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18.03.2016 admin
There are a lot of self-study language methods out there, and for the person looking to learn a language on their own, it can be hard and confusing to choose the method that suits your needs.
So if you were to ask “What’s the ‘best’ method out there?”, what could a seasoned language learner answer?
Other examples abound, but the point is, don’t get stuck on a method that somebody has recommended because it worked for them. The first self-study language I will introduce is one of my favorites, and it’s the favorite method of several well-known polyglots, including Luca Lampariello, who speaks nearly 12 languages fluently, and Robert Bigler, a simultaneous interpreter from Austria who speaks many languages as well. The method is called Assimil, and although it is not that well-known in North America, it is an extremely popular method in Europe. Assimil, you might have guessed from the name, encourages learners to “assimilate” the language, similarly to how you assimilated your mother tongue when you were a child. 2) In the Chinese method, for some reason the author thought it would be a good idea to put an exclamation mark (or an interrogation mark) to almost every single sentence in the book (no joke, it’s quite amazing). The Teach Yourself Languages range is available in print, audio and CD packs, e-books, enhanced e-books (which utilize multimedia to enhance the learning experience), and will soon be launched as a series of apps for smart devices. According to the Teach Yourself website, all of their language courses are suitable for beginners – they just get you to different levels of proficiency, at different paces of study. In general, the Teach Yourself language series books are quite good, but many polyglots, as well as myself, prefer Assimil. The good thing about Teach Yourself is that their method is available in many more languages than most other methods out there. The biggest downside is that depending on the levels you choose,  the pace of some books might go too fast for a beginner (such as the Teach Yourself Chinese Complete Course). In this specific Chinese method, another big problem is that they don’t introduce any characters until halfway through the book.
In brief, Teach Yourself is a solid language learning series, although you should make sure the pace of their books suits your needs. That’s it for part 1 of my review of some of the most popular self-study language methods out there. After doing a little research while choosing a self-study method for Mandarin, I settled on Pimsleur (in combination with some Anki flashcards). I completed about 40 of the 90 lessons in Pimsleur, but stopped there and haven’t picked it up since.
Yes I feel like Pimsleur is good for a start, but definitely does not go far enough to enable somebody to reach some kind of low-intermediate level. I also recommend that — once they?ve settled on their language-learning ?methods? and materials — they don’t visit anymore language learning websites (even though I have one) until they reach that stage. However, to beginners I recommend that once they’ve selected them, they stick with them until they reach something of an intermediate level or complete the materials, whichever comes first. Some weeks you may feel you?re making immense progress and in others it may seem that you’re actually going backwards. And I think that failing to learn from these kind of experiences, is what causes people to fail to reach an advanced level, more than anything else.
I agree that reading language-learning blogs can be motivating, but still in the beginners phase the potential distractions are great. Hi, an information: are there many differences between the latest edition of Assimil and the older ones? There are always some slight differences between previous editions, but generally nothing big. I therefore personally think it’s better to buy some newer editions, although buying the latest one is not necessary.
Thanks for your kind message, I always really appreciate when readers take some of their time to drop a thank you note and share their experience with me. Right now, you seem to be doing pretty well, and the only thing I would say is don’t burn yourself out and, perhaps more importantly, be prepared for when motivation will go through a low. Other than that, I would say don’t forget to enjoy yourself and dive into the culture. No Daniel, I cannot provide a list for you, but feel free to do the research and post it here. I didn’t speak any English and consider 4 months with the Assimil method and now I am intermediate level.
Finding the perfect self defense book for you will allow you to create more confident version of yourself.
Krav Maga is a form of martial arts developed by Hungarian-Israeli Martial artist Imi Lichtenfeld. I get the feeling this book is aimed at beginners who lack previous knowledge or experience in Krav Maga.
As you know I am only interested in self defense which is based on reality that would work in the streets. When you see someone carrying a cane, you do not automatically see it as a deadly weapon, do you? That’s why he wrote a book which teaches you how to turn the cane, an ordinary everyday object, into a lethal weapon.
If you have an interest in martial arts or similar, you will find this book highly fascinating.
The only thing wrong with this book is the fact that the stick figures can be a bit confusing. We live in a world where you can’t expect anyone else to come to your rescue if you find yourself in trouble on the streets. With this book you can learn how to put together a personalised self defense gameplan which can be put into practice any time you need it. The SAS Self-Defense Hand Book covers just about everything you need to know to keep yourself safe on the rough streets. Including but not limited to mental preparation, the laws on self defense, avoiding confrontation and loads more! Book #2: Self Defense Made Simple: Easy and Effective Self Protection Whatever Your Age, Size or Skill!
