On monolingual textbooks and courses

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Le Baron
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Re: On monolingual textbooks and courses

Postby Le Baron » Mon May 10, 2021 1:01 am

jeff_lindqvist wrote:I also began studying Dutch a number of years ago (autumn 2012), with "Nederlands voor buitenlanders". Also monolingual, two CDs. To this day, I haven't finished the course.


Is it just a boring course?
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Re: On monolingual textbooks and courses

Postby jeff_lindqvist » Mon May 10, 2021 6:24 am

Le Baron wrote:
jeff_lindqvist wrote:I also began studying Dutch a number of years ago (autumn 2012), with "Nederlands voor buitenlanders". Also monolingual, two CDs. To this day, I haven't finished the course.


Is it just a boring course?


No, it's just that some projects tend to be short-lived. "OK, this is fun, but I hear another language knocking on the door."

Also, the lessons got longer and longer and then there was no chance in h*ll that I could pull off doing one per day, as I believe was my intention (crazy, I know).
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Re: On monolingual textbooks and courses

Postby Cavesa » Mon May 10, 2021 9:13 am

mokibao wrote:On one hand you have things like LLPSI, on the other hand you have courses like Language Transfer that are essentially in English apart from drills yet they receive only praise (for the Greek and Spanish ones, at least). The more acquainted I get with resources the more I have this feeling that the method doesn't matter very much at all and it's all contingent on the quality of the material and the teacher (and the student, I guess).


I don't think these are good examples at all, especially as you are picking them as representants of the mono and bilingual approach. If you want to go the "on one hand" vs "on the other hand", you've chosen wrong. Both things you've mentioned are extremely marginal on the language learning market, and very different from the typical examples. Don't get me wrong, I believe they are both excellent resources, they are just so rarely used (if we take language learning in general, not communities like this one), and so different from the main types of monolingual and bilingual courses, that they really cannot be used like that.

A typical example of a bilingual course is definitely not the Language Transfer. A typical example of such a course is Teach Yourself, Colloquial, or even Assimil (even though it borders on marginal too). TY or Colloquial can indeed be used even in class, and some more traditional class aimed bilingual courses are more or less similarly made. I know some very typical examples but based in Czech.

Again, LLPSI is not a typical example of a monolingual coursebook. It is exceptional even among the Latin coursebooks, and Latin is a rarely learnt language, if we look at the bigger picture. Typical examples of monolingual courses are Édito, Aula, Menschen, Nuovissimo Progetto Italiano, and others like that. That's the typical stuff, which is usually much less user friendly than LLPSI and based on a bit different ideas.

It sounds nice at first, that it all depends on the quality of material, teacher, and student. But no offense meant, it is also a rather empty phrase, that isn't helpful to anyone choosing. It is simply true that a bilingual tool is much more accessible to a beginner than a monolingual one, and that a monolingual one is likely to have more authentic material, or to be more closely tied to the CEFR. You've picked things, that don't really fit these "stereotypes", but it is because they are each very different from what is typical in their category. Not because of every learner/teacher/book combination being so unique.
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Beli Tsar
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Re: On monolingual textbooks and courses

Postby Beli Tsar » Mon May 10, 2021 10:08 am

Cavesa wrote:
mokibao wrote:On one hand you have things like LLPSI, on the other hand you have courses like Language Transfer that are essentially in English apart from drills yet they receive only praise (for the Greek and Spanish ones, at least). The more acquainted I get with resources the more I have this feeling that the method doesn't matter very much at all and it's all contingent on the quality of the material and the teacher (and the student, I guess).


I don't think these are good examples at all, especially as you are picking them as representants of the mono and bilingual approach. If you want to go the "on one hand" vs "on the other hand", you've chosen wrong. Both things you've mentioned are extremely marginal on the language learning market, and very different from the typical examples. Don't get me wrong, I believe they are both excellent resources, they are just so rarely used (if we take language learning in general, not communities like this one), and so different from the main types of monolingual and bilingual courses, that they really cannot be used like that.

