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Joined 4102 days ago

70 posts - 74 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Japanese, Latin

 Message 249 of 278
21 November 2010 at 2:32pm | IP Logged 
I've just started Assimil for Japanese, and i'm doing Passive/Active together.
Is it bad that I'm forgetting how to translate some sentences to Japanese even moments after hearing it again? Is
this normal? Should i just review everything everyday?
I can pretty much remember the entire conversation in Japanese just there's specific phrases that I keep forgetting!

And, should I be learning the sentence structure, so rather then knowing ______ is ____ in japanese, should i know
what each English part is in Japanese? Since i can only recall phrases...
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
United States
Joined 4358 days ago

292 posts - 818 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Italian, Spanish, Latin, Uzbek

 Message 250 of 278
21 November 2010 at 7:13pm | IP Logged 
divexo wrote:
I've just started Assimil for Japanese, and i'm doing Passive/Active together.

I hope you mean that you have finished the First Wave and are starting the Second Wave! The point of Assimil, from beginning to end, is assimilation with ease. If you are doing both active and passive from the start, stop! Do the passive wave till the instructions tell you to start the active wave. By then, you will have soaked up enough Japanese that the active wave comes more easily.

If you are at the proper point in your studies to undertake the Second Wave, then the following, from the instructions for the active wave in L'Alsacien sans peine, may be of use:

L'Alsacien sans peine wrote:
Redo any phrase that gives you problems several times. This will be your way of practicing your scales, like musicians... As for the notes, if they gave you trouble in the past, you will see that they have become easier to understand.

In other words, Assimil takes it for granted that you will not get every sentence right in the active wave, and that you will have to use the notes to remind yourself of points forgotten or never understood that are preventing you from getting them. Don't worry too much about this. Just check the notes for those sentences that are giving you trouble, then practice till you can say them with feeling and understanding. As long as you're getting, say, eight in ten sentences correct and the others pretty close, you're on track and it will come.
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Senior Member
Joined 5911 days ago

441 posts - 503 votes 
1 sounds
Speaks: French*, English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: German, Arabic (Written), Turkish, Mandarin

 Message 251 of 278
21 November 2010 at 7:17pm | IP Logged 
I'm not certain you should bother. That's why they advise to do the active phase first.
things you'll hear later will be some kind of repetition that will engrave enough so that the active phase will be
much easier.
And you can use the disks to practice shadowing, taking as target the moment you're able to repeat immediatly
(quasi simultaneously) what the speaker says while understanding what exactly you're saying. You could do that
while running the dog or walking an errand.

Edited by zorglub on 21 November 2010 at 7:18pm

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Joined 5043 days ago

11 posts - 29 votes
Speaks: Croatian*, English, French
Studies: Italian, Russian

 Message 252 of 278
29 December 2010 at 4:08pm | IP Logged 
My experiences with Assimil:

Following suggestions from Prof. Arguelles I've started to use this method for learning German from scratch in January. Naturally, I have slightly changed the approach to suit my needs.
Since I stumbled upon Italian version of Assimil "Il nuovo tedesco senza sforzo" from 1986, I have used it to go through the first level. As my knowledge of Italian was not such that I could understand everything in this book, very often I was using dictionary for the words that were not entirely clear to me, and I would write the translation in my language next to the original text in German.

Regarding the method, after couple of days, since I was having lot of time at my disposal, I decided to really dedicate my time to the study of German in order to see where I could come in one month period. Therefore, I have decided to learn by heart thirty lessons from it, one per day. After very hard work (there were days when I was studying more that 6-8 hours per day) I completed my goal and I managed to recite up to 25 lessons from the book (I have chosen them according to my personal preference for the topic and according to my assessment of the importance of the vocabulary that were part of the lessons). Very often I was questioning my decision, but have decided to pursue it until the end, as I have never before found the exact method that could bring me as fast as possible to the goal of really speaking the foreign language (very often I thought that I am quite stupid for languages as I would almost immediately forget the grammar I have learned a day ago).

