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Senior Member
United States
Joined 4411 days ago

55 posts - 68 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: French

 Message 201 of 278
04 November 2009 at 3:08am | IP Logged 
ProfArguelles wrote:
I'm very glad that I've stimulated interest in this method because again I have found it to be central in my own treading the path of the polyglot...

Hey, you're the dude from Youtube!
Your videos led me to *ahem* acquire the 1940 version of Assimil "French Without Toil."
Just as you stated, it is, IMO, much more densely packed with pertinent information than the modern courses I've seen (which tend to be heavily padded for whichever reasons.)

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Senior Member
Joined 5763 days ago

415 posts - 528 votes 
Speaks: Polish*, EnglishC2, French, Spanish
Studies: German

 Message 202 of 278
04 November 2009 at 10:48am | IP Logged 
Thanks for the clarification. I thought it would be more like the Assimil software for Japanese or Chinese. They had the whole lesson displayed, and individual sentences were clickable.

I think this is still a good tool if you want to achieve good pronunciation - it's easier to catch some nuances with individual sentences on the loop. If you use it to drill individual sentences, you're not really following the original method (which I find really effective).
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Senior Member
United KingdomRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4504 days ago

272 posts - 365 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, French

 Message 203 of 278
01 February 2010 at 10:54pm | IP Logged 
How are people getting on that started Assimil at christmas or at the dawn of the new
year. I'm up to lesson 39 now so not long until the active phase kicks in. I am
hoping that going over and reviewing them again along with the extra work such as the
translations will really begin to get the language to sink in. I have memorised a
number of the sentences through my constant listening to them. However, I'm sure this
isn't in the method, in fact my Italian with ease even says not too memorise things but
I was wondering if just simply reviewing with a bit of translation will take me to the
point where i can manipulate vocab and structure to suit. Personally, although I have
spent a lot of time reading through and being inspired by some of the people who say
they learnt the language to a good degree (B2 etc) using this method alone, I am
incline to think having done a chunk of this course now that they have devoted their
life to the course for the duration of the course or more likely, have backed up the
teachings from the book with conversations with natives/friends etc. I have signed up
to a conversational course so I may be able to practise some more but Assimil alone I
think will be ill equiped to make me conversational.

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Senior Member
United KingdomRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4504 days ago

272 posts - 365 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, French

 Message 205 of 278
03 February 2010 at 7:49pm | IP Logged 
Yes Buttons - you are right! I have come to realise that variety is important. Luckily
my local library has a copy of an old lingaphone course so I have checked that out and
I'm working through it slowly. I wonder how fanatic or anyone else for that matter has
progressed using Assimil alone for the other languages they know. I would be
interested to know to what stage they reached in say a language that was unrelated to a
priorly learnt language (as obvious this would interfere and probably accelerate
learning). After a lot of trawling I came to the conclusion that the majority of
people here praised either the FSI courses and/or the assimil courses. The Italian
FSI is poor so I went for Assmil. I think my listening abilities have definitely
progressed and my vocabulary increasing but there is a problem that I find. This being
that when I started learning Italian using the michel thomas course, everything was
thought out and the sentence constructions made sense. Now I am using assimil, I know
that they include idiomatic expressions and also taking into account the apparently
awful translation - some the sentences I am reading either do not make sense or are not
consistent from one lesson to the other.

Oh well, I dont know if there was a point to this rambling but maybe some of you have
experienced similar disappointments with courses you are working through.

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Senior Member
Joined 4364 days ago

1349 posts - 2292 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, English, Spanish, Catalan
Studies: French, German, Latin

 Message 207 of 278
03 February 2010 at 9:17pm | IP Logged 
Buttons wrote:
If you are finding that not knowing 'exactly' what and how everything works together with
using Assimil for Italian, you might benefit from doing some grammar work. The grammar work will then
explain the structure and patterns of the language and Assimil will then show you the ways the language are
used plus idioms etc.

This is an excellent advice I think.

Buttons wrote:
A lot of people on these forums who only use Assimil as their main tool have usually already
studied languages before hand. Therefore, these people will need to study less grammar because they can spot
patterns in a target language a lot more easily than people who are attempting their first.

How many in here really use Assimil as their only tool? It seems to me that quite a few advocate combining
various methods. (I do agree that having studied languages beforehand do make it a lot easer to spot patterns
and structures.)

Edited by tractor on 03 February 2010 at 9:19pm

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Senior Member
United KingdomRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4504 days ago

272 posts - 365 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, French

 Message 208 of 278
03 February 2010 at 11:39pm | IP Logged 
Thank you for the advice. It is excellent advice. The linguaphone course, for those
who don't know, comprises of cassettes (it's old) and 4 books, the main book with
lessons in, another with notes on the lessons with explanations of grammar etc, then 2
books with exercises in (orali e scritti). To my surprise (having only ever seen their
'listen, repeat, forget' adverts the course is excellent.

The drills in the exercise books are good, and I have read somewhere on here that this
course includes over 2000 words and can take you to intermediate level. The lessons
are long and a guide I find on how to complete each lesson suggested that such
directions would take around 2 hours to do. Therefore, I am only only lesson 4 of 30
(having only had the book out of the library for a week).

So, I think this might cover the grammar aspect as you rightly suggested. Maybe once I
have gone through the linguaphone course a bit more I can brush up on the meanings in
assimil as I proceed through the active wave. My disappointment with assimil comes
from the scant explanations on grammar. Of course the idea is to assimilate the
language. I have always been a person who hates terminology of any kind (in I.T. or
cars for example) so I thought assimil would be ideal (as was michel thomas with all
his diving board stuff etc) but maybe I need to reassess things. Maybe I need things
explaining clearly and dryly. I wonder how people who have taken the same path as me
(MT then assimil) have found the change in technique of how the material is presented.

Anyway, another ramble over with. Lesson 42 tomorrow.

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