Two years ago in the beginning of 2015, I said to myself that I want to learn French. I was thinking what would be the best way to learn it. I decided to buy tickets to Paris and stay there for one month when my summer holiday starts. That would give me motivation and the right environment to start my “French learning journey”.
I landed in Paris and went to a few events. I talked about my wish to learn French quickly to a Latin American guy. He spoke French quite fluently and he shared what he had done to learn it. He recommended the Pompidou library because they offered Assimil courses and other learning resources for studying languages.
So, I went to Pompidou library and surprisingly spent there a big part of my Paris trip. While other tourists went to the Eiffel tower or to Louvre, I decided to go to a library. 😉 I spent many hours studying French with Assimil course and today I am going to tell what is it and how does it work.
Website: fr.Assimil.com / Assimil Products on Amazon
Price: Depends on the course. Usually around $38-69 per course.
Founded: Originally in 1929 by Alphonse Chérel
Overall Rank: 75 out of 100
What Is Assimil?
Assimil is a language learning course/method created originally by Alphonse Chérel almost 90 years ago in 1929. Nowadays the course has spread all around the world and they have courses available for almost all languages. They have courses for even rare languages like Finnish, Icelandic, and Maori. They teach also rare dialects like Alsatian, Gascon, Breton, and Auvergnat.
I am 100% sure that they have a course in your target language. They have even courses for Sanskrit, Ancient Greek, Egyptian Hieroglyphics, and Latin. Quite impressive, huh? 🙂
Assimil courses consist of texts and audios. There are usually around 100 lessons in one course which guarantees that there is lots of content for you to go through. Every lesson teaches you new words and phrases. Lessons are usually conversations between two people so the target is to help you to use the language in real-life situations.
They promise that if you use 20-30 every day for studying with Assimil, you will be able to speak your target language with ease in a few months. Consistency is for sure a key to mastering new languages.
Let’s Take a Look Inside Assimil Course
I think that this video below is helpful for you if you are wondering what Assimil looks like. I don’t have an Assimil course right now in my hands so I uploaded someone else’s video here.
As you saw, there are texts in two languages in every two pages. On the left side there are your target languages (for example French) and on the right-hand side is a translation in a language that you already speak (for example English). Important words are bold in both languages so you know that you can put greater concentration on those words.
Some people criticize that when you are learning a new language, you shouldn’t translate it to another language because then you don’t learn to think in a target language. Rosetta Stone is for that reason only using your target language in their lessons.
Who Is the Assimil for?
In my opinion, Assimil suits the best for beginners who don’t have yet very much experience of your target language. For example, I had just started learning French when I used Assimil method in Paris. They promise that if you go through the entire course, you will be able to speak a language in B2-level.
I am not sure if that’s true if you are solely using Assimil. But it’s totally possible if you are also using other resources to learn French.
If you are already in B2 or C1 level, I think that Assimil course won’t be very helpful for your learning. I would just recommend heading to Italki and find a language partner or check out more advanced lessons on Yabla.
They have a different kind of products in Assimil “product-family”. The most popular one is “Learn xxx-language with ease.” I studied, for example, the course Learn French with ease if I remember right. “With ease” is a general course where you are supposed to learn more or less anything you need to master the language.
Then they have also more specified courses for different subjects like Business, conversation guides, and pocket books. Here are a few examples: (you can find these courses also available for other languages)
- Assimil Pocketbook for Italian $10.91
- Assimil Conversation guide for the Thai language $11.30
- Assimil Workbook exercises for German $11.99
- And much more
Assimil was originally founded in France so usually, all products are available in French. Then many courses are also available in English. I saw that there are also Assimil courses in German and I believe also in other big languages like Spanish.
You saw some example prices above for specific courses. Assimil learns a language with ease is a bit more valuable than $10. For example, this French with Ease package costs $49 in Amazon and Spanish with ease package with Book + 4 audio CDs + 1 CD mp3 costs $52.49.
The original price for all of these “with ease” courses seems to be something around $125-200 but now they are selling them for around $50 in Amazon.com. You can also find Assimil products on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.de if you are living in Europe. Then the prices may be a bit different.
Pros & Cons:
- Lots of content available in every course (around 100 lessons)
- Courses are available as an audio and texts (compare to courses where you mainly have an audio available like Pimsleur)
- Lots of different languages available
- You can have physical products like books and CDs if you find it easier for you
- No statistics available that Assimil methods would provably work
- Textbooks don’t give the same kind of “motivational tricks” like language games
Conclusion – Does Assimil Work?
I believe that Assimil methods work and I think that it has helped me to learn French. If you go through their lessons, you will for sure learn a lot of new words, phrases, and grammar. Even though Assimil doesn’t concentrate very much on grammar, you will learn it naturally by going through the lessons.
I know that some people prefer to study with physical products like an Assimil book. I think that they like studying with this method. A big advantage is that you can either read or listen to lessons or do the both. If you are driving a car, you can listen to the audio. Then in the other situation, you may don’t feel like listening and reading could feel better. You decide which style works better for you.
I would love to hear from you.
Have you ever used Assimil courses? What kind of experiences did you have?
What are your favorite methods for learning new languages?
