by Maria Roemer – adapted for English-speaking learners by Kerstin Pfeiffer

Level: A1-B2

Assimil - German with ease
Assimil – German with ease (Werbung)

Language of instruction: English

The Assimil method of learning languages was created by Alphonse Chérel, a French language teacher, in 1929. Chérel learnt several languages by himself and used his experience to create a new language learning method, which was ahead of its time.

Each Assimil “with ease” set contains a textbook, a set of CDs and a CD-ROM with the audio-files.

What the Assimil textbook provides:
  • 100 lessons.
  • Each lesson starts with a dialog in German on the left page and the English translation on the right page.
  • Within the German text the letters of a word, which have to be stressed, are highlighted.
  • There are additional notes on how to pronounce the words.
  • Some basic explanations of the grammar.
  • Two short exercises: 1) Translation from German to English 2) Filling some blanks in a short text.
What the CDs/CD-ROM provide:
  • 100 files (each) with the lesson texts.
How Assimil suggests to learn:
  • Try to make 30 minutes per day for learning.
  • Work through one lesson per day.
  • After 6 days there is one lesson to review what you have learnt in the past 6 lessons.
  • On the 50th and following days you will be asked to go back to the first lessons and translate the texts English to German (one lesson each day).
Pros:
  • Textbook with dialogues, explanations and exercises (all in one).
  • Authentic and practical dialogues.
  • The course works with complete sentences.
  • Dialogues available in the textbook and as audio-files.
  • Audio files with native speaker.
  • No long, boring grammar lessons.
Cons:
  • The promise, that you will reach level B2 “in just a few month” by working 30 minutes per day with the course is nonsense.
  • The audio-files do not leave gaps for you to repeat the words, so it is rather an addition to the book than to work with it on its own – for example while in a car or doing housework.
  • Middle priced (about $99 for the complete set – the book by itself is much cheaper with about $25)
  • Not much additional material available.
What I like about Assimil:
  • I use the Assimil method to learn another language myself and this is what I like about it:
  • The lessons are engaging and teach useful vocabulary.
  • A schedule is provided within this course, when you are able to stick to the 6+1 lessons per week.
  • The highlighted letters within the text as well as the audio files help with the pronunciation.
  • There is quite a bit of cultural information, which I love.
  • I like the format of the book, which is small enough to fit in a handbag!
But there are also some things I do not like or struggled with:
  • The lessons in themselves are manageable within 30 minutes. Nevertheless I started to struggle with the schedule after about a week or two, as there was just to much to remember in each lesson. I had to schedule additional time to go over former lessons!
  • All audio-files are at a good speed to listen to while reading the text. But there are no additional files with gaps between the phrases, so you could practise the vocabulary and pronunciation by repeating the sentences.
  • And of course: If you only use a self-studying book, you will not practise your writing and speaking skills. It is a very passive learning system – as most self studying courses are.
Conclusion:

I like the Assimil set as a good foundation for self-studying. It gives a structure, very good dialogues, cultural information and some additional exercises. Still I would recommend to combine it with another, more active learning method.

“Assimil – German with ease” is available here* (Werbung):
Assimil auf amazon.de
Das Buch auf amazon.de *
Assimil auf amazon.co.uk
Auch auf amazon.co.uk erhältlich. *
Assimil auf amazon.com
Und auf amazon.com! *

* = Affiliatelink – Als Amazon-Partner verdiene ich an qualifizierten Käufen. (Werbung)

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Assimil – German with ease

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