Hi everyone! It’s Robin and today I am going to make a video in French, for several reasons: First, because I’d like to show you my current level in French I think that it’s very good as an exercise for myself also, to be able to watch and listen to my language. Not only the spoken language but also body language such as my shoulders and my mouth. Also because I would like to talk with you all about the question of the possibility of attaining a native-like level in a language without living in the country. Because for quite a long time I have said that I think it is very possible on multiple levels and I think that it’s quite a controversial question, I would say, Yeah, there are a lot of people who say that it is not possible without living in the country And I don’t totally agree So, we’re going to talk about me and then I’d like to know about your experiences and also what you think. Do you think that I am wrong? I would like to know your experiences, so, yeah please tell me! Myself, I am not a language authority, I’m not a linguist in the academic sense. But I’ll say that I have applied for a Masters Program at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte! And so if you are watching, PLEASE (accept me :D)! But yes, I am going to study foreign language education But at this time, like I said I am no academic authority on the subject, so it is just that I would like to have a discussion. A conversation with you all, in the comments or even personal messages *or if you make your own videos!:D* Yes I’d like to know because I think that even if I am not a qualified academic on the subject, I think that I still have experiences with value, frankly, Right, so for me, in terms of “accent” I think that “accent” is a bit of a different question for me Because to attain a completely native accent, to the point where everybody would think that I am FRENCH for example, that’s not my thing. I think that an accent is a huge part of a person’s identity For example, myself, I am British, but I lived in the US for 6 or 7 years and my British accent was a HUGE huge part of my character over there It was very important for me because it was who I was, I was British, not American. But over time, gradually, my accent changed, in fact So now when I return to England, the people there thing that I have a very particular accent, perhaps a little American But that’s because I spent six years there, all of my adult years were there, so it became a large part of me And so I couldn’t even imagine myself without my current English accent It’s MY accent and there is nobody else who has exactly the same accent as me In English, in French, Japanese, Spanish, German, and any language. And so I think that although it is important to have a comprehensible accent In terms of having a perfect native accent, that is a different question for me. But in terms of vocabulary, for example, command of phrases/idioms, grammatical structure, and all of that, I think that it is very possible to attain a very high level and perhaps one day native-like without living in the country. With French, myself, I have studied it for 15 months right now. 15 months Which is not really a very long time and, I don’t know, while I am still a little far away from speaking at a native level, in the sense that I described just before, But hey I get by! I think that I am well on my way and, well I think that it’s due to my methods, my motivation, etc. Today we’re not discussing ‘practicality’ because I’ve said before to several people that the way I study languages is not exactly practical for everyone There are a lot of people who aren’t going to do the things I do But today we aren’t talking about practicality, we’re talking about the ‘possibility’ “It is possible?” Because often, people talk like that. They ask these types of questions “Is it possible to speak 20 languages?” “Is it possible to learn such-and-such language in 6 months? or in 3 months?” “Is it possible?” So today we’re talking in those terms So, I am going to share with you something that I just finished doing I did a study of a French documentary, well Ithink it was an English documentary but I had the French voice and French subtitles, etc. And it was very very very interesting because, it was a documentary called “Worlds of Ice” and it’s about the arctic and antarctica. The animals that live there, geological phenomena, all that Which interests me ALOT, I love that kind of stuff So what I did is I watched all the episodes, but also I STUDIED them studied the subtitles, I learned all of the unknown words, the idioms, and all of that I listened really hard, and it was just SO interesting I learned many many things, really! For example, now I know the names of various types of animals: Penguins! There are Adélie Penguins, Royal Penguins, Emperor Penguins, For whales, there is the humpback whale, Narwhals, there are killer whales, ok I also learned different types of seals, foxes, so I learned a lot of things like that Words that I think are quite rare, but I also learned new things in general, Things that I didn’t know even in English For example, the phenomenon of “Katabatic Winds” It’s so interesting! I’ll explain it to you very quickly! Katabatic winds are somewhat a polar phenomenon, I think? Something that tends to happen in polar regions And it happens when there is a very large different between the temperatures of warm and cold air So when we have, for example in polar regions there is often a large hill, so there is a hill made of snow, and after that the ocean and so when the spring comes, the air above the ocean water becomes warmer and warmer due to the sun, but the air above the snowy hill, remains much colder and so it is much heavier, because cold air is heavier than warm air and so what happens, because there is a lot of very heavy, cold air on top of the slope, it flows down the hill towards the ocean, and it becomes a large storm, it can be very dangerous, not just a little breeze but it can be very dangerous for the penguins and perhaps even polar bears So, I learned that!! It’s so interesting because I learned something that I didn’t know in English I learned it in French but consequently I understand it in English now too and I’m not just doing this with this documentary, I also started a study of a documentary about modern French Agriculture, it’s something that interests me a lot, so I’m learning a lot of words, terms, different phrases and idioms, that are specialized to those topics Also, I have another documentary about the Mediterranean, the history of the Gaules, the Romans, I’m in the middle of reading a book about French history So I think this is just one example of a way to study, where I think we can attain a native-like vocabulary, at least very advanced And right now like I mentioned, I don’t speak French perfectly, I make mistakes with genders and grammatical things all the time, So like I said I think that I am still a little far away, but I’ve only been studying it for 15 months so I think that perhaps one year later, if I continue like this, it’s very possible that I could have a much more advanced vocabulary than now, and maybe native-like Because it’s not just that I’m “watch” films and documentaries, dramas, I don’t just “read” books I “STUDY” these things It’s so important to me, to search for new phrases and idioms, search for a sense of usage for all of them “how do I use this idiom, or that word?” So with films, ok, I just finished studying a film called “Over night” and it was just, ah it was just a TREASURE for for idioms and things like that so I’d like to quickly show you a few examples of things I learned: For example, “to deliver an ass-whooping” 😀 I find that hilarious, I’m going to use that one 😉 Don’t give up!/ hold on! What’s with you!? to be out of somebody’s league; (we’re friends) until death! I’m going to kill myself (VERY colloquial) Ok now this one is a bit sinister, but it’s a very funny way of saying it, in fact to be left out: “You were fine but I was left out!” to be totally not with it/unfocused make (someone) cry/blubber sacred I knew the literal meaning, like “Sacred Heart” but I learned another usage: for example, in the film, there was a tennis match, and there’s a lady who said “you have one hell of a backhand!” And now, because I learned these things from context, there are many such phrases that I had already heard in other films, so my knowledge of these idioms becomes stronger and stronger, and I have more and more confidence using them So, right, I think that if we study in ways like this, if it’s possible, ok because it depends on the language, but like I said we’re not talking about practicality, etc. we’re talking about if it’s possible or not I think that in today’s world, with the resources that are available to us, it is possible to attain native-like capacities without living in the country.

