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DLI vs FSI

  Tags: Military | DLI | FSI
 Language Learning Forum : Language Programs, Books & Tapes Post Reply
59 messages over 8 pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next >>
pmiller
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Groupie
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 Message 1 of 59
14 July 2009 at 9:03am | IP Logged 
How do the Defense Language Institute language courses compare to the Foreign Service Institute courses? Is one better than the other for certain languages?

And how feasible is it to try to mimic the schedule of actual DLI instruction and learn your target language in the same time frame as students at DLI?

Finally, are these pretty much the best, most comprehensive language courses in the world? What I mean by comprehensive is that they aim to take you from absolute beginner to a high level of fluency if you complete the course (unlike most commercial courses, which will only take you to advanced beginner level or maybe intermediate level)?


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Splog
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 Message 2 of 59
14 July 2009 at 11:19am | IP Logged 
DLI courses are primarily for the military. You will learn how to say "The enemy tanks are approaching our trenches" and the like.

The FSI courses are primarily for diplomats. You will learn how to say "The American ambassador has a reception this evening in the ballroom" and so on.

In terms of "are they the best". Well, they are certainly the best value (i.e. free - if you can find them in the language that interests you). However, they are often rather boring - which may prevent you from completing them.

They can certainly take you from "absolute beginner" but not to the "high level of fluency" you mention. Once you are at intermediate level, it is usually more profitable to turn to native materials (such as books, TV, radio, and real conversations).

Edited by Splog on 14 July 2009 at 11:21am

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dmg
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 Message 3 of 59
14 July 2009 at 2:07pm | IP Logged 
Having looked at both the DLI Basic French and the FSI Basic French, the difference that stands out for me is the number of lessons. FSI French is 24 fairly large units, which might be overwhelming. DLI French, on the other hand, is 80 smaller lessons. It might be easier to work with the smaller language chunks. Or, you might feel "80 lessons! That will take me forever!" and continue with the 24 units of FSI.
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healing332
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 Message 4 of 59
14 July 2009 at 7:57pm | IP Logged 
I am only familiar with FSI but I feel it is an incredible course and free.
I think that the grammer in FSI is amazing that is mainly what I use it for..it uses phrases that regularly come up in my movie disecting and readings. I use FSI as my only "Schooling"

Some of the things in FSI or a bit outdated so I look over at the English side and eliminate what does not look right..

I find the real power in FSI.. AFTER the Lesson..Their after lessons have great grammer lessons that I find interesting..The fact that all this created for the USA diplomats is available is amazing..i download and read the text word for word with the audio

Finally..Unit 5 for example had about 10 lines that I will use to study out of 40 but the after unit lesson is amazing!..it taught me alot about swedish verbs

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Vilcxjo
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 Message 5 of 59
14 July 2009 at 8:26pm | IP Logged 
Splog wrote:
However, they are often rather boring - which may prevent you from completing them.

They can certainly take you from "absolute beginner" but not to the "high level of fluency" you mention. Once you are at intermediate level, it is usually more profitable to turn to native materials (such as books, TV, radio, and real conversations).



I heartily agree! I once took a "conversational Spanish" course and for the first part of the course we had to work through the last part of the FSI Spanish course. Even though I had not worked through the first part of the course, I found it extraordinarily boring! Part of the reason for that is the FSI courses were originally designed when behavioral psychology was all the rage in educational circles. So the learner was treated very much like a machine that needed programming via repetition and repetition and repetition! Actual creative thinking on the student's part was reduced to a minimum. Some people have learning styles that mesh well with this approach. So it would be good to take stock of how you best like to learn before you decide to go with one of these courses.

If I hadn't already paid for the course, I wouldn't have continued on with the method. It wasn't until the last part of the course when we began reading articles from magazines and short stories and having intensive class conversations about them that the course took off for me.

(On the other hand, I can still remember some of the FSI materials word for word. It's just that I actually physcially shudder when I do so. So yes, they were effective. They seem also to have been effective as a form of aversion therapy.)

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healing332
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 Message 6 of 59
15 July 2009 at 10:46pm | IP Logged 
I do not find FSI boring but I think you have to be the right setting to use it..I find it best late at night with no distractions..I have to be in a very relax mood...set the mood ..glass of wine..and go to bed with FSI
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Crush
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 Message 7 of 59
16 July 2009 at 2:01am | IP Logged 
I'm with healing332, I don't find FSI boring. I've gone through almost all of Platiquemos and the first couple units of the French Basic Course. While some units are really frustratingly difficult in the beginning, after having gone through it a few times I always feel like I've learned a lot. I guess it's like Vilcxjo said in that it depends on the style of learner you are, and perhaps it also depends on the amount of time you can spend on studying. I think going through the FSI course (at least as it was written) works most effectively when you can spend at least 2 or 3 hours a day on it. Maybe while I'm going through the unit I will drift off occasionally, but at the end of the session I always feel like I've learned a lot and never find myself dreading the next session (like I have with other courses).
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