Taking Turkish Classes at TAA, Language Weaknesses

Yesterday I started Turkish classes at TÖMER‘s main competitor.  Having gone through sometimes less-than-inspiring TÖMER classes in Kyrgyzstan, I was ready for a change.  And after a month of feeling like I was making more mistakes than correct sentences, ready to work on my Turkish again.

I’m completely baffled by my Turkish level.  I’ve read almost every textbook out there, so I understand a decent amount.  But, because most of my language study has been on my own (and I haven’t always had someone around to correct my mistakes), I don’t always produce correct sentences.  Sometimes my words get extremely jumbled and I feel like I have no idea what to say. And then, because the majority of the time I’m speaking Turkish with family or co-workers (in a small office where everyone is on familiar terms), I way overuse sen (the informal “you”), which is a bit awkward when used, say, with people I don’t know on the bus or in a shop.

And yet, according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL), my Turkish level is C-1, which is advanced. Ha. I somehow feel that advanced Chinese or advanced French was way harder – and I was able to say much more, and say much more correctly before I got to that level.

[If you’re interested in finding out your – supposed – language level, or have no idea what the CEFRL is, I have a few language level test links at the top of my Turkish Language Page; Scroll to the bottom of this post for a full explanation of all the levels]

As the Turkish American Association is not offering C1 courses this term, and the book I’m currently going through (Hitit 2) is labeled B1, I signed up for B2-level courses (all of their courses here).  Way too easy.  So, after 45 minutes I switched to C2-level courses.  Which is ridiculous, because C2 is pretty much the end of the line – and yet I have so much more to learn.  Now we’re in the middle of Hitit 3, and yet class is still not so difficult.  We have class but twice a week for three hours each time (one reason I didn’t choose Tomer: my mind just numbs after about the 3rd hour of class, which makes 20 hours a week unbearable to the point of unproductive), and yet the young teacher assigned one piece of homework.  Considering the size of the class (under 10 students; the B2 class I sat in on had 4), there’s also a surprising lack of student-student interaction.  We sit in a semi-circle facing the teacher, and most of the action happens on the whiteboard.  When I was taking classes with 20+ students in Bishkek this was to be expected, but… with just a handful of students?  There’s no reason the classes couldn’t be more interactive, focused on situational language use, or varied in their activities.  To be fair, the teacher is quite good at what she does and makes sure that everyone comes up with at least one example for every exercise.  But there’s still so much more we could do – and so much more I need to learn.

Why does it seem like so many English classes are advanced, and yet classes for other languages all hover around intermediate and beginner?

There’s no way my Turkish is at C2 level… and yet…?

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