Using Assimil entirely passively

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samfrances
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Using Assimil entirely passively

Postby samfrances » Sat Oct 03, 2020 12:46 pm

Has anyone had any success in using assimil entirely passively (i.e. without speaking out loud) in the first instance? Will this work, or will it be a waste of time? I don't feel like I really want to speak until I have heard a good deal of the language.
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白田龍
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Re: Using Assimil entirely passively

Postby 白田龍 » Sat Oct 03, 2020 1:33 pm

I do use the passive first/silent period approach, and I found Assimil a useful resouce. I would just study the lesson, and save the dialogue audio for re-listening.

The downside is that the active skill does not seem to wake up like magic as I had hoped. Perhaps it would if I increased input by an order of magnitude, but I don't have the time for that.
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Re: Using Assimil entirely passively

Postby iguanamon » Sat Oct 03, 2020 3:09 pm

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.
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samfrances
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Re: Using Assimil entirely passively

Postby samfrances » Sat Oct 03, 2020 3:18 pm

iguanamon wrote:
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.


I would actually like to speak it eventually. I find it really cool that there are people out there speaking to each other in Latin. Even if its just practising a bit with a fellow enthusiast over skype or something, it is something I would eventually like to do.

I guess I'm somewhat cautious because the sound system is more complex than Spanish, the only other language I have studied. There are things like vowel length, which at the moment I struggle to hear, let alone pronounce. I just wonder if I will end up pronouncing it better if I spend a long time listening before I try to speak it.
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Dipping my toe into Latin

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Re: Using Assimil entirely passively

Postby iguanamon » Sat Oct 03, 2020 4:25 pm

samfrances wrote:...I just wonder if I will end up pronouncing it better if I spend a long time listening before I try to speak it.

Maybe, maybe not. At some point you'll have to struggle to pronounce words. Over time, as you learn a language (as long as you have a good point of reference, i.e.: your course audio) it will work itself out. You're right, as you go through the course and words repeat, you'll hear them better. Still, as you read you will "hear" them anyway in some way, shape or form in your mind. To my way of thinking, might as well start to get a grip on it as soon as you can and get it out of the way quicker.

Most courses have a section on pronunciation at the beginning before they get to the "fun" stuff- learning the language. That section isn't just there to fill space. It's there to help you learn to pronounce the sounds of the language. Good luck in your studies.
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Re: Using Assimil entirely passively

Postby ilmari » Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:00 am

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.


This is possible if you use the Assimil app. You can listen and repeat each sentence as much as you want.
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Re: Using Assimil entirely passively

Postby mentecuerpo » Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:40 am

Yes, you can! It is not the traditional way, but it is practical for you as long as you have fun.

You don't need to read the book; if this is the road you want to take, here I explain my thought on this topic:

You can listen to the CD/MP3 from beginning to end, passively, or in random order selected by your MP3 player. The advantage is that you don't need to worry about looking at the book while you are driving, riding your bike, or working out in the Gym. I like the Assimil audio because there is no English, just your target language playing from one lesson to another.

Spend hours listening to it passively (I mean attentively zooming in and out, depending on your attention requirements at the moment of hearing the lessons, but without touching the book).

I did a lot of passive listening with Assimil Italian this way. Because Spanish and Italian are siblings, I understood a lot without needing to read the book.

German is a different story. I listen to the Assimil German passively, but I study vocabulary from many sources when I read German content online with Machine translation. The exciting thing is that now, I am beginning to understand some words here and there in the Assimil Audio thanks to recognizing word sounds that I learned in other media, like youtube transcripts or News in Slow German, to name a few.

It is interesting for me to decode the Assimil audio: to understand zero, in the beginning, to slowly understanding words and phrases by acquiring vocabulary from other sources.

Assimil audio in your target language can give you a baseline of your progress by how much your brain decodes and understands the audio without ever touching the book. Of course, you will need to get vocabulary from other sources; there is no way around it.

The book has a lot of interesting grammar points and excellent parallel translation that can enhance vocabulary learning.

You can also do a lot of passive listening and read a bit of the book when you have a chance.

Keep the motivation up and preferably have daily contact with your language as much as you can. Passive listening counts.

(The Cortina book in the photo. The readers of this post can find the audio content of the Cortina on the Web. You can read Speakeasy's review on the Cortina Method on this site).
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