I began the Michel Thomas (MT) Total Arabic course three days ago. I began slowly and with trepidation because the course requires that you do no writing or memorizing and this just terrified me as I am highly visual and I have been programmed to believe that one has to memorize to learn a language.
I haven’t given the course as much time as I would like and yet, after only a four hours or so, I am able to say some sophisticated sentences in Egyptian Arabic such as “My mother is happy because my brother is coming tomorrow” and “I am going to the caffe because I am thirsty” and “Can you see where my son is?”
And, I want you all to know, I didn’t just memorize the phrases above, I constructed them!!! From the things the instructors in the CD teach!!!!
I never would have thought it possible to construct complex sentences in a foreign language in only a few hours of study without writing anything down and without making a concerted effort to memorize vocabulary! And definitely not in a language such as Arabic!
It is simply amazing. That’s the reason for the all the exclamation marks.
I believe that Michele Thomas found the most efficient way to teach a language. Period. And this is coming from a person who was utterly afraid of auditory courses. I have told the story before of how I learned English by reading three chapters of a textbook during a weekend by translating the text word by word with the aid of a dictionary. By Monday, I could read about 80% of any English text and after that it was just a matter of leaning to pronounce the words. I was able to accomplish that because I am heavy visual learner. Both the MT course and the Pimsleur approach use the technique where one repeats a word on a preset time basis to strengthen the recollection of the word. That’s where the similarities end. I listened to the Pimsleur Vietnamese course for about three hours and I still can’t say anything in Vietnamese. I was stymied by the tones mainly and my brain just didn’t absorb much. The MT course does away with that. In the MT course, there is a heavy reliance on using words you already know in English to move you along. The MT course also includes a native Arabic speaker repeating all the material so that you get a good exposure to how the words are said by a native speaker.
I will continue the course. I believe that the Michel Thomas course will deliver as promised. The Total Arabic course takes you from beginner level to intermediate. There another course that takes you from intermediate to advanced. Meanwhile, you can still use any other method as you wish to advanced more rapidly if you desire.
I am stoked!!!
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