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Pro Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3225 days ago

10 posts - 11 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: German
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 Message 361 of 376
19 June 2015 at 10:24am | IP Logged 
Thanks very much Speakeasy and Habadzi for your replies. I think I know enough to get
me started and am looking forward to get going. After doing some research and seeing
that Assimil has most of its products in French, I think I will first try and learn
French to c1 then c2 stage in long-term, so I will then hopefully be able use their
products aimed at persons with a French mother tongue, that are not yet available to
native English speakers.

Thai is going to be the difficult one but I'm hoping after I've learned my second
language it will make learning a third more easier. There doesn't seem to be many
resources at an advanced stage for Thai but I'm hoping if I can get to intermediate my
mother (whom is Thai) will be able to help me get to fluency.

I think my study plan will now be:

1. First Pimsleur and then Michael Thomas if need more at beginner level
2. Assimil for core part of learning
3. FSI to fill in any gaps from Assimil
4. Then maybe Linguaphone and Teach Yourself for extra practice
5. Start listening to: radio, tv, films in target language
6. Read books and study from materials in target language

I'm hoping that sort of process is good enough to get to c1.

P.S. I have come across another resource called DLI but it doesn't list the prices for
it. Has anyone had success with DLI? It looks like a great resource though.

Edited by Betablinx on 19 June 2015 at 10:27am

1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
AustraliaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 5254 days ago

821 posts - 1273 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: FrenchB1

 Message 362 of 376
19 June 2015 at 11:20am | IP Logged 
Betablinx wrote:

I think my study plan will now be:

1. First Pimsleur and then Michael Thomas if need more at beginner level
2. Assimil for core part of learning
3. FSI to fill in any gaps from Assimil
4. Then maybe Linguaphone and Teach Yourself for extra practice
5. Start listening to: radio, tv, films in target language
6. Read books and study from materials in target language

I've used a lot of courses myself and I'd recommend these adjustments:

1 Pimsleur and Michel Thomas- good start
2 Assimil - excellent quality course (start with the 'with ease' course)
3 FSI really good too for different reasons
4. Not sure about linguaphone (i did an audio course which was good along a similar
level as say Pimsleur II, but if you're talking about textbooks I don't know)
Ditch Teach Yourself- after Assimil and FSI Teach Yourself will seem like a waste of
time (unless you do it first, but even then Assimil and FSI are a better use of your
time). If you want another decent course I'd add French in Action.

The rest of your plan seems fine- you coud transition with Easy Readers and things
like 'News in Slow French' or 'Yabla'

Btw I think Fluenz is quite good, if you want a computer based program it's very good,
particulary at drilling- it's not FSI but it's certainly worthwhile imo

This is an example of a good plan imo:
1) Pimsleur and Michel Thomas - all levels preferably while not at home as they are
audio based courses that you could be doing at the same time as doing your other
courses involving textbooks.
2) FSI the first half of the basic course while doing Assimil New French with Ease at
the same time
3) Fluenz all 5 levels
4) Assimil using French/ French in Action/ FSI the rest of the course
5) Yabla/ News in Slow French / Easy Readers (progress to harder material as you feel
you're ready) and Bien-dire - excellent French learning magazine with a LOT of tougher
material aimed at the C1/C2 reader (but also plenty of B-level articles)
6) All native!
3 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
ScotlandRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4985 days ago

1468 posts - 2413 votes 
Speaks: English*, Italian, French
Studies: Spanish

 Message 363 of 376
19 June 2015 at 11:32am | IP Logged 
I'm sure Assimil used to have an English website but I can't find it any more, maybe they discontinued it in the latest redesign. Strange.

Learning French to C levels is a massive commitment that will take years, and doesn't seem worth it just to have access to a few more Assimil books. In my experience B2 is enough to take advantage of an Assimil book if you don't mind having to look up a few words in the dictionary, and while that's a lot less effort than C1, it's still a lot of time and work. If you have a keen interest in French itself then go for it, but if it's just to be able to use Assimil Thai then I'm not sure it's worthwhile and enough motivation. There must be Thai materials for English speakers out there, even if they're not quite as nice as Assimil, it could be worth searching or posting in the specific languages subforum.

