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Spanish B1 in 9 months

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Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 769 days ago

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

 
 Message 41 of 60
02 February 2016 at 4:50am | IP Logged 
Digitalis here, again.

I managed to track down Assimil's Using Spanish w/ audio somewhere in the depths of the internet (thanks for the tip, speakeasy.) I'll give a review in a few days.
If anyone is in need of a copy, send me a PM and I can give you advice on how to get it for yourself.
I have essentially completed the Assimil passive wave now (lesson 96,)but progress for the last 2 weeks was a bit slower. I took some time off to read through El Principito, loading around 150 or so unknown words into a spaced repetition program for review. I've begun listening to the accompanying Spanish audio. I'm also still chugging through the Assimil active wave- I more use this as an opportunity to write out each lesson in the TL, go over the notes and fill in the exercise questions.
Overall, I feel I squeezed a lot of benefit out of Assimil, but I still have a long way to go. My expressive skills at this point are extremely weak, inclusive of both writing and speaking.

I actually had another occasion very recently where I was obliged to deal with Spanish speakers (mostly Spaniards, actually) and I just didn't have the confidence to speak. The dealings I had only involved day to day interactions, which I think I could have handled actually (they were pretty basic, like directions etc.) but it was like I had stage fright or something. Weird. Time to take the next big step and start speaking with a tutor now, I think.

I also find that I can deal with native materials on some level- I can read articles in "El Mundo" or the Spanish section of "euronews" with a dictionary, and I am confident that I could slog through a reading "Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal."
I just hope that Using Assimil will take me to a level where I can interact with these materials more confidently.



Mike_405
Newbie
United Kingdom
NoneRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 702 days ago

13 posts - 3 votes
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 42 of 60
07 February 2016 at 2:16pm | IP Logged 
I look forward to your Using Spanish review. I have a digital copy. I'm on lesson 67 of Spanish with ease. I brought a copy of Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal. Unfortunately its beyond me at the moment but hoping to be able to tackle it when I have completed some of the Using Spanish.

Hows the online tutoring going? This is something I'm interested in, but wouldn't start it until completed Using Spanish.



Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 769 days ago

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

 
 Message 43 of 60
11 February 2016 at 8:06am | IP Logged 
Ok:
At this stage, I have finished the assimil passive wave. I am going to spend another good month and something mopping up the rest of the active wave, and really getting the advanced lessons down-packed.
I had an conversation of sorts with a "native speaker" the other day (from central america) while at work. He was watching a video on the drug lord Pablo Escobar (who I know a bit about) and introduced myself. It was a bit of a mess, but it was communication at least! I will admit that I had quite a bit of trouble with the rapidity of his speech. It is one thing to listen to a youtube video, but it becomes much harder when you are forced to listen to someone speak and then formulate your own response.

I now have access to both grammar books AND the original FSI basic course. I am certain I will use them eventually, although I will probably leave them until I break into the intermediate level, which I'll be in for a long time (If I make it there at all.)

For now, I am just going to focus on getting through a load of comprehensible input; including but by all means not limited to the Using Spanish course. I am now ready to start working with a tutor, I just need to get a few things ready computer wise (I am in a computer cafe right now.) Time to have a closer look at LSLC.
That being said, I have looked through Assimil's Using Spanish, and I definitely want to review it at a later date, as opposed to the "few days" deadline which I gave a while back. I just lack time at the moment.

Suffice to say, it sticks to the Assimil format, but is in some ways better and in many ways worse than Assimil "Spanish with ease." I am not sure I will do an active wave when using it.

I terms of the results I got using Assimil? I think am A2 or "breakthrough" level is about what one can expect, and I was working with it in excess of the half an hour recommended and often for well over an hour when doing lessons 50-100. Forget about reaching B1-B2 in 3-6 months using this course, if it is your first foreign language, unless you are a lot better than I am (which is very possible!)

