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Assimil

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TreoPaul
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4500 days ago

121 posts - 118 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German

 
 Message 145 of 278
30 July 2008 at 2:08pm | IP Logged 
pentatonic wrote:
Instructions

Yes, it can be frustrating because they are sometimes woefully unclear. Look at this post by Omnicron which gives the instructions from an old Italian version. They are better than most.

Active Wave

If some people skip the active wave out of frustration then it's a shame because that's one of the most important parts, assuming you want to be able to speak in the language.

You're not expected to get the answer right word for word. If you get the meaning across in a way that you feel is correct then move on. If you botched what you feel is an important structure, or couldn't think of the correct word, then mark the sentence in the book, create a flashcard from whatever you missed, study it over the next few days, and try the sentence again.

Small Post-It notes make great bookmarks that won't fall out. They even make special ones just for that purpose.

One thing that a language learner has to accept is that he is going to make mistakes. Some of them are going to be embarrassing. Just get over it and don't take learning too seriously. Have fun.


I think the major problem of Assimil (at least with the German) is that the book touts a passive "with ease/without effort" method that simply does not work. However, with a bit of effort, it is a great method.

First Pass:
1) I listen to the lesson and exercises while follwing the English. (correct any English that makes no sense using translation dictionary or software).
2) I read the German out loud.
3) I read all notes (grammar etc)
4) I listen to, read, or shadow the German enough times so that I can follow the meaning. Sometimes this requires quite a few repeats, sometimes only one or two.
5) On Review/Grammar lesson days, I also review the prior six lessons to ensure I've retained the basic understanding.

Active Wave:
1) I listen to the audio to ensure I still understand the conversation.
2) I read the German and review all the notes.
3) I attempt to translate from (corrected) English to German, both lesson and exercise. I repeat until I get it right, using listening/shadowing for variety.
4) I do the fill-in-the-blank exercises to see how well I've internalized the lesson. By this point they are usually very easy.
5) Again, on 7th day grammar lessons, I also review the prior lessons, and address any shortcomings.

I try for what I estimate to be a 90% correct rate. If I get a word wrong, the word is wrong, not the sentence.

This is my method, it works for me. I don't know if it works for anyone else. Sometimes I spend 15 minutes on a lesson. Sometimes I spend 15 minutes six times in the day to learn a particular lesson.

Before I came to terms with the fact that the instructions were lacking, and that the ease of progress was grossly overstated, I was frustrated with Assimil. Now I love it. I wish the next level was available in English. (I've written to Assimil to express my desire).

I very much enjoy the voices and acting on the German Assimil. I may buy level 2 in a different language just for the audio, and use transcribing/translating into English as the main learning element.

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ficticius
Pro Member
United States
Joined 4277 days ago

23 posts - 24 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: German
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 Message 146 of 278
30 July 2008 at 2:48pm | IP Logged 
I've made it to lesson 63 of Assimil German. When I go back to do the second wave, after some review, study and some recall, I am able to translate it to German from English. Is this correct or should I be doing something else?
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jeff_lindqvist
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Studies: German, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Mandarin, Esperanto, Irish, French
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 Message 147 of 278
30 July 2008 at 6:04pm | IP Logged 
Yes, you are supposed to be able to translate the English back into German, but don't take the instructions too seriously or the translations too literally. Things can be said in many ways.
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ficticius
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United States
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23 posts - 24 votes
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Studies: German
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 Message 148 of 278
31 July 2008 at 11:19am | IP Logged 
Should translation during the second wave be from German to English verbally and in writing?
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jeff_lindqvist
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 Message 149 of 278
31 July 2008 at 4:14pm | IP Logged 
I think the instructions suggest both speaking and writing during the second wave.
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ficticius
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 Message 150 of 278
04 August 2008 at 9:28am | IP Logged 
I'm making my way through the second wave. Do I need to translate lessons 50+ into English or do I go back and do that after I complete lessons 1-49. I am currently on 65.

Also - exactly what should my retention aspirations be - every word?
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jeff_lindqvist
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 Message 151 of 278
04 August 2008 at 3:01pm | IP Logged 
Unless you have gone through the material very thoroughly and/or have photographic (audiographic?) memory, I wouldn't expect word-for-word translations, but rather something close to the original text.
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Kugel
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United States
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497 posts - 555 votes 
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 152 of 278
05 August 2008 at 10:00am | IP Logged 
Anyone have a problem with the Assmil texts mixing up the tenses(time and aspect) of verbs when translating English into the target language? I've noticed that sometimes the grammar on the English translation was incorrect. And often times the time and aspect of English is understood very differently than the time and aspect of different languages. I don't think Assimil does a good job taking care of these nuances.


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