Which ever one of these books you decide to invest in, I’m certain that you’re gonna find it extremely helpful. Overall this information provided here in your article is great because everybody can choose that is interesting for them. Yes, you are right, I think it would be good to read for encouragement and understanding psychology of people, who want to attack you. Hi Hannah, just I wanted to add that I like your site because the right knowledge is as the survival kit. I would suggest a book which focuses on the psychological side of self defense with a few simple, effective moves. So here are your options: take a class, or buy some books and go the ACT self study or SAT self study route.
Here’s our best suggestion if you’re going the self-study route: Pick up a collection of SAT or ACT books rather than just one, so you can see the test from more than one perspective, and get special help in the subject areas where you’re weakest. You’ll notice we’re heavy on recommending some of the biggest companies like Barrons, Kaplan, The College Board and The Princeton Review.
These companies and others offer free SAT or ACT prep materials to entice you to try their materials. The College Board—Free SAT or ACT practice tests and tools are available from the College Board, who writes the SAT. Kaplan ACT 2012 Premier (Kaplan Act (Book & Online))—This ACT prep book offers in-depth subject coverage plus lots of quizzes and online and CD access. TPR Essential SAT Vocabulary (flashcards) (College Test Preparation)—Includes 500 selective vocab words plus help memorizing them. Math Workout for the SAT—In just 240 pages,  you can get a great math review, including a rundown of common mistakes when taking the SAT test.


Barron’s SAT, 26th Edition—Subject reviews plus a diagnostic test and five full-length practice SAT tests.
Barron’s SAT Vocabulary Flash Cards—Features 500 high-frequency words used in SAT reading passages. Picture These SAT Words!—Book with words and definitions used most frequently on SAT exams, by Philip and Susan Geer. Picture These SAT Words in a Flash—Above book by Philip and Susan Geer in flashcard form, with words and definitions used most frequently on SAT exam.
Vocabulary Cartoons: SAT Word Power—This is a fun collection of words, much more delightful than some pneumonic word collections we’ve seen. Barron’s ACT English, Reading, and Writing Workbook—Okay, it’s fine to admit that writing and language aren’t your strong suit.
Up Your Score: The Underground Guide to the SAT—This book was written by some very high scorers on the SAT, and offers expert advice and strategies used to achieve those scores. Math Study Guide for the SAT, ACT and SAT Subject Tests—This book addresses the SAT and ACT math test sections, plus the SAT Math Subject Test. The Official Study Guide for All SAT Subject Tests, By The College Board—This guide has one test per subject, if you just need to brush up! $5 from Amazon. Overall, Barron’s books are seen as pretty detailed and difficult, more so than those of Kaplan or The Princeton Review.
What is the best MCAT test prep books for self study?  There are several MCAT prep books from big brand names publishers like Kaplan, Princeton Review, Examkrackers, etc. Based on your study plan, you may have to buy few ( three or more) MCAT prep books for self study. There are great test-taking tips and what I was very happy with was the way the material in the book is arranged.
They really did a great job with this edition and quite frankly for the price it’s a steal. There are plenty of great methods available to students wishing to learn a language on their own, and in this post I’ll try to tackle a few that, in my opinion, as well as in the opinion of some of the most well-known polyglots out there, are some of the best and easiest to go through.
Each lesson includes a short dialogue (getting progressively longer throughout the book), written in the target language (L2), together with a translation after each dialogue, as well as short exercises to test your comprehension.
It’s very intuitive, but at the same time there are helpful explanations grammatical rules and language expressions in the footnotes. Well, in fact, I’ve found this method surprisingly good and I haven’t found any major downsides to it.
It can sometimes be confusing to follow the conversations as, often, 3 to 4 people are having a conversation, so at times you’re not sure who’s saying what.
However, I have tried their Chinese method (Teach Yourself Chinese Complete Course, by Elizabeth Scurfield), and I’ve found it to be way too hard for a complete beginner in the language. Nonetheless, Moses McCormick, a polyglot who has studied over 50 languages, is well-known for using this method and he wholeheartedly recommends it.
It’s basically a book that has dialogues included together with the audio, and you are directed through the various units and encouraged to go through exercises and so forth.
In the latter case, you should wait until you have a reached a high-beginner (A2) or low-intermediate (B1) level before actually tackling it.
