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 Language Learning Forum : Language Programs, Books & Tapes Post Reply
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JohannaNYC
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2962 days ago

251 posts - 361 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*, English*, Italian
Studies: Croatian, Serbian, Arabic (Egyptian)

 
 Message 289 of 376
20 December 2012 at 4:28am | IP Logged 
Elexi wrote:
How is that then? -

Pimsleur - 600 words in 3 levels (CEFR A1) - Assimil 2500+ words (CEFR B1)
Pimsleur - $690 for 3 levels - Assimil $80 book with 4 cds
Pimsleur - Limited reading - Assimil - Lots of reading
Pimsleur - No formal grammar explanation - inference only - Assimil - Formal grammar
explanation + inference.
Pimsleur - 50% of the audio is English speaker who sounds like a Football coach -
Assimil - Audio is purely native.

and it goes on...


You're concentrating all on numbers and not the process. Assimil is more appealing to
the analytic, passive type and Pimsleur is best for those who like to learn by doing
and being as active in the process as possible. I find Assimil so boring that I have to
do Scriptorium to get through a lesson. At the end of the day the best method is the
one that you stick to everyday until you're done with it. Time and again Pimsleur has
me hooked from day one.

5 persons have voted this message useful



tractor
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 3963 days ago

1349 posts - 2292 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, English, Spanish, Catalan
Studies: French, German, Latin

 
 Message 290 of 376
20 December 2012 at 8:09am | IP Logged 
Pimsleur is for those who are afraid of progress, and it is about as fun as watching paint dry. :-)

To each his own.
3 persons have voted this message useful



Splog
Diglot
Senior Member
Czech Republic
anthonylauder.c
Joined 4179 days ago

1062 posts - 3263 votes 
Speaks: English*, Czech
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 291 of 376
20 December 2012 at 10:52am | IP Logged 
tractor wrote:
Pimsleur is for those who are afraid of progress, and it is about as fun as watching paint dry. :-)


Is anybody really afraid of progress? I would imagine that beginner courses such as Pimsleur are popular precisely because they help people progress. For people with limited language experience, a course needs to do a lot of hand-holding. This is why Pimsleur, Michel Thomas, Teach Yourself, and the like are so popular with beginners.

Only after you have really got to grips with language learning do those courses seem very slow because you no longer need all that hand-holding and can dive into the language yourself.

Certainly, when language learning was all very new to me, I found Assimil very confusing, and fled from them to pimsleur and the like. Now that I am more experienced, I love Assimil - since it helps me jump straight into native materials within just a few months.

This all folds back to my belief that giving advice to people on language learning is very difficult, since it is hard to know if they are at a point in their own language learning where your advice is useful or not. Plus, we forget very easily what it was like for us when we were just starting out.
10 persons have voted this message useful



tractor
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 3963 days ago

1349 posts - 2292 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, English, Spanish, Catalan
Studies: French, German, Latin

 
 Message 292 of 376
20 December 2012 at 11:31am | IP Logged 
Splog, I agree with you.
1 person has voted this message useful



JohannaNYC
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2962 days ago

251 posts - 361 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*, English*, Italian
Studies: Croatian, Serbian, Arabic (Egyptian)

 
 Message 293 of 376
20 December 2012 at 3:36pm | IP Logged 
Splog I agree with you to a certain extent. It's not so much the hand-holding that I like
about Pimsleur is that it gets you speaking right away in the correct accent. I prefer to
speak pretty early on. I just wish Pimsleur taught earlier how to ask "what does that
mean?" and "how do you say..?" Whereas if you start with Assimil and then go back to
Pimsleur to improve your accent as I've read people doing on this forum, then yes that
must be quite painful and like watching paint dry.

You mentioned the ability to use native materials and that's a good distinction between
the courses. It brings up the main reasons for wanting to learn a language.
3 persons have voted this message useful



Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3419 days ago

2151 posts - 3960 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Hindi, Ancient Greek, French, Sanskrit, German

 
 Message 294 of 376
23 December 2012 at 1:30am | IP Logged 
JohannaNYC wrote:
You're concentrating all on numbers and not the process. Assimil
is more appealing to
the analytic, passive type and Pimsleur is best for those who like to learn by doing
and being as active in the process as possible. I find Assimil so boring that I have to
do Scriptorium to get through a lesson. At the end of the day the best method is the
one that you stick to everyday until you're done with it. Time and again Pimsleur has
me hooked from day one.


I like Pimsleur, and I like Assimil, but I don't get this post at all. How is Assimil
passive? One of the reasons I like using Pimsleur is because I can use it while
walking, exercising, commuting, etc. I can listen to Assimil audio while doing these
things, but I can't properly work on it without using the book. It is Assimil which
requires you to be active in the process; with Pimsleur you just do whatever they tell
you to do.

Speaking of people who "like to learn by doing and being as active in the process as
possible", I recently read Benny's review of Pimsleur. If anyone is described by the
statement of learning by doing, it is Benny. And it is precisely for this reason that
he didn't like using Pimsleur.