To cut the story short, I gave up in February learning the lessons by heart and have just continued more or less regularly working on the course. Until the end of May, I was at the end of the course and have jumped on "Perfectionnement Allemand"(from 1991), which is advanced Assimil German course but in French. The same case was here as well: the words that I did not know in French, I was writing them next to the German text in my native language. In the next five months I had days when I was working more than 5 hours a day, but I had as well weeks when I did not touch it - not the best idea. At the same time, I spent up to one/two hours on average in the next couple of months in listening the audio version of the course, familiarizing myself with the spoken language.   

Since then, I was very often listening to fantastic podcasts of Deutsche Welle (one half hour episode per week of different stories from all over the Europe) and have come to the point when my understanding of these podcasts varies from 60 up to 100% currently. I found them enormously useful as I have realized that the language I have learned entirely from the Assimil courses have enabled me to understand almost everything in those podcasts, and what is more, that it has enabled me to literally understand my German speaking friends up to 80%, and to take part in German conversations more and more. Naturally, there is a long way to go for me to be able to speak about every simple topic we usually speak about, but the journey that I went through basically only with Assimil course for me is absolutely fantastic. And the most important thing that I find in it, is that the words and the general language it contains is THE LANGUAGE that is being spoken on a daily basis by my friends.   

I truly believe that the fact that I learned by heart those lessons at the beginning has helped me tremendously in being able to subconsciously understand more than it would be the case if I haven't done it. As well, it has helped me with my pronunciation (that's what my German friends tell me) since I was repeating it aloud after audio version countless of times. What is more, I found quite useful the knowledge of some texts as I have stumbled upon the cases while listening German podcasts when some word was familiar to me from the lessons, but I could not immediately recognize the translation. But then again, as I memorized whole sentences (and their meanings in my own language) I would translate them and would immediately know the real meaning of the word I searched for.

To show it in example:

In lesson number 53 (Das neue Rotkäppchen) there is a sentence that contains "tiefe Stimme". Since I knew it by heart, and its meaning, when I heard "tiefe" in some German movie I did not know immediately what was the meaning of it, but I remembered it in the context as "tiefe Stimme". Since I knew that this sentence was from the lesson about Rotkäppchen, I started to search in my mind the lesson and have found the real meaning of "tiefe".

The same was the case for many other words that I managed to remember from these lessons.

The truth is that learning by heart for me was burdensome and often boring as it is for anybody else. But, as more and more I think about it, I believe that it can become for me the easiest way to learn a language properly, and to retain it in my memory for a quite long time (I am basing this on my own experience and from other peoples experiences. The first comes from the fact that the first 10 sentences from the Odysseus in the old Greek that I had to learn by heart 17 years ago, I still remember almost without errors. The second can be derived from the text somebody else in this forum posted some time ago:  ;  ).

In any case, having learned a lot from other participants of this forum, and having invested years in trying to learn different languages, I believe that the best results that I can make are connected with the method of having the same text in familiar and unfamiliar language next to each other, and listening at the same time its audio version. What I found exceptionally beneficial in Assimil is the fact that the words they are using in their texts, are the part of the active everyday vocabulary of my foreign friends.

Therefore, my experiences and credo can be summarized as: If I learn (assimilate) thoroughly both Assimil courses for any of the languages, I will have more than sound foundations to really speak, read, and understand the language. After that, it is just the question how far you want to go (do you want to master vocabulary of the politics, economics, literature, philosophy... or whichever domain some is interested in).

And one more thing, I found it very useful to study a particular language in combination with other languages besides my mother tongue and English (in case you know them up to a certain extent). Working in this way on my German, I was exposed at the same time to Italian and French and it was certainly a boost for them as well.

