I have already started watching it. But I wonder if there's any other supplementary listening comprehension activities I should be doing. So I already watch each episode and I try to concentrate as intensely as possible. But should I try to transcribe what I say? Do I need to listen to any episode for than once?
0 x

User avatar
Elenia
Black Belt - 1st Dan
Posts: 1704
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 1:22 am
Location: London
Languages: English (N), Swedish (???), French (Massively Atrophied) German (lowly beginner, somehow learnt to read)


Finnish?!
Language Log: viewtopic.php?t=708
x 2740
Contact:

Re: How to improve my listening so I can pass a C1 DALF listening section

Postby Elenia » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:32 pm

It might be worth trying to summarise the episode afterwards, or finding someone you can talk to with about it. Iguanamon has spoken a few times about watching through a series and then talking about it with a tutor later, that might be of use to you.
0 x

User avatar
PeterMollenburg
Black Belt - 1st Dan
Posts: 1757
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:54 am
Location: Australia
Languages: English (N), French (B2-certified), Dutch (High A2?), Spanish (~A1), German (long-forgotten 99%)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=784
x 3362

Re: How to improve my listening so I can pass a C1 DALF listening section

Postby PeterMollenburg » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:43 pm

rdearman wrote:Humm... I am not convinced about those numbers. I have already racked up over 330 hours of French in the super challenge for films and did about the same last time. I doubt I am anywhere near C1. I can understand the gist of a series without subtitles but it is a struggle.


In the SC it says you’ve watched 226 films, I’ve watched 201 films. I watched quite a few last SC as well. I’m able to understand 95% of the news when I watch it, but films and series are still tricky and it would be really haphazard to take a guess at my comprehension level but it’s perhaps somewhere above 50%.

I think what is holding me back is three things, I haven’t done much in the way of sticking to lengthy series all the way through then following with another and another (i’ve watched some, but they’re not that lengthy and I spread out the episodes usually). I don’t binge watch enough. And the fact I still often look at the subtitles (sometimes English, sometimes French), rarely none (news I don’t have subtitles which I comprehend much more!). I get the sense that were I to drop almost all other study and focus on listening only for a month, i’d be understanding absolutely everything or very close perhaps within a month. I’m sharing my experiences as perhaps my solutions and crutches holding me back might draw some correlations to your experiences.

So to the OP, I think Cavesa’s advice is very sound. Start with an easier series and progress through more difficult ones, get away from subtitles and smaller chunks every day of listening (although good practise for general language learning) don’t necessarily work that well for improving listening skills - do some binge-watching if possible. Also, throw in some dedicated intensive work where you try to catch every single word - perhaps RFI Journal en français facile, TV5 monde as someone else suggested, or pausing a series to catch every word with subtitles then later without.
0 x

User avatar
smallwhite
Black Belt - 1st Dan
Posts: 1800
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2015 6:55 am
Languages: Native: Cantonese;
Good: English, French, Spanish, Italian;
Mediocre: Mandarin, German, Swedish, Dutch;
Some: Greek;
Studying: Turkish.
.
x 3091
Contact:

Re: How to improve my listening so I can pass a C1 DALF listening section

Postby smallwhite » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:19 am

rdearman wrote:Humm... I am not convinced about those numbers. I have already racked up over 330 hours of French in the super challenge for films and did about the same last time. I doubt I am anywhere near C1. I can understand the gist of a series without subtitles but it is a struggle.

Were you at the same starting point as she was?
2 x
Türkçe
: 386 / 520 /520 hours
: Nonfiction known words: today 96%
: 098 / 130 /130 hours
: Fiction known words: today 96%

Dialang or it didn't happen.

User avatar
rdearman
Site Admin
Posts: 3517
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 4:18 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Languages: English (N)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1836
x 7587
Contact:

Re: How to improve my listening so I can pass a C1 DALF listening section

Postby rdearman » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:36 pm

smallwhite wrote:
rdearman wrote:Humm... I am not convinced about those numbers. I have already racked up over 330 hours of French in the super challenge for films and did about the same last time. I doubt I am anywhere near C1. I can understand the gist of a series without subtitles but it is a struggle.

Were you at the same starting point as she was?

Yes, I was probably at weak B1 after the end of the last SC, and probably about the same now. Course I've never actually taken a test.
0 x
: 3 / 100 100 Italian paperbacks:


Return to “Practical Questions and Advice”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Ani and 1 guest