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Assimil Hebrew in 2 weeks

  Tags: Hebrew | Assimil
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18 messages over 3 pages: 1 2 3  Next >>
AML
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4905 days ago

323 posts - 426 votes 
2 sounds
Speaks: English*
Studies: Modern Hebrew, German, Spanish

 
 Message 1 of 18
2013 January 03 at 11:57am | IP Logged 
Assimil Hebrew is based in French, and I don't speak French. Thus, it's been a challenge for me to use this book. But I finally figured out how to use it. Perhaps this can be used as a general method for using Assimil books that are based on languages that you don't know. Basically, it is extensive reading combined with intensive reading/listening, though it's probably mostly intensive reading.

My steps were as follows:
1. Listen to the audio 1x, trying to understand, without looking at the Hebrew text.
2. Listen again + simultaneously read the Hebrew text silently.
3. Read the Hebrew text aloud 1x.
4. Read the Hebrew text aloud 1x, but this time underline any unknown words with a pencil.
5. Look up these words in a dictionary (I use Rav-Milim online).
6. Listen again + simultaneously read the Hebrew text silently.
7. Listen again + simultaneously read the Hebrew text aloud ("shadowing") as best as possible.
8. Read the Hebrew text aloud 5x now that you understand all the words. At this point, you should understand all the words in the sentence and understand the meaning of the sentence.
9. Listen to the audio 1x, trying to understand, without looking at the Hebrew text.
(10.) For the review on the following day, read previous day's lessons aloud 1-2x.

I went through all 85 lessons in two weeks as follows:
Day 1:        ; New 1-14 (time = 1.5 hours)
Day 2: Review 1-14 ; New 15-24 (time = 1.5 hours)
Day 3: Review 15-24; New 25-32 (time = 2.0 hours)
Day 4: Review 25-32; New 33-40 (time = 2.4 hours)
Day 5: Review 33-40; New 41-47 (time = 2.1 hours)
Day 6: Review 41-47; New 48-54 (time = 2.5 hours)
Day 7: Review 48-54; New 55-60 (time = 1.9 hours)
Day 8: Review 1-60;        (time = 1.2 hours)
Day 9:        ; New 61-67 (time = 2.0 hours)
Day 10: Review 61-67; New 68-73 (time = 3.0 hours)
Day 11: Review 68-73; New 74-78 (time = 2.5 hours)
Day 12: Review 74-78; New 79-82 (time = 3.0 hours)
Day 13: Review 79-82; New 83-85 (time = 2.0 hours)
Day 14: Re-read entire book aloud 1x. (time = 1.8 hours)

Total sentences read: ~7500
Total active study time: 29.4 hours

Steps 1-4 help you become familiar with reading and hearing the text. It also gives you a chance to figure out some words through context.

Step 5 - this is where you learn the meaning of unknown words and figure out the meaning of the entire sentence. When you look up a new word, look back at the sentence and look at the word in context so that you understand the sentence as a whole.

Steps 6-8 reinforce all the new words you just looked up, clarify the meanings of sentences, and give you more reading & speaking practice. The conversation should make more sense each time you listen to it and read it.

Step 9 - now you should understand the entire spoken conversation, which probably wasn't the case in Step 1. Exciting!

Step 10 is the next day's review. Hopefully you still remember everything. If not, review until you remember.

A good way to improve listening comprehension is to rotate between steps 1 and 5 - back and forth.

My Result: I now have better active production and much better passive understanding. At least a one level bump (A2->B1, for example).
My suggestion for improving on this 2-week-method: add in your favorite vocabulary-learning technique (SRS, GoldList, Iversen, etc) to further improve your active and passive vocabulary. Write down all your new words and review them every day.

The book starts off very slow with short lessons, and many of the early lessons were very easy for me (to Lesson 15 or so, and largely comprehensible into the 20s), because I already knew some basic Hebrew vocabulary, grammar, and the Hebrew alphabet + vowel points. Perhaps I began this project at around a high A1 - low A2 level, which I think was a good idea considering I didn't have English translations to help me out here. However, in the beginning I took a peek at the last few lessons (83-85), and I didn't really understand much - a few words here and there - and I didn't know what was going on in the conversation. Now that I've finished the whole book, I understand >95% of everything in the book.

