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Your favorite language program?

 Language Learning Forum : Language Programs, Books & Tapes Post Reply
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oziohume
Bilingual Hexaglot
Newbie
Belgium
Joined 3143 days ago

30 posts - 43 votes
Speaks: English*, Spanish*, Catalan, Italian, French, German
Studies: Dutch

 
 Message 321 of 376
12 November 2013 at 5:31pm | IP Logged 
As my approach usually includes a great interest in grammar, I am a fan of Grammar books.
Speaking of which, does anyone know why Routledge's: A Comprehensive Grammar series, has
only a few languages (and a strange selection, I might add)?
1 person has voted this message useful



embici
Triglot
Senior Member
CanadaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3015 days ago

263 posts - 370 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, French
Studies: Greek

 
 Message 322 of 376
12 November 2013 at 5:37pm | IP Logged 
Michel Thomas and Language Transfer are quite limited but I have to say, what I learned
in those programs, I REALLY learned.




1 person has voted this message useful



montmorency
Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3233 days ago

2371 posts - 3675 votes 
Speaks: English*, German
Studies: Danish, Welsh

 
 Message 323 of 376
12 November 2013 at 8:20pm | IP Logged 
embici wrote:
Michel Thomas and Language Transfer are quite limited but I have to say,
what I learned
in those programs, I REALLY learned.





Can you tell me / us something about Language Transfer?

Thanks.
1 person has voted this message useful



embici
Triglot
Senior Member
CanadaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3015 days ago

263 posts - 370 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, French
Studies: Greek

 
 Message 324 of 376
12 November 2013 at 8:32pm | IP Logged 
Language Transfer is inspired by the Michel
Thomas method and available in just a few languages: Greek for English speakers, Spanish
for English speakers and English for Spanish speakers. It's all audio and the recordings
have a teacher and a student. They are free to download.

4 persons have voted this message useful



Kunji
Newbie
United States
Joined 2446 days ago

19 posts - 24 votes
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 325 of 376
04 December 2013 at 3:32am | IP Logged 
embici wrote:
Language Transfer is
inspired by the Michel
Thomas method and available in just a few languages: Greek for English speakers,
Spanish
for English speakers and English for Spanish speakers. It's all audio and the
recordings
have a teacher and a student. They are free to download.


I enjoyed the LT Spanish lessons in your link. I added them to my playlist on youtube.
Unfortunately they only have 2 lessons. They don't have enough content to shake a
stick at yet. Even a total beginner would probably be better off starting with a
longer course. I think MT's method is great and should be incorporated into anyone's
studies.

BACKGROUND
I have been studying Spanish for just over 2 months now and I have tried a lot of
different courses and spent quite a bit of $$$. Luckily even though I have only been
studying a short time, I have been buying these programs up for years thinking it would
motivate me, but it never worked. The first month and a half I spent about 2-4 hours a
day studying. Now I am dong to about a hour. This doesn't count cartoons I watch in
Spanish with my kids or trying to talk to people on Skype.

I feel like I have made good progress in such a short time. When I try to speak with
people in a Google handgout or Skype they are amazing at how long I have been learning.

PROGRAMS
+ Pimsluer (just started 2 of 4)
+ Rocket Spanish (finished 1 of 3)
+ Michel Thomas (basic course)
+ Rosetta Stone (half way through 2 of 5)
+ Assimil with Ease (lesson 17 of 109)
+ Personal Lessons with iTalki.com tutor (completed 7 one hour lessons)
+ Verbling classes (attended just a few)
+ Duolingo (I am a level 8 - give or take a level)
+ FSI (didn't make it past the first part)
+ LiveMocha (a few quick lessons)

Rosetta Stone, Pimsluer, Michel Thomas, Assimil, Rocket Spanish
I like all of these courses a lot. I think I have gotten the most out of Rosetta
Stone. Followed by Pimsleur and Michel. Out of these I feel like I have gotten the
least form Assimil. I think the method works, it just takes longer to feel the results.

