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Is it possible to become near-fluent in French in a year? Watch

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    (Original post by Xurvi)
    To be honest I always take such success stories with a pinch of salt.

    I'm pretty sure if I was to talk with them I'd find many flaws and if I were to start talking about something specific like the current economic recession they wouldn't understand much at all.

    I'm not saying it's not possible to get a good conversational level within a year of regular practice provided you had a good level at the start like the OP seems to have, only that fluency to me is a quality given much too often to people who haven't quite achieved it. Especially with only two hours a week. I get 7 of Japanese a week and I'm extremely far from fluency in that language!
    Why do you need to be the person to "test" her?
    She has French friends and I speak French,- thank you
    You sound, really agorrant?
    I hope that's just my interpretation and not the truth.
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    JUST HAD to interject here. You cannot surely be using YOUR experiences with JAPANESE to give a verdict on SOMEONE ELSE'S in FRENCH? For a start, they could be brighter than you, secondly, Japanese is so vastly different to any western language than English is to French. No comparison.

    OP: Given time spent and that time spent correctly, the human brain can do pretty much anything. If you put the time in you could be fluent in six months.
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    (Original post by super.teve)
    Why do you need to be the person to "test" her?
    She has French friends and I speak French,- thank you
    You sound, really agorrant?
    I hope that's just my interpretation and not the truth.
    It was idiomatic, I wasn't actually asking to test her.

    And as I said, fluency doesn't equal good conversational skills. I'm not saying she doesn't speak good French, only that I believe she most likely can't be said to be fluent.

    I myself have been told I am fluent by native English friends just because I have good conversational skills. But when I go read about some specialised threads on TSR like the economics ones, I'm often lost because I don't understand everything. Not to mention the numerous not-so-sounding-like-a-native things I say and the like.

    And this is what I'm saying: a true fluent person would understand every speech or text given to them, even the specialised ones (to some extent, obviously if it's really specialised you probably wouldn't).

    The examples of that in my life are a couple of my teachers who are foreigners (he's British and she's Portuguese) but their French is so good on every aspect it's even better than the average French person, as much vocabulary-wise as grammar-wise (except the extremely rare inter-language confusion every body has at some point when speaking several languages).

    These people have been living in France for years. And that's what it takes to be fluent in my opinion. Years. After all, when you were a baby and when you're supposed to have the fastest learning rate, it still took you years to speak correctly (and some would argue that it wasn't enough for some people). In such a situation, how can one really expect to be fluent in a few months speaking only a few hours a week?

    tldr; I am by no mean belittling your friend's French skills; I only think that people who claim to be fluent -or claim that somebody is- in such a short span of time are almost always (granted, there are geniuses amongst us) wrong. They're good, maybe even excellent, but they haven't reached fluency, yet.

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    (Original post by Jackeeba)
    JUST HAD to interject here. You cannot surely be using YOUR experiences with JAPANESE to give a verdict on SOMEONE ELSE'S in FRENCH? For a start, they could be brighter than you, secondly, Japanese is so vastly different to any western language than English is to French. No comparison.
    Yes, I can. Because both are foreign languages, and while they're different, the learning process is the same. It's not like I compared learning French with learning C++. For your information, spoken Japanese is easier than spoken French. Secondly, I don't deny they could be better than I am. But one has to stay rational; being gifted in something doesn't allow you to learn a language completely in a few months working 2 hours a week. Maybe if you were working 4-6 a day but two a week?
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    The problem here is your definition of fluency/fluent, it means simply to speak easily in this case, with at least a touch of adaptability. It is not, contrary to your opinion, to be a master of the language.
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    (Original post by Jackeeba)
    The problem here is your definition of fluency/fluent, it means simply to speak easily in this case, with at least a touch of adaptability. It is not, contrary to your opinion, to be a master of the language.
    Your definition sounds more to me like fluency as in the fact it flows well. Which is not the same fluency in languages.

