Time from B2 to C1/C2? (frustrated somewhat- seeking some feedback pls)

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PeterMollenburg
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Re: Time from B2 to C1/C2? (frustrated somewhat- seeking some feedback pls)

Postby PeterMollenburg » Tue May 14, 2019 2:41 am

MamaPata wrote:Out of interest, why are you intensively watching Buffy rather than native content? I’m not opposed to dubbed series (I enjoy them, it’s a good way to maintain content and watch things you want to watch), but they’re definitely not as fruitful as native stuff. Your French is good. You can definitely listen to native content, I’m sure there is native content with transcription that you’re interested in.


I've been actually watching more and more Netflix récemment (generally American shows in Fench dub) and I'm finding improvements. I can watch many series now without missing too much. But I'm still sure Engrenages and the like would leave me pretty annoyed (at my lower level of comprehension).

My original listening block of study included a month or two of Yabla then Buffy transcripts etc. I cut it back to just Buffy and only as a reference when failing to follow the dialogue in order that I, theoretically, would basically be watching it extensively after hopefully not too long a time. I have the series, I bought it for that purpose (to refer to the accurate transcripts), might as well make use of it, is what I"ve been thinking, and it's likely to help me hone in on my hearing abilities. As I can follow some series reasonably well already without transcripts, I'd imagine it shouldn't be too long before I'm following rather well. I'll proceed onto other content incrementally (again in theory) aiming to increase the difficulty of each series. I think Kaamelott (not sure I spelled it correctly). Thoughts? (anyone)
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Re: Time from B2 to C1/C2? (frustrated somewhat- seeking some feedback pls)

Postby DaveAgain » Tue May 14, 2019 10:27 am

PeterMollenburg wrote:. But I'm still sure Engrenages and the like would leave me pretty annoyed (at my lower level of comprehension).
Crime fiction seems to be a special difficulty of its own, I think due to the mixture of slang and jargon.

I wouldn't get hung about about not understanding everything in any programme though. If you hear a new word, you can look it up.

I think picking series with available transcripts is a good idea.
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Re: Time from B2 to C1/C2? (frustrated somewhat- seeking some feedback pls)

Postby iguanamon » Tue May 14, 2019 1:34 pm

PeterMollenburg wrote:...My original listening block of study included a month or two of Yabla then Buffy transcripts etc. I cut it back to just Buffy and only as a reference when failing to follow the dialogue in order that I, theoretically, would basically be watching it extensively after hopefully not too long a time. I have the series, I bought it for that purpose (to refer to the accurate transcripts), might as well make use of it, is what I"ve been thinking, and it's likely to help me hone in on my hearing abilities. As I can follow some series reasonably well already without transcripts, I'd imagine it shouldn't be too long before I'm following rather well. I'll proceed onto other content incrementally (again in theory) aiming to increase the difficulty of each series. I think Kaamelott (not sure I spelled it correctly). Thoughts? (anyone)

When doing a first series, it's about the cumulative effect. Watching just a few episodes just won't allow that cumulative effect to happen. When I worked with my first Portuguese series, I'd watch and take notes in my own shorthand. I'd write down unknown vocabulary/idioms/grammatical constructions and investigate them myself/discuss with my tutor. I'd summarize what went on in the episode with my tutor. Without a tutor, the transcript can be used as your answer guide. You could post your writing online to a forum in French for feedback or even in your log here. Over 50-100 episodes, comprehension becomes significantly better. Absorption/comprehension of natural speech patterns/conversational vocabulary becomes more automatic as a benefit. It's a cumulative effect over those 50-100 episodes.

A dubbed series has advantages and disadvantages. Obviously, a dub is not native speech or culture which is a disadvantage. The advantage is in having possibly more engaging and familiar content to enjoy and use. If you've already watched every episode of a series and can "name that tune in five notes" spout dialog in L1 with just a few cues, then it becomes easier to understand what's being said in L2 and your mind can "fill in the blanks" more easily. Dubbed series can be a bridge to truly native content. They can also be a way to utilize time already spent on L1 with L2.

