Assimil Question

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siouxchief
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Re: Assimil Question

Postby siouxchief » Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:12 pm

Just on my last post does that mean it would be beyond me given the amount I knew on 1st listen or would it be manageable in your opinion?

Thanks
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Re: Assimil Question

Postby Deinonysus » Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:01 pm

Pimsleur and Assimil are complementary. They teach completely different skills with very little overlap. I generally do them both at the same time, along with Duolingo which is better for writing skills.

Pimsleur teaches just enough vocabulary to be self-contained, but I think of it as more of a set of speaking drills than a real course. It will eventually cover most of the grammatical constructions that you'll need in everyday speech, but there's hardly any formal grammar instruction, and again, vocabulary is limited.

Assimil teaches much more vocabulary than Pimsleur. It explicitly teaches grammar. It teaches reading and listening to medium-length passages with a much wider variety of vocabulary than you'll hear in Pimsleur. But despite these advantages, I think that Pimsleur teaches speaking much, much better than Assimil does, so I use them both.

I don't do as many repetitions in Assimil as Speakeasy does, but I do throw in an extra wave where I review the lesson from a week before. That helps to solidify the lessons, but I'm still only doing a reasonable three lessons a night (starting at lesson 50 when the second wave begins and you're translating into French instead of from French).

I would advise against jumping right into Using French unless you are already at least at a strong intermediate level. It contains challenges that Pimsleur will not prepare you for.
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Re: Assimil Question

Postby jonm » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:33 pm

Hi siouxchief, you mentioned listening to a lesson from Using French. You could also check out the sample lessons for New French With Ease. There's audio for lesson 1, lesson 60, and lesson 113, and the text for lessons 1, 50, and 113.

For what it's worth, I'm low intermediate in French, and I was torn between those two Assimil courses. I got Using French and did the first several lessons and felt like they were about at my level, but then I checked out New French With Ease and found that while I knew most of what was covered in the early lessons, they were peppered with things I didn't know. And it seemed like as the course went on, there would be lots of things that were either new or that I had been exposed to but hadn't really mastered. So I decided to go back and do New French With Ease first, and when I finish, I'll continue into Using French. I'm going slowly, since I'm studying other languages too and French is not my highest priority just at the moment. For me, it was the right choice to first do New French With Ease, since it's helping to solidify things I had only really half-learned.

If you do find that there are things in New French With Ease that you haven't mastered, but the early lessons seem rather easy, you could go through them quickly or just skip to whatever seems like the right starting point.

I recommend taking a look at iguanamon's post on the "multi-track" approach if you haven't already. One of the great things about learning French is that with so much material to choose from, you can really figure out the ideal combination for you. I agree with Deinonysus that Pimsleur and Assimil complement each other well, and I think they would complement what you're doing with Yabla/Beelinguapp, which also sounds beneficial. And if you wanted to add some extensive listening to the mix, innerFrench is intermediate and has engaging content.
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Re: Assimil Question

Postby David1917 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:13 pm

I'd suggest starting with New French With Ease in addition to some more challenging material, depending on your goals. When you first get the book, you might sit down with it and read along with the audio until you get to the first big snag and start there. The first couple weeks of lessons might be too simple, but it can build up pretty quickly. Moreover, while you might not want to get stuck in course-mode forever (enter: Multi-track), there is nothing at all wrong with keeping some stability and order in your daily routine.

Like with anything - slow and steady wins the race.
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siouxchief
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Re: Assimil Question

Postby siouxchief » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:29 pm

Thank you both, really useful posts.

Deinonysus given your advice I think I'll do Pimsleur in parallel

Jonm and David I just tested at ease lesson 60 and like you jonm understood 90% of it but there was stuff peppered throughout I missed. Maybe I'll copy you jonm and start with the At Ease one and go quickly if necessary.

Thanks
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Re: Assimil Question

Postby kanewai » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:53 pm

I've done both levels of both Assimil French and Spanish, and I found there were diminishing returns with the second books. The With Ease series are more structured; each set of seven lessons would focus on one or more grammatical elements. I also thought these were better suited for doing the "Assimil method," i.e. doing a passive and an active phase. Using French has a lot of specialized vocabulary. There was one lesson on the RER in Paris, for example. It was useful, but since the vocabulary wasn't repeated or reinforced in later lessons the "active" phase didn't have as much of an impact. In the end I only went through the book once, and felt that it was enough.
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Re: Assimil Question

Postby David1917 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:27 pm

kanewai wrote:I've done both levels of both Assimil French and Spanish, and I found there were diminishing returns with the second books. The With Ease series are more structured; each set of seven lessons would focus on one or more grammatical elements. I also thought these were better suited for doing the "Assimil method," i.e. doing a passive and an active phase. Using French has a lot of specialized vocabulary. There was one lesson on the RER in Paris, for example. It was useful, but since the vocabulary wasn't repeated or reinforced in later lessons the "active" phase didn't have as much of an impact. In the end I only went through the book once, and felt that it was enough.


This is a good point - and I have both Using French and Perfectionnement Russe and forget if I've even seen instructions on active wave. Do they suggest it? In my mind, you're right, these books serve better as a first graded reader. I would still employ some sort of wave system with constant review myself, but probably would not attempt full-on translations.
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siouxchief
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Re: Assimil Question

Postby siouxchief » Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:00 pm

It was one of the questions I pondered actually about the waves. Could you treat the lessons actively from the start like intensive listening? Loop them in their entirety, loop the sentences, cover the L2 and try to reproduce it or whatever is required to fully understand the lesson and all it's vocab before moving on to the next one.

I do this with yabla videos for example which I've been kindly informed on here is referred to as intensive listening.

Awaiting the book in the post so haven't had a chance to read it yet hence the curiosity :)
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Re: Assimil Question

Postby Speakeasy » Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:57 pm

siouxchief wrote:It was one of the questions I pondered actually about the waves. Could you treat the lessons actively from the start like intensive listening? Loop them in their entirety, loop the sentences, ...
There is absolutely nothing unique about the Assimil audio files, you can perform these types of exercises with any set of conversational or narrative audio files.

I have always found that the absence of an “audio prompt” renders Assimil’s “active phase” far too fastidious. That is, reading the translated text (which is a visual prompt), mentally composing one’s own version of a sentence into the target language, emitting the sentence verbally, playing the Assimil audio, comparing it to your own version, self-correcting, repeating the process until you get it right, and then moving on to the next sentence, represented far too much effort for the (disputable) benefits. I have found that shadowing the Assimil audio, or working with other audio files such as those from the DLI/FSI courses or the original Glossika files, has been a better use my time.

You could, of course, create your own set of audio files by recording the translated sentences yourself and inserting these as “audio prompts” before the Assimil audio. Doing so would liberate yourself from referring to the text. However, in my opinion, not only would this require an awful lot of effort for so little benefit, doing so would represent a fine example of the obsession which some people have with Assimil’s active phase.

In the final analysis, this is not a question about Assimil, it is one about how to best use audio files for the purposes of learning a language.
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siouxchief
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Re: Assimil Question

Postby siouxchief » Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:36 pm

Very true.

Speakeasy wrote:In the final analysis, this is not a question about Assimil, it is one about how to best use audio files for the purposes of learning a language.


Exactly my thoughts when I compared the lots of Assimil steps to my personal approach of looping Beelinguapp until I understood everything by audio alone. I'll try the Assimil method but not sure if I'll fall back to a more basic method I have used until now.
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