samfrances wrote:Just started the Schola Latina course based on Assimil. I'm rushing to catch up, as I'm a few weeks late to the party. Currently I'm doing this entirely passively - I'm not speaking aloud at this point. I don't know if this is the best way to use assimil - I know it instructs you to speak aloud, but I reason that I can always go back and start speaking later.
Usually this problem gets solved by doing an audio only course, like Pimsleur or Michel Thomas. I don't think this exists for Latin and frankly, I don't think your going to need to order in a restaurant in the Roman tongue. Latin is only actually spoken by a few people. Myself, I would speak as the course asks me to do in order to gain more learning connections. There's no need to worry about perfect pronunciation if you aren't going to be involved with a Latin-speaking community. We tend to "hear" words in our mind when reading in some fashion. You may as well hear them as the course teaches you. The way words' spelling changes as through their inflections is often due to pronunciation.
The reason why I suggest that you speak is because I've found in my experience there are connections that are made in my mind when I work on all skills. Each skill tends to reinforce the other. Writing helps with speaking. Reading helps with writing, speaking and even listening. Listening helps with speaking and all different combinations. The more connections that I make in my mind with a language makes the language live within me in a more complete way.
This is just my own opinion. Others here have done multiple Assimil courses, and I'm sure can give you better responses. I hadn't used an Assimil course before studying Catalan. I'm up to lesson 78 now in "Le Catalan sans peine". I plan to post my thoughts about the course after I complete it. I have some preliminary thoughts to share with you as a language-learning veteran.
Assimil certainly doesn't make it easy to practice its audio. There are no built-in pauses in the audio to practice your own speech except for the translation exercise and most of the time the pauses are too short to repeat a full sentence. This is one of my biggest complaints about the course. I may be prejudiced because I had done two DLI Basic courses (to me, the most thorough and complete courses I have ever done) where the dialog was designed with built-in pauses. In addition, the course allows the learner to play both sides of the two-sided (duplex) conversation. I could be "speaker A" and have "speaker B" answer me and vice-versa. Assimil doesn't do this. I wish they did. Of course, with a good audio editor and plenty of time, I could design my audio to replicate this, but it's too much trouble and time.
Still, despite this, I try to shadow the conversation. I repeat the original translation exercise dialog in the TL- of course, I've translated it. After listening to the short Assimil conversation dialog several times, I speak the whole thing, then I listen again.
To your specific question, Is it ok to do the course passively, sure, but as has been said, it means you have fewer connections with the language. I know it doesn't make sense to worry about "speaking" a dead language, but in a course, I think it does in that it simply gives another advantage to the mind when learning. Any advantage I can gain when learning a language... I will gladly take.