Vlog #1: Achieving native-like language abilities without living in the country
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18 thoughts on “Vlog #1: Achieving native-like language abilities without living in the country

  • January 13, 2015 at 3:17 pm
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    Je pense qu'on peut atteindre un accent natif avec la langue sans vivre dans le pays. C'est très simple ces jours-ci avec l'internet. Dans le cas de Californie, on peut même vivre totalment en l'espagnol et fait toutes ses choses. J'habite dans l'était de Caroline du Nord et j'assiste l'université de Caroline du Nord et j'ai deux matières principaux qui sont le français et l'espagnol. Cette université est vraiment bien pour tout et les langues, bien que je souhaite qu'ils aient beaucoup plus de langues, mais c'est bien. J'espère que tu seras accepté et je te souhaite bonne chance !

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  • January 14, 2015 at 2:57 pm
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    French!!# 😀 thank you for adding subtitles for us lesser-linguals.

    Great topic, great video# 🙂

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  • January 16, 2015 at 7:15 pm
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    pas comme un Français mais très bien. Très bien.

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  • January 18, 2015 at 5:33 am
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    C' est excellent!!!!!!!!!! toutes mes felicitations.

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  • January 19, 2015 at 10:47 pm
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    Salut Rob ! 
    Je suis Simon, je ne sais pas si tu te souviens de moi. J'avais déjà commenté ta première vidéo, ensuite tu m'avais recontacté et nous nous étions ajouté sur skype, où nous n'avons jamais pu nous parler malheureusement. Mais, qui sait, j'espère que nous en aurons la possibilité un jour. 

    Mais quelle vidéo mec! Comme la première, tu m'as fait rire, et tu as dit des choses vraies. C'était incroyable, j'ai eu l'impression de m'entendre parler. Je suis d'accord avec toi sur tous les points. 

    Tout d'abord, ton français est juste incroyable. Tu l'apprends depuis 15 mois, et tu t'exprimes avec une facilité déconcertante. Franchement, chapeau. Et je partage tout à fait ton point de vue sur l'accent. Je pense qu'il est très, très difficile de prendre un accent natif à partir du moment où on commence l'apprentissage d'une langue après un certain âge. Mais, exactement comme tu as dit, à quoi ça sert de se fondre dans la masse, d'oublier tes origines, ton identité ? Quand tu vis à l'étranger et que tu commences à créer ton cercle d'amis, ton entourage, les gens te connaissaient comme "l'anglais" ou "le parisien" ou " le belge ". L'accent est une identité, et il a même un certain charme. Prononcer correctement est important car il est très très désagréable d'écouter quelqu'un accrocher tous les mots. Mais avoir un accent, ce n'est absolument pas mauvais, c'est même, à mon sens, une bonne chose, une marque personnelle qui permet de rappeler, même à l'autre bout du monde, d'où tu viens. 

