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Spanish B1 in 9 months

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Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 828 days ago

50 posts - 7 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 17 of 60
23 September 2015 at 6:20am | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
Digitalis wrote:
@ Serpent: . If I have to take a bit longer in
order to get better results, then I take a year. Would you recommend all three
editions of Pimsleur then, Serpent? I have access to them all and I do not mind doing
them. If they are worth doing and are going to give me better results, I will do them.

I didn't say it'll get better results, just that it's worth doing if you enjoy it and
can learn from audio-only. Don't plan that far ahead, the biggest advantages of
Pimsleur are pronunciation and automatism. If you are satisfied with them after one
level, or feel like you're learning nothing, then stop. I've only done a quick 10-
lesson introduction to Romanian, and it was getting boring by the end.


Ok, fair enough Serpent. I have now decided that I will stop after lessons 1-30,
although I will definitely return to the pattern/sentence/response drill format
sometime in
the future. My plan at least in the short to medium term, is to continue to bash
through the Pimsleur lessons left (finishing lesson 21 today), complete Michel
Thomas's advanced courses, then get cracking on Destinos (great suggestion,) all while
continuing on with Assimil.
At this stage, I am actually unsure as to whether I will bother with flashcard
reviews, internet programs like Memrise/Duolingo or FSI programmatic, which I had a
look through the other day in PDF form. I don't yet know enough to make a qualified
judgement about the efficacy of flashcards/Spaced repetition- a lot of other language
learners seem to have good experiences with them, I just don't personally like the
approach- I find that I prefer to work with solid materials like books as opposed to
computerized learning applications.
I will update this blog again at the end of my next Assimil review lesson, which is
lesson 28, with some more personal thoughts.



Edited by Digitalis on 25 September 2015 at 2:52pm



Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 828 days ago

50 posts - 7 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 18 of 60
29 September 2015 at 3:29pm | IP Logged 
I was delayed in reaching lesson 28, I have completed lesson 25 as of today. I made the
mistake of using Assimil and Pimsleur concurrently, trying to fit an assimil lesson and a
Pimsleur lesson in on each day, which was messing up my progress, hence the delay.

In future, I will use only one program at a time, and when I look back of it, my
original plan of doing Assimil and FSI programmatic at the same time was seriously
misguided. Another update in a few days.



Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 828 days ago

50 posts - 7 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 19 of 60
04 October 2015 at 6:33pm | IP Logged 
I've finally reached lesson 28! I'm still here!
I wasn't able to make it through a lesson a day for some legitimate reasons, which
included either being extremely busy or ill (I missed one day for each reason
respectively.) One big
mistake I made was trying to use either Assimil and Pimsleur/Michel Thomas, which
would cause my progress with Assimil to suffer badly- I am going to take some time off
after this
week in order to get Michel Thomas and the final 7 Pimsleur lessions that I have left
to complete
finished as a block.
If I had to do things again, I would have gotten Michel Thomas
foundation and Pimsleur completely out of the way before starting Assimil.

My overall plan has not changed substantially since my last update. However, I now
follow Assimil's instructions, whereby I underline sentences that I don't understand
after each lesson and load them into Anki for review. I do not use Anki for learning
new words, although this is an interesting approach IMO.

Overall, I usually spend 30-45 minutes each day going over each Assimil lesson and 15-
20 minutes reviewing previous lessons each day. I don't do individual shadowing
sessions yet, although I have done a brief bit of shadowing work with the earlier
lessons. I think shadowing is going to be important in developing speech
'automaticity', in that I will be able to get words out quickly. I still try to use
the
"dutch" Assimil instructions, but I find that I usually have to listen to the audio
around 20 times per session, and then review it again on other days in order to really
allow the information to sink in. As happened on 2 occasions in the last fortnight, I
just couldn't understand the lessons upon first encountering them. In these cases, I
took the day off and came back to the lesson the next day (which seemed to do the
trick) and moved on.

From reading some of the other threads on this forum, and especially from watching
some of Alexander Arguelles excellent Youtube videos, my perspective has changed.
I now know that I will be completing Assimil and Destinos for many months on end. When
I am finished with Destinos, including the textbooks, I reckon I will move onto
authentically native content, such as cartoons and radio.
After completing Assimil's Passive and Active waves (Arguelles seemed to suggest in
video that it should take a year, working for an hour a day, to really digest the
book's contents) I now really have no idea what direction I will take.
I do understand that I will require a fair amount of extra work, in addition to
Assimil, to get to where I want to be before moving overseas. I also think I
have underestimated the importance of interaction with native speakers. I
recently made the acquaintance of a native Spanish speaker, and although I am
certainly not conversational yet, I feel that the 28 Assimil lessons had taught me a
fair bit, and I am certainly at the "tourist phrase level," which is much
better than when I started. I'll look to start using conversation websites, such as
Sharedtalk and Italki, probably around Assimil lessons 42-49, just before I commence
the active wave.
I've got a few other things to say, but that is enough for today.

