PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

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Gustav Aschenbach
Orange Belt
Posts: 110
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2016 4:22 pm
Location: Germany
Languages: German (N), English (C1), French (C1), Dutch (beginner), Spanish (beginner), Portuguese (beginner)
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby Gustav Aschenbach » Fri Dec 20, 2019 6:34 am

Hello Peter,

thank you for publishing the examiners' feedback. Very interesting.

I don't think you're only at a B2 level. There are Dutch classes in Germany that bring you to a B2 level in Dutch in only six weeks (success rate 99%). Okay, that's because Dutch and German are so similar, but still.

You know what? You don't need a test. C2 means you can open a French novel/newspaper/comic/manual and understand virtually everything (there might be some words/expressions that are new to you, but not many). It means that you can listen to a French radio or TV show and understand everything without effort (unless someone speaks in an unintelligible way, of course). It means that you can express yourself correctly and with almost the same flexibility as in your mother tongue.

Is that the case? Then you are at a C2 level. Is it not the case? Well, then you're not. :) C2 isn't just passing a C2 test. You actually don't need it in order to know. If you want to reach that level you must continue working. It takes time. I started studying French more or less seriously about 12 years ago. I still don't have that level, except for reading.

I want to complete French in Action.

French in Action - A beginning course in language and culture

Is this the textbook you're talking about? Please...
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Green Belt
Posts: 408
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:22 pm
Location: UK
Languages: Native: English
Also speaks: German
Certificates: Japanese (JLPT N2)
Currently de-rusting: French
Dabbling: Spanish
Language Log: viewtopic.php?t=1152
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby gsbod » Fri Dec 20, 2019 9:37 am

It's great that you were able to get that feedback on your performance. I think an important point is that you achieved a pass mark on the listening/speaking paper. So although you're not C2 overall, you met the C2 level for listening and speaking. So if you go around telling everyone you're B2, you'll make the kids who are really just B2 feel bad!

If you wanted to do the exam again, I think you could put together a plan of attack focussing on exam technique for the written paper which would put you in good stead.

In the mean time it's just a simple case of eliminating all grammar errors and developing a huge vocabulary that can be accurately deployed as appropriate. Shouldn't take more than a weekend of revision...
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Black Belt - 2nd Dan
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Location: Australia
Languages: English (N), French (B2-certified), Dutch (High A2?), Spanish (~A1), German (long-forgotten 99%), Norwegian (just started in 2020)
Language Log: ... 15&t=12510
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Re: PM’s French Adventures in the Matrix

Postby PeterMollenburg » Tue Dec 31, 2019 10:11 am

7-Year French Summary

457.75 hours

926 hrs 43 min

836 hours 29 minutes

763 hours 19 minutes

682 hours 56 minutes

751 hours 52 minutes

598 hours 37 minutes 600 hours 39 minutes (edited post last minute binge)

With regards to the above 7-year take on French study hours, the trend was downwards, perhaps for several reasons. An incredibly determined first year of full focus on French (that was 2014) after years of juggling multiple languages and stopping and starting, burn-out, increasing commitments, decreasing energy, less desperation and more comfort with the language, and not to mention 2019 was the most tumultuous year of them all, as we were continually moving and had some really stressful living conditions at times. Of course, it could've been a lot worse, but it didn't help.

I also finished 5th (unless it changes suddenly) in the Super Challenge this time around with 258 films (edited: 259 films - last minute binge watch) and 130 books, as well as completing my own challenge, The 2019 365 Day Language Challenge without missing a day. That's pretty successful despite the unsuccessful C2 exam.

December 2019
36 hours 10 min of French thus far. 38 hours 12 minutes (last minute edit post binge watch). Pretty low as far as months go. However, I moved house, have been unpacking, on a short holiday and applying for jobs. I also dropped my French only policy after the C2 exam, completed 21 hours, 21 minutes of Norwegian as well as 25 hours and 15 minutes of Dutch.

The Future
I see good things for my French from here on. It's definitely here to stay, but my mission now turns multi-lingual, shifts from desk study focus to more and more stolen moments and family-friendly learning.

In the last few weeks I've proven that I can gain a lot of language learning time and/or exposure if I utilise every second of idle time and language time with the family. I doubt my French will advance that much in terms of C2 or advanced vocabulary as I've decided (at this stage) that French desk-study time, which is the time I could focus on pushing my French further with advanced study, will be limited and not all that necessary. However, I feel my everyday French will only improve. My ability to handle watching TV shows, read books of a relatively not so complex nature will increase. My desk study time, if there will be much, will be used for languages that can't yet take care of themselves via more entertaining avenues or media. Norwegian will take the priority there (at the desk - that is time I have to myself to learn), as I cannot read anything yet in the language, thus I must do the work to get there.

I am going to attempt a multi-lingual learning approach for the coming two years as my current vision. I guess, Expugnator's style of learning comes to mind most, but I have less daily time, thus less languages and most of my study will be done at home, where as his likely starts when he leaves the home each day. And you know what, I don't mind if I don't succeed. It's worth the risk and the fun, to give it a try. I feel I've earned the right to mess around in a serious manner with multiple languages for a couple of years in an attempt to bring those other languages up to a higher level and now is the right time for so many reasons. I know what it takes to elevate languages to a higher level. I now have valuable experience- insight, patience, trust in the path now. I know how I could improve on my study approaches, and where I went wrong with other multi-lingual approaches prior to my French mission, but this approach will be, as mentioned different to my French approach, as it has to be, if I'm to have a chance of succeeding with it.

So 2019 is over and that's it for the solo French journey, which has really been a near-on 7-year one. Wow, longer than I thought. Okay, I might have a new log in 2020, but if not, I wish you all the best in 2020. Whether or not I have a log, I will be learning as much as I can.

Edited for adjustment post last-minute binge watching session in final hours of 2019

Another edit here: My new log, commenced 13/01/2020: PM's Target Europe (French, Dutch, Norwegian)
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