    Pour ce qui est du niveau de la langue, je suis de nouveau d'accord avec toi. Bien sûr, on peut apprendre une langue parfaitement en restant chez soi. Beaucoup de gens ne le croient pas, et, sans vouloir généraliser, je pense qu'il s'agit souvent d'une excuse employée pour justifier un manque de motivation ou de moyens. Avec les moyens de communication actuels, il est bien sûr possible d'atteindre un niveau très élevé dans une langue, sans jamais avoir mis les pieds dans un pays où cette langue était parlée. 

    Et tu en es la preuve vivante ! Ton niveau est juste incroyable. Tu penses être loin d'un niveau natif ? Détrompe-toi, tu en es très proche, tu le touche des bouts des doigts. Je suis convaincu, et tu sembles l'être aussi, que dans très peu de temps, si tu continues comme ça, tu manieras la langue de Voltaire comme ta langue maternelle. Et puis, de toute façon, qu'est-ce que la " fluency " ? C'est très controversé, et relatif. Tu viens de faire une vidéo de 13 minutes dans un français presque parfait, sans jamais hésiter et en expliquant des termes très techniques que tu ne connaissais même pas en anglais. Est-ce que ça, c'est pas un niveau natif ? Pour moi, le plus dur est fait. Tu n'as plus qu'à continuer, en rectifiant chaque jour les petites erreurs que tu commets, mais ton niveau est vraiment impressionnant.

    Et puis, à la fin de la vidéo, on comprend mieux pourquoi tu as atteint un si bon niveau en si peu de temps. Tu fais ce que tu aimes. Tu étudies des choses qui t'intéressent. C'est ça, la clé du succès. Tu ne regardes pas des films pour apprendre le français, tu utilises le français pour regarder des films et pour découvrir des choses, des choses qui suscitent en toi des émotions, qui font que tu retiens non seulement les idées, mais les phrases et les termes bien précis. Tu vis ta vie à travers les langues, et ça, c'est la garantie d'un succès sans pareil dans l'apprentissage des langues. Et peu importe, au fond, si cette technique marche pour les autres ou pas. Bien sûr, tu donnes là un très bonne exemple de comment peut on de manière efficace apprendre du vocabulaire et retenir des phrases et des expressions complexes. Mais le plus important, selon moi, c'es que tu aies trouvé TA technique à toi, TA manière d'apprendre. C'est aussi, ça apprendre les langues. C'est trouver sa propre technique, en s'appuyant sur l'expérience des autres. Tu l'as fait superbement bien, encore bravo. A language can not be taught. It can only be learnt 🙂 

    Voilà, c'est tout ce que je pense de ta magnifique vidéo. D'ailleurs, vu comme elles sont très bien faites, n'hésite pas à en faire plus souvent 😉 

    A bientôt, 

    Simon

    PS: N'utilise l'expression " mettre une branlée " qu'avec des amis très très très proches ahaha :p 

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  • September 11, 2016 at 4:49 pm
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    Salut Rob !
    Tout d'abord je tiens à te remercier pour ta vidéo. Je suis pas d'accord sur le premier point: il est possible d'atteindre un niveau natif pour ce qui est de la prononciation. Il suffit de bien écouter les natifs et de les imiter. En ce qui concerne la prononciation de certaines lettres particulières dans des langues exotiques (par exemple le ق), je reconnais que c'est pas toujours évident.
    Tu parles des expressions que t'as appris dans les films, c'est une question de registre. La langue parlée et la langue écrite diffèrent fortement. Les expressions comme "se faire sauter le caisson", c'est très rare de les trouver dans un écrit vu que c'est pas soutenu.
    Sinon, en ce qui concerne le vocabulaire c'est une tâche interminable. Il y a le vocabulaire usuel et puis le vocabulaire technique, littéraire, scientifique etc. Pour l'apprentissage du vocabulaire, ça dépend forcément de la parenté avec ta langue maternelle. Dans ton cas, le vocabulaire français est plus proche de l'anglais donc il y a moyen de l'assimiler plus facilement. Par contre, pour le japonais, t'as dû faire un plus gros effort. Tout est une question de temps, celui que tu consacres à l'apprentissage. Je pense qu'il est possible d'arriver à un vocabulaire natif mais seulement passif ! Les natifs auront toujours plus de vocabulaire actif que nous. Ce qui est en soi très normal vu qu'ils sont constamment immergé dans la langue.

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  • September 11, 2016 at 8:37 pm
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    Such amazing advice. Studying films, books – listening and studying every single word/phrase just makes so much sense. Thank you for making this video!

