Language course reviews

All about language programs, courses, websites and other learning resources
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reineke
Black Belt - 3rd Dan
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Language course reviews

Postby reineke » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:01 pm

Languagetrainers course-book reviews:
https://www.languagetrainers.com/review ... k-reviews/

Ellen Jovin: http://ellenjovin.com/blog

Benny Lewis: https://www.fluentin3months.com/best-course/

Polyglot nerd (no, not Benny again)
http://www.polyglotnerd.com/blog/category/materials/

French

https://www.superprof.be/blog/comment-a ... -francais/

German

learn-german-online
Lehrbücher für 'Deutsch als Fremdsprache'
http://www.learn-german-online.net/de/l ... hrbuch.htm

Sprachheld https://www.sprachheld.de

Sprachen lernen mit Apps
http://www.mdr.de/umschau/quicktipp/qui ... n-100.html

Italian

Dopo tanti anni di lavoro come insegnante di italiano a stranieri, ho ancora un tuffo al cuore quando vedo un nuovo libro di testo in libreria e penso: ecco, forse questo sarà IL libro, quello perfetto per imparare l’italiano!

http://www.wheninromeschool.com/2016/05 ... nsigliare/
Last edited by reineke on Wed Jan 30, 2019 4:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Daristani
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Re: Language course reviews

Postby Daristani » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:09 pm

I ran across this today:

How and why to learn classical Chinese

http://tommazanec.com/blog/2017/06/14/h ... l-chinese/
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reineke
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Re: Language course reviews

Postby reineke » Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:53 pm

Discussions

Audio lingual language programs

https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =19&t=1387

Barron's Mastering Spanish/French Vocabulary with Audio MP3: A Thematic Approach (Mastering Vocabulary Series)
https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =19&t=6666

Duolingo

https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =19&t=9570

Éditions Pocket: Langues pour tous (1970’s to the Present)
Messaggio da leggeredom ott 13, 2019
https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 19&t=11353

FSI

The use of FSI, a question of efficiency.
https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =14&t=5442

Has anyone finished the whole thing?
https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =19&t=1628

Creative Ways to Use FSI
https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =14&t=2449

For Dummies
https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 19&t=11367

French Phonology

The Joy of FSI French Phonology
https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =19&t=5103

How can I reduce my accent when speaking French
https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =17&t=7409

Linguaphone Discussion
https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =19&t=3249

The Great Courses: Language Lectures Series
https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =19&t=6059

Éditions Atlas "Audio-Visual" Language Courses
https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =19&t=5898

Language Transfer
https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =19&t=1975

Mauger (French)
https://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=9262#p120209

Pimsleur Discussion Thread
https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 19&t=10101

Quizlet [sentences]
https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =19&t=7688

Rosetta
https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =19&t=5490

Thematischer Grund- und Aufbauwortschatz
https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =19&t=7461

Tuttle Publishing downloads
https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 12#p100591

Vintage Language Courses of Lesser Renown
https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =19&t=7061
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reineke
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Re: Language course reviews

Postby reineke » Tue Dec 24, 2019 6:18 pm

Chung wrote:
philomath wrote:I just began learning French after many years of trying to improve my Spanish, so I'm not used to being a beginner in a language. I'm using a bunch of different resources--mainly Colloquial French and Pimsleur--and it's starting to frustrate me that they all teach typical touristy phrases such as "Do you have a fax machine?", "Where is my hotel room?", "It is on the 3rd floor, sir" and so on. I know these phrases will be useful to know when I travel to a French-speaking area (well, maybe not that phrase about the fax machine), but right now they're not improving my conversational ability, or my ability to enjoy native materials. What are your thoughts on beginners resources like these and the best way to use them?


If "Colloquial French" and/or "Pimsleur French" aren't doing it for you, restart your studies with "Oxford Take Off in French" and consider getting "Painless French" and/or one of the workbooks published by CLE for A1 or A2 when you want extra practice. FWIW, drill-heavy counterparts reminiscent of Pimsleur with tourists/visitors in mind are "FSI French FAST Course" and "DLI Headstart French for Belgium" and they're free to download here.

