How advanced is advanced when it comes to speaking?
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The huge achievement of becoming advanced in a language is often undermined by the feeling shared by the learners and their teachers that whilst there still is considerable progress to be made it is difficult to see what concrete steps to take. The study explores different ways of describing advancedness — using CEFR descriptors, the AdLs’ self-perceptions, the views of their teachers and, finally, through a sample analysis of spoken production of advanced learners. The study argues that in order to prevent the advanced learner from remaining stranded on a plateau an active approach is to be taken by both the learners and their teachers using analyses of learner and native-speaker language and challenging the learners to use complex and idiomatic language well beyond the boundaries of their habitual language use.
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