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FSI/DLI or not

 Language Learning Forum : Advice Center Post Reply
Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 1316 days ago

50 posts - 57 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 1 of 8
29 January 2016 at 5:55am | IP Logged 
Dear forum members,
I have a log, Spanish B1 in 9 months, and at
this stage, I do not think I will make it. Solid
A2 in 9 months looks like it.
However, I have pretty much completed Assimil
with ease at this point and now I am at the
stage where I find that I can interact with native materials
(such as children's cartoons or even native
speakers speakers, if target language subtitles
are there to help out or the speak more slowly)
and read newspaper
articles with dictionary help. The question at
this point is whether I am just going to
continue on with textbooks and native materials,
such as Colloquial (advanced course), Gloss
resources, grammar textbooks, LSLC and alot of
comprehensible input, such as listening and
reading to audiobooks, I have pretty much read
El Principito already with the help of a
dictoinary, I will be listening to it next); or
hit the FSI basic
course hard, which I believe I am ready for, or at
least will be if I supplement my current assimil
studies with a bit of extra listening/ reading
materials. This question has been gnawing at me
for a while. Any advice would be much
appreciated.
Regards, Digitalis.
P.S the course I mention are by no means
Definitive, just examples of those that I may
possibly choose to work through. For example, I
very may well discard them all and choose other
textbooks to work through. The issue is really
only in regards to the intensive use of FSI
programmatic/basic.

Edited by Digitalis on 29 January 2016 at 3:24pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Speakeasy
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 2006 days ago

456 posts - 1067 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 2 of 8
29 January 2016 at 12:15pm | IP Logged 
I do not wish to appear disloyal to the HTLAL; however, it seems that the "more active discussions" now take place on the new/replacement forum: A Language Learners' Forum. I suggest that you register and post your question there, as well.

Given the general recommendation that one study "native materials" as soon as possible, and given your progress so far, it is both tempting and feasible to continue along the present path and simply ignore structured materials such as:

FSI Spanish Basic / FSI Spanish Programmatic
DLI Basic Spanish
Assimil Using Spanish

I have completed the above materials (which was probably "over-kill") and my personal inclination would be to choose at least one of them before "removing the training wheels" completely. Doing so has the advantage of forming a more solid basis (approximately CEFR B1) from which further progress will assuredly follow. Nonetheless, I am quite aware that other independent learners would recommend that you forge ahead with your current programme.

As an aside, should you decide to study the FSI Spanish Programmatic course, you will probably be surprised by the fact that the authors, quite inexplicably, employed a self-devised phonetic spelling of Spanish for about the first 20 study units, after which they introduced correct Spanish spelling. A similar phonetic spelling was used in the initial stages of the FSI Spanish Basic course, albeit in an parallel fashion. Personally, I found this rather strange as Spanish orthography is quite clear, at least much more so than its English counterpart.

Edited by Speakeasy on 29 January 2016 at 2:58pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 1316 days ago

50 posts - 57 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 3 of 8
29 January 2016 at 3:46pm | IP Logged 
Speakeasy wrote:
I do not wish to appear
disloyal to the HTLAL; however, it seems that
the "more active discussions" now take place on
the new/replacement forum:
A
Language Learners' Forum
. I suggest that
you register and post your question there, as
well.

Given the general recommendation that one study
"native materials" as soon as possible, and
given your progress so far, it is both
tempting and feasible to continue along
the present path and simply ignore structured
materials
such as:

languages.yojik.eu/languages/spanish-
index.html">FSI Spanish Basic / FSI Spanish
Programmatic

DLI Basic
Spanish

Spanish-Advanced-Level/dp/2700520572">Assimil
Using Spanish


I have completed the above materials (which was
probably "over-kill") and my personal
inclination
would be to choose at least
one of them before
"removing the training
wheels" completely. Doing so has the advantage
of forming a more solid basis (approximately
CEFR B1) from which further progress will
assuredly follow. Nonetheless, I am quite aware
that other independent learners would recommend
that you forge ahead with your current
programme.

