I’ve been reading back through this thread yet again as its full of really great advice.
Since passing DELF B2 around 6 months ago in May, I’ve barely advanced. A year has almost passed since I started this thread, and although B2 has been conquered, C1 still feels tantalizingly close yet impossibly far, just beyond reach (reminds me of an old NBA slam dunks video). So I’m resetting yet again, and when I get back from holiday in a week, the very serious drive to C1 recommences with more serious focus than ever. I’m quoting myself below from my own log. Yet again i’m revamping my routine in a desperate attempt to thrust myself forward like the fate of the human race depends on it. Too much stagnation for too long. Here’s the most earth shattering post you’ll ever read:
PeterMollenburg wrote:A little more dribbly waffle... mmmm waffles... no PM pas de sucre pour toi !
Three to four hours/day :
(advanced grammar, prononciation)
• Assimil Using French
• Easy French reader/ bilingual reader
• A book
(The real language)
• Buffy with transcripts
• Think French
The above is nothing new (a four hour rotation of hour blocks of study). Each hour will include ten to 15 minutes of vocabularly study, and therefore each activity listed above really won’t be an hour but 45 or 50 mins.
The difference here, hopefully is synergy (a mix of focuses) and in particular consistency of at least 3 hours dedicated study every day - I’ve given myself a time limit, which I’m hoping will make a big difference. I’m actually going to sit the C1 in Nov 2018, rain, hail, sun or raging storm. I need to push on as time waits for no-one, and I’ve decided progress is more important than idiotic behaviour.
My wife and I had a chat about our future plans, money, work, family, languages, to get a clear indication of where we’re headed and how to get there. One conclusion was that I ought to work harder, smarter, more efficiently on my French, as I can’t be doing only French forever if I’m to make room for other languages in the not-so-distant future. Hence, the time limit and the routine. I’ll kick it off the day after we get back.
Hi, Peter. Your learning path is fascinating and admirable, don't let this discourage you! I strongly believe the idea of gradual slow learning bit by bit is not realistic, at least not for everyone. I find it totally normal to accumulate knowledge/input/practice for some time and then get over the treshold and "suddenly" improve. The accumulation may take various amount of time. Resistance to the frustration is conditio sine qua non though.
However, I think you are pushing yourself very hard and I understand your disappointment. I think a part of the problem may be too easy resources. Even if you master 100% of an easy resource, you will not get further than it allows you. May I have a few suggestions? I hope you won't find them discouraging or too critical, that is not my intention!
I find your overall idea and structure of the plan solid, but I think the chosen resources simply don't lead as far as you need. Which is ok, there is no One Course to Rule Them All, but one needs to be realistic and combine them wisely.
Courses and grammars: Assimil is good but I highly doubt it suffices for C1. It is definitely a good part of learning, but I think it shouldn't stand alone in this category. As you expect grammar improvement from it, I think something like Grammaire Progressive Avancé and Perfectionnement would be a good choice, perhaps with other workbooks. Assimil is simply focusing on other aspects of learning more than on reliable grammar acquisition. Practice is important and exercises, while many people find them dull, are a good way to internalise all the stuff. Another thing that may be posing a problem might be conjugations. As you should already have majority of the grammar, it is important not to make mistakes at something as easily fixable as conjugations. Plus all the new stuff can irrationally mess up with things that have been clear and well used for ages. I make a mistake occassionaly too, usually while writing and overthinking, that's why I am all for improving this. I made a huge memrise conjugation course that could help you as well.
For vocabulary, I really recommend srsing (for example Eunoia's memrise courses are great) but it is not necessary, I couldn't stick to it. Extensive activities work really well, but they need to be plentiful and challenging. Intensive work well, but we are back at srsing.
Extensive reading, whether you want "just" immersion or expect more: This is not challenging enough, you are too good for "Easy" anything. Choose any books you would like to read and begin. Of course it will be hard at first, that is the key to progress. Books for kids like those by Erik L'Homme are a good start, or a popular adult author like Mark Lévy or Jean Christophe Grangé (but the kids books are a bit easier at first of course). Or a BD, I think you might like Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis
It is definitely not stupid, it is not fiction, and the language is appropriate for an advanced learner who isn't too comfortable with full books yet.
"A book" won't suffice either. Not if you want to get results from extensive
reading. It is even in the word. It is not just laziness, it is about huuuge amounts of reading. It is ok not to make such a commitment and use more intensive methods you can condense to your plan easier. It is possible to get to C1 without it, I don't think most learners taking the C1 exam have read that much, so you don't need to feel bad about not prioritising it. But without it, you cannot expect the results and feel discouraged by the lack of them.
Listening to the real language: The same story. Buffy is great for start but not sufficient. I find extensive listening much more important than extensive reading to be honest. And Yabla still may not give you enough stuff of sufficient level. If I may speak from experience, looooong pieces are much more efficient than short video clips, if you want to take the extensive path. Buffy is a good choice but won't suffice. If I were you, I would get rid of Yabla and any listening resources for learners. You need stuff by natives for natives, as ajatt says. Instead of Yabla, watch more Buffy episodes and choose an original series after it. For example an easier crime series (not Engrenages) could be a good choice, such as Profilage. Or another good dubbing before that (I loved Eureka).
Intensive reading and listening: I think tv series transcripts could help, if you can find them. Or real books using natural language (like the Sookie Stackhouse translations I profited from immensely, but of course there must be other choices). A good idea are articles from LeMonde and other websites (but be careful, of course the journalists sometimes make mistakes). Popular magazines like Science et Avenir are an awesome choice. Again something I profited from a lot. Perhaps resources for advanced learners like those you've mentioned can be useful, some authors try to make stuff for this level (and some are good at it), but they cannot be your main or only source.
I also recommend active search for your own gaps. Think in French during the day, watch the world around, everything you need and do in English. And if you cannot immediately think of a French equivalent or a way to express an idea, or a situation you couldn't deal with efficiently and with the appropriate style, write it down and look it up later
. I found this awesome, even though it requires a lot of discipline to keep doing for a long time, more than I am capable of. Do not rely on your memory, you won't remeber all the stuff later. And really look it up and study. Noone can show you your needs and gaps better and more precisely than yourself.