I’m now on Day 58 (or thereabouts) of the Assimil Polish course.
The Assimil courses consist of 100 lessons which are tackled in two waves: active and passive. The passive wave involves listening to the dialogs, reading the notes and becoming familiar with the translation and source language. The active wave consists of reproducing the dialogs – either in writing, aurally or both, starting from Lesson 1.
The active wave makes a lot of sense, as if you can reproduce these short dialogs, then you will be going some way to internalising some of the key grammatical language structures.
The active wave begins with Lesson 50, and so as well as studying lesson 50, you reproduce Lesson 1. The following day, when studying Lesson 51, you reproduce Lesson 2 and so on …
I’ve now been doing this (active and passive waves together) for eight days.
The initial lessons are quite short (although suddenly become longer and more complicated) and I haven’t had too much difficulty with writing them out so far, as well as saying them aloud.
However, I am unable do this and study a new Lesson, in thirty minutes, and I would say that an hour is more reasonable, and even that is probably not enough if you want to make rapid progress.
As you might guess, I’m now spending an hour a day to go through each new Assimil lesson (passive) and actively learn the corresponding earlier lesson (active).
If you are using Assimil, or thinking about doing so, do not expect to be able to complete each lesson in half an hour. I don’t think it is realistic unless you have studied another similar language, and I have never looked at a Slavonic language before.
Enough of the negative, after day 56, my overall view of Assimil is extremely positive, with a few caveats which I will write about when I’ve finished my initial run through of the course.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m still not chatting in Polish, and I don’t have a language partner. I suppose I still don’t feel it is productive in the sense that I can’t say enough to make it worthwhile. I like to chat. Soy un loro as they say in Spanish. Yeah. Fine. I can tell someone where I live, if it is raining and so on (in Polish), but that is not a conversation. I still don’t know enough Polish to have a conversation – in any real sense of the word.
I’ve spend an hour and a half chatting in Spanish today, but I like to talk about anything and everything. I don’t feel that intercambios at this point are a particularly helpful way for me to make faster progress in Polish. (I have reached the point in Italian, where I should speak more than once a week but I don’t have time).
At this point, faster means remaining focused on Assimil to be able to express myself (even badly) over a sufficiently wide enough range of topics that I can have a conversation. And I don’t mean ‘I live in … ‘, ‘I have a dog’!. Of course, the best way for passive knowledge to become active, is to use it, which in the case of speaking a language means of course to speak it!.