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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Question Looking for a way to further improve my English !

    Hello everyone,

    I am a French, soon to become, college student (this September !) and I want to further improve my English. Even though I am not a native English speaker, I have reached a fairly high level of fluency to the point that I can hold complex conversations, understand basically everything that I listen to in English and pretty much write whatever I want to say without ever being held back by a language barrier. However, as I mentioned before, I want more than that. I want to be able to write complex sentences, essays, etc. I want to reach a very complex stage of the English language but I don't know where I would be able to do that. As I said before, I will begin my first year of college this September in la Sorbonne, in Paris. I will be studying law. For my 4th year in college, I plan to study French-American law, which is a program that is specific to la Sorbonne. With this program, I will spend two years in either Cornell or Columbia and then two more years back here in Paris. If I'm chosen for this highly selective program I will have to have a very advanced level in English, which I am looking to attain, starting from now. Now, my question to you guys is, where can I start improving my English as a guy living in France in order to improve past the fluent English and to attain very complex, (and I mean very complex) litterature-level English ?

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    -Ilyesse

  2. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #2

    Re: Looking for a way to further improve my English !

    There are quite a few textbooks that deal with high level language for people studying for Law- English for Law is a common title.

  3. probus's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Looking for a way to further improve my English !

    Some might think this suggestion outlandish, but I think you may benefit from reading Charles Dickens. His long and complex sentences are no longer in fashion, but they challenge the reader's comprehension in a way that modern prose does not. And it would be an enjoyable form of study compared to reading legal texts. You might want to start with A Tale of Two Cities.
    Last edited by probus; 26-Aug-2019 at 01:42.

  4. Senior Member
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    #4

    Re: Looking for a way to further improve my English !

    A more nearly modern author with famously good style whose writing touches on matters of law, governance and society would be George Orwell. I do not mean Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm, which in my opinion are his two weakest works. Try Wigan Pier and Burmese Days.
    Retired proofreader. ESL tutor. Not a teacher. Nor a typist, evidently.

  5. probus's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Looking for a way to further improve my English !

    I agree completely with abaka's opinions on Orwell. Anything but Animal Farm or 1984 would be great.

  6. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Looking for a way to further improve my English !

    The only part of 1984 that might challenge a high-level reader (or native speaker) is the appendix, a section most people don't bother with. I remember starting to read it once I'd finished the main part of the book (when I was 12) and giving up after about six pages. You can read more about it HERE.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  7. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #7

    Re: Looking for a way to further improve my English !

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    Some might think this suggestion outlandish, but I think you may benefit from reading Charles Dickens. His long and complex sentences are no longer in fashion, but they challenge the reader's comprehension in a way that modern prose does not. And it would be an enjoyable form of study compared to reading legal texts. You might want to start with A Tale of Two Cities.
    Bleak House would be a good start for someone interested in law, and one of the truly great openings to any novel.

  8. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Looking for a way to further improve my English !

    If you really want a challenge, try House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski. It's not so much the language that's challenging; it's the format. It's very weird! I've started it three times but never made it beyond about 100 pages.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Leaves
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  9. Senior Member
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    #9

    Re: Looking for a way to further improve my English !

    The litmus test for universal English comprehension is surely Joyce's Ulysses for "Advanced Level A", and Finnegan's Wake for D.Litt. (Hon.).

    Actually, thinking about it, I want to suggest -- do try Joyce. You don't have to go anywhere near Finnegan, but read Portrait of the Writer first and then Ulysses. Ulysses presents just about every style of English then known.
    Retired proofreader. ESL tutor. Not a teacher. Nor a typist, evidently.

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    #10

    Re: Looking for a way to further improve my English !

    Ulysses has extensive passages in other languages, a companion volume ("The Bloomsday Book") exists to make it comprehensible, and hardly any native speakers can understand it without expert help. Failure to understand Ulysses is in no way a mark of incomplete English comprehension.
    Last edited by GoesStation; 27-Aug-2019 at 20:13. Reason: Fix name of the book that tries to make Ulysses comprehensible.
    I am not a teacher.

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