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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 57 8 Next >>
zenmonkey
Bilingual Tetraglot
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 4447 days ago

804 posts - 1120 votes 
1 sounds
Speaks: EnglishC2*, Spanish*, French, German
Studies: Italian, Modern Hebrew

 
 Message 41 of 59
22 January 2012 at 11:34am | IP Logged 
Hampie wrote:
zenmonkey wrote:
I can't recommend the German FSI course - I started with it, it seems reasonable but the
tapes are poor quailty and the vocabulary is ancient - it uses words and structures best left to the diplomats of the
sixties.

Imagine learning to speak English for America by using such phrases as "Perchance Madame could tell me the
location of the embassy?" "Might one have matches?"

For German, stick to more modern material.

Might one have matches? sounds like something that would probably be said using ‹Mann› in both German and
Swedish, it’s just English that for some reason detest the third person common pronoun.


Do you buy matches a lot now? This is part of the core diplomat vocab of the 60s vs now - more than the tense.


1 person has voted this message useful



Hampie
Diglot
Senior Member
Sweden
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625 posts - 1009 votes 
Speaks: Swedish*, English
Studies: Latin, German, Mandarin

 
 Message 42 of 59
22 January 2012 at 3:26pm | IP Logged 
zenmonkey wrote:
Hampie wrote:
zenmonkey wrote:
I can't recommend the German FSI course - I
started with it, it seems reasonable but the
tapes are poor quailty and the vocabulary is ancient - it uses words and structures best left to the diplomats of the
sixties.

Imagine learning to speak English for America by using such phrases as "Perchance Madame could tell me the
location of the embassy?" "Might one have matches?"

For German, stick to more modern material.

Might one have matches? sounds like something that would probably be said using ‹Mann› in both German and
Swedish, it’s just English that for some reason detest the third person common pronoun.


Do you buy matches a lot now? This is part of the core diplomat vocab of the 60s vs now - more than the tense.



I believe that lighters existed in the 60-ies, but, yes indeed, I do buy matches though not a lot. And it’s still a word
important enough for me to be wanting to know it. Perhaps I will not need to use it in that very context, but, I can
supply the model with die Milch or with das Busskarte. I also do not think that the vocabulary section is where the
brilliance of FSI is. It’s the way that it fills you with grammar so that you could wake up in the middle of the night
and answer a question with all the endings on the nouns correct. It’s also good if you like old books or old movies.
I’ve had to read Shakesbear for some reason, and the vocabulary therein is even more archaic. I’ve never ever used
over perch or doff, but I know them.
4 persons have voted this message useful



zenmonkey
Bilingual Tetraglot
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 4447 days ago

804 posts - 1120 votes 
1 sounds
Speaks: EnglishC2*, Spanish*, French, German
Studies: Italian, Modern Hebrew

 
 Message 43 of 59
22 January 2012 at 5:23pm | IP Logged 
My comments stand - having used Pimsleur, FSI, Michael Thomas, Assimil, Living Language, Hueber, and Hammer's programs for German I cannot recommend the FSI material as first choice for this language for two reasons:

-- the poor quality of the recordings,
-- the vocabulary (which, as you note, is not "where the brilliant is")

If you find it fills your needs that is a great deal. For a person that has not been exposed to the language, it might not be *my* first choice of material. Or if one does decide to use it (and it is an excellent method overall, not something I am putting to question) I imagine one would want to know about those two faults, due to the age of the material.

This makes sense, and yes, as a complement it is good material:
daristani wrote:

So while acknowledging the age of the course, I think it would be a big mistake for learners of German, particularly those living outside German-speaking areas, not to at least give it consideration, as a free resource ...


And of course is you want to learn to say "Gnädige Frau, Holen Sie mir bitte Schreibmaschinetinte." :)

Or, if you prefer, I think it is useful for the novice learner to be aware of these limitations with this material.


Edited by zenmonkey on 22 January 2012 at 6:25pm

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daristani
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5039 days ago

738 posts - 1635 votes 
Studies: Uzbek

 
 Message 44 of 59
23 January 2012 at 3:28pm | IP Logged 
I think we now may not be too far apart in terms of our views of the FSI German course; I wouldn't recommend it as a first choice when just starting out either, because it's simply too demanding: The units (which can't really be counted as "lessons") are too long, with excessive vocabulary lists that would overwhelm beginners. The course "divides up" the German language into a mere 24 parts, meaning that each part is way too much to cover in one study session.

I think the other resources you cite (Pimsleur, Michel Thomas, Assimil, etc.) all have a much easier learning curve at the outset, and are less likely to overwhelm the beginner. None of them take the learner that deeply into the language, however, and it's for this purpose that I think the FSI course can work its magic: After you have a basic understanding of the grammar and a core vocabulary, the FSI drills, given their volume, can "hardwire" the German grammar into your head in a way that none of the others materials cited can.