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  • September 14, 2016 at 11:04 pm
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    Bravo, tu as un bon niveau en français, continue comme ça

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  • October 18, 2016 at 5:33 pm
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    Salut!! J'ai appris l'anglais seul chez moi et depuis 4 ans je le parle et le comprend parfaitement . Je nai jamais vécu dans un pays de langue anglaise . Tu as vraiment raison !un gros bisous Robin merci pour votre vidéos maintenant je suis en train d'apprendre le français

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  • November 28, 2016 at 8:21 am
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    This type of video helped me a lot. Audio input and the sous-titres really helped me greatly. I really appreciate it. I read the comments too and I usually read it out loud to improve my pronunciations, my comprehension, see how the natives use the language (important because lots of times, they use colloquial words, you rarely see them in textbooks), the spellings.

    I've been learning French for 6 months and even though my progress is slow, I can see improvements by watching lots of videos in French. I forced myself to watch videos without subtitles because I want to train my ears to pick up words I already know and make sense of the sentences. So, I really appreciate it if someone does make subtitles for their videos when they speak French.

    I am Malaysian, the Borneo side of Malaysia. Not that many people speak English let alone French, especially where I live because most of us speak the Rungus dialect even though you would think that in Malaysia, you should speak Malay. That's not the case. I just learn languages for fun 😀

    I appreciate your contents and keep doing more videos because I am subscribed!

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  • January 28, 2017 at 11:12 pm
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    Hi great video thank you for doing this. Yes I think you can achieve native like abilities without living in the country. I am learning Afrikaans and like yourself have been reading books and watching programmes on topics I am interested in. I also have lessons to practice my speaking and help with any grammar I'm struggling with, but I definitely feel that the watching and reading things I am interested in in the language has allowed me to progress much more quickly. I still have a long way to go and, my accent is not perfect but I have been told I'm doing well, and even got panicky when after speaking to a shop keeper they thought I was South African and responded at lightning speed to me, very funny 😀. Good luck with your learning, Kelly

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  • April 10, 2017 at 10:40 pm
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    Why did someone dislike!? Я  не понимаю! Mais moi, je l'aime.

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  • April 29, 2017 at 9:41 am
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    Belle approche! Et quelle détermination! Quelle joie de voir quelqu'un s'intéresser non seulement à apprendre mais aussi à étudier une langue! Avec tout ce que ça implique de nuances et de richesses. La perfection ne sera peut-être pas accessible mais le succès me semble inévitable… à la longue. Bravo! 👏

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  • May 7, 2017 at 11:59 am
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    J'ai eu la même chose en lisant un livre en anglais et en espagnol ! :). On apprend plein de choses dans notre langue maternelle qu'on ignorait, c'est une des choses que j'apprécie le plus par rapport à l'apprentissage des langues.
    Cette vidéo n'étant pas toute récente, où en est ton apprentissage du français ? Qu'as-tu appris depuis en terme de méthode(s), conseils ? :). Les plus et les moins sur ce que tu faisais ou pensais à l'époque.
    PS : Merci pour la vidéo et pour tes conseils :D, j'en sais plus sur les pingouins maintenant aha.

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  • August 9, 2017 at 3:19 pm
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    I started playing this video while reading another page, and I understood an odd amount of the words before I paused and went "Wait, that isn't in English" and came over to watch and listen more closely. I've never studied French. I have studied Spanish.

    I'm out of practice, but I was able to develop native pronunciation through schooling that causes native Spanish speakers to disbelieve I'm not a native speaker. I actually have to account for it if I speak Spanish, because my pronunciation will lead to native speakers jumping into fluent, rapid-fire Spanish, and I don't practice enough to always understand that. I've been working on being better about that.

    Do you listen to music in other languages, too?

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  • February 15, 2018 at 8:37 pm
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    This kind of ability to learn languages always blows my mind.

    I'm the sort of person who struggles immensely and ultimately never is able to really read or speak beyond the absolute basics. I have tried adopting the habits of polyglots I've seen online and their methods have definitely helped vs the kind of "course" approach I did as a teen, but I still end up just plateauing after about a month and lack any real reading, speaking, listening skills. For example I worked on Spanish for about 3 months, 3-8 hours per day every day, but still just ground to basically a halt after that first month or so.

    I'll see what else Robin has said that I can find online. He has demonstrated some remarkable results.

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  • February 21, 2018 at 4:41 pm
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    oh my God Rob u are a fantastic person.I am using your method about 2 months but I always thought that I did true or not? and now I saw your video and believe me it gave me a big Motivation. thanks for this video, sharing your experiences

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  • April 18, 2018 at 3:22 am
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    I'm tackling my first language: Swedish. Good advice and thanks 👍

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