Actually I think the Assimil method (understanding blocks of conversation) is the best
way to learn a language, but the course is kind of cheap and unpolished. The text was
not professionally put together and the accents are not pleasant. That might also be
making it harder for me to get into it. Most of my programs are more expense but more
professionally made. Rocket Spanish is very similar to Assimil except more audio
based. It stars off with dialog and breaks it down bit by bit until you understand the
whole conversation.

iTalki Lessons and Verbling
Personal lessons are not nearly as beneficial to me as my self study. I am not sure if
it is the teacher or the format. I learn far faster on my own. Same with Verbling
group classes. I will not buy more packages once I finish the lessons I have already
purchased.

Duolingo, FSI, & LiveMocha
Duolingo, LiveMocha, and FSI are free and you get what you pay for. These are the ones
I wish I could get my time back and put to better use. Duolingo is a nice looking,
polished fun app, but it was meant for people who already know the language and want to
brush up their skills. Duolingo is great for taking someone with a background in a
language and teaching them to be a translator (which makes sense because that is how
they make money). Duolingo is not good for teaching a language.

LiveMocha and FSI I could not get into at all. FSI might be a very complete course,
but if it is no fun it doesn't matter how much content it teaches. I have nightmares
about that course. This wins my all time worse course award. Every time I hear anyone
recommend FSI in a post I generally stop reading what they have to say. Everyone
learns different, if FSI helped you, than I am probably pretty different than you and I
would not do well to take your advice.

CONCLUSION
All in all, I have still spent much less than the cost of classes at a college or over
seas language courses. I have spent more than others and I am okay with that. I enjoy
it so it was worth it. Again, I didn't spend all this at once. It was accumulated
over the years thinking each one will motivate me to start. I have not completed any
2nd level course. My opinions might change once I get into the more difficult levels.

Edited by Kunji on 04 December 2013 at 5:13am

2 persons have voted this message useful



Jeffers
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3314 days ago

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

 
 Message 326 of 376
04 December 2013 at 10:27am | IP Logged 
Kunji wrote:
Actually I think the Assimil method (understanding blocks of
conversation) is the best
way to learn a language, but the course is kind of cheap and unpolished. The text was
not professionally put together and the accents are not pleasant. That might also be
making it harder for me to get into it. Most of my programs are more expense but more
professionally made. Rocket Spanish is very similar to Assimil except more audio
based. It stars off with dialog and breaks it down bit by bit until you understand the
whole conversation.


I agree that Assimil is probably the best method of a course, but it can be hard to get
into. For people who want fast results, things like Michel Thomas, Pimsleur and others
feel like they take you further with less effort. But for long-term learning, Assimil
has more you can learn, use and reuse. It must be said that the Spanish course for
English speakers has a very mixed reputation (I've never even looked at it, so I can't
say anything).

Kunji wrote:

Duolingo, LiveMocha, and FSI are free and you get what you pay for. These are the ones
I wish I could get my time back and put to better use. Duolingo is a nice looking,
polished fun app, but it was meant for people who already know the language and want to
brush up their skills. Duolingo is great for taking someone with a background in a
language and teaching them to be a translator (which makes sense because that is how
they make money). Duolingo is not good for teaching a language.


Like you (I think) I used Duolingo a lot for a few weeks, getting up to level 8 before
stopping completely. I think, however, it is good for more than learning to be a
translator. I have been realizing that my French spelling is atrocious, and that is
one thing that Duolingo is very good at working on, so I have been planning to get back
into it (although not very motivated to do so).

Regarding FSI (and hoping you'll read on even though I am speaking in its favour) I
think it's very useful. People who turn to FSI are those who realize that all of those
"easy and fun" methods aren't really helping them as much as they'd hoped. Yes,
drilling is boring, but there's little else to do that will develop automaticity (if
that's a word) in grammar usage while speaking. Speaking a lot, like you do on Skype,
is good, but you will make the same mistakes, or forget the same unusual form every
time it comes up. Personally, I could never really get into FSI sitting on my sofa,
text in hand (on a tablet) while listening. I use it when I go for a long bike ride or
walk. I use the text afterwards to check words I couldn't quite hear well enough. The
audio quality ranges from poor to awful, but that helps train your listening ability.

