Would achieving B2 in French be possible without traveling to the country?

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Would achieving B2 in French be possible without traveling to the country?

Postby Kevin » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:27 am

I recently made my first thread the other day about learning 2 languages and received many great answers and advice and I have decided to focus solely on french and achieve as high of a proficiency as I can before I take on another language. So now with that said, my new goal now is to be a B2 level in French and pass a B2 exam to become certified.


I have read, however, that to achieve C1-C2 generally requires an extensive stay to the country where the language is spoken. I have not seen much about what it takes to acquire B2 other than a realistic time frame for it could be 4-5 years for someone learning their first language.

Would you say it is possible to achieve B2 proficiency in French without having to travel to the country extensively? If so, what advice would you offer to achieve B2 proficiency?
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Re: Would achieving B2 in French be possible without traveling to the country?

Postby Cavesa » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:43 am

It is possible to get to C2 without extensive stays in the country. I did it.
There are various forum members who got to B2 or higher level without the luxury leaving their home country for an extended period of time.

I am 100% convinced it would be possible even without the short touristy stays I could enjoy during the years between 0 and C2.
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Re: Would achieving B2 in French be possible without traveling to the country?

Postby eido » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:52 am

Ask @iguanamon. He's learned several languages mostly from piecing texts together, as far as I gather. I'm working my way to B2 by avariciously and voraciously looking up every new word I encounter. I even have a list of all the words I've looked up since I joined this forum. But the key is to use them, and I haven't done that yet. I say identify a weak area in your learning and focus on it for a long time. Every skill influences every other, as the Iguana says. If you get super good at listening, which I'm trying to do, chances are you're a pretty good reader, and you have good pronunciation - but not always. But you're a beginner, so you'll have to focus on the things that will get you to cement the knowledge in your brain. If you don't have a native speaker to hang out with (in person or otherwise), then listening, reading, and writing will probably be your best bet to improve. Do you have a plan of attack in mind, or are you waiting for us to chime in?
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Re: Would achieving B2 in French be possible without traveling to the country?

Postby Kevin » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:00 am

eido wrote:Ask @iguanamon. He's learned several languages mostly from piecing texts together, as far as I gather. I'm working my way to B2 by avariciously and voraciously looking up every new word I encounter. I even have a list of all the words I've looked up since I joined this forum. But the key is to use them, and I haven't done that yet. I say identify a weak area in your learning and focus on it for a long time. Every skill influences every other, as the Iguana says. If you get super good at listening, which I'm trying to do, chances are you're a pretty good reader, and you have good pronunciation - but not always. But you're a beginner, so you'll have to focus on the things that will get you to cement the knowledge in your brain. If you don't have a native speaker to hang out with (in person or otherwise), then listening, reading, and writing will probably be your best bet to improve. Do you have a plan of attack in mind, or are you waiting for us to chime in?




I do have several resources. Pimsleur, Assimil (both with ease and using), Teach Yourself, and FSI. I am thinking of completing Pimsleur and Assimil with ease before I dive into native materials and practice with people in person and online. But other than the resources I listed, I cannot say I know the optimal plan to achieve B2.
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Re: Would achieving B2 in French be possible without traveling to the country?

Postby Cavesa » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:16 am

Kevin wrote:I do have several resources. Pimsleur, Assimil (both with ease and using), Teach Yourself, and FSI. I am thinking of completing Pimsleur and Assimil with ease before I dive into native materials and practice with people in person and online. But other than the resources I listed, I cannot say I know the optimal plan to achieve B2.

Try searching the forum a bit. There have been lots and lots of posts about this.
You might be especially interested in posts by PeterMollenburg, emk, Skynet, or others from the French learning group.

https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =26&t=1575

Truth be told, I have posted a list of my favourite resources so many times I can't even procrastinate like this anymore :-D So, I'll leave it to others or your searching, no offence meant.
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Re: Would achieving B2 in French be possible without traveling to the country?

Postby Speakeasy » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:17 am

Kevin, my intention is not to discourage you, on the contrary, I wish you great success in your project! So then, “yes”, it is “possible” to achieve a level of CEFR B2 without actually living in a region where the target language prevails. Still, there is a useful distinction to be made between what is “possible” and what is “likely” in a given set of circumstances.

The achievement of a level of CEFR B2 skill is a very hard nut to crack in an independent-learning situation, even in cases where the TL is relatively easy, such as French and Spanish are for English-speakers. In the typical independent-learning situation, one must rely primarily on a collection of packaged introductory-to-intermediate course materials for input and for practising output. Fortunately, since the advent of the Internet, there are numerous means for expanding one’s contact with the TL via access to audio-visual resources, tutors, language partners, online courses and the like. This is particularly true for the languages that are of some interest to you.