(Being exceptionally satisfied with the method, I am not only recommending it to the friends, but I have as well bought newer and older versions for other languages in which I am also interested. So, currently I am working on "Spanish ohne Mühe Heute" and I am waiting for the same German edition for Russian.)

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Joined 3986 days ago

92 posts - 181 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Italian
Studies: Portuguese

 Message 253 of 278
06 January 2011 at 7:33pm | IP Logged 
I have just joined the forum and thought I should thank everyone for their input. I began learning German in 1994 using 'Deutsch ohne Mühe' from Assimil. It took me a long time back then to be able to have a conversation. After reading this thread I now realise I didn't listen to the cassettes enough. If I remember correctly I only listened to the first few lessons after which I moved to Austria and just listened to the locals.

I read and re-read my little book, it helped a lot to learn words and understand the grammar but in retrospect I could have become proficient much quicker. I read the book so many times it fell apart and I can still recall the first lesson:

Herr Ober, der Tee ist kalt.
Wie ist der Tee?
Er ist kalt.

So I know Assimil works and now I have just begun to learn French, I'll follow the advice many have given here and I'll listen to the dialogs many times over to help my listening skills.

Edited by RogerK on 06 January 2011 at 7:39pm

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GermanyRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4003 days ago

41 posts - 45 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: German

 Message 254 of 278
05 April 2011 at 3:56pm | IP Logged 
wow!!! i couldnt read all the comments but so far every thing was useful ,
i believe assimil + michel thomas is a deadly combo !
i am learning German currently and i just got to Germany.
michel thomas takes you through boring grammar in great speed ,and he helps you
construct sentences but the drawback was that i could talk a German but no listening
skills ,as michel thomas doesn't help you with that. assimil plays a major role in !
they bombard you with vocabulary and actual conversation.

but i must say that a newbie looking at assimil is bound to get lost or lose hopes,
example the verb positions and second verb in the end .dint make sense for me , till i
lisented to michel thomas.
thats why its important atleast listen to four hours michel thomas.(i did this 2 days)

i have finished 8 hours of michel thomas and 41 lessons of assimil .
i decided to join German classes because my collage was in the evening .

in the center they had asked me if i did any classes earlier ,and i said no
they gave the basic questions A1.1 i finished that 5 mins and even A1.2,A2.1 and A2.2.
now they put me in b1 and everybody was really surprised .the only reason i couldnt
clear the b1 exam was lack of vocabulary .i would have passed if i finished assimil.
i just saved 1000 euros (250 per month in Germany).
for all the people who hesitant get started right away
and i still find my b1 class boring because the emphasis on grammer and michel thomas
has though me everything already .however there is lot of vocabulary

@ everybody
i kept reading that everybody edited the audio files and made it short ,can anybody
post the link for it ! its very painful process .
please help me out :)
3 persons have voted this message useful

Joined 4197 days ago

1 posts - 2 votes
Speaks: Polish*
Studies: English, German

 Message 255 of 278
22 August 2011 at 10:34am | IP Logged 
I've just bought Assimil book from 1938, probably only edition in Polish written by A.G.
Cherel. In addition, beside pictures, it is almost the same with Italian without toil, so
I can find recordings on the Internet.

I'm so happy, and I have to share my happiness with you ;)
2 persons have voted this message useful

United States
Joined 3772 days ago

70 posts - 83 votes 
Studies: German

 Message 256 of 278
24 August 2011 at 7:11pm | IP Logged 
Has anyone else had problems with translations?

To me the German to English translations seem to be getting less understandable as I go on, and don't match what I would normally think it means.

Example, "Man kommt eben zu nichts." Is translated as "You don't have time to do anything." Yet there is no explanation of what the kommt denotes in here. Should I be learning just the overall meaning so I can "feel" it?

Some of the phrases also don't seem to make sense in English: "Remark of a bat: "Wait and see! I'll fly past next year!" What does that even mean? I'm getting a little confused. Some help would be greatly appreciated.

1 person has voted this message useful

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