Using Assimil together with Anki

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Re: Using Assimil together with Anki

Postby Pau » Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:42 am

Hello! I made a video about this matter

Thanks Stefan for reaching out to me after seeing the video

Sharing my experience on my blog in case you are interested. I'm a big documenter :P Here is for Russian and here for portuguese. The thing is that I never imagined I'd reach that far with both languages studying with anki and assimil.

Russian is harder, so I do 1 lesson every 2 days (cut the files first day, study all, and next day study all again). Portuguese for now is way faster.

It takes a bit of time to cut the audios yes, but actually once u get the shortcodes is pretty fast.

As for the lesson review, I just omit Assimil method! I have 2 decks for russian
1) assimil sentences. all of them that are in the audio
2) assimil lessons. One direction flashcards. It will appear "lesson 21" with the full audio conversation. And before playing the conversation i will review the whole lesson. Translation from spanish to russian and checking if i do it properly. Also, reviwing the translation exercices and the fill out the blanks. Once all done, i play the conversation and follow along.
3) vocab. The words that have been appearing i also cut them and put the single ones in a deck. just 1 word cards, to learn them independently from it's sentences

by the way im currently writing an ebook about language learning efficency and i go so indeep with this method :)
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Re: Using Assimil together with Anki

Postby schlaraffenland » Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:19 pm

scivola wrote:I think it sounds like an interesting experiment. I'm curious how well the scheduled reviews work out, in the sense of whether they will pile up so you have 10 reviews scheduled for a single day, or whether it just stays at just one or two. Definitely worth a try, though.


Yeah, I may be singing a different tune after I'm a month into the active wave. I suspect that I will not need to review the elementary lessons as frequently as the SRS algorithm proposes that I do, so I may be able to mark the reviews "easy" more often than not. The mere fact of reviewing on a regular schedule, without too much micromanagement, is what seems valuable to me. I'll report back in a couple of months with how the daily load looks, etc.!
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Re: Using Assimil together with Anki

Postby zenmonkey » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:48 am

After all but given up on trying to do the file renaming via the command line with afinfo and grep - I think I'm just going to download the app you mentioned. Tomorrow. Maybe.
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Re: Using Assimil together with Anki

Postby zenmonkey » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:14 am

Thanks for posting this thread - I finally created my deck for Brazilian Portuguese using mp3tag and googledocs translate function as you outlined. Personally, I'm only going to keep the sentences in there and not the full dialogs and use a 3 card system for each note:

Passive wave: where I need to show I know the meaning:

  • a "target" card which has the target text and the voice
  • a "sound" only card where I only listen to the sentence (no text)
Active wave: where I need to produce in the target language:
  • a "source" card which has my source language on the front and the target text and the voice as the answer

Thanks for the discussion, it was very helpful.
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Re: Using Assimil together with Anki

Postby PeterMollenburg » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:29 pm

Serpent wrote:As for the original topic, I wish everyone good luck with your learning, but I have to point out that putting everything into Anki goes against the whole philosophy of Assimil. Your goal is not to know the Assimil course by heart. Your goal is to go through the course and switch to other things, and if you follow the original passive and active wave, you'll know most of the content already. I'm not a fan of excessive drilling in general, but Assimil is a particularly bad choice for it in my opinion :? If the words and expressions just won't stick, imo it's better to go through something like Michel Thomas, Pimsleur or whatever and go back to Assimil.


I tend to agree. Lately, I'm getting the impression that I don't like Anki that much anymore. In fact, maybe not at all. Personally I couldn't be bothered stuffing around with the technology just to get it all primed and in place- although it takes me 20 years longer than anyone else on this forum to deal with technology.

My opinion doesn't matter too much here, as people do what they want to do, and I'm a good example of this. Many people told me (from their experience) that I'm best to drop a lot of the materials I was using. They might have been right, but I got to where I am by persisting. So in the end, whatever method motivates you is likely to work, and we're all motivated to use different approaches and different materials.

I even used Anki a good amount for some of the tricker phrases/new vocab throughout Assimil, but i'm doubtfult of how useful that was.

