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Assimil

 Language Learning Forum : Language Programs, Books & Tapes Post Reply
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manna
Groupie
Kyrgyzstan
Joined 5428 days ago

94 posts - 112 votes 

 
 Message 9 of 278
22 January 2005 at 4:23am | IP Logged 
Thanks, this was really helpful!
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Malcolm
Triglot
Retired Moderator
Senior Member
Korea, South
Joined 5485 days ago

500 posts - 514 votes 
5 sounds
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Korean
Studies: Mandarin, Japanese, Latin

 
 Message 10 of 278
22 January 2005 at 2:11pm | IP Logged 
Ardaschir, thanks for the advice on using Assimil. I'm going to order "JaponÚs sin Esfuerzo" to improve my Japanese, as there's no English version available. There's no English or Spanish version for the second volume, so I might have to learn basic French. I'm also going to take your advice and edit out the spaces between phrases. I'll let you guys know how I'm progressing in a few months.

I have a few other questions which are by no means urgent:

1.) Have you used Assimil Japanese? Is it any good?

2.) How long does it take to get through an Assimil course? I realize that it depends on the language, so perhaps you could provide examples.

3.) What's your opinion of the Latin and Ancient Greek courses? Is it possible to develop competence in these languages with Assimil?

Thanks!

Edited by Malcolm on 22 January 2005 at 2:11pm

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pentatonic
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5417 days ago

221 posts - 245 votes 

 
 Message 11 of 278
22 January 2005 at 6:26pm | IP Logged 
Hi Ardaschir, I found your techiniques of learning with Assimil very interesting. If I may summarize, you:
1) listen to the audio until you are familiar with it
2) listen while reading the translation until you understand it well
3) listen while reading the target language
4) type the text of the target language
5) repeat until you've memorized the text and can repeat it from memory in the shower.

I have "German with ease" published in 1987 (book only) and had a look at it and noted that most of the lessons seem to be dialogs.

Do you realize that your method almost exactly parallels the FSI method of learning language?

In FSI you have several dialogs that you must memorize. While you do you listen to a native speaker to get the correct pronunciation, etc. You read along with it at first to learn the meaning and words. You're not required to type anything because FSI focuses on spoken language and so has lots of audio.

Anyway, I just found the similarities interesting because you say you don't like the FSI method. Your technique is not so different in my opinion.

I do not intend this as a criticism because I'm sure your method works quite well.

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ProfArguelles
Moderator
United States
foreignlanguageexper
Joined 5426 days ago

609 posts - 2100 votes 

 
 Message 12 of 278
23 January 2005 at 8:06am | IP Logged 
This is especially to Malcolm:

I would indeed suggest that you consider learning both French and German well before you embark on the study of other languages. One of the biggest mistakes I myself made in trying to become a polyglot was not learning languages in the best systematic fashion or order. I belive I wrote to the adminstrator that I have written a book on the art of becoming a polyglot and am now editing it for publication. Also, I believe I mentioned the why of French & German in another post, namely that there is so much learning material for all other languages available in these languages that is not available in English. At any rate,

1) Yes, I have used Assimil Japanese, and it is quite good. Volume 2 is much more substantial that volume 1, and volume 3 is a decent guide to writing Hanja, though I have another guide that is just as good in my office (I'll give you the refernce when I get a chance from my busy day there, now I am writing from the relative quiet of my home). However, Japanese is a case when I would also very stronly recommend the Linguaphone course (the Old one that is, from the 1950's or 60's - I don't know if they have updated it, I believe and hope not). The Linguaphone course is all Romanized, but it goe through all the facets of life in a most systematic fashion. Also, this older set is the one that parallels many other languages and so greatly facilitates learning another language once you have studied one. The Assimil course, on the other hand, is fully of Gallic humor. I can recommend some other courses once I am in my office, but they are in German.

2) On the back of the box, Assimil generally says it takes 6 months to get through a course. Most courses have 100 lessons, and you are supposed to do a lesson a day for the "first wave," plus a a lesson a day for the "second wave," so this is not merely a marketing ploy. However, it really depends where you are coming from. If you know Spanish well, you could probably get through the basic Italian course in a much shorter period and move on to the culturally richer (i.e., it introduces literatre, art, history, etc.) 2nd volume in short order. However, you should probably expect to spend a considerably longer period of time with the Japanese volumes.