As an aside, should you decide to study the
FSI Spanish Programmatic course, you will
probably be surprised by the fact that the
authors, quite inexplicably, employed a self-
devised phonetic spelling of Spanish for about
the first 20 study units, after which they
introduced correct Spanish spelling. A similar
phonetic spelling was used in the initial stages
of the FSI Spanish Basic course, albeit
in an parallel fashion. Personally, I found
this rather strange as Spanish orthography is
quite clear, at least much more so than
its English counterpart.

Thanks, Speakeasy! That post was a massively
helpful clarification.
I agree with you as well. But was very unclear
in my last missive- which was typed using my
phone (which is not at all conducive to the
writing of forum posts) about what I meant when
I mentioned Grammar books- I was referring to
use of the grammar-translation method in order
to foster grammatical development: I would have
chosen either the "Practice makes perfect" or
"uso de la gramática Española" series.

I think my question can be now more precisely
phrased as:

Which course do I use next?:
* FSI Basic/Programmatic.
* Using Spanish.
* Grammar translation series: uso de la
gramática Española more likely - it is, or was,
spoken highly of on this forum.

Whichever final bridging course I choose, and I
think at this stage I will only choose one
before moving onto native materials. I will be
necessarily putting many hours of work into it-I
just want to make sure I make the right choice.
I should also say that if I do not continue on
using FSI programs, I won't discount the
previous advice I have received from other forum
members regarding "automaticity", and will
endeavour to work my way through the remainder
of Pimsleur and Learning Spanish like Crazy.
Getting extensive speaking practice will also be
indispensable.
Again, given these options, any recommendations?
Regardless of what else I do, reading and
listening to El Principito is on the cards in
the short term- that and the rest of Assimil
should keep me going for a few weeks.

Edited by Digitalis on 29 January 2016 at 6:07pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 1316 days ago

50 posts - 57 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 4 of 8
29 January 2016 at 3:53pm | IP Logged 
Speakeasy wrote:

As an aside, should you decide to study the FSI Spanish Programmatic course, you will probably be surprised by the fact that the authors, quite inexplicably, employed a self-devised phonetic spelling of Spanish for about the first 20 study units, after which they introduced correct Spanish spelling. A similar phonetic spelling was used in the initial stages of the FSI Spanish Basic course, albeit in an parallel fashion. Personally, I found this rather strange as Spanish orthography is quite clear, at least much more so than its English counterpart.

I have done the first 2 units of FSI basic already, and I know what you mean- bilingual columns with target audio would have made for a much easier reading experience- the phonetic spelling column makes the course book seem so unwieldly.

I haven't yet looked at the FSI programmatic edition, but it was my original plan to at least work through it, but my perspective and plans have changed a lot now.


Edited by Digitalis on 29 January 2016 at 4:13pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Speakeasy
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 2006 days ago

456 posts - 1067 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 5 of 8
29 January 2016 at 6:13pm | IP Logged 
It is somewhat ironic that, for the "more popular" languages such as Spanish, there are "too many resources" to choose from. You have identified what-I-consider-to-be the very finest materials available for self-study; I have used them all, including Pimsleur and Learning Like Crazy.

It would be unwise for me to make additional recommendations concerning which materials you should choose. I completed them ALL, which was truly "over-kill" for a language that was of only secondary interest to me. I have a problem: whenever I chose an area of knowledge that I wish to acquire, I invariably spend a great deal of time "building the base" and reinforcing it before moving on to more advanced materials. While this (truly obsessive) approach has the advantage of creating a rock-solid foundation, it has also slowed my progress towards my ultimate goal. So, my very best advice would be that you choose amongst the materials you have already identified (they are all so good that, in a sense, it does not matter which ones you select ... with the possible exceptions of Colloquial and Pimsleur which are limited in their scope) and forge ahead to the A2-B1 level at which point you should most definitely focus on native materials.
1 person has voted this message useful



Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 1316 days ago

50 posts - 57 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 6 of 8
30 January 2016 at 1:21am | IP Logged 
Thanks again, speakeasy. I think the most
prudent choice for now is Using Spanish (though
I hear some of the translations are error-
riddled) and a grammar-translation workbook
(teoría y práctica). I didn't look closely at
all into Colloquial, and I found pimsleur quite
slow as a raw newbie. But I think LSLC is
definitely on the cards right now.
I wonder where using Spanish will take me? It
gets me to a B1ish level I will be delighted.