I watched all of Westworld 1 and 2 in Portuguese and thoroughly enjoyed it. I've watched most of the Walking Dead in Portuguese after watching in English... sometimes without watching in English. I've read TWD comics in Portuguese without resorting to English. I've enjoyed Calvin and Hobbes collections in Portuguese too. I have also enjoyed plenty of native series and literature and continue to do so. Dubs/translations also have their place and can be quite useful as a component of engaging with TL consumption. The original can be referenced. Popular dubbed and translated series/books will have online reviews/synopses/analyses/youtube video discussions/forums. The Haitian Creole Bible chapter study has been huge for me in learning. Don't get me wrong, native content is very important/useful/enjoyable as well and I take full advantage of it. I get a lot out of the Bible in Kreyòl as far as language goes but I get more cultural value out of reading /listening to interviews with Vodou oungans.

What dubs and translations can do for a learner is show us how dialog/concepts in L1 are expressed in L2. Since we are all human and share many universal traits, actions and reactions, there are plenty of "aha!" moments when we realize how a common concept in our L1 is expressed or conceived of in L2... because we have that context coming from our L1 to help us. Of course, dubs/translations shouldn't be our exclusive mode of engagement with L2... neither should they be avoided.

So, PM, the important thing when starting out with L2 series is to get the cumulative effect going on. That effect is slow but huge and becomes quite noticeable after having gone through 50-100 hours. Whether that's a dub or a native series is less important when first starting to work with a series than actually working with the series. The problem for you is having to have structure. There isn't any structure with working with a series but you can create your own structure.

How to do this? Research the episode you will watch first or after. A popular dubbed or native series will have synopses available in a lot of places- wikipedia in L1 and L2 for dubs and L2 for native. An episode synopsis can give a learner a place to start, a useful background foundation for understanding the plot and not getting lost when comprehension isn't 100%. Some synopses are brief- maybe a paragraph, others are much more detailed. That's one source. Forums discussing a series and their episodes are also quite useful. The web is full of episode analysis for complex series like "The Walking Dead"; "Westworld"; "Game of Thrones"; popular telenovelas in Spanish Portuguese and Turkish soaps in the original and all their dubs. A really popular and complex dubbed series will have participatory forums; youtube discussions; facebook groups; twitter accounts, etc. in both L1 and L2.

The transcript can be used to check comprehension. If you are taking notes (with timestamps), you can check back with the transcript to see if you got it right. If the series is a dub, the L1 original can be checked as well to clear up doubts. Unknown words and concepts can be further researched and studied. In a dub, sometimes translators will opt for a more succinct way of saying something in order to match more closely the speech time of a character's lip movements. Research of a dialog can lead to more ways to say the same thing. This is how one can "study" without a course and even "just looking up words" can be quite useful.

Your need for structure in learning can be created by yourself and followed ruthlessly with every episode... until you don't need to do that anymore. In other words, you don't have to just sit back and passively watch a series. You can make your engagement every bit as studious as you would a pre-packaged course by devising your own method of utilization to serve you best. Certain uncommon phrases that you may want to have available in your speech or writing can be srs'ed. If you can figure out how to work with native material, you will find that you will be "creating your own course" which can help your learning tremendously by making it more specific to what you need and want and speed up your learning just by "watching tv and reading comic books" as emk said. Doing this will help lessen the time you will spend learning your next language. To be cliche about it- "you get out of something what you put into it".
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Re: Time from B2 to C1/C2? (frustrated somewhat- seeking some feedback pls)

Postby Lianne » Tue May 14, 2019 2:51 pm

iguanamon wrote:
Leo Babauta wrote:The best goal is no goal

*laughs in executive dysfunction* :lol:

Regarding sticking with one series: This is something I've been meaning to do more of. Since I started watching French stuff on Netflix, I'm all over the place. It keeps me interested, but I don't get the chance to really sink into a series. But last night, I watch a couple episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel (which I hadn't watched in a few months), and I think I'm going to get back into watching that frequently. I actually felt like I understood way more than the last time I watched it, so that was refreshing!

PM, I wish the both of us good luck!
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Re: Time from B2 to C1/C2? (frustrated somewhat- seeking some feedback pls)

Postby javier_getafe » Tue May 14, 2019 7:04 pm

Lianne wrote:
iguanamon wrote:
Leo Babauta wrote:The best goal is no goal

*laughs in executive dysfunction* :lol:

Regarding sticking with one series: This is something I've been meaning to do more of. Since I started watching French stuff on Netflix, I'm all over the place. It keeps me interested, but I don't get the chance to really sink into a series. But last night, I watch a couple episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel (which I hadn't watched in a few months), and I think I'm going to get back into watching that frequently. I actually felt like I understood way more than the last time I watched it, so that was refreshing!