While it's true these are marginal, there's something to be said for Mokibao's general point that a good course, whatever the philosophy, is better than a course that's badly done with some optimal philosophy.
In other words, the language learning world in general (not here, so much!) frets far too much about the method, whereas just using a textbook that's really well designed, whatever the method, will get you results. Implementation trumps philosophy, even if philosophy matters.
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Re: On monolingual textbooks and courses

Postby Cavesa » Mon May 10, 2021 12:05 pm

Beli Tsar wrote:While it's true these are marginal, there's something to be said for Mokibao's general point that a good course, whatever the philosophy, is better than a course that's badly done with some optimal philosophy.
In other words, the language learning world in general (not here, so much!) frets far too much about the method, whereas just using a textbook that's really well designed, whatever the method, will get you results. Implementation trumps philosophy, even if philosophy matters.


Is bilingual vs monolingual really a question of "philosophy"? :-D I think the difference is far too practical to fall into that term.

Even the best monolingual Greek or Japanese coursebook won't be too accessible to a self teaching beginner, and will a be a huge problem with a bad teacher. It's not a question of "philosophy". It's a question of practicality and some advantages (and disadvantages) belonging to each of the two categories. And oppositely, sticking to bilingual resources will almost necessarily lead to stagnating on a plateau, because vast majority doesn't lead far enough to comfortable let the learner out in the real world. Again, it is a matter or practical issues, not "philosophy".

Also, I sort of agreed with Mokibao's point, don't misunderstand me, because there is nothing to disagree with. It is just one of the very generalized and totally worthless (no offence meant) statements, it doesn't really say anything. We all know it depends on each combination student+the book (+teacher, if you want one), so we could just close the forum as there is clearly nothing to discuss :-D

The point of this thread was to discuss the differences of these two big categories, and whom is each of them more useful to, wasn't it?
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Beli Tsar
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Re: On monolingual textbooks and courses

Postby Beli Tsar » Mon May 10, 2021 1:29 pm

Cavesa wrote:
Beli Tsar wrote:While it's true these are marginal, there's something to be said for Mokibao's general point that a good course, whatever the philosophy, is better than a course that's badly done with some optimal philosophy.
In other words, the language learning world in general (not here, so much!) frets far too much about the method, whereas just using a textbook that's really well designed, whatever the method, will get you results. Implementation trumps philosophy, even if philosophy matters.


Is bilingual vs monolingual really a question of "philosophy"? :-D I think the difference is far too practical to fall into that term.

Even the best monolingual Greek or Japanese coursebook won't be too accessible to a self teaching beginner, and will a be a huge problem with a bad teacher. It's not a question of "philosophy". It's a question of practicality and some advantages (and disadvantages) belonging to each of the two categories. And oppositely, sticking to bilingual resources will almost necessarily lead to stagnating on a plateau, because vast majority doesn't lead far enough to comfortable let the learner out in the real world. Again, it is a matter or practical issues, not "philosophy".

Also, I sort of agreed with Mokibao's point, don't misunderstand me, because there is nothing to disagree with. It is just one of the very generalized and totally worthless (no offence meant) statements, it doesn't really say anything. We all know it depends on each combination student+the book (+teacher, if you want one), so we could just close the forum as there is clearly nothing to discuss :-D

The point of this thread was to discuss the differences of these two big categories, and whom is each of them more useful to, wasn't it?

That makes perfect sense - I suppose the danger is precisely that we don't think about this because we do have a strong philosophy about what's best. Certainly in ancient-language-learning circles (marginal as they may be), you get a lot of people shouting that monolingual is the only way, that anything else will cripple you. With Latin that doesn't do too much harm, but with Ancient Greek you get people using totally inappropriate resources where much better ones exist.
Your point, that both monolingual and bilingual courses have specific uses at specific times, and Mokibao's, that using good resources is often more significant than what approach they have, seen like different angles on a sensible, practical course choice.
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