Substantial Progress?

I’ll have a lot of free time over the summer to improve my Spanish. At present, I would say that I’m at a middle intermediate in the language.

Say I invest 7 hours every day listening and reading and occasionally speaking; how much more would I progress? What level could I attain?

60x7 works out to 420 some hours. Would I see an incredible progression? All responses are greatly appreciates thanks!


What do you mean by “middle intermediate” level? I’ll assume that you mean a basic fluency, combined with a large passive vocabulary, that needs to be built upon. At this point you can understand anything anyone says to you.

I have been working on my French on a schedule like you are calculating for about the time you have given. I basically went from fearing interaction in the language, to being at ease in most situations. Looking back, I can see that I was simply “activating” my decently large passive vocabulary. I ignored writing, but that is a whole other post.

I would reccomend not calculating hours like this. You’ll probably dissapoint yourself. My study hours go by extremely quickly because I enjoy them, and I do not count them. I have even noticed that some days are spent entirely in French!

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I invested 1-2 hours a day on Romanian, listening and readnig, for about two months. For the second month I also spoke about 5 hours a week with tutors and reviewed their reports here at LingQ. I was very happy with my progress. I started from scratch.

If I took a language where I was middle intermediate, I think that two months of seven hours, if you could keep it up, reading, listening, LingQing and speaking with tutors, and perhaps even writing, you would become Advanced, with a broad vocabulary. This would enable you to read and understand most things, and would form the base from which you could achive full fluency if given the chance to speak a lot.


Djvlbass et Steve, Merci!

I am constantly immersing myself in Spanish and spending countless hours on LingQ. I will carry out this regime with much pleasure, and above all, I hope to make the best out of my free time!

Thanks guys and best of luck with regards to your language learning!

I’m amazed that anyone could keep to such a schedule without boredom or burnout. I spend several hours a day on language learning, but boredom and burnout are always a danger. I have to keep changing languages and activities to keep my interest going.

How do you manage it?


For me it’s easy. First of all, I have a deadline looming ahead of me: I’ll be leaving for France the end of June, and I will be there for 6 weeks. I made this goal to be able to get off the plane and be 100% independent in French, and I was hell bent on acheiving this goal. These last couple months I have not had classes, so I have been able to concentrate on my French. Each day is pretty much 2/4 listening, 1/4 reading, and 1/4 speaking with people on skype. I download entire series of French television and all of a sudden I have 20 hours of input infront of me. Sometimes I loop episodes a couple times to get the full meaning, but overall I avoid doing things that seem tedious to me.

I am jealous of your ability to study multiple languages at a time. I just can’t stick to a routine well enough to allow solid study of each of several languages.

I’ll be mostly visiting francophone family, so I should be fairly immersed. I’ll mostly be alone for the trip, so I think i’ll have more facility in just talking to random people. The first three weeks will be a course in Nancy. I’m sure a lot of people will want to speak English, but I’ll just avoid them. I have a studio room lined up there, and I’ll be by myself, so I can do whatever I want the evenings, I guess. I’m going to see if I can just meet people at bars, or something. I’m not sure if the French have the same sort of bar/pub culture as what we have in the English speaking world.

The second three weeks I’ll visit (and stay) with family in Paris, as well as go visit a friend towards the south of France. I did meet a guy on Skype who lives in Paris, and he wants to meet up, which should be really great. There is a girl who wants to meet me in Paris, but she’s a little too young!

I am actually pretty worried I won’t be able to exceed my immersion level that I have here based on computer interaction. I’ve decided that I’m mostly looking at the trip as a reward to myself for the months of work on French, and as something to motivate me for another year, at least, of studies. I might not improve as much as I would like, but at least I will be using French “for real” and I am sure there is something I can learn from that that I would not be able to from the computer.

When you describe yourself as being able to understand mostly everything, does it include inner city slang and things of that nature? I’m fluent in French but I still can’t understand Parisian rap all too well. It is just so hard to make out what they are saying.

What do you all think? I understand that speaking and singing are different aspects of the language. But generally, if you’re fluent, does that include understanding songs?


The key is to avoid the anglophones. If you have the chance to interact most of the time in French, and surround yourself with the language, even in small exchanges in stores etc. (which can be difficult at first), you will see significant improvement both in comprehension and spoken fluency. It is one thing to comprehend things when we listen on our mp3 players, but quite another to be able to react on the fly, so to speak, as French is thrown at you in variety of situations.

