The Great Courses: Language Lectures Series

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kanewai
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Re: The Great Courses: Language Lectures Series

Postby kanewai » Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:01 pm

Update on The Great Courses ... I passed along the link to a friend, and it took her all of ten seconds to pass back a link to a legal, free version. Here goes:

Book: Guidebooks
Audio: Hoopla

I've never heard of Hoopla before, but it appears to be an online library. You can only "check out" a lesson for three days. I haven't tried it yet. It looks like the Spanish courses are on here too.

Edit 1: Hoopla only works if your local library is a member. Mine isn't.

Edit 2: I will never understand how The Great Courses pricing works. Everything is insanely expensive if you order directly from them, but now I see there's also an Amazon Prime channel for $8 / month that has all these courses on them.
4 x
Spanish: 0 / 100
Alain Damasio, La Horde du Contrevent: 20 / 100
Italian: 0 / 100

RandomTed
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Re: The Great Courses: Language Lectures Series

Postby RandomTed » Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:54 am

Elexi wrote:
RandomTed wrote:Thank you Speakeasy for your very helpful review. Your great review was the reason I found this site, purchased the course, and now have joined this forum.

Could someone tell me how to search this forum to find out other French resources similiar to, "Learning French: A Rendezvous with French"?


The obvious answer to that question in French In Action - in fact, the two together would mesh quite well.


Out of curiosity, are there any other video courses?
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Speakeasy
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Re: The Great Courses: Language Lectures Series

Postby Speakeasy » Thu Mar 21, 2019 10:19 am

As such a discussion of video-based French has the potential for the expression of a wide range of views on the suggested materials, and may well develop a life of its own well beyond the scope of “The Great Courses” discussion thread, I have opened a new, separate thread under the title "Video-based French Courses". ;)

Video-based French Courses
https://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?f=19&p=137181#p137181

EDITED:
Insertion of the LINK to the separate discussion thread.
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kanewai
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Re: The Great Courses: Language Lectures Series

Postby kanewai » Tue May 14, 2019 1:50 am

I downloaded the French and Spanish courses when they were on sale awhile back. I figured it would be helpful for me to re-do an introductory course, and that I'd slowly work my way though them when I had extra time & come back here every five lessons or so with a review.

Six weeks on, and I've barely touched them. That's not going to stop me from reviewing them!

- It actually was a little helpful to revisit the basics. There were little things (like pronouncing the French u, or using vosotros in Spanish) that were very helpful to review. But in the end neither could really hold my interest. I could still use a good review, but starting at the very beginning is over kill.

- However, I still think they'd be a great choice for beginners in any language, and I wish they had more modern languages than just Spanish or French. The teachers are engaging, and the course work looks like it would cover a college semester.

- I fell for the amazing sale. I didn't realize that Great Courses have sales all the time, or that they would email me about their amazing sales a couple times a day, or that Great Courses ads would start popping all the time on my Facebook page. I eventually unsubscribed from every email list, and blocked them on social media.

- The integration with different platforms was excellent. I added the channel on roku, and downloaded the app on my phone and kindle fire. It was easy to switch back and forth (which is more than I can say for other apps).
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Spanish: 0 / 100
Alain Damasio, La Horde du Contrevent: 20 / 100
Italian: 0 / 100

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sirgregory
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Re: The Great Courses: Language Lectures Series

Postby sirgregory » Tue May 14, 2019 2:25 am

They also offer a Biblical Hebrew course. It's included in their subscription service and also for purchase (currently on sale).

https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/biblical-hebrew-learning-a-sacred-language.html
Last edited by sirgregory on Fri Jun 21, 2019 6:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Great Courses: Language Lectures Series

Postby Speakeasy » Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:07 pm

Language Families
Geek out over lanaguage families
https://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=10330

Zegpoddle wrote:An announcement for this just came in the snail mail today:

https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/language-families-of-the-world.html

Note that this is NOT a language-learning course. It's a series of lectures (34 half-hour segments) about language families, delivered in English by literature professor and widely-published linguistics enthusiast John McWhorter. A long description can be found at the link above.