Okay, FSI and Assimil are not for everyone. But the people I see using them are people
who are looking for long-term improvements, and are not interested in a quick fix.
Those who complain that 3 months is too long to get to B1 will never use FSI or
Assimil, but I also suspect they will never get to B1.

(Caveat: I'm not saying you are one of those who is looking for a quick fix. But in my
limited experience on these boards, often those people who want to learn fast are the
ones who don't like long-term courses like Assimil and FSI. You hit the nail on the
head when you said about Assimil, "I think the method works, it just takes longer to
feel the results.")

Edited by Jeffers on 04 December 2013 at 10:30am

4 persons have voted this message useful



Stelle
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
tobefluent.com
Joined 2549 days ago

949 posts - 1686 votes 
Speaks: French*, English*, Spanish
Studies: Tagalog

 
 Message 327 of 376
04 December 2013 at 10:56am | IP Logged 
Kunji wrote:


iTalki Lessons and Verbling
Personal lessons are not nearly as beneficial to me as my self study. I am not sure if
it is the teacher or the format. I learn far faster on my own. Same with Verbling
group classes. I will not buy more packages once I finish the lessons I have already
purchased.

I could not agree with you more about verbling classes! I took only one - what a waste of an hour (and three
dollars. Ha!). It was horrible. Round-robin style, each person saying one or two sentences. I watched several
other lessons, and they were all the same. Definitely not the best use of time or resources, in my opinion.

If you're not getting much out of your one-on-one lessons, then I suspect that you have the wrong teacher. I
think that the best use of a Skype tutor is conversation. I can teach myself grammar, but I can't practice talking
by myself. Some teachers are really attached to their "lesson plans". If your teacher won't adapt to your needs
(which, in my case, means ditching those lesson plans altogether and practicing in a more natural conversation),
then you need a new teacher.

Kunji wrote:

FSI
FSI might be a very complete course, but if it is no fun it doesn't matter how much content it teaches. I have
nightmares about that course. This wins my all time worse course award. Every time I hear anyone recommend
FSI in a post I generally stop reading what they have to say. Everyone learns different, if FSI helped you, than I am
probably pretty different than you and I would not do well to take your advice.

I think that FSI is much more useful for an intermediate student than a beginner. Had I started it at the beginning,
I would have *hated* it. But I started it when I already had a decent overview of the grammar. Used as a review, I
find it very useful for building automaticity. But I have to be moving to use it. If I'm not walking, then there's no
way I'm doing it. I wouldn't do it instead of other learning, but as a supplement to what I do like (native materials
and Skype conversations, mainly), I find it very helpful.

We all have to figure out what works best for us, based on our learning styles, needs and goals!

4 persons have voted this message useful



Stelle
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
tobefluent.com
Joined 2549 days ago

949 posts - 1686 votes 
Speaks: French*, English*, Spanish
Studies: Tagalog

 
 Message 328 of 376
04 December 2013 at 11:05am | IP Logged 
As a teacher, I like Pimsleur - my students who work with Pimsleur have a beautiful accent and have
internalized some very useful basic structures. While I don't think that any language program is really enough
on its own to teach you a language, and Pimsleur moves pretty slowly, I do think that it's a very good starting
point for an absolute beginner.

As a student, I also like Pimsleur - but only the first part that I can get for free from the pubic library. It's too
expensive otherwise. While I haven't actually used Assimil, I really like the format, and I would definitely give
it a try in the future if I learn a language that they teach (although my next language - Tagalog - isn't covered
by Assimil).

From the perspective of both a teacher and a student, I'm not the biggest fan of Rosetta Stone. I've had
conversations with people who've gone through all five (?) levels of French, but can't hold their own in a
simple 10-minute conversation. While I can see RS being useful as a supplement, I don't recommend it as the
main resource.

I think that people can become overly reliant on language programs, overall. A language program can help
you learn the basics, but it won't teach you to take part in a conversation or to read a novel on its own. I
firmly believe in including native materials and conversation practice (either with a language exchange
partner or a teacher) as soon as possible.


1 person has voted this message useful



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