The “for real” factor is big. It makes the language real, not just an academic subject. You will make giant strides. Good luck.

I can’t understand English songs half the time. If you like French Rap, I am sure you know MC Solaar, and he is very clear. I like James Deano, who is from Belgium, and speaks really clearly. I use to get the lyrics.

Slang in French is pretty particular, I think. First of all, it’s not so much inner city language that is hard to understand, but the language spoken in the suburbs. You have to remember that in Paris many of these people speak French as a second language. It also depends a lot by their country of origin. I can understand an Algerian or someone from Senegal better than I can understand someone from the Congo. I have a lot more trouble understanding people from Cameroun.

As a foreigner, I really don’t think you’re going to find yourself in a situation where you will need to understand the very rich argot of French. There are maybe 10 slang expressions you should know, and I think you can just pick them up.

There is an old parisian dialect that is kind of the French equivalent to the British Cockney dialect, that I have a lot of trouble understanding.

Most of what I wrote above is based on second hand knowledge. I’d love to hear from someone who is more experienced in French travels comment.

Thanks for the advice!

Yeah, that is my biggest worry. I can get along fine on a Skype chat, but I’m really worried about walking into a store and asking questions about something trivial. I suppose I’ll just have to be clever about using hand signals, and vocabulary I can get from signs inside the store, at first.

Here is some old school argot. It just gets harder and harder to understand as the video goes on.

A lot easier to understand: Ch’ti, from Northern France

I believe this is a joke about the accent from Marseille, but I’m not sure. The word “couscous” kind of gives it away.

@djvlbass thanks for the insight. I listen mostly to La Fouine and Youssoupha, both of whom are much easier to understand than say Booba.

Curious, can you understand québec french well?

I can understand Quebec French when a Quebecois talks to me, but I’m not sure I would be able to understand if I was listening in on a conversation between two Quebekers. I can generally understand Têtes à Claques, but sometimes only with extreme difficulty.

I am convinced there are some times when my English helps me in understanding them.

“It is one thing to comprehend things when we listen on our mp3 players, but quite another to be able to react on the fly, so to speak, as French is thrown at you in variety of situations.”

This is so true. I can understand a large amount of what people say when talking to me in real conversations, over Skype and face-to-face, plus I can understand a lot of TV and radio, but when people come up to me on the street, or say things to me in a shop, it still feels like they are just throwing handfuls of words in my face. This is no small thing in German. German words are hard and heavy. They are nothing like French words. You throw German words at somebody, it is going to hurt; you throw French words at them, they will all flutter away like butterflies.

This made me laugh. People overestimate the beauty of French in my opinion! Have you ever been in a room during a French argument? That is some scary stuff.

We’ll see how things go. I think it’s important to remember that sometimes we don’t understand things out of context in our native languages! I’ll just keep reminding myself while I’m in France that there is no shame in asking someone to repeat what they said.

Double post

Djvlbass bonne chance!

I’m about to enter university at a school in Lyon. I hope I can achieve a native level within a few years :stuck_out_tongue:

Yep when natives come at you out of context, it can be mind boggling…


Thanks! And good luck to you.

Are you doing a study abroad, or are you becoming a student of the university? Did you have to take the DALF C1 or C2 test to get in? How was it?

I’m asking because I’m thinking about my options for when I get around to going to university again.

I am an International student at my school in Toronto so I can do 2 years in France and 2 years here, in order to get my credits. I was a French immersion student so I have my bilingual certificate in Canada.

However I feel far from a native level.

i’m pretty sure you don’t need to take a standardized test to study abroad as they offer courses in English and French :slight_smile:

I doubt you will hear people speak Ch’ti like in the video in Northern France. Maybe a few old people, but that’s all. The same for the first one. I’m from the South so there are a lot of things I don’t get in the Ch’ti video.

In the third video the guy try to speak with an Algerian/Moroccan accent, with some Arabic words here and there.

I think people tend to overestimate the variety of French in France. Most of the languages that were spoken before (Occitan, Breton, Ch’ti, …) are endangered since they are almost only spoken by old people in small villages.

Then there is suburb French, as we call it, but it’s a real pain to hear and I advise not to try to reproduce it unless you want to be taken for a fool. Those who use it in the first place are fools themselves, so… :wink: