A course to use during FSI break?

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Bex
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A course to use during FSI break?

Postby Bex » Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:02 am

I didn't want to highjack the other FSI thread...
James29 wrote:You could also break it up into chunks. Do the first quarter then do a different course then do the second quarter, etc, etc. I did that at times and it was really nice to have a break from the drilling.

Out of interest because I am planning to take a break at the end of FSI Spanish Basic volume 2 as James29 mentions on the other thread - which intermediate courses do people work through that they'd recommend for Spanish?

I have already completed Assimil & MT (& advanced), I'm not sure what would be a good course to work through as a break from the FSI drilling? Or even if it would be worth revisiting an old course or even a different era of Assimil.

I tested myself on the Cervantes website about a month ago and it placed me at B1.1, which seems about right to me...so I'm not sure it's worth doing another beginner type course.

Any recommendations?
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Re: A course to use during FSI break?

Postby Speakeasy » Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:38 pm

Intermediate Level Self-Study Language Courses
Students seeking “intermediate” level courses for the self-study of foreign languages are frequently dismayed by the paucity of materials available. Putting aside the inflated promotional statements of most publishers, such materials simply do not exist. The problem arises from the fact that, despite their initial enthusiasm, most people who purchase beginners’ level self-study courses, abandon their “self-improvement projects” early on. Publishers are quite aware of this and respond by offering mislabelled “intermediate” and “advanced” courses which are nothing more than minor extensions of their beginners’ level courses.

The only “intermediate … ish” courses for the self-study of foreign languages that I have ever encountered are the second stage materials by Assimil, Living Language, and Linguaphone, all of which, in my opinion, operate at the CEFR B1 to B1+ level. In all four cases, the objectives are to increase the one’s grasp of the basics of the L2 grammar and to expand (nominally) one’s vocabulary. Here is the list:

Assimil Using Spanish / Perfectionnement Espagnol
Although the English-based version is no longer in print, used copies are still available. A cautionary note: reviews on the HTLAL and the LLORG have not always been positive. The most recent French-based version has been well-received (Assimil now advertises it as operating at the B1-B2 level, which is refreshing). Even if your French is not up to the task, at your present level, you could still use this course as a collection of scripted dialogues for which transcriptions are available but for which notes are not. Sally forth, dictionary and grammar in hand!

Living Language Spanish Beyond the Basics
The “Beyond the Basics” series was published as a sequel to the previous generation of Living Language’s “Complete: The Basics” series. Short dialogues, plus a review of the basics of Spanish grammar. Although out-of-print, these pocket book sized course manual plus four CDs sets are still available at low prices.

Living Language Spanish Ultimate Advanced
The “Ultimate Advanced” series was published as a sequel to the previous generation of Living Language’s “Ultimate Beginner to Intermediate” series. Short dialogues, plus a nice review of the basics of Spanish grammar. Although out-of-print, these course manual plus eight CDs sets are still available at reasonable prices.

Linguaphone Spanish Advanced to Expert
Although I could be wrong about the dates, I believe that Linguaphone’s second stage series was first published at some time during the 1970’s-1980’s as a sequel to their beginner’s courses. Although the course materials and CDs are entirely in the L2 language and seem imposing, they actually operate at the B1+ to B2 level. Still available directly from the publisher.

Genuine Intermediate Level Materials?
I have a large collection of “genuine” intermediate level materials for the study of German. In every case, these course books were designed for presentation in a classroom setting. I prefer textbooks from the 1960’s and 1970’s because they are filled with … text … rather than multi-coloured photographs of smiling, attractive young adults going about their wonderful lives. These older textbooks tend to present extracts from the language’s literature and newspapers along with annotations and very good reviews of the L2 grammar. They rarely contain dialogues and they do not contain materials for drilling. In most cases, the audio recordings which once accompanied these courses are no longer available. Working through a couple of these textbooks is brutal experience and is very hard on one’s self-esteem (viz., I thought that I was at the B1 level). However, these older textbooks absolutely great for expanding one’s vocabulary and for deepening one’s appreciation for the nuances of the language’s grammar.
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Re: A course to use during FSI break?

Postby Bex » Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:49 pm

Speakeasy wrote:Intermediate Level Self-Study Language Courses
Students seeking “intermediate” level courses for the self-study of foreign languages are frequently dismayed by the paucity of materials available. Putting aside the inflated promotional statements of most publishers, such materials simply do not exist. The problem arises from the fact that, despite their initial enthusiasm, most people who purchase beginners’ level self-study courses, abandon their “self-improvement projects” early on. Publishers are quite aware of this and respond by offering mislabelled “intermediate” and “advanced” courses which are nothing more than minor extensions of their beginners’ level courses.

The only “intermediate … ish” courses for the self-study of foreign languages that I have ever encountered are the second stage materials by Assimil, Living Language, and Linguaphone, all of which, in my opinion, operate at the CEFR B1 to B1+ level. In all four cases, the objectives are to increase the one’s grasp of the basics of the L2 grammar and to expand (nominally) one’s vocabulary. Here is the list:

Assimil Using Spanish / Perfectionnement Espagnol
Although the English-based version is no longer in print, used copies are still available. A cautionary note: reviews on the HTLAL and the LLORG have not always been positive. The most recent French-based version has been well-received (Assimil now advertises it as operating at the B1-B2 level, which is refreshing). Even if your French is not up to the task, at your present level, you could still use this course as a collection of scripted dialogues for which transcriptions are available but for which notes are not. Sally forth, dictionary and grammar in hand!

Living Language Spanish Beyond the Basics
The “Beyond the Basics” series was published as a sequel to the previous generation of Living Language’s “Complete: The Basics” series. Short dialogues, plus a review of the basics of Spanish grammar. Although out-of-print, these pocket book sized course manual plus four CDs sets are still available at low prices.

Living Language Spanish Ultimate Advanced
The “Ultimate Advanced” series was published as a sequel to the previous generation of Living Language’s “Ultimate Beginner to Intermediate” series. Short dialogues, plus a nice review of the basics of Spanish grammar. Although out-of-print, these course manual plus eight CDs sets are still available at reasonable prices.

Linguaphone Spanish Advanced to Expert
Although I could be wrong about the dates, I believe that Linguaphone’s second stage series was first published at some time during the 1970’s-1980’s as a sequel to their beginner’s courses. Although the course materials and CDs are entirely in the L2 language and seem imposing, they actually operate at the B1+ to B2 level. Still available directly from the publisher.

Genuine Intermediate Level Materials?
I have a large collection of “genuine” intermediate level materials for the study of German. In every case, these course books were designed for presentation in a classroom setting. I prefer textbooks from the 1960’s and 1970’s because they are filled with … text … rather than multi-coloured photographs of smiling, attractive young adults going about their wonderful lives. These older textbooks tend to present extracts from the language’s literature and newspapers along with annotations and very good reviews of the L2 grammar. They rarely contain dialogues and they do not contain materials for drilling. In most cases, the audio recordings which once accompanied these courses are no longer available. Working through a couple of these textbooks is brutal experience and is very hard on one’s self-esteem (viz., I thought that I was at the B1 level). However, these older textbooks absolutely great for expanding one’s vocabulary and for deepening one’s appreciation for the nuances of the language’s grammar.

Thanks Speakeasy this is really useful stuff. I'll look into each of the courses you've suggested and see what I can find on eBay etc.

It's a shame to hear there aren't any decent modern intermediate self study courses around.
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SC 2018/19: Spanish
100 books: 71 / 100
100 films. : 79 / 100

FSI Basic Spanish:
Vol 1 - 01-15: 15 / 15 :D
Vol 2 - 16-30: 4 / 15

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Re: A course to use during FSI break?

Postby iguanamon » Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:01 pm

Bex wrote:It's a shame to hear there aren't any decent modern intermediate self study courses around.
There's a reason why this is generally true in self language study, because few self-learners ever manage to make it out of beginner courses. The market for intermediate learners isn't nearly as large as for beginners. It's also the reason why used language course books are almost always in quite good condition.

I would recommend the Gramática de uso del Español B1-B2 course. It's reasonably priced and helps a learner to get abetter grasp on grammar. GDUDE is monolingual.
Amazon.es wrote:Gramática práctica con explicaciones claras y sencillas - Recorrido completo por las cuestiones esenciales de la gramática de los niveles B1 y B2 del Plan Curricular del Instituto Cervantes. - Organizada en dobles páginas para enfrentar la teoría con sus ejercicios correspondientes. - Cuadros para resaltar los puntos gramaticales más importantes. - Remisiones a otras unidades para aclarar o completar conceptos. - Numerosos ejemplos de uso. - Dibujos para ilustrar y facilitar la comprensión de las explicaciones gramaticales. - Más de 400 ejercicios, con modelo de respuesta y soluciones, para ayudar al estudiante a desarrollar su autonomía. - Autoevaluaciones en cada unidad. - Glosario con léxico de los ejercicios traducidos a varias lenguas.
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Re: A course to use during FSI break?

Postby Bex » Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:21 pm

iguanamon wrote:There's a reason why this is generally true in self language study, because few self-learners ever manage to make it out of beginner courses....It's also the reason why used language course books are almost always in quite good condition.
That would explain all the pristine Spanish books I have littering my shelves :lol:
iguanamon wrote: I would recommend the Gramática de uso del Español B1-B2.
I have been looking at this book, and it does look like exactly the sort of book I should be working through. It's now top on my list to work through...after I've worked through a least a few of the workbooks I already own :oops: .

Thanks for the recommendation
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100 books: 71 / 100
100 films. : 79 / 100

FSI Basic Spanish:
Vol 1 - 01-15: 15 / 15 :D
Vol 2 - 16-30: 4 / 15

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Re: A course to use during FSI break?

Postby lusan » Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:59 pm

iguanamon wrote:
Bex wrote:It's a shame to hear there aren't any decent modern intermediate self study courses around.
There's a reason why this is generally true in self language study, because few self-learners ever manage to make it out of beginner courses.


I came to the same conclusion. Therefore, it seems that native materials paved the B1-B2 path: newspapers, movies, TV, books, etc...and a bunch of grammar exercises! Of course, it depends on the learner objective. If they desire to manage a visit to an european country, they could easily do it only speaking ENGLISH. No need of any local language. -To talk to my Polish family, A2 is more than enough.- However, if more is wanted, B2 and so on might be in order... and that will take a lot of work if our native language is different than the learning one.
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Re: A course to use during FSI break?

Postby Bex » Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:24 am

lusan wrote:[To talk to my Polish family, A2 is more than enough.- However, if more is wanted, B2 and so on might be in order... and that will take a lot of work..
Actually this hit a bit of a nerve, maybe I shouldn't be looking for more courses but instead start using what I've got and add/discover any pieces I need to activate my speaking/writing, both which are still not great.

As eido has already pointed out on another thread of mine, I might find it helpful to start writing to fill in my gaps.

I will have to give this more thought....and work out exactly what it is I'm trying to achieve.

Thanks lusan for putting this point forward, I think I needed it to realise I might just be a bit lost again and courses/workbooks seem to be my default way of learning because I still don't have any idea what I'm doing or how to proceed without them :roll:
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SC 2018/19: Spanish
100 books: 71 / 100
100 films. : 79 / 100

FSI Basic Spanish:
Vol 1 - 01-15: 15 / 15 :D
Vol 2 - 16-30: 4 / 15

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Re: A course to use during FSI break?

Postby Brun Ugle » Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:39 am

Once I get past the very beginning level, I think it’s nice to use a textbook that’s entirely in the target language. And those are easier to find at intermediate and advanced levels than ones in English. Maybe one of these books would suit you. The site isn’t great, sometimes the pages won’t open and it’s often slow, but they let you really look inside the books before buying. You can download a pdf with a description of the book, the table of contents and one entire chapter so you can see if it’s right for you. I bought a book in one of their other series (Vitamina C1), but there didn’t seem to be any Vitamin B. These Agencia ELE books look nice though. Each level comes with a textbook and workbook. They might be intended more for a classroom, but I haven’t had any trouble with the one I bought even though some of the exercises say to discuss something with my classmates. I just write it out myself. And if I feel like discussing, I suppose I could send a copy of the page to a language exchange parter and ask them to discuss it with me. If you decide to buy one, you might want to order from Amazon or somewhere. I was going to order from this site, but it kept sending me to an unsecured page. They might have fixed that by now though.
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Re: A course to use during FSI break?

Postby James29 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 3:57 pm

There are already some great responses that I cannot really add to. For what it is worth, the intermediate type courses I did (that I would recommend) were Living Language Beyond the Basics, Assimil's Using Spanish and Gramática de uso del Español. You cannot go wrong with any of those... or even just doing another active wave through one of the regular Assimil courses. Also, note that Gramática de uso del Español comes in a cheaper version sold in the US called Spanish Grammar by McGraw-Hill. The contents of the books are identical. the A = Beginner Spanish Grammar; B = Intermediate Spanish Grammar and C = Advanced Spanish Grammar.
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Re: A course to use during FSI break?

Postby Bex » Tue Aug 06, 2019 4:35 pm

Thanks everyone for your great suggestions. I will put together a list of things I already own and a wish list as well.

I'll probably start with something I already own because I really didn't ought to buy anymore, especially as I think I already have some of the books/courses mentioned :oops:
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SC 2018/19: Spanish
100 books: 71 / 100
100 films. : 79 / 100

FSI Basic Spanish:
Vol 1 - 01-15: 15 / 15 :D
Vol 2 - 16-30: 4 / 15


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