Edited by Digitalis on 13 January 2016 at 7:15am

1 person has voted this message useful



Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 828 days ago

50 posts - 7 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 20 of 60
15 October 2015 at 1:17pm | IP Logged 
Alright, Pimsleur lessons 1-30 are finally done, but it took a day or two longer than
expected.

I have decided to leave Michel Thomas Advanced/Language Builder for when I reach the
end of the Assimil passive wave. The Pimsleur lessons were really starting to drag
towards the end- I didn't mind the Audio-lingual format, and I feel that I can sort of
appreciate its benefits, but I really wished they covered more ground on average, I
think they only introduced three or four new words per unit. I feel that what I learnt
with sort of stuck-spaced repetition I guess.

Alas, it is time to Get back to Assimil. When I look back at my log history, I
really think that I have wasted a lot of valuable time, and now I should try to up the
intensity- either spending more time per day revising past Assimil lessons/consuming
more Spanish
media such as more Destinos lessons (although I have seen a few already.)
I now think my future approach wrt to my studies will be to continue using the
"listening reading method"- but utilizing native media such as podcasts/
news/audiobooks etc., at least until it stops working. There are surprisingly many
sources of this over the internet- however, I am not actively looking for any more
learning materials at this stage.


For the sake of readers wanting to gauge where Assimil will take them after a month, I
have tried having discussions with Spanish speakers, who I magically seem to run into
more now that I have started learning Spanish. I find that I am utterly incapable of
having a conversation as of yet, although I can certainly make some basic sentences. I
think I could also handle very superficial business transactions, such as ordering
food
from a vendor, in Spanish, and this is without ever having looked at a phrase book or
such. Also, having done the Michael Thomas foundation course, I don't think that MT
gives much of any conversational ability as a stand alone course (at least in my
case,)
unless one is a "false beginner" with a pre-existing vocabulary, where MT would the
allow you to construct sentences with it.
Three weeks until I finish the Assimil Passive Wave! There, will be another update in
a
week or so, when I finish my current Assimil lessons. Or maybe not, I don't think that
I will have much of anything interesting to report.

Edited by Digitalis on 13 January 2016 at 7:15am



dbag
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 2488 days ago

605 posts - 441 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 21 of 60
18 October 2015 at 12:56pm | IP Logged 
Sounds like a very good start has been made! If you want a Pimsluer style resource that moves faster, look for "learning Spanish like crazy" 1 and 2. Another similiar one is called synergy Spanish, and it could also be useful to give Paul Noble a go.
Assimil is one of the top resources, absolutely brilliant, but its useless at developing automaticity. Its more of a slow burner, I would recomend 10 to 15 minutes relaxed study in the morning when you get up, and the same in the evening. Maybe take a little flick though at lunctime, but keep it relaxed. Its effecta are cumalitive and take a long time to bear fruit.
If you really need to be up and speaking in less than 9 months, then the absolute best thing you could do would be to hit the FSI basic course HARD. You won't finish it in that time unless your superhuman, but nothing builds automaticity like this course, from my observations not even having actual conversations in the target country. You have to work for it though, but nearly everyone on this board who has eother finished, or nearly finished the course has turned out with a very nice standard of Spanish.
Check this out for some inspiaration: http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?T ID=11361

Also don't forget that the Assimil dialogs are nothing like real speech. Developing good listening skills is a whole other ball game, and takes AGES so don't wait to start listening to native material. Good luck!
3 persons have voted this message useful



Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 828 days ago

50 posts - 7 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 22 of 60
23 October 2015 at 3:41pm | IP Logged 
dbag wrote:
Sounds like a very good start has been made! If you want a Pimsluer style
resource that moves faster, look for "learning Spanish like crazy" 1 and 2. Another
similiar
one is called synergy Spanish, and it could also be useful to give Paul Noble a go.
Assimil is one of the top resources, absolutely brilliant, but its useless at
developing automaticity. Its more of a slow burner, I would recomend 10 to 15 minutes
relaxed study in
the morning when you get up, and the same in the evening. Maybe take a little flick
though at lunctime, but keep it relaxed. Its effecta are cumalitive and take a long
time to bear
fruit.
If you really need to be up and speaking in less than 9 months, then the absolute best
thing you could do would be to hit the FSI basic course HARD. You won't finish it in
that time
unless your superhuman, but nothing builds automaticity like this course, from my
observations not even having actual conversations in the target country. You have to
work for it
though, but nearly everyone on this board who has eother finished, or nearly finished
the course has turned out with a very nice standard of Spanish.
Check this out for some inspiaration: http://how-to-learn-any-
language.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?T ID=11361

Also don't forget that the Assimil dialogs are nothing like real speech. Developing
good listening skills is a whole other ball game, and takes AGES so don't wait to start
listening
to native material. Good luck!

I was just thinking- maybe I should change my log to B1 in one year!

Thanks for the advice. I would have replied earlier, but I have been enormously busy
over the last week.

I read your language log, and I think I am now at the stage you were when you started
it (I am now just pass Assimil lesson 32), except you seemed to have worked through
many more
resources than me before starting with Assimil. I have had a look at most of those
programs, but I don't know, it is hard to decide where to put my hard-earned money, I
find it
really hard to separate the wheat from the chaff when evaluating them. I figured that
Michel Thomas=Paul noble, so there is no point doing both courses. I also had a look at
LSLC, but I thought it was just a repackaging of the FSI programmatic course, but
apparently I am wrong.

I am still making slow progress with Assimil, I am very busy from the next three weeks
(only temporarily), If I finish the passive wave in another 3-4 weeks, I will be happy.

I also have access to FSI basic, and I will take a very hard look at tackling it after
I have mastered Assimil-it was my original plan to complete it.
If I do use it, I would like to combine it with ample exposure to native materials,
which I am much more eager to jump into now. I would also say that I am by no means an
exceptional
language learner, and a time frame of about 1-1.5 years to get all the way through FSI
basic seem about right for me, base on other peoples experiences and that is after I
get to a
more advanced level than I am at now. I reckon finishing unit 1 in three months is
probably doable though.


I have stopped actively looking for new learning resources. My plan is pretty much to
finish Assimil/Destinos, then see where I go from there. Hopefully doing this will get
me to a
useful survival level, but I am beginning to think that it may not. I don't even want
to think about the amount work I have left in front of me right now, its too daunting.







Edited by Digitalis on 23 October 2015 at 3:44pm



Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 828 days ago

50 posts - 7 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 23 of 60
27 October 2015 at 7:33pm | IP Logged 
I am into week 6 now, I finished the review lesson a few days ago. Just didn't have
time to make an update.
Assimil, which I found quite difficult at the start (especially the first couple of
weeks) is more manageable now. I don't have any trouble getting through a
dialogue a day now. My routine has now diverged from the "dutch instructions." I now
familiarize myself with the text before starting the lesson in proper, perhaps by
listening to the audio for a few times away from the book. I will then read each
sentence of the text aloud , and compare it to the translation.I then listen to the
text 5 times while reading the translation, 5 times while reading the target language,
then attempt to shadow it while listening to the target audio, which takes various
amounts of repeats. After this, I usually understand the dialogues well enough .
On top, I'll set aside like 20 minutes for review of the last weeks lessons.The proof
of the pudding is in the eating- we will see how well things are going when I
hit the active phase.
I have also spent a bit of time playing with Anki. I don't take it too seriously, I
might flick through it for 5-10 minutes a day, and I now review academic material
using
this program (I could be potentially very useful for some subjects) and use it for
basic nouns, such as colors, months of the year
or numbers, but much less so for any sentences containing any complexity.
Another fantastic resource I have found is the website Vientemundos. I don't want to
be
seen as plugging for it, but it has been mentioned several times on this forum
already.

Looking back, when I was talking about good pronunciation at the beginning of my log,
what I meant was the development of an accent that wasn't completely terrible.
I realize that I will never sound like a native -that is OK- and I have met people who
learnt English overseas as children and still carry bad accents after living in AUS
country for years (I don't expect to do any better than them) but I will do what I
can.


Edited by Digitalis on 13 January 2016 at 7:14am



Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 828 days ago

50 posts - 7 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 24 of 60
27 October 2015 at 8:19pm | IP Logged 
I will probably leave the next log update until When I actually start the active wave,
after finishing Michel Thomas and the remaining Assimil lessons. I'll be back in like 3-4
weeks.




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