It's only fair that I should acknowledge a site that I found most helpful before beginning with Assimil - www.teachmehebrew.com - where I learned almost everything in the 'basic hebrew' section of the site. It's free and includes audio of everything. I strongly recommend learning some basic Hebrew, especially basic grammar rules, before beginning this Assimil experiment; I imagine it would be far slower, less interesting, and very difficult if you don't know any Hebrew at all.

Regarding the method I presented above, I did not write down the vocabulary that I looked up in the dictionary. I did my best to remember it in step 8 (re-reading the text 5x) and when I reviewed the following day. However, as I stated above, I would have remembered the new words/phrases better if I had written them down and reviewed them for a few minutes several times throughout the day.

I thought the stories in the second half of the book were quite good (funny and interesting).

Something else I did sometimes was, instead of reading the sentence aloud straight off the page every time in Step 8, I would momentarily memorize the sentence, look up from the book, and say the sentence aloud pretending that I was talking to someone. This felt more like having a real conversation instead of simply reading aloud. I also tend to stand up and walk around the house for this step, so I'm not constantly sitting and to have a different physical experience while practicing. Also, I tried to imagine the story in picture-form in my head while reading.

Regarding the Revision sections (every 7th lesson in Assimil books), I looked through them but didn't spend a lot of time on them because I don't speak French and don't understand the explanations.

Also, I mostly ignored the Exercises in each lesson.

I always read from the Hebrew side, not from the transliteration side. The listening steps helped to confirm the proper pronunciation.

I doubt that I'm at a B2 level, even though I understand the book and Assimil claims that's what my level should be now. B1 level is more realistic, especially for my reading comprehension. Though, to be fair, I didn't follow Assimil's recommended methodology or time frame. Even so, this is a good result considering I started at high A1 - low A2. I don't believe that a book containing only 620 sentences can take anyone to B2 level. I feel like I would need ten times more material to reach a confident B2 level.

Is it possible to reach B2 from Assimil Hebrew? I really don't know, and I'm not sure I have the desire to stay with Assimil as long as it takes to find this answer.

I think the 80/20 rule applies here, as I feel that I received ~80% of the benefit from Assimil while spending ~20% of the time (two weeks vs. ten weeks or more). I do believe that if I spend another month or more with this book, I will get even more out of it and become more fluent with this specific material.

This Assimil Hebrew project is only the beginning of what I hope will be a much bigger extensive/intensive reading project for me. True fluency (C2 and beyond) will require huge amounts of reading, listening, and speaking. Assimil is too little material to get you very far, as I have now experienced, but it's nice to use during the mid/late-beginner stage. I think it's important to view Assimil not as some sacred language-learning tool that HAS to be struggled with for many months, but rather as only one small but useful tool in the long journey to fluency.

This is what I've learned. I hope you find it useful. I thank Glossika for inspiration.
15 persons have voted this message useful



renaissancemedi
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Greece
Joined 2438 days ago

941 posts - 1308 votes 
Speaks: Greek*, Ancient Greek*, EnglishC2
Studies: French, Russian, Turkish, Modern Hebrew

 
 Message 2 of 18
2013 January 03 at 12:16pm | IP Logged 
This is very helpful, thanks for sharing. I also like the assimil courses, and want to slowly learn hebrew. I have started whith Michel Thomas which works fine, but now I'll check out assimil as well.
1 person has voted this message useful





newyorkeric
Diglot
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Singapore
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 Message 3 of 18
2013 January 03 at 1:42pm | IP Logged 
I don't really see why you would want to rush through an Assimil course in two weeks. The whole point is to do a little each day in order to assimilate the material naturally.
1 person has voted this message useful



tarvos
Super Polyglot
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China
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Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 4 of 18
2013 January 03 at 1:57pm | IP Logged 
Unlike newyorkeric, I totally get the idea to rush through more material and finish it
quicker. But you would need a lot more time for it and it would be a rush job. I think
you can do more in less time. How much you remember in the long term depends on how far
you got in the first place and how often you repeat the material to let it sink in.
5 persons have voted this message useful



AML
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4905 days ago

323 posts - 426 votes 
2 sounds
Speaks: English*
Studies: Modern Hebrew, German, Spanish

 
 Message 5 of 18
2013 January 03 at 8:44pm | IP Logged 
newyorkeric wrote:
I don't really see why you would want to rush through an Assimil course in two weeks. The whole point is to do a little each day in order to assimilate the material naturally.