PM, I wish the both of us good luck!


Could I suggest you to watch "Big little lies? Just in case it was translated into french, thing I don't know. :)
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Re: Time from B2 to C1/C2? (frustrated somewhat- seeking some feedback pls)

Postby Cavesa » Tue May 14, 2019 7:10 pm

DaveAgain wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:. But I'm still sure Engrenages and the like would leave me pretty annoyed (at my lower level of comprehension).
Crime fiction seems to be a special difficulty of its own, I think due to the mixture of slang and jargon.

I wouldn't get hung about about not understanding everything in any programme though. If you hear a new word, you can look it up.

I think picking series with available transcripts is a good idea.


Engrenages is a particularly difficult tv series. Crime fiction in general is not the problem. There are series of medium difficulty (Profilage is a good example), or even easy ones (CSI clones tend to be repetitive and not hard to understand)

Profilage has a transcript available, if I remember correctly.

In general, I think there are very few totally wrong options. As long as you can stick to the series (if Buffy works, great), it is an asset. Even a "wrong choice" won't matter much in the big picture of hundreds of hours of tv series.

iguanamon wrote:When doing a first series, it's about the cumulative effect. Watching just a few episodes just won't allow that cumulative effect to happen.

YES! So, anything that can make you binge watch (or at least watch frequently and a lot) is a good choice.

Over 50-100 episodes, comprehension becomes significantly better. Absorption/comprehension of natural speech patterns/conversational vocabulary becomes more automatic as a benefit. It's a cumulative effect over those 50-100 episodes.

Yes, I agree again. I'd like to add that the next series will again feel like a step back, and the learner may feel they don't understand that much and doubt their progress. That is normal. But the second time, it will take perhaps 20-30 episodes, instead of 50-100. And the third one will take 5-10. (or other numbers, depending on the individual and on the choice of tv series, but I think these are approximately ok for illustration).

A dubbed series has advantages and disadvantages. Obviously, a dub is not native speech or culture which is a disadvantage. The advantage is in having possibly more engaging and familiar content to enjoy and use. If you've already watched every episode of a series and can "name that tune in five notes" spout dialog in L1 with just a few cues, then it becomes easier to understand what's being said in L2 and your mind can "fill in the blanks" more easily. Dubbed series can be a bridge to truly native content. They can also be a way to utilize time already spent on L1 with L2.

Yes. The dubs (if we put aside the really bad ones) widen the pool of content available to the learner. They tend to be easier, that is an advantage. And they contain stuff you would otherwise waste time on in English. This way, it will not be wasted time language-wise.

However, I think the "it is not the original culture" argument is being overestimated in some ways. Yes, you learn much more about the culture from the original tv series from your target language's country. I love the different styles and the content of each of the traditions I am now able to observe thanks to my new languages, don't get me wrong. But let's not forget that the euroamerican cultures are actually not that different, and also the american tv series are part of much more than just the US culture. A random French native is very likely to have both original and dubbed series as a part of their cultural background. So, if you watch for example Game of Thrones in French, and so do millions and millions of French natives, are you not sharing a bit of the same culture with the natives?

What dubs and translations can do for a learner is show us how dialog/concepts in L1 are expressed in L2. Since we are all human and share many universal traits, actions and reactions, there are plenty of "aha!" moments when we realize how a common concept in our L1 is expressed or conceived of in L2... because we have that context coming from our L1 to help us. Of course, dubs/translations shouldn't be our exclusive mode of engagement with L2... neither should they be avoided.

Yes, again. I couldn't say it better.
I'd like to add that I remembered the dubbed show Eureka during my DALF very fondly, as it turned out to have been one of my best resources. :-D It filled a gap on the original series market for me and balanced out the difference between my English and French speaking skills about various topics more than I had expected. It was a dubbing and it taught me so much!
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Re: Time from B2 to C1/C2? (frustrated somewhat- seeking some feedback pls)

Postby PeterMollenburg » Wed May 15, 2019 12:06 am

Thanks everyone for your tips.

Thanks iguanamon and Cavesa for providing a lot of detail.

I don't think I need to respond to you both in as much detail as you have or anyone else in particular detail, but I will say a couple of things. It all makes sense.
iguanamon wrote:Igunamon
- the episode synopsis idea is great. Hadn't thought of that. As is the writing about each episode.
iguanamon wrote:Cavesa
- thank you for your tips as well, and where did you watch the series Eureka, out of interest? (just wondering if I can find it myself).