Anyway your plan of working through a few courses to learn the basics then using native materials sounds good and it's what many people here have done with success. IMO the two traps to avoid are feeling you need to do lots of courses before you're "ready" for native materials, which beginners often fall into, and the opposite one of focusing only on native materials and neglecting study, which more advanced learners can fall into. Of course part of that is personal preference and finding what works for you.
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Super Polyglot
Senior Member
Joined 5352 days ago

70 posts - 106 votes 
Speaks: Greek*, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Hindi, French, German, Italian, Ancient Greek, Modern Hebrew, Arabic (classical), Indonesian, Bengali, Albanian, Nepali

 Message 364 of 376
19 June 2015 at 11:38am | IP Logged 
DLI is the defense language institute of the U.S. Probably more military terminology
than the old FSI. About 20 are free.
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Senior Member
Joined 3830 days ago

507 posts - 1098 votes 
Studies: German

 Message 365 of 376
19 June 2015 at 3:29pm | IP Logged 
If the Assimil website once had an English portal, it must have been before my time. Nonetheless, given that they offer many of their courses in numerous languages other than French (English, German, Italian, Polish, Russian, etcetera), it is indeed strange that the portal itself is in French only and that the Trouvez l'ouvrage qui vous convient SEARCH function is in French only. Many other sites allow the visitor to toggle between languages. C'est la vie, quoi? Betablinx, Assimil has an English version of their basic German course. So, you need not learn French to begin studying German. Also, while their follow-up Assimil Le Perfectionnemnt Allemand course is, indeed, in French, I would not bother learning French to use it. First, your level of French would have to be about C1 in order to fully understand everything in the notes and the translated version of the dialogues and, since French is not one of your chosen target languages, you would be postponing your study of the languages that you really want to learn. There's nothing in it for you. Second, you could simply approach Assimil Le Perfectionnemnt Allemand as the equivalent of "graded native audio materials" that happen to have a transcript. Just work with the dialogues and the transcripts in conjunction with a dictionary and a grammar; you're going to have to do this one day anyway.

Linguaphone currently offers two levels of German courses: (1) German Complete - Beginner to Advanced, and (2) German Advanced to Expert. The materials are of very high quality and, as for Assimil, the audio is in the target language only. The dialogues are much longer than those in many other courses. The notes take something of a "running narrative" approach similar to Assimil. That is, WHAT they try to convey is correct in the very limited context of the specific word, phrase, or sentence to which they refer. However, the WAY they present the explanation masks what is a much wider and more complex issue. I notice that they also have a complete course for Learning Thai. Based on my expériences with their German courses, I would say that the materials are bound to be quite good, save for the problem with the explanatory notes. However, at regular prices of 400 $US, I would either buy the "refurbished courses" at roughly half-price, or I would look around for other materials. As to the German courses, given the vast choices available for Learning this very popular language, I would consider only the Advanced-to-Expert course.

DLI German Basic
The files on the JLU Archives database are not those of the DLI German Basic course. Nonetheless, they do include some partial extracts that are not very useful on their own. I have a complete set of the manuals, workbooks, and audio files, including the DLI's version of the sentence pattern drills. I'm working (on and off) on a personal project of splitting the audio files into smaller segments and creating a transcript of the sentence pattern drills that I will, when it is finished, offer for uploading to the JLU Archives website (presuming that I can identify the administrator). As for the FSI Basic German course, the DLI materials are a little dated but are still quite sound; one wouldn't expect otherwise. Personally, I prefer the FSI course over the DLI course. Also, I believe that the combined Assimil German courses (beginners and Advanced) are quite sufficient. In any event, there is quite simply no need to wait around for DLI Basic German course. By the way, the military terminology in the 1967-through-1975 edition of the DLI German Basic course is limited, essentially, to military ranks (Private, Corporal, Sargeant, Lieutenant, Captain, Major). The vast majority of the vocabulary and the situational dialogues are meant to prepare the student for interaction with the civilian population: in the continuing story-line, the central character meets, courts, and marries a young German woman. You can locate the Student Manuals on the ERIC website.