So I agree that it's best used as a supplement to other materials AFTER you've established a basis with less-demanding resources such as those cited, and I probably should have specified this in my initial comment on the issue; if I'd had to start with the FSI course, I'm certain I would have been overwhelmed early on and never learned German.

I acknowledge that the tapes are old, but don't think words like "matches" are obsolete; even as a non-smoker, I would think my vocabulary inadequate if I didn't learn this word at least somewhere along the way. As for "typewriter ink" -- you probably mean "ribbon" (Farbband) -- I think every learner has to decide for himself which words are essential to learn and which can be left until later or even never learned at all, and so don't think the relatively few words of this sort in the course disqualify it from use. But my point was really to note that, despite its admitted age, it's a free resource that can be very useful at the right stage in one's studies.

Edited by daristani on 23 January 2012 at 3:29pm

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Zwlth
Super Polyglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3121 days ago

154 posts - 319 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Arabic (Written), Dutch, Swedish, Portuguese, Latin, French, Persian, Greek

 
 Message 45 of 59
03 February 2012 at 9:36pm | IP Logged 
Does anyone know of any sources for the complete texts of the DLI courses for MSA?

The main source for the 1981 MSA course is missing Volume 14 (Lessons 105 - 112).

The source for the 1966 edition is complete according to the ERIC document resume (120 lessons in 9 volumes); however, the preface inside each individual volume mentions that there are supposed to be 180 lessons contained in 10 volumes. So, where are the remaining 60 lessons? (By the way, Vol. 1 was for some reason included at the end of this enormous PDF file, beginning on page 2151, so it does contain the 9 volumes stated on the ERIC document resume).

Since I'm at it, has anyone systematically compared the two editions? The later one (1975 originally, revised again in 1981) seems quite different from the earlier one, so if they found it necessary to utterly redo it, then perhaps they found something wrong with it? However, for my money from what I have seen thus far, the 1966 edition seems more substantial, i.e., it contains more drills, more written Arabic on the average page.
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daristani
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5039 days ago

738 posts - 1635 votes 
Studies: Uzbek

 
 Message 46 of 59
03 February 2012 at 10:58pm | IP Logged 
I've just uploaded the missing volume 14 to the following URL:

http://ifile.it/bulv61d

Why that particular volume is missing from the site I don't know, but wouldn't be surprised if it was just a case of simple carelessness on the part of whoever did the uploading.

I don't know anything about the earlier course, but have just downloaded it out of curiosity and see that it indeed does differ.

Are you using the DLI course for Arabic? If so, would you be willing to share your experiences with it?


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Zwlth
Super Polyglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3121 days ago

154 posts - 319 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Arabic (Written), Dutch, Swedish, Portuguese, Latin, French, Persian, Greek

 
 Message 47 of 59
04 February 2012 at 9:01am | IP Logged 
Thank you, Daristani, for being so kindly helpful and generous!

Of course I'll be happy to share my experiences not only with DLI MSA but also with FSI, given that that is the topic of this thread.

I am an advanced student of the language who has been going at it for ages and even got to spend a short but intensive time in the Middle East some years back. Through reading and listening, I continue to grow my vocabulary, and to improve in those two passive skills. However, though I am probably still functionally fluent when it comes to speaking as well, I don't have anyone to talk to. So, when I try to talk to myself or just to think in it, I feel uncertain of my accuracy and automaticity. I really want to work on these, but didn't have any notion how to go about it until I recalled something Professor Arguelles said about the right prescription for this kind of situation being to read audiolingual pattern drills aloud, fast and furious.

So, I got a hold of the more readily available FSI MSA course and was working through it, but found that the pattern drills in it were "defective" for lack of a better word. That is, rather than substituting a variety of elements to exercise grammar, they tend to be nothing more than 8 to 10 variations of the same long sentence with only one element changed, usually the name of a head of state or a capital city.

I then tracked down the DLI courses, have been working through them, and find them to be exactly what I was wanting. By spending about half an hour reading pattern drills aloud every morning, I feel much more certain articulating my own thoughts later in the day.

Precisely because this course is so helpful to me at my advanced stage, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone just setting out to learn the language, however, as the recordings would be indispensable at that stage and they are of frustratingly low sound quality. Moreover, I think you need more explanations when you are setting out. For high intermediate or above learners, however, I think they are really great.

As I indicated, the FSI course just cannot compare with the DLI for MSA. There are only 3 volumes of FSI, and only the first one has drills at all (the other two are basically readers, which is nice, but for different purposes), and these are "defective" as I described above.

I'll try to remember to report back to this thread again in a couple of months after I've gone through more of both the 1966 and the 1975/1981 courses to say more about how they are different. My feeling having looked through but not worked through them both is that the earlier course was "too" substantive and so has a much steeper learning curve; I suspect they needed to make a new one because it was too intensive.
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ericblair
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2606 days ago

480 posts - 699 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: French

 
 Message 48 of 59
04 May 2012 at 9:01am | IP Logged 
I like the looks of the FSI Fast Russian course.

Anyone have any experience with the beginner DLI Russian courses?


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