I think a more 'natural' approach, as I believe Serpent is also suggesting, is generally 'better'. In other words, don't SRS everything via Anki, just go through the course as instructed, and if things don't stick, maybe go through once or twice more and move on to other stuff. But hey, I didn't listen to Assimil either- I approached it with my perfectionist self leading the way- shadowed and learned every little word I didn't know first wave and my picking apart of everything in every lesson took much longer than a first wave is designed to take. Couldn't help myself, it worked for me. So do what you prefer, but I still have my doubts about Anki's effectiveness. There's a place for memorisation, and a place for internalisation without drilling the material to death. Perhaps in the end a balance is best, but who am I to talk about balance ;) Good luck peoples, nonetheless!

Much love, current Anki player-hater, Monsieur le PM
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Re: Using Assimil together with Anki

Postby scivola » Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:29 pm

Serpent wrote:I'm not a fan of excessive drilling in general, but Assimil is a particularly bad choice for it in my opinion :? If the words and expressions just won't stick, imo it's better to go through something like Michel Thomas, Pimsleur or whatever and go back to Assimil.


PeterMollenburg wrote:I think a more 'natural' approach, as I believe Serpent is also suggesting, is generally 'better'. In other words, don't SRS everything via Anki, just go through the course as instructed, and if things don't stick, maybe go through once or twice more and move on to other stuff.


In both of these quotes, y'all are assuming some level of repetition. Anki is simply a tool for systematizing that repetition.

What constitutes "excessive" drilling? You should move on to other stuff "if words and expressions don't stick". Are they supposed to stick after reading through the lesson just one time? If you don't use anki but you read through each lesson more than once, are you doing it wrong? And let's suppose you do just go through assimil the normal way and then move on to native materials. Presumably, anything from assimil that didn't stick will be encountered again later in those native materials. Is that a repetition, and if so, is that bad? If not, why is that better than having anki show you the non-stick word or phrase again?

And when it comes to reading, people seem to accept that both intensive and extensive reading is necessary to "master" a language. Isn't the normal assimil method basically extensive, where you keep moving, not focusing too much on every detail in each lesson. So using anki would simply be an intensive way to go through the course, with anki's scheduling algorithm working to focus your attention on the parts/sentences that need the most attention. If a book can be read both intensively and extensively, why is it wrong to do that with an assimil book?

I understand that some people just don't like anki, so I would understand some comments saying "I wouldn't enjoy studying assimil that way". But that's not what I'm seeing here. People seem to think it controversial to ankify assimil in particular. I don't understand why, especially when many people have spoken of the improvements they have achieved by using subs2srs to ankify movies and their subtitles. I don't see why ankifying assimil would be any less effective (especially sense I've done it and thought it was pretty great).
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Re: Using Assimil together with Anki

Postby zenmonkey » Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:04 pm

scivola wrote:
Serpent wrote:I'm not a fan of excessive drilling in general, but Assimil is a particularly bad choice for it in my opinion :? If the words and expressions just won't stick, imo it's better to go through something like Michel Thomas, Pimsleur or whatever and go back to Assimil.


PeterMollenburg wrote:I think a more 'natural' approach, as I believe Serpent is also suggesting, is generally 'better'. In other words, don't SRS everything via Anki, just go through the course as instructed, and if things don't stick, maybe go through once or twice more and move on to other stuff.


In both of these quotes, y'all are assuming some level of repetition. Anki is simply a tool for systematizing that repetition.

What constitutes "excessive" drilling?


I've done excessive drilling in the past. :shock:


Putting this in Anki could lead to that, but it doesn't need to be - don't use it as a memorisation tool - just a way to go through the sentences a few times. And quite easy to set steps or intervals in Anki so you don't drown in these. I might want to drill to memory with some things, but Anki is flexible enough that I don't have to use it that way.
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Re: Using Assimil together with Anki

Postby PeterMollenburg » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:49 pm

scivola wrote:
Serpent wrote:I'm not a fan of excessive drilling in general, but Assimil is a particularly bad choice for it in my opinion :? If the words and expressions just won't stick, imo it's better to go through something like Michel Thomas, Pimsleur or whatever and go back to Assimil.


PeterMollenburg wrote:I think a more 'natural' approach, as I believe Serpent is also suggesting, is generally 'better'. In other words, don't SRS everything via Anki, just go through the course as instructed, and if things don't stick, maybe go through once or twice more and move on to other stuff.


In both of these quotes, y'all are assuming some level of repetition. Anki is simply a tool for systematizing that repetition.


For my part, I'm just a bit dubious of staring at electronic screens and being force-fed drills. It has to work to some extent, but something just feels unnatural about it. It's really difficult to put my finger on it, exactly what it is- perhaps with SRS, one thing lacking could be that we're almost not allowed to forget. Perhaps through repetition via more natural processes, be that writing down words/word lists, reading, re-doing exercises in courses such as Assimil, a more natural memory process takes place, in which sometimes we're allowed to forget. Perhaps it's the electronic screen itself. There's been at least one recent discussion on this forum with regards to reading from a paper copy book as opposed to reading electronically, and some argue that the latter is not as conducive to learning.

scivola wrote:What constitutes "excessive" drilling? You should move on to other stuff "if words and expressions don't stick". Are they supposed to stick after reading through the lesson just one time? If you don't use anki but you read through each lesson more than once, are you doing it wrong? And let's suppose you do just go through assimil the normal way and then move on to native materials. Presumably, anything from assimil that didn't stick will be encountered again later in those native materials. Is that a repetition, and if so, is that bad? If not, why is that better than having anki show you the non-stick word or phrase again?


I realised I worded things a little wrongly. I'm not against repetitions nor extra waves at all, I do them myself. I am an advocate for repetition, I'm just not convinced of drilling with Anki like there's no tomorrow being a great solution. It seems too one-dimensional and lacking some real human-ness, for want of a better word, as opposed to machine dictated, memory activities.

I think there's definitely something in 'internalising' content through repetition - say shadowing, reading, repeating exercises and the like. Whereas Anki (or another SRS program) telling me what to respond to and when, via an electronic screen, just feels less natural. I really have difficulty explaining this, as it's a unseen 'feeling', like intuition, i'm sorry if i'm not making sense.

As for those who choose to use Anki, like I did a lot in the past, go ahead be my guest, you're very likely to show that it works very well. For me, at least in my learning journey now, it just doesn't feel quite right.

scivola wrote:And when it comes to reading, people seem to accept that both intensive and extensive reading is necessary to "master" a language. Isn't the normal assimil method basically extensive, where you keep moving, not focusing too much on every detail in each lesson. So using anki would simply be an intensive way to go through the course, with anki's scheduling algorithm working to focus your attention on the parts/sentences that need the most attention. If a book can be read both intensively and extensively, why is it wrong to do that with an assimil book?


Yep, and I'm also believer in both intensive and extensive approaches to reading and study. And yes Anki reps, I agree, are a way to render the Assimil approach more intensive. I personally, methodically analyse the content, despite being advised not to, and look up words I don't know. I would enter sentences and phrases into Anki that were difficult or unusual, but only a few phrases per lesson perhaps. Which I no longer like doing. Now I'll write down unknown words or phrases occasionally, use repetition more and have more trust in naturally remembering things (admittedly through repetition also). So yes, Anki is another (arguably more efficient) way to render the process intensive, but it's no longer my preferred tool of choice, as I mentioned, it just feels unnatural. It also feels forced. I really struggle to explain what it is.

scivola wrote:I understand that some people just don't like anki, so I would understand some comments saying "I wouldn't enjoy studying assimil that way". But that's not what I'm seeing here. People seem to think it controversial to ankify assimil in particular. I don't understand why, especially when many people have spoken of the improvements they have achieved by using subs2srs to ankify movies and their subtitles.
I don't see why ankifying assimil would be any less effective (especially sense I've done it and thought it was pretty great).