    "Fluency (also called volubility and loquaciousness) is the property of a person or of a system that delivers information quickly and with expertise." according to wiki (granted this isn't the best source for a definition).
    The important point here is "expertise". Speaking quickly with ease a simple language is not fluency by any means.

    Fluency is usually associated with the level C1 of the CEFRL, C2 being the level of people who have master a language (one would argue you can't really master a language but it's not the point)

    C1
    Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

    C2
    Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations.
    So, no, it's not mastering the language indeed. But it's not merely being able to speak without stammer; this would be necessary, but not sufficient to call someone fluent.

    Most often, people who are said to be fluent haven't reached the C1 level. Most would be B1-2 in my opinion.
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    1.spoken or written with ease: fluent french.
    2. able to speak or write smoothly, easily, or readily: a fluent speaker; fluent in six languages.

    dictionary.com
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    Fluency and mastery are slightly different. For example if, with thought, you can produce sentences, you're near fluent. However, to speak a language as naturally as your own native language, now that's mastery.

    With enough determination and sufficient language immersion, I'm sure it's doable.
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    I think someone mentioned this but if you want to be fluent in french, I think spending some time in France is essential.
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    I used to be completely fluent in French until the age of about seven when I forgot it! So annoying and I've never felt any advantage or remembered anything from this...Has this happened to anyone else? I'd like to think that this would make achieving fluency (again) easier but I really don't think it will!
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    (Original post by purplesky)
    I used to be completely fluent in French until the age of about seven when I forgot it! So annoying and I've never felt any advantage or remembered anything from this...Has this happened to anyone else? I'd like to think that this would make achieving fluency (again) easier but I really don't think it will!
    Yes I have exactly the same thing. I will be starting to re-learn early next year so I will let you know how it goes.
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    (Original post by purplesky)
    I used to be completely fluent in French until the age of about seven when I forgot it! So annoying and I've never felt any advantage or remembered anything from this...Has this happened to anyone else? I'd like to think that this would make achieving fluency (again) easier but I really don't think it will!
    That happened to me with Irish. =(
    I think it would make a difference if you tried to learn it again. I doubt we completely forget these languages, we just get really out of practise. If you're committed to it, I bet it'll all come flooding back.
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    (Original post by purplesky)
    Hi,

    this question might sound silly but I'm doing French AS at the moment and would love to continue it to degree level. At the moment I have a pretty wide French vocabulary - far wider than the course requires - and a good grasp on the grammar but speaking the language really scares me which is obviously not ideal! It's mostly to do with confidence as my pronunciation is okay it's just if someone asks me something in French on the spot, I panic and it's like all the words go out of my head because I worry that they'll think I sound crap or something which I realise sounds extremely stupid.

    But, my mum speaks French at a Native level so if I practise daily with her, read A LOT in the language, talk to my french speaking cousin on msn regularly and just work REALLY hard, is it possible I could get to a really good level? I know fluency is a bit much to ask (although I was fluent until age of about 6/7 but I forgot) but could I get to a good level where I'm comfortable speaking it?

    I think I have an aptitude for languages and I'm very hard-working by nature but I wonder whether I should even bother aiming my sights this high.

    Any advice/sucess stories?
    A year...easily. With the correct and most efficient approach....3 months should be enough.

    If you try the Michel Thomas Method French, you should be speaking the language confidently and be able to express most basic everyday thoughts within 8 to 10 hours learning time.

    Your mistake is that you're not using the language....you are waiting until you are 'better' until you speak French. This is a HUGE mistake! ALWAYS speak a language from day 1. You don't get good at a language by studying it but not speaking it. You get good and better at a language by speaking it from the start, no matter how much or how little you know.
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    (Original post by purplesky)
    Wow, that's really good. How long did you live there? And how was your level of French before you went?
    Six months in total and my French was straight out of the classroom. Verbal knowledge but no confidence.
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    Thanks to everyone who replied
    I figure I might as well try, I've got nothing to lose!
 
 
 
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