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Advice on using Assimil base on my style

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QiuJP
Triglot
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Singapore
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Speaks: Mandarin*, EnglishC2, French
Studies: Czech, GermanB1, Russian, Japanese

 
 Message 1 of 8
23 August 2012 at 6:18pm | IP Logged 
I have added Assimil to my language learning schedule based on the suggestions given on
this forum ( thanks for the ideas!). However, I added some addition steps in order to
make my learning process better.

Firstly, I will copy the lesson in the target language at least once. As I often use
Assimil only I have completed grammar and vocabulary intensive courses that led to the
equivalent of B1 level of the CEFR, I do not need to write down the vocabulary used in
the lesson. However, if Assimil is the first course to be used for learning my target
language, I need to write down the vocabulary after copying the main text. After that,
I proceed with the lesson as suggested by the book: to listen, to shadow and understand
the text. I realised that if I do not write out the text (and vocabulary if necessary),
I do not learn much from the method, despite constant reinforcement from the later
lessons and the revisions from the method. However, I do not think I am using Assimil
effectively.

What do you think of my style of using Assimil and what are the main concerns regarding
my use of Assimil?   





emk
Diglot
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 Message 2 of 8
23 August 2012 at 7:13pm | IP Logged 
QiuJP wrote:
However, I do not think I am using Assimil effectively.


Why do you think this? Are you having trouble learning the material?

Here's one way to check: Once you've completed 30 lessons of the passive wave, flip
back to the first lesson that contains full sentences (normally lesson 1). Try to read
it. Do you say, "Hey, wow, I've learned a lot more than I thought?" or do you say, "Oh,
no, I don't understand any of this!"

Assimil takes a while to "sink into" your brain, and a lot of people get worried about
their progress part way through. But as long as the old lessons are easy, I wouldn't
worry too much. I went through this phase myself, and I've seen it a dozen times in
other people's logs.

And of course, if the standard Assimil directions don't work for you, you should go
ahead and add anything else that you need. It's certainly not wrong to write out new
vocabulary! The Assimil Egyptian course actually asks you to write out lots of new
words in hieroglyphs.
1 person has voted this message useful



Rout
Diglot
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Studies: Hindi

 
 Message 3 of 8
24 August 2012 at 2:52am | IP Logged 
QiuJP wrote:

Firstly, I will copy the lesson in the target language at least once. As I often use
Assimil only I have completed grammar and vocabulary intensive courses that led to the
equivalent of B1 level of the CEFR, I do not need to write down the vocabulary used in
the lesson. However, if Assimil is the first course to be used for learning my target
language, I need to write down the vocabulary after copying the main text. After that,
I proceed with the lesson as suggested by the book: to listen, to shadow and understand
the text. I realised that if I do not write out the text (and vocabulary if necessary),
I do not learn much from the method, despite constant reinforcement from the later
lessons and the revisions from the method. However, I do not think I am using Assimil
effectively.

What do you think of my style of using Assimil and what are the main concerns regarding
my use of Assimil?   


You say these are additional steps, but what are your initial steps for approaching the dialogs? Just using the method prescribed in the book (active wave, passive wave, etc.)?

Just to add to EMK's excellent advice for checking your progress, if you're not "assimil"-ating the language "with ease" then that doesn't mean that the book doesn't deliver on its promises or that the methods you're using are bogus - you just have to experiment until you find what fits your style. If, in particular, you're having problems retaining the vocabulary you've learned from the dialogs (despite its strategic introduction and reintroduction of vocabulary at such intervals that intentional review is not normally necessary), then you could do something more systematic whereby several reviews of each lesson are built into your approach.

What you're doing sounds okay for remembering individual vocabulary words (i.e. writing out the unknown words), but I find that when I "overlearn" material or at least learn vocabulary with respect to meaningful context, it more readily enters my long term memory. So if you find you're still not retaining what you'd like, might I suggest the prescription made by Dr. Arg├╝elles.