If you're motivated to 'Ankify' Assimil, then it's likely to work rather well. If you're motivated not to Ankify Assimil, as I currently am, it's likely to work rather well. We all have our justifications. You can provide reasons i'm sure why it works for you, I can provide why I prefer not to use it, myself. Motivation is the really important ingredient in the end. Let's face it, if you can make it as far as I have using courses predominantly (which ironically many people argue are unnatural in their approach) despite advice to the contrary, then there's no problem if you choose to use what to me seems unnatural (Anki). Mind you i'm at a turning point, where my approach is changing, so maybe it's like my current self trying to speak to my beginner learner self. I wouldn't necessarily agree with myself either.
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Re: Using Assimil together with Anki

Postby scivola » Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:37 am

PeterMollenburg wrote:I am an advocate for repetition, I'm just not convinced of drilling with Anki like there's no tomorrow being a great solution.


Now this is a statement I can get on board with. Part of the reason I like this approach with Assimil is that it provides (mostly, at least) an answer to the question of when you've studied a lesson enough, down to the sentence level.

Assimil has been much discussed around here, with many people asking for detailed guidance on when they should move on to the next lesson. Assimil itself says to do one lesson per day. But people ask "what if I don't feel like I understand the current lesson?" So everyone ends up coming up with some rule of thumb where they repeat a lesson some number of times until they are satisfied.

With my approach to ankifying Assimil, I established objective guidelines for when certain things would happen. I would start out seeing L2 audio, L2 text, and L1 text on the front side of a card. When that card's next review was due in (if I recall correctly) >10 days, then the L1 text would disappear. After 30 days, the L2 text would disappear, leaving just a pure audio recognition card. Also at that point, a production card would be created, which would show me the L1 text and require me to type the L2 text. At that point the first, receptive card was considered "mature". Theoretically, at that point it was no longer necessary for me to review it again. It only took me around six months to finish the course this way, so I may have reviewed such a card one more time during that period, at which point its next review would have been out past the end point of the course. So I could have just deleted it with no real impact.

But a card I was having difficulty with would still be due for review in a shorter period of time. For those, I had a decision to make. Either keep reviewing it, or just delete it and figure I would encounter that word/phrase/grammar point again somewhere down the line. There you can make whatever choice you feel comfortable with. Are you a stickler for detail? Go ahead and keep reviewing it. Do you follow Khatzumoto's and emk's advice to delete unsatisfactory cards freely? Go right ahead.

No matter what the outcome for a particular card, I like the sort of objective decision points in this system. Either I learn a card easily after a few reviews, learn it with more difficulty after a few more reviews, or make a conscious decision to get rid of that card. My 10 day/30 day points are arbitrary, but you can set them once and then just let the system play out. I'm well aware of a tendency to lower one's (ok, my) standards 3/4 way through a course when you can see the end in sight, but it still seems so far away.
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Re: Using Assimil together with Anki

Postby Stefan » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:26 am

Assimil seem to have forwarded my old message to another department:
Assimil wrote:die Schweizer bzw. französischen Kollegen haben uns Ihre E-Mail weitergeleitet.

Zur Erklärung:

Als wir im Jahr 2008 den Französischkurses für Deutsche adaptiert und herausgebracht haben, gab es die mp3-CDs mit den satzweise geschnittenen Aufnahmen noch nicht. Damals gab es den Kurs nur mit Audio-CDs, auf denen die Lektionen immer komplett vertont waren.

Aus diesem Grund hatte es keine Auswirkungen auf die Tonaufnahmen, dass wir die Sätze im Buch teilweise geteilt und in den meisten Fällen auch komplett neu durchnummeriert haben und zwar so, wie wir es als logisch empfanden.

Die französische Muttergesellschaft hat dennoch die mp3-CD bei ihrer Einführung auf der Grundlage des Originals (French with ease) produziert, also mit der Originalsatznummerierung...

Leider ist es Assimil nicht möglich, für jede Adaption neue, angepasste Tonaufnahmen zu erstellen. Die einzige Lösung, die wir sehen, wäre der Versuch, die mp3-Files auf ihrem Abspielgerät entsprechend umzubenennen. Es tut uns leid, Ihnen keine befriedigendere Antwort geben zu können.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen

In short: Sliced mp3s wasn't included back in 2008 when they adapted the course for German so they created a numbering system they considered to make more sense while still matching the audio CD. Then Assimil introduced sliced mp3s and since they don't create unique CDs for each adaptation, we're left with the discrepancy.
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