Fair point, but:
1. It's okay to modify existing methods to your own needs.
2. I knew I wouldn't stick with Assimil for 3 months, but I knew I could handle it for two weeks. Thus, I did what I could with it for a two week period.
3. This was an experiment. I wanted to see what would happen if I went through all of Assimil in a much condensed time frame.

Edited by AML on 2013 January 03 at 8:45pm

8 persons have voted this message useful



mahasiswa
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Groupie
Canada
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91 posts - 142 votes 
Speaks: English*, French, Spanish, German, Malay
Studies: Arabic (Egyptian), Persian, Russian, Turkish, Mandarin, Hindi

 
 Message 6 of 18
2013 January 03 at 11:41pm | IP Logged 
I speak French and tried to do Le nouveau Russe sans peine in two weeks, I got 53/70 done (almost
80%), doing all the exercises and corrections, even copying out portions of the review chapters I passed
through. For the first half I was able to complete 7 lessons in a day and still have time for flashcards and
Pimsleur. All my other textbooks for Russian are obsolete now, where grammar is introduced formally
with tables and vocabulary charts, and I have no corresponding audio component. In other words, I'm
very satisfied with Assimil and can now understand the large portion of what Luca says in Russian (and
I'm a bit skeptical about his level of fluency, his accent isn't too rough).

I am entirely baffled about the comprehension and retention you would have gained from your
tremendously ambitious experiment (re: I'm jealous) and also wonder how you were able to review so
quickly. Even now studying Hindi, what exists as a 20 minute podcast is a full-hour lesson for me,
because I rewind and shadow, analyze, or use the material from the particular moment to improvise my
own sentences.

What do you plan to do now? Learn French and do Assimil in a more common way or move on to
Pimsleur or watching Ramzor or something?

In regards to your comment:

AML wrote:
This Assimil Hebrew project is only the beginning of what I hope will be a much bigger
extensive/intensive reading project for me. True fluency (C2 and beyond) will require huge amounts of
reading, listening, and speaking. Assimil is too little material to get you very far, as I have now
experienced, but it's nice to use during the mid/late-beginner stage. I think it's important to view
Assimil not as some sacred language-learning tool that HAS to be struggled with for many months, but
rather as only one small but useful tool in the long journey to fluency.


I think you're on the right track with this, but I feel adverse to or reluctant about your tone. Assimil is
one of the best language resources I've found yet after 6 years of foreign language study. I think Assimil
is getting me very far with Russian. I feel as though I've been in a conversation-heavy university
semester in a matter of two weeks, being able to listen, speak, read and write to a small, yet
considerable degree.

More on the point, you are right that it isn't a sacred learning tool but I can't imagine anybody claiming it
to be such, it's just a solid, repetitive resource with quality lessons and content to give a reflection of
your ability on a daily basis. Reviewing the lessons every day is the important part and I wish I had
known of this resource when learning other languages like Spanish or German, where the grammar
doesn't matter to me as much as listening and speaking.

Finally I really like the cut of your jib, to want to wrap your head around an entire resource or rather get
a bird's eye view of a particular resource. Many resources go overlooked, let alone entirely covered, no
matter how intensively or briefly. I think doing this for a number of resources would make you a fine
professor of Hebrew even, given the proper time to acquire fluency.
2 persons have voted this message useful





jeff_lindqvist
Diglot
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SwedenRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4989 days ago

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Speaks: Swedish*, English
Studies: German, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Mandarin, Esperanto, Irish, French
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 Message 7 of 18
2013 January 04 at 12:05am | IP Logged 
AML wrote:
My steps were as follows:[...]


Did you do this in large chunks or each lesson at a time (lesson 1 steps 1-9, lesson 2 steps 1-9)? This looks so interesting that I'm ready to try it - not sure which language though...

Edited by jeff_lindqvist on 2013 January 04 at 1:05am

1 person has voted this message useful



tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 2787 days ago

5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 8 of 18
2013 January 04 at 12:16am | IP Logged 
I might work through L'Hebreu sans peine like that once I finish The Introductory etc. Or
at least speed it up.


1 person has voted this message useful



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