Study Plan versus Studying
Betablinx, you seem to have a workable Study Plan. If you begin with Pimsleur, you will find that the "study sessions" are built within the audio recordings. This "spoon-feeding" is just great! However, in a way, this "spoils you" for other programmes, virtually all of which provide a series of dialogues as the basic materials. Most commercially-prepared courses do not provide adequate sentence-pattern drills or similar practice materials. Thus, the Glossika Mass Sentence drills do, indeed, provide something of a "niche" product. Given that, for German, the FSI drills are freely available and that, in my opinion, the Assimil dialogues function in a manner analogous to the sentence-pattern drills, you have more than enough materials available for studying this language. However, this begs the question: how should one use dialogues as study materials? There are many approaches. Since we are well outside the general subject of this Discussion Thread, which is devoted to comments on one's favourite language programmes, I suggest that you open a NEW discussion thread either under the section ADVICE or under the LEARNING TECHNIQUES METHODS & STRATEGIES and that you ask the forum members for their suggestions on how to study with dialogues. You're going to face this challenge as soon as you begin using Assimil or virtually any other self-study language programme. You can always develop your own method, but some advice from seasoned language-learners can save you a lot of frustration, false starts, discouragement, and disappointment.

PS: I am working with a borrowed computer that has a French version of Windows and a French keyboard. Consequently, some of my posts contain the French equivalent of what I have been typing in English. I'm tired of correcting Bill Gates' presumptive errors. So, if you come across words such as "expérience" and "Learning", which is now, apparently, a (capitalized) French word, and others, simply remove the accents mentally. Grump, grump, grump ... there is no word in French for "grump" that is spelled in a similar fashion ... still, I wouldn't be surprised if "Le Grumping" were to become an entry in Le Petit Robert someday.

Edited by Speakeasy on 19 June 2015 at 8:26pm

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Pro Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3225 days ago

10 posts - 11 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: German
Personal Language Map

 Message 366 of 376
19 June 2015 at 9:57pm | IP Logged 
Thanks everyone for all the great advice. Sorry for derailing this thread, I'll open up a
thread in the Advice forum when I have more questions, for now I'm going to get started
with Pimsleur German or French. I'm still not decided on which language I'll choose as my
first one but I'll give it some serious thought over the weekend and make a decision.

I will only be able to commit to 30-45 mins per day for language studies until September
because I have some non-language related studies to concentrate on till then. After
September I hope to ramp it up to 1.5-2 hours per day and possibly more on weekends.
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Joined 3352 days ago

3 posts - 4 votes
Speaks: English*, Thai
Studies: Russian, Japanese

 Message 367 of 376
03 July 2015 at 2:23am | IP Logged 

The best Thai learning resources are the ones which are made specifically for Thai learners. There are some great beginner resources from Benjawan Poomsan Becker. The Complete Teach Yourself Course is good as well. The best courses tend to be the ones which utilise the Thai alphabet early such as the ones above.

If you like things in the vein of Assimil/Michel Thomas, the best audio srs course for Thai that I've seen and used is the Glossika course.

Other good audio/podcast courses which I can vouch for are Thaipod101, Pick up Thai podcast (highly rec.) Learn2Speak Thai etc.

Any prospective Thai learner needs to visit the Women Learn Thai website, which will give you a huge amount of information on resources.

The FSI course for Thai is a big no-no for me. Stay far away from anything that only uses romanised thai. Terrible for learning correct pronunciation of the tones.

Inbox me if you want some further information. Good luck!
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Joined 3195 days ago

6 posts - 6 votes
Speaks: Russian*, French, English

 Message 368 of 376
22 July 2015 at 10:15am | IP Logged 
Personally I like this mobile app using flash cards technique:

There is no fixed collections of too easy cards. Basically you learn only what you want
to learn. So when I am reading a book, every unknown word goes to this app. It becomes
very handy

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