Nevertheless, assuming that you will be able to assemble all of the resources which, on face value, are necessary to achieving a level of CEFR B2, the primary investment that you will need to make in your language-learning projects is your time; this investment must absolutely be made on a consistent basis and in a highly-focused, energetic manner. If you’re actively employed, or a you're a full-time student, or if your days are filled with activities that prevent you from studying your chosen language, you might discover that simply “finding the time” to study and practice (sufficiently) will represent your greatest challenge. Managing one’s time correctly is an obstacle that many would-be language-learners never overcome and, by the way, investing in additional language-learning materials cannot solve this problem. Many of us either settle for CEFR B1 or we extend our projects over a fairly significant period of time all-the-while consoling ourselves by telling our politely inquiring friends that we get the gist of foreign movies, that the locals have impenetrable accents or that they are using opaque slang, gutter slang, and who would want to learn that!

You’ll find many members of this forum who will offer you both sound advice and much encouragement. But being told that you “can” do something does not mean that you “will” do it; the adage “no pain, no gain” applies in language-learning, as well.
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Re: Would achieving B2 in French be possible without traveling to the country?

Postby StringerBell » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:37 am

My suggestion is to invest some time exploring articles and videos by established polyglots who have advice and suggestions. There are lots of people to choose from. Some of my favorites are Steve Kaufman (a prolific youtuber and 70+ year old polyglot), Mezzofanti Guild (the articles on his website are excellent), Luca Lampariello, I could keep going for a while, but those are enough to get started. Spend some time reading about their language learning philosophies, what they do, what they suggest...then take what seems the most interesting to you and get started.

I, myself, spent 2 months in Poland doing a language immersion about 10 years ago (then promptly forgot everything) and I have to say that as far as language learning goes, I would have been better off saving my money, staying in the US and doing what I'm currently doing now (massive comprehensible input), then going for a language immersion after already having a decent intermediate level.

Why do you want to reach a B2 level? What is your purpose for learning French?
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Re: Would achieving B2 in French be possible without traveling to the country?

Postby Morgana » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:41 am

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Re: Would achieving B2 in French be possible without traveling to the country?

Postby aravinda » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:45 am

Kevin wrote:Would you say it is possible to achieve B2 proficiency in French without having to travel to the country extensively? If so, what advice would you offer to achieve B2 proficiency?

Not only it is possible if you persist long enough with the right resources, it is almost inevitable.
Countless people have done that before; that’s how so many people end up in anglophone countries and Europe.
Now, before someone mentions the unique situation of English as a foreign language, let me clarify. It’s true English pervades every aspect of life all over the world. In this age, this is something that can be fairly easily replicated (at least to a certain extent) for learning French. Those people were taught English from a young age and I wouldn’t say they didn’t learn anything at school. I really don’t want to go into details but most of the time, the quality of English teaching and the available resources in their native countries are pathetic. Also, it is important to remember that English (or any other European language) is not even close to their native languages. You can choose your resources and techniques wisely and as someone said French is English pronounced through the nose :D (just kidding but they are so close). By joining this Forum you have already taken one important step. (I wish I knew about the predecessor of this Forum and had access to it when I started).
What differentiates those people who have learned English or any other language to a B2 level and the people who haven’t done so is not the conditions mentioned above but a motivation that lasts long enough to learn a language.
Speaking of myself, after learning enough French to read, I kind of couldn't maintain the motivation to continue with many other things claiming for priority.
I wish you all the best.
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Re: Would achieving B2 in French be possible without traveling to the country?

Postby Cavesa » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:07 pm

StringerBell wrote:My suggestion is to invest some time exploring articles and videos by established polyglots who have advice and suggestions. There are lots of people to choose from. Some of my favorites are Steve Kaufman (a prolific youtuber and 70+ year old polyglot), Mezzofanti Guild (the articles on his website are excellent), Luca Lampariello, I could keep going for a while, but those are enough to get started. Spend some time reading about their language learning philosophies, what they do, what they suggest...then take what seems the most interesting to you and get started.

I, myself, spent 2 months in Poland doing a language immersion about 10 years ago (then promptly forgot everything) and I have to say that as far as language learning goes, I would have been better off saving my money, staying in the US and doing what I'm currently doing now (massive comprehensible input), then going for a language immersion after already having a decent intermediate level.

Why do you want to reach a B2 level? What is your purpose for learning French?


I'd like to warn a bit before the polyglot videos and blogs. Yes, they are awesome. As long as you don't forget to think critically about everything they tell you and apply it on your situation. What works for some people may not work for others. However, as we are recommending those success stories and good advice sources, I can't leave out AllJapaneseAllTheTime!

I'd also like to thank for the note about immersion. My experience is in some ways similar but I am glad not to be the only one telling you stuff like this :-D If you have the opportunity to spend time abroad, awesome. If not, it is no big deal and no reason to despair. The people going abroad often don't get better results than the more hardworking people without such an opportunity.



Yes, a great recommendation. This is one of the texts I have returned to various times and always learnt something new from it!
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