Hey there, Assimil seems very interesting. Although I never used it before, I am thinking about purchasing it. It seems relatively cheap compared to a program like the Rosetta Stone. Anyway, how do you think Assimil compares to a program like the Rosetta Stone? Also, when learning new languages, I like to join programs and use synergy. Does Assimil offer these? Regardless, great read!
you are right that Assimil is clearly cheaper than Rosetta Stone or some other language learning programs. If you compare it to language course at a local language school, it beats them like 100-0.
Rosetta Stone is a game while Assimil is a book and audios. The longer you go in the course, the more you will learn. I recommend using several language learning methods when you are studying a new language. Every little effort pushes you a little bit forward to fluency.
What do you mean exactly with synergy? That course starts from easier tasks and becomes a bit more challenging when going forward? Yes, I think that Assimil is created like that.
Wow – I had not heard about these language courses. My main goal has to always been learning Japanese first, then I would also love to learn Dutch.
But what amazes me about Assimil is the variety of languages they have! That is cool 🙂 I don’t think most language learning software can offer such variety of language learning!
For me, I learn a lot of odd words and phrases from watching Japanese show with English subtitles! Not only can I watch shows I like – but I can familiarize myself with the language! 🙂
there is actually one language learning programs that offers even more languages than Assimil. It’s called Bliu Bliu. The technique that they use is very interesting and creative. I recommend that you will have a look.
Watching interesting programs is for sure an effective way of learning a new language. When I studied Spanish I listened a lot of motivational teachings in Spanish. Two birds with one stone. You learn a new a language and you something that is valuable for your life in general. 🙂
Do you know if they have Lithuanian as a language course?
My girlfriend is from there and when we go to visit her family its difficult to get by for a week without speaking to anyone..
Also do they have courses for foreign speaking people to learn English? If so in which languages?
I believe you are blessed to have a Lithuanian girlfriend. I have heard that they are very nice and beautiful. Assimil has a Lithuanian pocket book but it’s in French. If you can speak French, then you can have a look at it on Amazon.
Yes, they have English courses at least in French, German and I think that also in other big languages like Spanish and so on.
I believe that it can be challenging to communicate with her parents if you don’t have a common language. Have you already used Bliu Bliu? It’s actually created by a Lithuanian guy and they have also resources for learning Lithuanian. I believe it would will be a great help for you Craig.
wow, look really interesting. To be honest I tried to learn the german language but is not so easy. anyway..If you try alone without to hear, only from the books…is not enough. I just think this program will help me to hear the pronunciation and make it for me easy to learn. I will really give it a try 🙂
Thanks for sharing this with me. I know Romanian, English, french, Italian greek but I want to learn german and Russian. thanks a lot. it ill be helpful for my job, because I work in tourism:).
I will tell you my opinion soon:)
Happy to hear that you will give it a try. I believe Assimil will be a great help for you if you study regularly.
You already speak many languages. That’s impressive and cool! I am currently living in Austria so local people here speak German. I thought that I would learn German without any efforts just automatically because I think it’s quite an easy languages. Well, I realized that almost all people speak English to me so I haven’t studied German almost at all.
I know lots of wonderful resources how you could learn German easily. Have a look at LingQ, for example.
It is encouraging to know that with Assimil you can learn a language with just 20-30 minutes a day! Although consistency does require discipline and handwork, being able to learn a brand new language seems totally worth it. Your review gave me a way better understanding of Assimil, and I will consider it when I am looking to take up a new language. Thank you!
yeah, 20-30 minutes per day is enough for learning a new language if you spend it effectively and you give yourself time in the long run. The key is consistency.
It’s much better to study 30 minutes every day rather than 2-3 hours two days a week. Words will stick better into your brain and you don’t forget the important things. What do you think?
I have never heard of Assimil. I once tried to learn French by joining regular classes in Alliance Francaise. One of the major attraction of this institute is you will be granted vacation in France if you come first in the language test.sadly, I left the course in the middle.
Through this website, you are teaching about so many language learning methods. Thank you very much.
Yeah, now you get a second chance to learn French. 🙂 I think most online resources are much more effective than “old-school” methods when we were sitting at the classroom and listening to a local language teacher.
I think this is the method what i’m looking for. An all in one method of learning new languages. I can say that the search is over for finding a website which teaches everything in different language. But wait there is a prize, i thought this is just free but i understand because their service or efforts is hard and took them time to succeed. I hope there would be a free methods of learning the same as the way of how this method teach.
I used Assimil for free because I borrowed their material from the library. I used it when I was in Paris 🙂
In my opinion, their course isn’t expensive either.
Like many other people have said above, it’s the first time am hearing about Assimil. It sounds like a really interesting program to begin the process of learning a new language. I’ll like to give it a try but i can only do a few at a time as I’ve already kicked off with a previous recommendation of yours, Earworms. I’ve found it to be very helpful and effective. I also recommend it for anyone looking to speak like a native.
Wow! I’m so glad that you are enjoying Earworms. I believe Assimil will be helpful for you as well. It’s a little bit different method than Earworms but effective as well.
Drawing from the review and your conclusion, I think Assimil is a great tool for new language learning seekers, especially for the immediate beginners. Assimil is also very cheap to sign up with drawing a cheap price parallel from other platforms like Baselang.
Am not one cut off for one wanting to learn a new language now. But whenever I do I think I’ll give Assimil a try and see what comes out of it.
Yes, Assimil is very affordable. I think it’s the best for people who like learning with the book and audio at the same time. Some people prefer having only audio but some people want both.