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Assimil

 Language Learning Forum : Language Programs, Books & Tapes Post Reply
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Brent
Groupie
United States
Joined 5177 days ago

55 posts - 54 votes 
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 73 of 278
31 October 2005 at 1:06pm | IP Logged 
That's a really good point. I often have trouble fitting a Pimsleur lesson in because I have to find someplace I can be alone and not get weird stares from people who think I'm (badly) talking to myself in a foreign language...
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Helvetico
Diglot
Groupie
Switzerland
Joined 5175 days ago

40 posts - 47 votes
Speaks: Spanish, English*
Studies: German

 
 Message 74 of 278
02 November 2005 at 3:43pm | IP Logged 
I'm on lesson 52 of German with Ease, and am ready to trade it in for the FSI course. I am getting nowhere with regard to fluency, despite having grown up bilingual (English/Spanish) and being exposed daily to native German (Schwyzer Deutsch) speakers.

As far as I can tell, Assimil is first and foremost a good listening comprehension course. It also does a fair job of building up one's passive vocabulary and reading skills. My verb conjugation skills are nonexistent, and my productive skills are scant.

I know this program is insufficient because I have used "French in Action" for self-study with excellent results. I have also used Pimsleur Italian and German with excellent, albeit limited results.

I don't particularly care if FSI is inherently boring. If I can learn how to construct new, meaningful sentences, that will provide all the excitement I need.

My verdict, then, is this: use Assimil as a listening comprehension and passive vocabulary supplement to a truly thorough, well-designed program. I concur with FX Micheloud's summary dismissal of this program as a worthwhile, stand-alone language learning tool.
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Al-Malik
Bilingual Heptaglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
arabicgenie.com
Joined 5297 days ago

221 posts - 293 votes 
1 sounds
Speaks: English*, German*, Spanish, Arabic (Written), Dutch, French, Arabic (classical)
Studies: Mandarin, Persian

 
 Message 75 of 278
02 November 2005 at 3:52pm | IP Logged 
Helvetico, how do you use the Assimil course? Do you attempt to memorise all the dialogues?
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Helvetico
Diglot
Groupie
Switzerland
Joined 5175 days ago

40 posts - 47 votes
Speaks: Spanish, English*
Studies: German

 
 Message 76 of 278
03 November 2005 at 3:33am | IP Logged 
Al-Malik,

     At first I followed Ardaschir's method exactly. I then grew tired of memorizing the dialogues, which I found tedious and not particularly fruitful. I instead shadowed the dialogues while reading them, thus focusing on pronunciation and phonetic decoding simultaneously.
     I then devoted the time I had used for memorization to review--at graduated intervals, a la Pimsleur. After I do the morning's lesson, I review the lessons from one, two, four, seven, fourteen and twenty-eight days before. I find this to be a much better way of forcing the material into my long-term memory.
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Bart
Triglot
Senior Member
Belgium
Joined 5323 days ago

155 posts - 159 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, French, English
Studies: German, Spanish, Japanese, Swedish

 
 Message 77 of 278
03 November 2005 at 7:02am | IP Logged 
Ardaschir's method is NOT memorizing the dialogs, it's absorbing the language and peeling it of layer by layer, like an onion.

Perhaps you should read through his posts again?
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Helvetico
Diglot
Groupie
Switzerland
Joined 5175 days ago

40 posts - 47 votes
Speaks: Spanish, English*
Studies: German

 
 Message 78 of 278
03 November 2005 at 12:26pm | IP Logged 
Bart,

Perhaps I shouldn't, since I'm already all too familiar with the onion metaphor. I do listen to the CD's and analyze each dialogue as much as possible. When Ardaschir says he "shadows" the tapes until he is able to repeat them simultaneously along with the speaker, he is, in effect, memorizing them. Call the process whatever you want, it's memorization. I don't want to quibble with you about semantics, but I, like Orwell, don't care for superfluous neologisms.

Ardaschir-worship aside, the method just isn't working for me. It may work for others, especially all of his fans who post regularly on this forum. Had it not been for their elaborate praise I wouldn't have bothered ordering Assimil in the first place. You will notice I didn't dismiss the method outright--I think it's a good adjunct to a stonger core program, but, like this website's founder, I just don't see how it can effectively teach active communication skills.

Bart, do you use Assimil? Have you tried other programs? What have you found effective?
1 person has voted this message useful



Bart
Triglot
Senior Member
Belgium
Joined 5323 days ago

155 posts - 159 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, French, English
Studies: German, Spanish, Japanese, Swedish

 
 Message 79 of 278
03 November 2005 at 5:55pm | IP Logged 
I do indeed use Assimil and have taught myself German with it (although being a native speaker of Dutch probably helped in achieving relative fluency in a short time), I am now using it for Spanish and Japanese, in a way best described as my take on the method Ardaschir outlined.

I want to apologize for my post earlier, as it wasn't meant agressive in any way but I now see that it probably looks like it is. You are probably right when you say that the method isn't going to work for everyone, as everyone has his or her own learning style.

There's one more thing I'd like to share with you though, as I read you are at lesson 52, which is about halfway German with Ease. I too had the same feeling you have at that point. But by doing some kind of "second wave" in units of 7 lessons and continuing shadowing and 'absorbing' new language features at the same time, I started feeling more and more 'at ease' in the language (German) Maybe you should give that a try.

(If you want more information on the way I use the Assimil courses, just ask :))

Edited by Bart on 03 November 2005 at 6:02pm

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Brent
Groupie
United States
Joined 5177 days ago

55 posts - 54 votes 
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 80 of 278
03 November 2005 at 8:40pm | IP Logged 
Whether or not Helvetico is interested in hearing your methods, Bart, I would love to hear them. I am just starting on Lesson 1 of Spanish with Ease today, and this is what I do/plan on doing:

1. edit out all the ridiculous gaps
2. listen to dialogue a few times
3. read the book and figure out what everything means
4. listen to dialogue several more times during the day, shadowing it when possible (I listen to the dialogue several times on my walk to class, but I obviously wouldn't want to shadow in public)
5. do the exercises before I go to bed

Does this sound like a reasonable way to proceed? If this is an effective way to do the lessons, I should be in pretty good shape. I have a 10 minute walk to and from class every day, so that's time I can listen to dialogues rather than simply waste the time.


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