So you don’t even have the option of getting somewhat familiarized with characters at first. The great thing about this method is that it’s available in over 65 languages, which is quite amazing, and the books can be easily bought pretty much anywhere.
In part 2, we’ll have a look at three other popular methods: Pimsleur, Living Language, and Michel Thomas.
On one hand, it helped me assimilate a few grammar structures, yet I also found that most of the vocabulary wasn’t of much use to me.
I’ve had success with Pimsleur, but after finishing all 3 levels, I still feel like I have a loooooong way to go.
Assimil would be indeed a logical progression, and since you will have already been exposed to the language, you’ll be able to somewhat breeze through the first few lessons. The reason learning languages gets easier over time is partly because you get to know yourself better as a learner. Before you know it you are spending more time learning about learning languages than actually learning your new language.
Generally speaking, as long as the book you’re purchasing is not older than 10-15 years, you should be OK (unless, of course, you wish to learn slang words and that type of stuff). I recently have become obsessed with learning languages since I started using Duolingo for fun 2 months ago. If this interests you, learn about Spain and South America’s history and culture, try to discover some of their music, and download some movies with English subtitles. Let me know how your Spanish is going, Ryan, and whether any of the tips I had given you proved to be somewhat useful. I need to get back to learning it actually, I’ve been focused a lot on other languages for the past 1-2 years but I really don’t want to lose it!
I might look into some additional self-study methods in the future, and review them if I have time. Walking down the street in the rough part of town needn’t be as terrifying as it is right now! This form of martial arts is known for being brutal and aggressive whilst focusing on real-life situations.
An absolute must for anyone who is concerned with personal safety or the safety of their family.
Not the best but worth adding to your collection if you are serious about wanting to learn Krav Maga. Rather than learning hundreds of specific (overly complex) techniques which work in limited situations. You will learn to be aware of your surroundings at all times, assess any situation you find yourself in, detect threat levels and consider your options on how to terminate the confrontation and more! Failing that, it also teaches you some moves which will give you a physical edge over any attacker who dares to start on you! This book is a must have for anyone who is concerned with their safety when they are out and about. Nothing overly fancy about it, which is great for beginners or for those who are just not into the idea of learning advanced martial arts just for the sake of knowing how to defend themselves!
I think if you could read all of them, maintain proper training and practice, you would be a MACHINE. You may want to consider doing this for more of your reviews since your paragraphs are short. Luckily I grew up with five brothers and learnt how to defend and protect myself from them. Book number 4 on the list fits this description – Self Defence Tips Everyone Should Know.
If you are serious about getting the best possible score on the SAT or ACT, you need to plan on putting in some serious time and effort! Either approach is a respectable option, depending on the degree to which you are self-motivated.
But if you take enough of these PSAT and SAT tests, you’ll be comfortable when you sit for the real thing. If you’re worried about how you’ll do on the English and reading comprehension parts of the ACT, add this book to your study schedule. Here’s my advice: Choose either the Big Blue Book for the SAT (The Official SAT Study Guide with DVD) or The Real ACT Prep Guide with CD, since they’re created by the entity that actually writes the test.
If you go on the AAMC website and look for the MCAT content outline for each portion of the test, it’s in the same order as the material in the Barron’s book, so you don’t have to jump around topics.
Since we all learn in different ways, some methods might be more suitable to some people than others.


From the website’s description, “[Assimil] enables beginners to acquire an average vocabulary of 2,000 to 3,000 words, learn the basic grammar rules, and gain a command of everyday conversation. You are recommended to spend at least one day on each lesson and to review them every once in a while. However, the Teach Yourself method has, generally, many more explanations than Assimil, and therefore definitely more English. However, fortunately in the other Teach Yourself series I have seen, the scripts are indeed included from the very beginning, so this particular Chinese method seems to be just one bad apple. However, explanations tend to be lengthier than Assimil, and as such the Teach Yourself series definitely contains more English than Assimil.
I believe that 3 levels of Pimsleur teach about 500 to 750 vocab words, so Assimil seems like a logical progression, considering its 2000 to 3000 vocab words.
I think it’s definitely important to choose a method at the very beginning that is suitable to your learning style and that motivates you. If you’re a beginner (no self-study experience whatsoever) it may be wiser to not visit them at all for a while. I’ve been trying to get one but the cheapest I could find is $60 for both book and CDs.