---

Excepting most course material meant for beginning students in a classroom, most beginners courses (especially those advertised for independent learners) will introduce grammar and vocabulary that are suitable for use on a trip. For courses published in the Anglosphere, this is especially common considering how frequently native speakers of English decide to learn a foreign language - it's often in preparation for a holiday in an area where the target language is used.

I can somewhat relate to your experience when I started learning Italian even though my goal was indeed to learn some of the rudiments for a trip. My first stage consisted of plowing through "BBC Talk Italian", "Oxford Take Off in Italian", "Painless Italian", "Italian Demystified" and "DLI Headstart Italian". The second stage meant plowing through "Teach Yourself Italian" and "Nuovo Progetto Italiano 1 A1-A2" with some dipping into "Italienisch - Komplettkurs zum Hören (A1-B1)". Now I'm on "Progetto Italiano Junior 3 (B1)" and reading easy texts/short stories - I've obviously gone past learning the language just for travelling. As much as I initially studied the language for travel, I still sometimes sighed heavily while learning some of language/phrasing in obvious touristy situations (I cut short my work in parts of the shopping units in "DLI Headstart Italian" since I was being forced to parrot phrases that I'd use while shopping for women's fashion). In any case, I came around to liking how often they relied on repetition and review in the exercise sets of the relatively few new bits of grammar or vocabulary a given chapter's dialogues/narratives introduced. Another point is that "Oxford Take Off in..." series is what "Colloquial..." or "Teach Yourself..." courses ought to be, in my opinion. Like in a lot of self-instructional courses for beginners, each unit's dialogues are often geared to a first-time visitor to the country but every chapter also has a dialogue or narrative that's part of a running mini-soap opera with some colloquialisms or idioms not usually taught to tourists.

If I were you, I'd spring for a cheap second-hand copy of "Oxford Take Off in French" even though it's out of print. Either the 2nd edition or the 1st edition is fine with the only difference is that the 2nd edition has 5 CDs while the 1st has 4 of them. I'm pretty sure that the books' contents are the same (based on my comparison of the Italian editions). As an extra, and if you want to try something a little different to learn basic grammar and vocabulary, try Painless French. The whole "Painless..." series is meant for a teenager or pre-teen to learn the basics of a subject either independently or in a classroom and the language books dispense with a lot of the touristy situations in favor of what a teenager might think about (e.g. family, future plans, hobbies). It might be a little annoying to wade through somewhat chatty or dumbed-down explanations but there are lots of exercises (with answer keys in the back) and they're quite focused on the chapter's topic and/or build on what you learned in previous chapters. I liked "Painless Italian" as it really helped me to solidify my knowledge of basic grammar and complemented what I was seeing in "Italian Demystified" which covered the same ground in basic grammar without the copious drills and vocbaulary-building exercises, and what I was hearing and learning to respond to on cue in "BBC Talk Italian".

Failing that, and if you're not intimidated by material that's in French only, you could try to use a conventional set of classroom material such as Edito whose volumes go from A1 to C2. Another possibility could be the "...progressif/progessive" series published by CLE. Cavesa warmly recommends them, and I myself have a couple of the volumes for B2 and C1 on my shelf ready to go whenever I want to refresh my French - they look very well done with chapters being to the point. The series' volumes are arranged by CEFR level for improving your grasp of grammar, vocabulary and speaking (insofar as you can improve your speaking abilities by talking to yourself or responding to a cue). These are more workbooks than textbooks with some kind of storyline but the chapters are very short and usually come with CDs/MP3 audio and answer keys. A irritant though is that the keys are sold separately (they have "corrigés" in the title) rather than found in appendices at the end of the books.

On a related note, you could also look into CLE's series of workbooks for listening comprehension (they have "compréhension orale" in the title) and for grammar instruction using examples from dialogues/conversations (they have "grammaire en dialogues" in the title). Each series is split into volumes for different CEFR levels, and each book includes audio CDs (or at least a link to the publisher's website for downloadable audio) and answer keys.
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