If I need to use FSI basic later as a mostly
Audio-only supplement, to help develop my
speaking skills, I will.
I thought I would stick with a textbook approach
throughout my Spanish studies, but am quite
happy to find that Assimil has taken me to the
point where I can interact with native materials
directly, more or less. I think this may just be
a personal learning style.

Edited by Digitalis on 30 January 2016 at 1:22am

1 person has voted this message useful



Speakeasy
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 2006 days ago

456 posts - 1067 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 7 of 8
30 January 2016 at 3:58am | IP Logged 
Hi Digitalis!

Assimil and CEFR Levels
The editors of the Assimil language courses, like their competitors, overstate the level that can be achieved by using their materials. They claim that the “Assimil At Ease” courses will lead the independent learner to the CEFR B2 level, whereas a level of A2-B1 would be more reasonable. The editors also make the claim that the “Assimil Using” courses will lead the independent learner to the CEFR C1 level, whereas a level of B1-B1+ would be more reasonable. That is, although the vocabulary and grammatical issues might very well be at the B2+ level in the “Assimil Using” courses, given that attaining a true B2 level is such a formidable challenge in the absence of intensive and prolonged contact with native-speakers, I tend shy away from saying that the Assimil courses, alone, will bring the student to the B2 level. Let us agree, instead, that the “Assimil Using” courses provide the student with the basic “tools” for achieving B2, but that “mastery” of the tools demands additional practice.   

Assimil Using Spanish
Assimil Using Spanish is no longer in print. The corresponding course continues to be available from a French, Italian, or German base. If you are not at ease with any of these languages, you could always approach the course as “equivalent-to-native” materials; that is, consider them as "graded conversations" that are accompanied by a transcript. I have the 2012 edition of “Perfectionnement Espagnol”.   Unfortunately, Assimil throws around the term “edition” so freely that it renders searching for different “generations” difficult, if not impossible. Nonetheless, from my reading of the comments on the HTLAL, I am left with the impression that my 2012 edition is the same course as the 1996 edition by Javier Anton Martinez. So, if you can get your hands on a copy of the course book, we should communicate via the Private Message function concerning the audio recordings. I suggest that you conduct a G-Search of the HTLAL using the words “Using Spanish” which should yield some 145 discussion threads wherein this course is mentioned. Be sure to include quotation marks around the two words so as to limit the search to the word group; otherwise, the search will yield results for the separate words.

Practice Sets and Drills
Both the FSI Basic and FSI Programmatic courses contain massive amounts of sentence-pattern drills and practice sets. In my view, although the Assimil dialogues are not strictly sentence-pattern drills, I have found that running through a series of 30+ lessons in rapid sequence has an effect similar to working the FSI practice sets/drills.


Edited by Speakeasy on 30 January 2016 at 4:07am

1 person has voted this message useful



Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 1316 days ago

50 posts - 57 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 8 of 8
31 January 2016 at 2:57am | IP Logged 
I now have gotten my hands on both Using Spanish
with matching audio. Anyone who needs an upload,
feel free to chime in. I'll attach the files to
a dropbox account, or arrange to email them. I
will probably peruse it closely over the next
few days, and give a review on my thread. I
haven't seen many reviews online at all, unlike
it's "beginners counterpart", Assimil Spanish
with Ease.
Thanks again for the advice though, speakeasy.
Digitalis.

Edited by Digitalis on 31 January 2016 at 3:00am



1 person has voted this message useful



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