I think Pimsleur is a good method, and I’ve used it for Portuguese and Spanish in the past with good results. This is not exactly my holy grail book, but will definitely help you learn Krav Maga that little bit faster. You might need to spend a few minutes examining each of the illustrations to make sense of them. Which makes a change as many martial arts and krav maga books are simply not reality based! There is always more to learn on how to defend yourself and this book definitely comes with knowledge which would come in handy!
The cons are especially important because they help you sound more like a friend and less like a salesman.
I am aiming my side agt beginners so I think this would make my site a lot friendlier to my target audience.
The resources you provided are more than plentiful and I know that you will be able to help a LOT of people just by the post you have here. Without this knowledge men have too much of an advantage over us women, in strength and size. Students who are highly motivated, and like studying independently can achieve results comparable to those who take a class. There’s the original book, and the Vocabulary Cartoons II version. Both are around $8 on Amazon. It comes with three full-length practice ACT exams, and a whole load of exercises, tips and test-taking strategies. I liked the use of diagrams in the Barron’s books, since that’s something you come across in the SAT exam or ACT exam. Plus, different languages might need to be learned in different ways, again, depending on your learning style and on your ability to acquire and understand new grammatical structures and language systems. Luca Lampariello has said that he was rather disappointed with the Chinese method of the Assimil series, but I’ve found it to be thorough and worth going through nevertheless. In my opinion, this particular book is definitely suitable for a high-beginner (A2) or low-intermediate learner (B1).
The method is also more varied than Assimil; as stated earlier, the Teach Yourself series has 5 levels, whereas the Assimil method has only 2. They also have a separate book just for the Chinese characters that come up in the main book, so if you go through that book as well you’ll be able to read and write Chinese characters decently by the end of the book. Granted, there are some crappy language learning products out there… but getting things right is probably the last thing a beginner should worry about. The percentage of people who undertake the study of a foreign language and actually go all the way to reach an advanced level is very low. Professor Alexander Arguelles has argued that on average, at least 5 are necessary to reach an advanced level in any given language.
I’ve watched a bunch of interviews with you and Luca and I have to say they are very informative and motivating for a first time language learner! When feeling down and demotivated, try a bit of variety and take a brake away from textbooks and explore music and movies in Spanish instead. Think about changing your Facebook and other programs’ language to Spanish, read the news in Spanish, listen to Spanish radio, etc.
I like the fact that it can be easily listened to in the car, while cycling or walking, etc. I am wondering, which book would be the most useful to invest time into for someone that wants the basics of self defense? In fact, taking the ACT or SAT cold could dampen your chances of getting into the schools on your list. Some of the newcomers on the scene do a respectable job as well, and we’ve tried to include a few of those here as well. But as with most Barron’s materials, if you can master this book, you’ll do even better on the real test. Finally, add a guide where needed for problem areas, such as Math Workout for the SAT or Barron’s ACT English, Reading, and Writing Workbook. The bottom line is, read about a few language methods, and try out a few to get to know which one might be the best fit for you. The great thing about the audio is that it does not contain lengthy explanations in English.
Obviously reviews help to make the choice easier for people out of the sea of information, books, and methods available out there. A question I had, maybe a long one but, I currently study a single Assimil lesson a day for about 45 mins to an hour, on top of using duolingo for vocab and grammar 10 mins or so a day.
Although these books will teach you more of the psychological side of self defense on top of some of the most brutal and versatile moves. Kaplan offers ACT or SAT at a Glance…a comprehensive look at each section of the SAT or ACT, plus quizzes to help you gauge your readiness.
Spanish is a Romance language very similar to French and English, languages I speak fluently. In this post, I’ve picked some of the most popular self-study methods out there, and I’ve tried to give you a very broad overview of what they do, and if they are worth your time and money.
I believe this is good and important, because there is nothing as annoying (and useless), in my opinion, as audio CDs that are half in your native tongue, with things such as “repeat the following sentence” or “pay attention to this particular ending”, etc. I also try and translate some of my thoughts in my head to my L2 like you have suggested in some of your videos I was just wondering if there was any other small things I could possibly do in my early stages (1-4 months) each day to maximize my language learning, anything that you perhaps do when first starting out with a language besides what I already do. Plus there’s the proprietary Kaplan QuizBank…over 1,000 ACT practice questions (you get access to this with purchased study materials or a purchased class). But with the selection we’re suggesting here, assuming you take advantage of them all, you should be on par with those who take a SAT prep class or ACT prep class. While Spanish can often be learned in a more “inductive” manner, this does not always work with Korean.
So you’ll have to keep this in mind when trying out a new or old method and when relying on your learning habits that might have worked in one instance, but might not work the best in another.



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