As has been noted by others in this forum, it is not a wise idea ever to pay full price for any course sold by "The Great Courses" (formerly known as "The Teaching Company"). They have sales several times a year during which prices are discounted by up to 80%. They also offer a subscription streaming service that gives you unlimited access to all of their courses online, and some (not all) of their courses are available for free through your local public library system if it subscribes to Hoopla. Having said that, I've found that their courses are generally well put-together and great fun to listen to while doing boring household chores like ironing or weeding, and really, how can you resist a lecture titled "Nilo-Saharan: Africa's Hardest Languages?" 8-)
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Re: The Great Courses: Language Lectures Series

Postby sirgregory » Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:22 pm

New German course. I really wish this had been around about six month ago when I started, but c'est la vie. I will probably give it a whirl anyway since its included in the Plus service.

https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/learning-german-a-journey-through-language-and-culture.html
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Re: The Great Courses: Language Lectures Series

Postby Speakeasy » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:02 am

Review of the Great Courses “Learning German” course.

Basis for this Review
This review is based on an abridged viewing of the video lectures. I viewed lessons 1, 2, 3 completely, as well as those of lessons 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30, also completely, and skimmed through the entire contents of the Workbook. As my German is in the CEFR C1 (passive) area, and as my collection of materials for the study of this language extends to well over 1,000 individual courses and supplemental materials, I believe that my survey was sufficient to posting this review.

Materials
The course materials are offered in two formats: (1) a set of 6 DVDs having a total duration of approximately 15 hours, free video streaming service, plus a 266-page printed Workbook, measuring 8 inches x 10-3/4 inches, or (2) downloadable digitized versions of the former, including free video streaming service. Closed captioning is available on the DVDs, but not on the downloadable version.

Method
The course is a series of 30 video lectures. James Pfrehm, PhD, an experienced American teacher of German, designed this course and acts as the lecturer. The course introduces students to the basic grammar of the German language, some common usage vocabulary, and presents the viewers to some historical and cultural aspects of the major German-speaking countries of Western Europe. The videos offer a good visual integration of German vocabulary items, lists, tables, graphs, maps, and photographs. There are no opportunities for interacting with the recorded materials. Doctor Pfrehm’s delivery is enthusiastic and lively (although a little forced) but seems a little rushed. Although he has a discernable American accent in German (but which is probably superior to my own), it is quite acceptable, particularly in comparison to that of Michel Thomas and his students. To be brief, this is NOT really a course in German, it is entertainment.

Practicing the Language
The course Workbook contains 30 lessons which are coordinated with the video presentations, each containing a highly-summarized review of new vocabulary and points of grammar which receive minimal/insufficient reinforcement via short exercise sets. Opportunities for aural/oral practice are virtually absent. A transcript of the video lectures is not available; however, as the German content in the course represents perhaps five percent of the total audio portion, the absence of a transcript is immaterial. Students wishing to engage in aural/oral practice of the language must either review the video lectures with the hope of catching the German utterances, or listen to the audio portion with the same intention.

Who Would This Course Appeal To?
Generally speaking, the Great Courses videos series offer viewers a minimally-informative, entertaining, and reassuring overview of a given subject of general cultural or historical interest (viz., yes, the subject matter is reputably difficult to grasp, but you can understand it). They are designed for a general audience, the members of which do not wish to feel over-taxed by a detailed, comprehensive, in-depth presentation requiring both their active participation and a great deal of personal application. The publisher’s “Learning German” course reflects this approach.

