Le Baron wrote:That doesn't address anything I mentioned. What you sketched out is a completely different discussion.
Not really. The technological changes don't make the situations any less universal. It's a different shade of the argument that goes like "When am I ever going to say 'I have three red pens'???" No, you might not ever hold three red pens and shout it from the top of a mountain, and you might never go look for a public telephone. It doesn't matter.
You don't have finite space in your head wherein
You really don't want to imprint on your brain things related to working for the 'colonial service' or taking up head space seeing out of date social information (like rules about holidays, work etc that no longer apply, which could be taught more efficiently alongside the language learning in a modern course as you go through).
is an actual concern, and I don't know who would ever spend more time on holiday rules in a target country than focusing on language usage.
I mean entire countries change. Pre-1991 Russian courses all "useless" because you're never going to be in the Soviet Union? Leningrad is St. Petersburg now?
You said you "want to communicate with people in the shortest time possible." Without knowing who you want to communicate with, no course can give you exactly what you want. But as an advanced learner, you've pointed out that you know how to extract what you need from a course and move on. The course has always been a tool, not a one-and-all solution.
It's like music - what one plays alone at home is nothing like what one plays on the stage. But if you never play at home doing dexterity exercises, playing non-musical reading passages (that "nobody would ever play like that in real life"), learning old songs ("nobody plays like that anymore"), your moment on the stage is going to be terrible. And your first songbook isn't going to be Paganini or Allan Holdsworth, it's going to be garbage like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and you're going to suck it up and play it.