That being said, it has taken me to the point where I can interact with native materials and have very basic conversations. I am not at all unsatisfied with the time I put into it. I think that language learning is a field where it is very easy to waste time, spin your wheels and make essentially no progress over time. If you give this course time, and study at it every day, you will be almost guaranteed to get results, if nothing else. Just remember to listen to those tapes a lot and be very "verbal" with them: either doing some sort of "shadowing" or "listen-and-repeat."

As for my B1 in 9 months deadline, at this stage, I do not think I will make it, but I think it is possible to get there in another 6 months. Just so I have it on record. There is no personal shame here, this process will just take longer than I originally thought.

I will endeavor to get copies of the Using Spanish to those who require it, but it will have to wait until this weekend. Soz!

Edited by Digitalis on 11 February 2016 at 8:12am



Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 769 days ago

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

 
 Message 44 of 60
17 February 2016 at 7:55am | IP Logged 
I have almost finished my fist six months of
Assimil Spanish with ease. My opinion is that
using this course as I have described will leave
you at the point where you are just proficient
enough to start using native materials, and to
have quite basic conversations. You will not be fluent by any means, but it is an excellent start, and will give you some raw competence in the language- on a limited level, you will be able to understand and produce spoken Spanish after finishing this course (if you put the time in.) You are certainly going to require real world speaking experience afterwards. Finishing Pimsleur while I was a complete newbie may not have been a bad idea at all-I have tried it again and just couldn't get back to it. It would probably have helped with my speaking ability.
I have found that the Assimil active wave, where I write out or
translate each lesson when I can, has allowed me
to pick up many of the details of the course
material that you get from just doing the
passive wave. I have also purchased Hugo's
Spanish in three months, which I hope will make
my transition into using written materials
without a provided translation to be easier that it would
be otherwise.

I am halfway through Krashen's paper on second
language acquisition theory. Wow. This paper has
really changed my perspective, and is a
fascinating read, although I don't have enough
of a knowledge in SLA theory or learning experience to discuss it with authority.
point, I feel that they are necessary. I also got my hands
on another grammar-translation book, gramatica de uso del espanol.


Edited by Digitalis on 21 February 2016 at 9:20am



Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 769 days ago

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

 
 Message 45 of 60
17 February 2016 at 8:32am | IP Logged 
Concerning Assimil's Using Spanish, I have had a
closer look into it now, and can comment on it
in more detail.
For anyone who has used Assimil' with ease
version, don't expect any curve balls. It
employs a very similar format- bilingual
translations, high quality,fast flowing
dialogues (spoken at closer to native speed than
the more confected dialogues in Spanish with
ease,) with no added gaps to pause the audio.
This may be more conducive to anyone who favors
the "shadowing" methodology used by Alexander
Arguelles. The material could be used as is. The
lessons are also slightly longer and
definitely more dense than those involved in
Assimil Spanish withmore recent released learning
materials are being watered down can reasonably
be applied to this course.

The dialogues do not seem to include the listen-
and repeat exercises (ejercicio audio) featured
ubiquitoisly in Assimil Spanish with ease, but
do mostly
include the customary 5 fill-in-the-gap
exercises for most but not all of the lessons.

The Spanish content inside is more advanced and
has a different focus than the with-ease
version. The dialogues are all topical, as
opposed to the often (purposely) disjointed
ones provided in Spanish with ease. They focus more
on the culture, literature and history of
Spain. The material involves more
sophisticated Spanish than would be required in
everyday situations, as may be required to read
newspaper reports or conduct business
transactions at the stock exchange, both which are covered explicitly.


This being said, I can sort of understand why
they took
this English version out of print. The English
translations included are abysmal, to the
point where it is often difficult to know what
is going on. In my opinion, this is a giant,
flaw in what would be an otherwise decent
course.

However, I think if one was to import the
Spanish transcripts, audio and notes into a
Lingq or some other program of its kind, which
provides immediate translations, one could make
much better use of the material included.
I also printed the pdf file for this material,
which is available online, and most of the
lessons do not face each other (although some
do.) Be aware of this and do some preparation
before getting it professionally printed.