I can just visualize George and Martha, a recently retired couple, planning their two-week trip of Switzerland , Austria, and Germany with the return voyage passing through London and Edinburgh. Upon return to their native Maryland, they would warm-heartedly tell all of their friends that they had had a wonderful trip, informing them all that, without exception, their German-speaking hosts (restaurant and hotel staff, tour guides, taxi drivers, tourist shopkeepers, et cetera) had complimented them on their "flawless" German pronunciation and high degree of “fluency” in the language (their only utterances being restricted to the occasional, hesitant "Guten Tag") and that they owed their stellar performance in German to the Great Courses video lectures. However, they would add that, while they found the British and the Scots to be equally charming hosts, they could not understand a word these fellow English-speakers had said (viz., they have accents and they speak funny). Next year, George and Martha are planning a trip to Spain and, before their departure, they plan on “mastering” the language through the appropriate Great Courses lecture series.

Assessment: Amuse-gueule (What’s for Supper?)
An “amuse-gueule” is a small savory item of food served as an appetizer before a meal. At best, the Great Courses “Learning German” courses would serve a similar purpose.

This course was designed for a general audience, the members of which do not wish to feel over-taxed by a detailed, comprehensive, in-depth presentation requiring both their active participation and a great deal of personal application. Although the viewer is "exposed" to notions of the language’s structure and common-usage vocabulary in the CEFR A0-A1 range, the opportunities for actually practicing German are so limited that this course is of little practical value. That is, upon viewing the 15 hours of video lectures and having completed all of the exercise materials in the accompanying course manual, for want of practice, prospective students would be hard-pressed to communicate their basic needs in the target language. However, all is not lost!

The notions gained in this course would provide a valuable foundation for someone seeking to explore the German language in greater depth. Users will have “broken the ice” and will have lowered possible feelings of anxiety as to their perceived inability to learn foreign languages. The knowledge gained in this course and the newly-acquired self-confidence should not be discounted: users of this programme would be prime candidates for a more comprehensive programme such as a combination of Pimsleur and Assimil.

Hey, that tasted great! What’s for supper?

EDITED:
Spelling of Edinburgh (come on Speakeasy, you can do better than that!)
Last edited by Speakeasy on Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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mentecuerpo
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Re: The Great Courses: Language Lectures Series

Postby mentecuerpo » Mon Nov 18, 2019 1:47 am

Speakeasy wrote:I can just visualize George and Martha, a recently retired couple, planning their two-week trip of Switzerland , Austria, and Germany with the return voyage passing through London and Edinborough. Upon return to their native Maryland, they would warm-heartedly tell all of their friends that they had had a wonderful trip, informing them all that, without exception, their German-speaking hosts (restaurant and hotel staff, tour guides, taxi drivers, tourist shopkeepers, et cetera) had complimented them on their "flawless" German pronunciation and high degree of “fluency” in the language (their only utterances being restricted to the occasional, hesitant "Guten Tag") and that they owed their stellar performance in German to the Great Courses video lectures. However, they would add that, while they found the British and the Scots to be equally charming hosts, they could not understand a word these fellow English-speakers had said (viz., they have accents and they speak funny). Next year, George and Martha are planning a trip to Spain and, before their departure, they plan on “mastering” the language through the appropriate Great Courses lecture series.


Thank you for taking the time to review this course.
I have not heard about it before I read your blog.
I think I have a better idea of what I will get from it after completing to course. Now, I am tempted to take the plunge.
At my age, I am ready to bang my head against the Great Courses wall, and I believe I can achieve the same German level of George and Martha after I have worked my way with the lectures and the reading materials.

Cheers.
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Speakeasy
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Re: The Great Courses: Language Lectures Series

Postby Speakeasy » Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:07 am

mentecuerpo wrote: ... Now, I am tempted to take the plunge. At my age, I am ready to bang my head against the Great Courses wall, and I believe I can achieve the same German level of George and Martha after I have worked my way with the lectures and the reading materials...
I presume that these lines were written in jest. If not, I can send you my copy of "Learning German" free-of-charge via regular post, if you wish (no joke). If you are interested, please reply by Private Message.
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