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Assimil method

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Felixelus
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 Message 1 of 57
11 June 2006 at 4:47pm | IP Logged 
I'm slightly confused about this whole passive/active wave thing so can someone just clarify this for me.
You work passively for the first 50 lessons, that is just listen and understand, then you start the active phase. In the active phase you go back to lesson 1 doing the exercises/etc but while you do this you continue doing lesson 51 onwards passively. So you do the whole course twice.
Is this the standard method for assimil? I don't really get the explanation in the introduction and I'd like to know what I'm doing before I start this!
Thanks in advance!
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Brent
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 Message 2 of 57
11 June 2006 at 10:04pm | IP Logged 
That sounds right. During the active wave, you're supposed to write out all the lessons by looking only at the translations--actively producing the target language yourself.
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Felixelus
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 Message 3 of 57
12 June 2006 at 1:23pm | IP Logged 
So during the active phase your doing the exercises and translating the dialog?

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Brent
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 Message 4 of 57
12 June 2006 at 6:24pm | IP Logged 
Yes. Some people do the exercises during the passive wave also, but I found them a bit difficult to do at that point. Doing them at either point can't hurt, really, so give them a try whenever you feel ready for them.
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Felixelus
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 Message 5 of 57
13 June 2006 at 3:48am | IP Logged 
Thank you very much Brent!
Now I can start knowing that what I'm doing is ok!
:)
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fanatic
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 Message 6 of 57
13 June 2006 at 7:20pm | IP Logged 
A big difference between Assimil and other language courses is that you don't have to completely master a lesson before moving to the next. You read and listen to understand during the passive, or first, wave, then you move on to the next. What you forget from the vocabulary today you will pick up tomorrow or the next day as you review the previous lessons.

The lessons are so short that it is easy to review the past week's lessons at any time.

The same goes for grammar. During the passive wave you note the grammar explanations and move on. You don't memorise rules. You learn them by using them and recognizing them when you see or hear them.

I think this is the main thing that makes Assimil different. I also like their emphasis on dialogue.
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omicron
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 Message 7 of 57
13 June 2006 at 7:51pm | IP Logged 
Quote:
You work passively for the first 50 lessons, that is just listen and understand, then you start the active phase.


Don't forget to read out loud as you go. All the Assimil books that I have stress that. Interestingly, no two assimil books that I have explain the method in the exact same way, and a couple don't go into much detail at all.

Here is the Assimil Method according to André Cherel, from Italian Without Toil (1957)
Quote:

From the Introduction
"Get into the habit of doing a quarter of an hour of Italian daily. The task is easy; you have only to read each lesson, referring to the pronunciation, the English text, and the notes. The take each sentence separately, reading it aloud; then repeat it aloud without looking at the text.

It is not a question of learning by heart, but simply of repeating the few words you have just read, concentrating your attention on the sense, and only looking at the English text when absolutely necessary. In this way you will train yourself into thinking direct in Italian without translation; you will gradually assimilate the language.

Revise past lessons frequently, always in the same way. This intuitive assimilation will last over about fifty lessons; then, thus trained you will be ready to tackle the active phase, progressively and without effort, and finally arrive at the practical knowledge of everyday Italian.

The first 'wave'(passive stage) is intended to take you through the whole course at a lively pace.

As soon as you can understand and repeat a lesson, you should move on to the next one. In this way you will avoid the dullness of what used to be termed 'the grammar grind' Absorb as far as possible with your ear rather than your mind; you can, if you like, think of the way inwhich a baby understands what it is told long before it learns the niceties of written and spoken language.

The second 'wave'(active stage) begins about a third of the way through the first 'wave'(lesson 50). This is the proper time for you to go back to lesson 1 and start to think about the language and its grammatical constructions, and youwill find that you will learn all the more easily for having postponed you more formal attack upon it.

From the end of Lesson 7 (first grammar review) -
We could very much enlarge on these first six lesson; we shall,however limit ourselves to a last explanation...<snip> ...Furthermore we ask you to continue your passive role for a few more lessos and not to try to seek out too much the 'why and wherefore'. You will learn Italian rather by the texts than by grammatical rules. We shall lead you little by little into speaking by instinct, in a natural way, as you did in the case of your mother tongue.

From the end of lesson 49
With the next lesson, no. 50, we should like you to start the active phase of your study. What we mean by this is that instead of simply reading, listening and repeating the lessons aloud, as you have been doing up to now, we want you to begin to think about the way the sentences are constructed. We suggest, therefore, that when you have studied lesson 50 in the usual way you should turn back to lesson 1, which should now seem fairly easy to you. Listen to the record again, and read the lesson through once. Then cover up the Italian text and translate the English back into Italian. It is best to do this in writing so that you can correct your mistakes afterwards. In this way, you will have to think carefully both about grammar and also about your vocabulary.




Edited by omicron on 13 June 2006 at 7:54pm

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Farley
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 Message 8 of 57
13 June 2006 at 9:25pm | IP Logged 
omicron wrote:
Don't forget to read out loud as you go. All the Assimil books that I have stress that. Interestingly, no two assimil books that I have explain the method in the exact same way, and a couple don't go into much detail at all.


Thanks for taking the time to post those instructions. Those are the best I have seen. You are right about no two Assimil books explaining the method the same way.



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