My point is, Pimsleur is a linear course; you really have to do it as they say. Sure,
you can go backwards and repeat previous lessons (I do this all the time with
Pimsleur). But with Assimil you have loads of material, with somewhat vague
instructions, and you can pretty much do whatever you want with it. Like the fact that
you do scriptorium with it. Others put the sentences into Anki. You don't have that
kind of flexibility with Pimsleur.
3 persons have voted this message useful



JohannaNYC
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2962 days ago

251 posts - 361 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*, English*, Italian
Studies: Croatian, Serbian, Arabic (Egyptian)

 
 Message 295 of 376
23 December 2012 at 8:15am | IP Logged 
Jeffers wrote:
JohannaNYC wrote:
You're concentrating all on numbers and not the
process. Assimil
is more appealing to
the analytic, passive type and Pimsleur is best for those who like to learn by doing
and being as active in the process as possible. I find Assimil so boring that I have to
do Scriptorium to get through a lesson. At the end of the day the best method is the
one that you stick to everyday until you're done with it. Time and again Pimsleur has
me hooked from day one.


I like Pimsleur, and I like Assimil, but I don't get this post at all. How is Assimil
passive? One of the reasons I like using Pimsleur is because I can use it while
walking, exercising, commuting, etc. I can listen to Assimil audio while doing these
things, but I can't properly work on it without using the book. It is Assimil which
requires you to be active in the process; with Pimsleur you just do whatever they tell
you to do.

Speaking of people who "like to learn by doing and being as active in the process as
possible", I recently read Benny's review of Pimsleur. If anyone is described by the
statement of learning by doing, it is Benny. And it is precisely for this reason that
he didn't like using Pimsleur.

My point is, Pimsleur is a linear course; you really have to do it as they say. Sure,
you can go backwards and repeat previous lessons (I do this all the time with
Pimsleur). But with Assimil you have loads of material, with somewhat vague
instructions, and you can pretty much do whatever you want with it. Like the fact that
you do scriptorium with it. Others put the sentences into Anki. You don't have that
kind of flexibility with Pimsleur.



The first part of Assimil is called the passive phase/wave. Learning by assimilation,
which is what the Assimil method is based on, is passive especially in comparison to
Pimsleur. It seems that some Assimil courses have vague directions whereas others are
more detailed explanations as to how to conduct the course. Regardless of how detailed
the explanation basically it comes down to listening and reading the text to absorb the
language as opposed to actually trying to come up with stuff on your own, answer
unexpected questions that you haven’t had a chance to read or to guess how to say
something based on what you’ve previously learned on that course.

In contrast, Pimsleur’s “pressure to recall” ( to quote Benny’s review) is active.
Asking the student to take an educated guess on how to say something is active. I never
said that either course lets you be active in creating the course content. So I don’t
know what it is that you find so confusing.

I just read Benny’s review, he doesn’t like it because it’s too formal for his needs,
too expensive for the amount of material covered and he could learn more in 15 hours.
The formal ‘you’ is more necessary in some cultures than others and I’d rather err in
the side of too formal than be disrespectful as unlike Benny I don’t travel around the
world hanging out with my friends. He also dislikes that, “The course produces parrots
rather than potential conversationalists.” However, it seems like he might have changed
his mind on this last point. Now that he’s learning Egyptian Arabic, he says:

It’s easy to look down on someone producing phrases and dismiss them as “nothing but
a tourist” or a “glorified parrot” other such drivel, that I have gotten when referring
to my video uploads in my weaker stages of language learning. But this is a necessary
stepping stone on the path to speaking the language as I see it. The input-only roadmap
is greatly flawed and you need to start saying things if you want to get into
conversations.
http://www.fluentin3months.com/phrases/

Nowhere in my post do I get even close to discussing the content of each course, all I
talked about was methodology and whether one method was more enjoyable than the other.
Yes, Assimil has more material and you’re smart to make the best of it as am I. But
that’s freestyling it, that’s not the Assimil method. And I agree the Assimil course
content lends itself to trying different learning methods and customizing it to the
learner’s needs.

So again I don’t understand what was so confusing to you. I hope that this long post
clears up the confusion as I don’t think I can explain it any better than this.
4 persons have voted this message useful



Elexi
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4075 days ago

938 posts - 1837 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: French, German, Latin

 
 Message 296 of 376
23 December 2012 at 2:34pm | IP Logged 
How does Pimsleur get you speaking in the correct accent in a way that Assimil doesn't?
- that just sounds like S&S marketing to me. I can't believe anyone would go back to
Pimsleur for learning accent after completing Assimil - with the exception of the
inconsistently applied back-chaining technique in Pimsleur, you have two native voices
to copy. Assimil has around 4-6 voices - If you practice repeating out loud line by
line in the passive wave, you will develop as good, if not better, an accent as doing
Pimsleur.

As to passive-active and the element of surprise that you focus on - in the discussions
that has been had on whether or not to press pause in Pimsleur, many people here say
they have to repeat some lessons three times to get to the 80%+ rate - that shows that
people are not learning from the linear nature of Pimsleur but getting passive
knowledge and then going back to answer correctly - Similar to the passive/active wave
in Assimil.     

As has been said, each to their own. I personally find the process of Assimil to be a
far superior learning experience than listening to that guy who sounds like jock
football coach and learning bad 1960s American businessman chat-up lines. For audio-
only stuff I have got much more out of the Teach Yourself 'XXX Conversation/'Phone XXX'
CDs. But, if you find Assimil boring and somehow are hooked by Pimsleur, then fine.
However, having done French and German in both products, I am unconvinced by any
arguments that Pimsleur gives you more. It manifestly gives you less, for more money.

Edited by Elexi on 23 December 2012 at 2:37pm



6 persons have voted this message useful



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