I started my new routine yesterday and managed 2 hours of my routine plus an hour of TV watching of a documentary in French with my kids, so 3 hours total, while 2 hours from my routine... repeating myself.

In my first hour I did the 15 min SRS and 45 min vocab/intensive reading.
As there are word lists in the articles (French with English equivalents), I wasn't sure whether I ought to SRS those by adding the sentences from within the body of the article that uses the unknown word/expression, or whether I should just learn them from the stand alone lists to save time and avoid all the input of SRS (typing out sentences in the deck), because putting in appropriate close cards for SRS'ing all the words takes a lot of time, but SRS'ing seems useful for reinforcement. Then again, just reading the articles more would aid in reinforcing as well, which I'd have more time to do were I not entering everything into SRS. I'm just unsure what the best use of my time is there. And with my 2nd hour of study I have a similar issue...

15min SRS
45 min Buffy
I watched it practically without pausing as I had seen episode a few times before and worked with it somewhat closely last year. Thus, I understood 99% of it first go this time around, which is to be expected, given my work with it last year (I read the transcript several times back then too). What I was unsure about, and again this is a detail thing. Should I then add all the unusual expressions/words to SRS by reading through the transcript? I'm leaning towards yes, despite it costing time. I'm hoping that with a season or two, i'll only find I have to add a few things per episode to SRS, but i'm also mindful that if that's not the case, then by entering everything into SRS, i'll be using time in which I could just be watching more. Still, maybe if I do it with this series and aim to cut back on the amount of things I add to SRS gradually, even if I deliberately don't enter some words/expressions (say pick a few each episode and limit it at that), since watching extensively is really the main objective. Still, Buffy is rare in that it has all the transcripts and I might as well utilise them, right? even if that means a bit of a slow beginning, as after Buffy, it's going to be much more about extensive watching.

I'm very determined this time round and keen to create momentum with my extensive reading and extensive watching, but as for intensive reading and watching, I'm just unsure as to how much SRS'ing is enough (i.e. - when does SRS become a hinderance?). Keep in mind that these are intensive hours of study, but still, I'm not so sure yet. I'm sure I'll work it out myself, but I wouldn't mind some comments on that as well.

Sorry prob repeating myself here somewhat and going around in circles as I decided I didn't explain enough, came back edited and added things that may have made it waffly... mmmm waffles!
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Re: Time from B2 to C1/C2? (frustrated somewhat- seeking some feedback pls)

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Wed May 15, 2019 1:57 am

PeterMollenburg wrote:I'm very determined this time round and keen to create momentum with my extensive reading and extensive watching, but as for intensive reading and watching, I'm just unsure as to how much SRS'ing is enough (i.e. - when does SRS become a hinderance?). Keep in mind that these are intensive hours of study, but still, I'm not so sure yet. I'm sure I'll work it out myself, but I wouldn't mind some comments on that as well.

The first attempt that I made in extensive listening to TV dubbed into French was an aborted effort with Buffy about five years ago. Two seasons were all I could stomach.
However, about a month ago I finished a successful effort to listen to 100 hours of programming. Included in that were 2 seasons of Eureka (on Cavesa's recommendation, I am almost certain) and five or six seasons of That 70s Show (on StringerBell's recommendation). Eureka was the easiest to understand, but finding the DVDs was difficult. I bought them from an online dealer several years ago, so my memory is hazy about where I got them. Probably I looked for them on amazon.fr, got the ISBNs, and bought them from amazon.com.
As far as SRS, in neither go at listening did I do any SRSing. I was listening to anywhere between 1.5 to 3 hours a day, almost always consequetive :) days, and I had my hands (and head) full with that. I was too mentally fatigued to bother learning specific vocabulary. I considered the 100 hours to be successful in that by the end I understood almost everything being said. There is a lot more for me to do, but one measure of my progress with real French is that I can understand Nota Bene's Youtube blog, though it takes an effort, which I could not understand 3 or 4 months ago.
Another series to look out for might be ER, which Lawyer&Mom recommended to me. I was satisfied with That 70s Show, so I did not go that route. I found the full set of series for ER at 70 euros, but maybe if interested you could get it locally for less.
BTW, I know at first I spelled "consequetive," but I'm leaving it in to show how French spelling messes with my head. And not for the first time.
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Re: Time from B2 to C1/C2? (frustrated somewhat- seeking some feedback pls)

Postby PeterMollenburg » Wed May 15, 2019 2:47 am

MorkTheFiddle wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:I'm very determined this time round and keen to create momentum with my extensive reading and extensive watching, but as for intensive reading and watching, I'm just unsure as to how much SRS'ing is enough (i.e. - when does SRS become a hinderance?). Keep in mind that these are intensive hours of study, but still, I'm not so sure yet. I'm sure I'll work it out myself, but I wouldn't mind some comments on that as well.

