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?