About Assimil French Courses.
Since Assimil courses are developed by a company based in France, this method tends to be more popular in Europe. Teaching method of Assimil was first developed in 1929 and today there are courses available for quite a lot of languages, which are rated highly by most learners. Since it is released by French company there are also more than one course available for French language – Using Fench and New French With Ease.
French With Ease series are aimed at complete beginners or a bit more advanced users of this foreign language. Depending on their budget learners can choose a version of this course with 4 accompanying audio CD’s or without. There are a total of 113 lessons included in this part together with exercises and short notes on grammar. Based on Assimil, learners can expect to achieve B2 level at French by finishing this part of the course. It is also worthwhile to mention that most Assimil With Ease series tend to introduce about 2500 vocabulary, which is also the case with French language.
After completing the first part of Assimil, learners who want to achieve even higher level at this foreign language can continue with Using French course. These Assimil series contain additional 70 lessons that can help to achieve C1 level in French language. In addition to regular lessons and translation workouts this part also includes summary on irregular verbs.
How Does Assimil Method Work?
Assimils method of teaching new language is combined of book reading and listening of accompanying cd. Book in this course is quite tiny so it is convenient to carry it anywhere you go and study on the move. Each lesson in this course includes a dialogue in French that covers some sort of everyday situation and also there is translation in English on other page too. To make learning more efficient Assimil also includes short notes that explain grammar rules or other concepts that were used in the dialogues.
Unlike most other courses who try to divide new language into smaller parts, Assimil introduces full French sentences so that learners would be able to learn both language structure and grammar organically. The main benefit of this method is that separate words are never taken out of context and users of this course are able to see examples of how they can be used in different situations. The downside of this method is, of course, that it can take a while until you will be able to notice patterns in French language.
The other unique aspect of Assimil is that its lessons in this course are divided into passive and active phase. What it basically means is that active phase lessons also include translation exercises to enhance retention rate. On the contrary passive phase of Assimil doesn’t include any workouts so learners only need to concentrate on reading dialogues & explanation notes and listening to audios.
Review of The Main Strong and Weak Sides.
- There are two parts of Assimil French available for English speakers (French With Ease and Using French), so learners can even achieve C1 level at this foreign language by finishing both of them;
- Assimil can be partly called as one in all solution for learning French. By using this course learners can learn grammar and improve their French speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. Also since dialogues in this course covers real life situations it is possible to find out more about French culture and traditions too;
- Assimil does a great job at immersing learners into French. In audio lessons you will hear only your target language and lessons in the book doesn’t include too much English either;
- Since Assimil includes dialogues covering real life situations you will be able to learn essential French vocabulary that can be used when traveling or taking part in conversations;
- You can learn quite a lot of new French vocabulary & phrases in each lesson of Assimil. Only by finishing French with Ease series you can learn about 2500 words, which is a lot compared with some other courses; Also since there is a second part of this course available (Using French) you can expand your vocabulary even more;
- Assimil doesn’t include list of grammar rules to learn; however provided notes are very helpful for understanding main concepts of French language and how it is structured;
- Since material in Assimil is combined from written content and audios this course can be suitable for different types of French learners;
- Letters that need to be stressed are bolded in Assimil dialogues so it is easier to pronounce words in French correctly. Also there is a recording of each dialogue included in the CD’s so you will be able to learn good accent and pronunciation by repeating native French speakers;
- Since Assimil teaches French through full sentences you will not need to learn lists of vocabulary that are taken out of context. Instead you will be able to see how separate words are being used through different examples;
- In general Assimil French courses are not too difficult to follow. This is because all dialogues have translation into English language and also there are short explanations provided at the beginning of each lesson;
- Assimil can be a suitable course for busy French learners too. The book is quite small so it is quite convenient to study via this course on the go and also each lesson can be completed in less than thirty minutes;
- Studying material and dialogues in Assimil are quite engaging to follow in general. Also some lessons include a cartoon, which helps to enrich written content in this course too;
- Since Assimil teaches French through sentences rather than separate words it can take time until you will learn essential phrases for communication. So if you need to learn French quickly for traveling purposes other courses might be more suitable for you;
- As it was mentioned earlier translation exercises in Assimil only start in active phase of this course. This is definitely not sufficient to keep retention rate high when studying French via this course. Due to this you might need to go through the same material a couple of times;
- Assimil doesn’t include flashcards, games, quizzes and other similar features that would be useful for practicing French vocabulary and making this course more engaging;
- While Assimil includes audios, they are not interactive. This means that you will not be encouraged to speak French out load from the beginning like with some other programs;
- It might be a bit difficult to follow your progress with French language when studying via Assimil. This is mainly because it only includes some translation workouts in the second part of the course;
- Users of Assimil need to be self-motivated to study French further since this course doesn’t have features (like score system, quizzes, leaderboard and etc.) to enhance motivation;
- Assimil French courses don’t have any social features (forum, ability to communicate with other learners or tutor), which are helpful if you have any difficulties when studying;
What Do Other Learner Reviews Say?
On overall it can be said that Assimil French courses have very positive feedback from its users. Most learners find this method engaging and effective way to learn French.
Although some users of Assimil With Ease mention that this course might be a bit too difficult for complete beginners at French because it lacks features & workouts for practicing new introduced content. Read a few actual consumer reviews of Assimil French course bellow.
Visit Amazon page here if you want to read more user reviews of Assimil French.
Summary of a Review.
To summarize this review it can be said that Assimil French courses have a lot of benefits and they work well for most users; however they also might be not suitable for all learners. It is definitely worthwhile to consider these courses for learners who want to expand their French vocabulary a lot or understand how this language is structured. Accompanying CD’s can also be very beneficial for learners who want to improve their French speaking skills and learn how to pronounce words correctly.
On the other hand it might be worthwhile to consider alternative French courses for learners who need to learn survival phrases fast, who lack self-motivation to study further or simply need more features while studying (games, flashcards, social features and etc.). Some beginner French learners might also find it difficult to recall all studying content from this course, because Assimil doesn’t offer much features for repetition. Due to this it might be necessary to go through the same lessons a few times in order to keep retention rate high.
In case you live outside of Europe, Assimil French courses might be a bit less available for purchase in local stores. Despite that it is possible to order both parts of this course for English speakers online on websites like Amazon or EBay.
Prices for Assimil French courses vary from 60 to 195 USD (depending on which version you will choose). While it can be significantly cheaper to buy both parts of Assimil French without audio CD’s, it might be not the best idea. To study via Assimil might be too difficult for most learners without audio recordings, because you will not know how to pronounce words & phrases correctly.