How am I going to use this material? More as a
source of "comprehensible input." I will do the
exercises and read the notes (very important due
to the often idiomatic language used) but will
not be doing an active wave, which would be
difficult anyway, given the quality of the
translations.

Here is my first take, I will update and perhaps
add to this review later when I get to a proper
computer.


Digitalis.

Edited by Digitalis on 21 February 2016 at 9:18am

2 persons have voted this message useful



Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 769 days ago

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

 
 Message 46 of 60
03 March 2016 at 6:41am | IP Logged 
Another update.
I will answer messages, but I don't think I will be updating this log for a while, I just don't feel that I have all that much of interest to say anymore.

I have started on Using Spanish, as you may well know, and if anything, I think that it is easier than its "with ease" counterpart. I think this is attributable to the fact that the pace at which it introduces new grammatical concepts isn't as steep. However, I've only done the first 6 lessons so far.

I have also started with Harry potter Y la Piedra Filosofal. I know the plot quite well from my "youth" days (I have both read the books en English and seen the movie versions), so I can mostly understand what is going on while reading, even some of the vocabulary is vague. I feel that it is "comprehensible enough" input to make use of.
I have also started watching the Destinos series again (sans workbooks.) I'm finding it more enjoyable now- it doesn't even feel like studying.


In terms of textbooks, I am currently looking at Hugo's Spanish in Three Months (which is quite basic, from what I have seen of it,) Gramatica de uso del espanol Teoria y practica A1-B2 (a massive grammar translation tome) and of course FSI Basic. I really want to keep this fluid and not commit myself to any particular resources as such, I may or may not use these resources, and I may very well make use of other resources.


One thing I will say for certain is that I am done with beginner, resources and textbooks. I've realized that the big issue I had with both Michel Thomas and other "listen-and-repeat" audio tapes is the fact that they contained a lot of English on the tapes. I really find this jarring- I tried samples of both Synergy Spanish and Paul Noble, and ran into the same problem. Maybe this is just a personal preference.



Mike_405
Newbie
United Kingdom
NoneRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 702 days ago

13 posts - 3 votes
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 47 of 60
05 March 2016 at 6:25pm | IP Logged 
Have you considered using the older editions of assimil Spanish? There is a 1957 edition, as well as 1987 edition. They are meant to be more in depth than the latest 2014 edition of Asssmil Spanish with ease. I have almost finished 2014 edition, and have begun the 1957 edition. All three editions are completely different, going through even the 1987 edition there is a lot of vocab not covered in the latest edition.

Regards, Mike.



Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 769 days ago

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

 
 Message 48 of 60
05 March 2016 at 10:09pm | IP Logged 
Mike_405 wrote:
Have you considered using the
older editions of assimil Spanish? There is a
1957 edition, as well as 1987 edition. They are
meant to be more in depth than the latest 2014
edition of Asssmil Spanish with ease. I have
almost finished 2014 edition, and have begun the
1957 edition. All three editions are completely
different, going through even the 1987 edition
there is a lot of vocab not covered in the
latest edition.

Regards, Mike.

Mike
I used the 1987 version of Assimil, have looked
at without toil but have not had the chance to
see the newest with ease version. But wrt the
vocabulary thing, apparently the courses are
being progressively watered down.


Assimil has served me well, but I have made the
move into reading and listening to audiobooks
now.
I started with harry potter- I know the plot
well, and I can follow the plot in Spanish,
although on average there about 10 words per
page that I do not know, or cannot guess from
context.
I am finishing off the last bits of the active
wave right now, although I dont really translate
anymore, I just revise the lessons and write
them down. I'm going to start using the complete
hugo
series very soon- it contains both drills and
grammar exercises, so I can see how I work with
these approaches. I may use another textbook,
such as FSI. But
workbook. At this stage I want to spend some
time reading, listening and online conversation
practice. Are you on skype by the way? I have
it, but rarely use it, although this is
changing. We can have a chat in person if you
want.
Digitalis.

Edited by Digitalis on 05 March 2016 at 10:11pm




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