Assimil Wiki Page Discussion

Discuss the LLORG's and HTLAL forum's past and its future here.
David1917
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Assimil Wiki Page Discussion

Postby David1917 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 6:21 pm

I'd like to look at cleaning up the Assimil section of the wiki, but this will be a large endeavor for all to take part in, so I think we should come up with some standardization first.

First of all, I think we should remove some of the qualitative remarks. There even looks to be like an argument between two people "The dialogues are too slow." "This is to learn the new sounds..." Second, anyone following my posts will know that I don't care for an over-reliance on the CEFR system and if it were me I'd remove the "How far will this take me?" section entirely. I realize that it is useful, though, and would rather there be some sort of caveat included, and perhaps a link to a longer Wiki page on CEFR in general that states plainly that no single method will ever take anyone to anything remotely like a B2. Perhaps "Assimil advertises B2, though many users agree that the course gives you around the level of vocabulary and grammar sufficient to approach an A2/B1", etc.

Second, the 2 lists of languages need to be merged into one. As it looks right now, it is a mess.

Third, and the longest project, is a standardization for the entry of each course book. I propose the following:

Original Course Title (L'allemand sans peine/El Catalan sin esfuerzo/French Without Toil)
Author(s)
Year
Identifying features/editions (With photos?)

Other Versions
English Title
Author(s) - usually an original author and an adapting author
Year
Identifying features

Russian Title
Author(s)
Year
Identifying features

Notes
This version of New French With Ease is the same as French With Ease but with 20 more lessons, or
The original French version of L'arabe sans peine featured a handwritten form of Arabic, whereas the repress into Spanish El arabe sin esfuerzo, had the Arabic text typed up.

Contents
Number of Lessons
Audio Format(s) e.g. Vinyl then cassette or CD then MP3
Review lessons feature dialogues?
Every 6th-day lesson featured a song?
Supplementary Exercises begin in Lesson xx?
Extracts from literature appear in Lesson 84, 87, and 92-105?

A brief table with some example lessons, I'd say just 3: Lesson 1, The lesson where Active Wave begins, and the final lesson, in all the languages starting with TL | Original Base Language | Base Language 2 | etc. | Notes?

[ 1 ] Guten Tag | Bonjour | Good day
[46 ] Guten Abend | Bonsoir | Good evening
[ 110 ] Auf Wiedersehen | Au revoir | Goodbye

Thoughts?
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Re: Assimil Wiki Page Discussion

Postby fcoulter » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:19 pm

David1917 wrote:I'd like to look at cleaning up the Assimil section of the wiki, but this will be a large endeavor for all to take part in, so I think we should come up with some standardization first.

First of all, I think we should remove some of the qualitative remarks. There even looks to be like an argument between two people "The dialogues are too slow." "This is to learn the new sounds..." Second, anyone following my posts will know that I don't care for an over-reliance on the CEFR system and if it were me I'd remove the "How far will this take me?" section entirely. I realize that it is useful, though, and would rather there be some sort of caveat included, and perhaps a link to a longer Wiki page on CEFR in general that states plainly that no single method will ever take anyone to anything remotely like a B2. Perhaps "Assimil advertises B2, though many users agree that the course gives you around the level of vocabulary and grammar sufficient to approach an A2/B1", etc.

Second, the 2 lists of languages need to be merged into one. As it looks right now, it is a mess.

Third, and the longest project, is a standardization for the entry of each course book. I propose the following:

Original Course Title (L'allemand sans peine/El Catalan sin esfuerzo/French Without Toil)
Author(s)
Year
Identifying features/editions (With photos?)

Other Versions
English Title
Author(s) - usually an original author and an adapting author
Year
Identifying features

Russian Title
Author(s)
Year
Identifying features

Notes
This version of New French With Ease is the same as French With Ease but with 20 more lessons, or
The original French version of L'arabe sans peine featured a handwritten form of Arabic, whereas the repress into Spanish El arabe sin esfuerzo, had the Arabic text typed up.

Contents
Number of Lessons
Audio Format(s) e.g. Vinyl then cassette or CD then MP3
Review lessons feature dialogues?
Every 6th-day lesson featured a song?
Supplementary Exercises begin in Lesson xx?
Extracts from literature appear in Lesson 84, 87, and 92-105?

A brief table with some example lessons, I'd say just 3: Lesson 1, The lesson where Active Wave begins, and the final lesson, in all the languages starting with TL | Original Base Language | Base Language 2 | etc. | Notes?

[ 1 ] Guten Tag | Bonjour | Good day
[46 ] Guten Abend | Bonsoir | Good evening
[ 110 ] Auf Wiedersehen | Au revoir | Goodbye

Thoughts?