3) RE: the Assimil Latin course - the book is very good, the tapes unfortunately employ an absurdly exaggerated intonation throughout. Still, it is certainly possible to develop competence with them. However, I myself never really fell in love with "living" Latin until the publication of a much more recent TYS "Beginning Latin" course (again, I will have to give you the specific refence from my office, though I here note that this is one of the VERY few instances of an excellent method being published in recent years). As for Greek, the Assimil courses are for modern, not ancient. I know of no courses for the study of study of Ancient Greek as a spoken language. The curren Assimil course in modern Greek is OK, though the older one was much better (and should still be available in German - a classic instance of why you should know it). The Lingaphone course is also quite good, and unless they have updated (i.e., ruined) it, parallels the Japanese course almost in its entirety, so you could learn both at the same time with profit rather than burden.
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ProfArguelles
Moderator
United States
foreignlanguageexper
Joined 5426 days ago

609 posts - 2100 votes 

 
 Message 13 of 278
23 January 2005 at 8:17am | IP Logged 
This is especially to pentatonic:

I never said I didn't like FSI. In fact, I openly acknowledged that there are many different styles of learning, and that FSI might be very well suited to some people. I myself taught myself Spanish very successfully many long years ago using the FSI course, so I know that it works quite well. However, having devloped considerably more experience, I "fault" it for including instructional language on the tapes, which prevents the mind from switching entirely to target language, and I simply find the drills to be boring and unnecessary. However, I can see why you find similarities between "my" method and the FSI method - after all, they both center around the use of taped materials. However again, there are very great differences, and some subtelties that you either missed or, more likely, I did not stress in my earlier posting.

1) I do not simply "listen," I "shadow." "Shadowing" means that you say what you hear instantaneously (rather than in a pause thereafter, as in the FSI methods), preferably while in motion, at least while pacing your room, but ideally while walking in the woods.
2) I "understand" in progressively deeper layers, i.e., systematically deeeper and deeper.
3) I do not consciously try to memorize the texts. Rather, I switch my consciousness to the target langauge while I am learning and try to keep it there, replaying or rather rehashing the dialogues until I intuitively know their content.

I'm sorry if I cannot make this more concise. I devote an entire lengthy chapter to it in my book.
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pentatonic
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5417 days ago

221 posts - 245 votes 

 
 Message 14 of 278
23 January 2005 at 1:04pm | IP Logged 
Ardaschir,

I'm glad to hear that you don't dislike the FSI courses but I was judging by your post in the Linguaphone thread:

Ardaschir wrote:
However, you like Pimsleur and FSI, so Lingaphone is probably not suited to your style of learning. I myself do not care for either of these methods ...

Thank you for the clarification. By "listening" I actually meant "listening and repeating" but did not understand what you meant by shadowing. The Assimil book I have has drills in it where you fill in the missing word in sentences. Do you ignore those?

I was given the Assimil "German with ease" book as a gift. I always thought it seemed like a good course but didn't give it a chance since I didn't have the tapes and it didn't seem comprehensive enough. At the time I didn't know the advanced course existed. I wanted a course that would teach me to speak very fluently and so continued my search. Now I know that such a self-study course doesn't really exist and it's up to me to continue my studies by reading, talking with natives, etc.
1 person has voted this message useful



Malcolm
Triglot
Retired Moderator
Senior Member
Korea, South
Joined 5485 days ago

500 posts - 514 votes 
5 sounds
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Korean
Studies: Mandarin, Japanese, Latin

 
 Message 15 of 278
24 January 2005 at 11:22pm | IP Logged 
Ardaschir wrote:
As for Greek, the Assimil courses are for modern, not ancient. I know of no courses for the study of study of Ancient Greek as a spoken language


There's an Ancient Greek course available on the Assimil web site, as well as the the Modern Greek course. Maybe the Ancient one was released recently.

I've just ordered the two volumes of Japanese, and they should arrive in a week or two. I'll post a detailed message when I feel I have mastered the contents these two volumes.
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ElComadreja
Senior Member
Philippines
bibletranslatio
Joined 5408 days ago

683 posts - 757 votes 
2 sounds
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Portuguese, Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew, Cebuano, French, Tagalog

 
 Message 16 of 278
30 January 2005 at 11:09pm | IP Logged 
Assimil VS FSI
I actulay don't use the FSI course exactly as described either.
I was just about to go buy an assimil course just to see what was in it, but then I saw the words '4 hours of audio'.. only 4? That hardly seems like enough and there appears to be different levels of Assimil as well that i can't seem to follow the logic of.


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