The first attempt that I made in extensive listening to TV dubbed into French was an aborted effort with Buffy about five years ago. Two seasons were all I could stomach.
However, about a month ago I finished a successful effort to listen to 100 hours of programming. Included in that were 2 seasons of Eureka (on Cavesa's recommendation, I am almost certain) and five or six seasons of That 70s Show (on StringerBell's recommendation). Eureka was the easiest to understand, but finding the DVDs was difficult. I bought them from an online dealer several years ago, so my memory is hazy about where I got them. Probably I looked for them on amazon.fr, got the ISBNs, and bought them from amazon.com.
As far as SRS, in neither go at listening did I do any SRSing. I was listening to anywhere between 1.5 to 3 hours a day, almost always consequetive :) days, and I had my hands (and head) full with that. I was too mentally fatigued to bother learning specific vocabulary. I considered the 100 hours to be successful in that by the end I understood almost everything being said. There is a lot more for me to do, but one measure of my progress with real French is that I can understand Nota Bene's Youtube blog, though it takes an effort, which I could not understand 3 or 4 months ago.
Another series to look out for might be ER, which Lawyer&Mom recommended to me. I was satisfied with That 70s Show, so I did not go that route. I found the full set of series for ER at 70 euros, but maybe if interested you could get it locally for less.
BTW, I know at first I spelled "consequetive," but I'm leaving it in to show how French spelling messes with my head. And not for the first time.


Thanks MorkTheFiddle. I'm not keen on spending much $ lately as I've spent enough of language learning materials in the past and have sufficient amount of access to French content that I won't go out of my way to buy new series, so that counts me out for ER and Eureka. Netflix has a good deal and I've access to some other DVDs with French dubbing.

I'm also inclined after your response to not enter anything into SRS from the transcripts (nor from the intensive reading) and use SRS for other random words I come across in my every day life... just a thought at this stage though, not set in stone, but at least I'd get much more exposure to content (i.e. more time to watch) and just refer to the transcripts for things I'm unsure about... we'll see. Thanks again!
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Re: Time from B2 to C1/C2? (frustrated somewhat- seeking some feedback pls)

Postby StringerBell » Wed May 15, 2019 3:40 am

PM, I just wanted to make a suggestion since I've been going through a similar should I, shouldn't I? with regards to SRSing the new voabularly I come across while reading.

What I've been doing lately with the really useful vocabulary/expressions I've collected is to start trying to actively use them myself. When I'm able to do it, I'm finding it much more effective than Anki in terms of me being able to then use those words later on. What I'm seeing so far is that it takes more time up front, so it feels like I'm making less progress because I can't cover as many words as I could in a quick Anki review, but the words I do focus on I really remember, so it seems to be more effective. When I was using Anki, I was always thinking "I know I made an Anki card for this" but then most of the time couldn't summon that word during a conversation.

I'm still in the initial phases, but basically this is what I'm doing:

For Polish: I collected a list of useful expressions, sentences, or new vocabulary and I'm doing scriptorium with them. I'm writing out each one 5x while saying it out loud, then saying it out loud a few times at normal speed, and then I do scriptorium with these same ones multiple times over the next week. Many of these are now firmly rooted in my head, and I feel like I have easy access to them when I want to speak or write.

For Italian: I'm now rereading a novel I just finished and making a list of new vocabulary and expressions and writing out every sentence that contains a subjunctive. Instead of putting the vocab into Anki, I'm copying down example sentences from Reverso Context with each new word, then I'm creating my own sentences (either written or spoken) using those new words and having a native speaker (husband) verify that I'm not saying nonsense. The act of using the words actively - and more than once - is really making me feel like they're mine.

If you like Anki, then I don't want to try to dissuade you from using it, but if you're not particularly looking forward to it, there are some other options. I'm sure there's even better ideas out there than what I have to offer, but so far I'm really enjoying it much more than flashcard reviews.
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