My first thought when looking at your ideas is that you're going to have a lot of fun. My second thought was not to be scared of breaking the article into a main article, and then a separate article on some smaller piece of it in much greater detail. (This is similar to my suggestion that the Dutch Language Islands be moved out of the main Dutch article where they were the tail wagging the dog.) But that's up to you.

Look at the use of tables to organize your material. I created tables for the different languages offered in the Pimsleur article, the Duolingo article, and the Rosetta Stone article. The contain similar information, but not identical information. (While you're at it, you might want to look at my solution to the languages not taught in English section of the Duolingo article. I tried to avoid creating some huge matrix of from and to languages, but I'm not sure this was the best possible solution.)
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David1917
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Re: Assimil Wiki Page Discussion

Postby David1917 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:48 pm

I think the difference in the Duolingo is that the Assimil course is the same regardless of base language. I'd probably do a list of all languages in alphabetical order by English name, then the 2nd column would link to the appropriate course's original language title(s). I'm using these 3 again to illustrate:

Catalan | El Catalan sin Esfuerzo
French | French Without Toil / French With Ease / Using French / Business French
German | L'allemand sans peine / Le nouvel allemand sans peine / L'allemand / La pratique de l'allemand / Perfectionnement allemand

Then I think columns with each possible base language so a checkmark/flag icon could be put next to the appropriate courses. That way English or German speakers could easily see the relevant courses for them.

As for separate pages, I was thinking the main Assimil page would discuss the history, philosophy, instructions, applicable methods (right now it's explicitly stated that it's tied to the L-R at the top of the page), and links to some reviews and perhaps distilled forum discussions. Then there would just be a page for each course. I'm looking at this project the way a musician's page is on Wikipedia. If you go to Black Sabbath's wiki, you'll find everything you need to know about Black Sabbath, and then the "Discography" section links to a separate page for each album which includes track listing, release date, re-issues, etc.

I guess the question might be - should all French books just be nested in a page titled something like "French Assimil" or should each version get its own page? This would be more of a Discogs style approach, using my above example.
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Re: Assimil Wiki Page Discussion

Postby fcoulter » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:52 pm

David1917 wrote:I think the difference in the Duolingo is that the Assimil course is the same regardless of base language. I'd probably do a list of all languages in alphabetical order by English name, then the 2nd column would link to the appropriate course's original language title(s). I'm using these 3 again to illustrate:

Catalan | El Catalan sin Esfuerzo
French | French Without Toil / French With Ease / Using French / Business French
German | L'allemand sans peine / Le nouvel allemand sans peine / L'allemand / La pratique de l'allemand / Perfectionnement allemand

Then I think columns with each possible base language so a checkmark/flag icon could be put next to the appropriate courses. That way English or German speakers could easily see the relevant courses for them.


That would probably work. As long as the list of from languages or the list of to languages isn't very long, then use that list as the columns. That would keep the table workable. The problem I had with Duolingo is that both the from and to lists are getting ungainly. (And it would be a sparse matrix, with most of the cells empty.) However, the majority of from languages were only to English. So I had the English (and reverse) table, and then text for the from languages that had more than English as a to language. It's not great, but it's the best I could come up with.
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Re: Assimil Wiki Page Discussion

Postby fcoulter » Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:50 pm

For photos, I would use Google to search for the image. I suspect that most of the books have pictures posted somewhere.
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Re: Assimil Wiki Page Discussion

Postby sirgregory » Thu May 30, 2019 2:58 am

I followed the link in the Wiki to the HTLAL post by Prof Arguelles. He referred to a negative review in the FAQ which seems to have since been removed. This seems to be what he was referring to:

Assimil is not the worst book you can buy, but it's totally insufficient to learn a language and will take you as much time as another, better program. The pity is that they are so marketable, a real bookseller's dream. But don't get caught if you think that with an Assimil book it will be "easier to learn the language". It just won't. On the tapes they only have somebody reading the dialogs, no drills nor any oral exercise. And the phrases in the dialogs are not that useful.

One day I was at the French/Spanish bookshop in the Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, and I asked the owner if he sold FSI or Pimsleur tapes. He answered that no, he did not, but that they had better tapes. As he actually had some FSI material, I thought I was on something hot until I saw this nice gentleman show me his "fantastic tapes", Assimil, one of the worst rip off you can find. I pointed that I knew the tapes and that they just did not work, because they have no drills, few tapes and unusable dialogs. He satisfied answer was that they were "very popular" and that he sold quite a lot of them every year. What could I say, he was right, after all most people that buy language books will never speak their target language, so what's the matter?


Oosh! Francois was not a fan of Assimil.

https://web.archive.org/web/20060428223931/http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/e/faq/programs-assimil.html
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