It’s like learning to surf
“I completed an A2 course and now I want to do B1”. But at a placement interview, it turns out that the language skills and application are not A1 or maybe A2.1. Why is that?
Well, language is a complex system in which there are no clear boundaries. The idea that you have reached a certain level of language is deceptive BECAUSE language is complex and the boundaries are fluid.
1+1=2 and if I can do that, I can do 20+84=104. If I understand plus math with smaller numbers, I can do plus math with larger numbers. Understanding and applying are here two processes that happen almost simultaneously. Related to the learning of the German language this would mean:
I understood how to conjugate the verbs (e, es, t, en, t, en), so now I can say a complete sentence.
Hmmm, everyone who learns German knows that’s not how it works. Understanding and applying in language learning are two completely different things. They don’t happen at the same time. First comes understanding. And THEN you have to open your MOUTH and SPEAK. And that’s where, unfortunately, many people don’t get anywhere. Why? The reason is the language barrier. And this reason can dominate everything: The worry and fear of speaking. Overcoming the language barrier is, on the one hand, a matter of practice: Do I have enough opportunities to use the language – even at the lowest level? Am I encouraged to speak as much as possible in class, and do I also look for situations, outside of class, where I can use the language?