Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I receive so many inquiries about my book Ace My language-Arabic Edition (aka Ace The DLPT-Arabic Edition) and I have written so many people back that it makes sense to post some of my answers here.
What is Ace My Language-Arabic Edition? Did you stop publishing Ace The DLPT-Arabic Edition?
Well, both are actually the same book but here is the story. When I first published Ace The DLPT-Arabic Edition it was a great success with the students. After all, and realistically speaking, that is what every student wants. Two things happened though. The book was a success with Arabic language students outside the military circles and we received distribution deals in Europe and orders from several colleges around the US and Europe.
The second thing that happened was that I met with a friend of mine who is a major and works for DLI and he explained to me that while the success of the book has been established and while the students love it and can see great improvement in their scores after using it, the name of the book makes it sound like its only purpose is to help the students pass the test, which is not the case since our data shows that after using the book learners receive a long term boost in their language ability.
So our decision was, based on our expanded audience, and to clear any misunderstanding we decided to change the name of the brand to Ace My Language.
How does your book help me improve my Arabic?
My book is based on a simple philosophy which is that listening is the key to both learning (more about this in a minute) and maintaining a language. It contains 406 questions selected by a statistical model to guarantee maximum exposure to MSA (Modern Standard Arabic). Many of the book's users have been in the military taking the DLPT regularly over a 15 years period. A great percentage of them have reported that after using the book on their own by listening to the passages and reading the text they managed to score 3's in both the listening and reading parts of the DLPT for the first time in their career.
The book has significantly more listening material in it than any other book on the market. In addition to that it is listening material that is transcribed and you can refer to it in the book. Reading after listening helps a lot. The statistical research behind the book is aimed at increasing your level of Arabic by one level at least on any standard test such as the DLPT and it also increases your real-life performance in the language as it trains you on the highest frequency words and structures used in the language. What makes the book especially useful is that it is based on a massive corpus that contains over 100 million words which I have built, maintained and expanded on since 1994. A corpus is simply a database of articles in the target language. A great portion of my database is tagged and that is what allowed me to build a model that theoretically guarantees that your language performance will increase after using the book.
How do your results compare to Rosetta Stone and Auralog?
Both RS and Auralog are great programs. I actually use RS in my spare time as a part of curriculum I designed to teach myself Farsi. Auralog is a massive program that is also very useful in building your language. If you have the money to buy them or have access to them via the military do use them especially if your unit does not have the money to send you to class.
Results from using such programs actually vary widely. If you are a self-starter, have plenty of time, and a discipline for study plus a high aptitude for the language
learning then you will probably do well. Unfortunately, many people I meet with, especially in military circles, do not have the time to spend behind a computer learning a language. Not many people have access to a laptop they can carry around for those few moments they have to learn a language or maintain what they already know. Consequently, I believe that the best way to start learning a language is in a classroom with an instructor who will speak and apply the language in class over 90% of the time. For the great majority of people I work with RS and Auralog are not enough, on their own, to teach language. You need to start in a class (more in a minute about that). If you already know the language and desire to increase your score then you need a book that will offer you lots of listening material, preferably with that material in a transcribed form also so that you can read 'after' you've listened.
I have designed the Ace My language Series on that premise. The book is accompanied with a CD that has more listening material on it that any other product in the market including RS and Auralog. If you have already finished a class and you are at an ILR of 2 then AML-Arabic Edition will help you move faster to the next level than any other product I know in the market. If you are at an ILR of 0+-1+, and you have learned how to use the Hans Vehr Dictionary the book will definitely deliver results for you but it will be a slightly slower process than the people at an ILR of 2 or above.
Do you have Ace My Language books for other languages or dialects?
In June of 2007 I will publish three new books. One of them is AML-Iraqi Arabic Edition, which will be the first book of its kind with a DVD including hundreds of minutes of native Iraqi Arabic speakers in live, non-scripted conversations with DLPT-like questions attached to each conversation. This product will be far more useful than any other Iraqi product in the market for learning and improving your knowledge of Iraqi Arabic. We will also publish an AML-Farsi edition during the same month.
We also have plans for AML-Spanish in mid 2008, AML-Chinese and AML Korean by late 2008.
Is the value of the book diminished because of the new version of the DLPT ?
Absolutely not. All that changed in the new version is the length of the articles and the number of questions per test article. AML-Arabic Edition is designed statistically to make sure you acquire as much of the language as you can. If you do all 406 questions and give them a good try you will succeed in 'any' standard Arabic test regardless of how the format of the test changes.
Do You offer training classes?
I do indeed. Global Language Systems, a company I own and operate, has been in the business of Arabic language training for the past 4 years. I have taught classes from all branches of the US military including the US Navy, US Army, Rangers and National Guard. I teach classes for MSA Arabic, Iraqi Arabic, Levant Arabic and Egyptian Arabic. Like the books, I have developed a training methodology that enables me to teach students the language at an ILR of 1 (spoken and listening) in 160 hours of classroom interaction (one month, 5 days a week, 8 hours per day).The methodology has been tested with great success by the US Navy and the Army Rangers. My classes are based on the same methodology of the books where students are taught the high frequency words in the language then they are drilled daily in that language using that vocabulary until they can produce it spontaneously.
This is all I have for now. Hope it is useful. I will add more questions and answers as they come in.