To boil it down to the main points: at any one time you'll be studying/reviewing around ten lessons. The three newest lessons you'll be blind shadowing, the three after that you'll be shadowing while reading L1 and slowly transitioning to reading in L2, in the next three you'll be reading mainly in L2, and once you can understand everything without referring back to L1 the lesson is ready to write out and analyze by means of the scriptorium technique. At this point you can read all the grammar notes, as well. Add one lesson a day and once you've finished the entire text in this fashion type the whole thing out (double spaced) and read it, penciling in unknown words. As you continue to read through this, erase the penciled-in words when you can remember their meanings without looking them up. When you've finished, you can go on a "shadowing march" and shadow through the entire book in hour long chunks. After this you can play the dialogs in the background at which point it will not just be "noise" - you will understand everything. After this you should have an excellent grasp of the language and will be ready to move onto to other materials.

There are other approaches, but this approach is the most thorough I've found for simultaneously learning, digesting, and reviewing Assimil. If this sounds interesting to you then I suggest you watch the video (linked above) and take notes. If, on the other hand, it seems like a little too much work (when spaced out properly, it's really not) then you may want to at least check out some of Dr. Arg├╝elles's other excellent videos if you haven't already.



QiuJP
Triglot
Senior Member
Singapore
Joined 3295 days ago

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Speaks: Mandarin*, EnglishC2, French
Studies: Czech, GermanB1, Russian, Japanese

 
 Message 4 of 8
24 August 2012 at 7:11pm | IP Logged 
Quote:

You say these are additional steps, but what are your initial steps for approaching the
dialogs? Just using the method prescribed in the book (active wave, passive wave,
etc.)?



I am sorry that I am not clear in first post, but I must approach the dialogues by
writing them out at least once and look out the meaning for words, phrases or even
idioms before the listening and shadowing part come into the picture. This applies to
both passive and active phrase.

Quote:

ust to add to EMK's excellent advice for checking your progress, if you're not
"assimil"-ating the language "with ease" then that doesn't mean that the book doesn't
deliver on its promises or that the methods you're using are bogus - you just have to
experiment until you find what fits your style. If, in particular, you're having
problems retaining the vocabulary you've learned from the dialogs (despite its
strategic introduction and reintroduction of vocabulary at such intervals that
intentional review is not normally necessary), then you could do something more
systematic whereby several reviews of each lesson are built into your approach.


First of all, I did not meant that I do not remember anything from the dialogues. What
I actually meant is that I must be able reproduce everything from the lesson before I
considered it learnt. In short both passive phrase and active phrase are merged and the
second wave is to reinforce the words and grammar structures firmly in the mind.



tarvos
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 Message 5 of 8
26 August 2012 at 11:30am | IP Logged 
Quote:
What I actually meant is that I must be able reproduce everything from the lesson
before I considered it learnt.


This is a bigger problem - you strive for perfection too early. If you miss a word once
in a while, don't get upset and move on - I forget a lot of things and made plenty of
mistakes going through my Russian Assimil in the active wave but I still think people are
quite happy with my abilities in Russian
1 person has voted this message useful



Wulfgar
Senior Member
United States
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Speaks: English*

 
 Message 6 of 8
27 August 2012 at 8:30am | IP Logged 
QiuJP wrote:
writing them out

How? Do you write down what you hear, without any aids?



QiuJP
Triglot
Senior Member
Singapore
Joined 3295 days ago

428 posts - 172 votes 
Speaks: Mandarin*, EnglishC2, French
Studies: Czech, GermanB1, Russian, Japanese

 
 Message 7 of 8
28 August 2012 at 4:25pm | IP Logged 
Wulfgar wrote:
QiuJP wrote:
writing them out

How? Do you write down what you hear, without any aids?


I hope you are not trolling here, but here is what I meant:

Passive: copy the text in target language at least once.
active: dictation of the text in target language at least once.

Doing these actually help me to retain better at the expense of spending more time per
lesson.



Wulfgar
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2111 days ago

404 posts - 390 votes 
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 8 of 8
30 August 2012 at 6:24am | IP Logged 
QiuJP wrote:
I hope you are not trolling here

I promise that you'll know when I'm trolling you.

Just copying wouldn't do too much for me. I like the dictation idea better, but still think it's not enough to make
Assimil effective for me, at least not in a language that's considerably different from mine. I think Luca had the best
idea for Assimil. First wave - translate from L2 to L1, with enough notation to allow you to do the second wave.
Second wave (about a week after you did the first wave for that lesson) - translate from L1 to L2. Now this would
suck for a grammar intensive (relative to L1) language, because Assimil is possibly the worst course in the world for
teaching grammar. But if you've already finished a grammar course, Bob's your uncle.



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