Can anyone recommend the Assimil series of language courses
Thread poster: xxxwilliamson
Local time: 01:42
Dutch to English
+ ...
Jul 25, 2002

The Assimil series pretend to be a method of learning a language the natural way = Absorbing grammar and vocabulary step by step and through repetition. As I do not have spare-time to follow extra language courses during the evening and would like to know some basic Japanese and Finnish, feedback on how good such courses are would be wellcome.


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Angel Biojo
United States
Local time: 16:42
English to Spanish
Assimil Jul 25, 2002

Assimil is, in my opinion, the best method to learn a foreign language without a teacher.

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Local time: 00:42
English to French
+ ...
Yes, it's excellent to learn the basics Jul 26, 2002

I have used Assimil to start learning Spanish and Thai and I think it may be the best product around to learn how to get by in a language pretty confidently in about 2 months.

The method is deceptively simple -- just steady listening and repetition -- but IT WORKS! The text of the lessons are a little naff sometimes, but that\'s not a serious drawback.

Assimil is good by itself but, when you take into account value-for-money, it\'s brilliant compared to what you would pay for executive oriented courses like Linguaphone, not to speak of private tuition. I think the fact that it is low tech compared to CD-Rom based methods with lots of bells & whistles is also an advantage.

Beyond the basic first book, there are more advanced follow up courses in the main languages but not, I think, for Finnish or Japanese.

To progress further, you can switch to more elaborate methods, private tuition or visit the country. A single note of caution: when I started Thai, I made fast progress initially but because Assimil was based entirely on phonetic transcriptions (not native characters), I had to go back to first grade school books when I decided to learn on and that was quite painful. I\'m not sure if it would be the same with Japanese, although, unlike Thai, it\'s not tonal I think.

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Rod Darby  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:42
German to English
+ ...
love Assimil Jul 26, 2002

I used Assimil many years ago to learn Spanish (badly, as I thought), but was amazed to discover I could hold two hours\' conversation with a Spanish woman who spoke no English (long story: her husband \'dumped\' her on me at a Rugby club party in Accra - he\'d married her at the personal request of her father after he\'d got her pregnant during a Rugby tour of Spain. She was the room-maid. I gather her father was in possession of a shot-gun. I am definitely NOT kidding and can produce witnesses for this).

And, after recommending Assimil for many years, I am now using it myself to learn Italian. You have to stick at it, though, just keep repeating them dumb phrases until they stick. Then you\'ll find it\'s easy to use the same constructions with different words.

You\'ll be amazed how well it works!


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Ulrich Garn  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:42
English to German
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good listening material Aug 21, 2002

I have about 20 Assimil courses. They offer loads of great listening material, but they don\'t present the grammar very well, so you\'d need some complementary manual. The Finnish course is good, but the Japanese course is somewhat confusing. I actually use Assimil just for listening and comprehension purposes. Anyway - just one method is never enough to learn a language.

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Yuri Belov  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:42
English to Russian
+ ...
Linguaphone is better Apr 25, 2005

I helped my ex-girl friend to learn Russian, my native language, with an Assimil course "Le nouveau russe sans peine". At that time I could not find any other textbook. Together we've studied about half of the lessons. The texts were a bit boring, and grammar explanations were not always clear. There were no oral drills.

That's why I much prefer Linguaphone courses, and have used them for learning English, French and Spanish. The courses (full versions, I do not know about abridged versions like All Talk, Fastlane, Visa) are well-structured and interesting. I bought my first Linguaphone in Moscow in 1984. It cost almost two average Soviet salaries, but the course was well worth it, because it helped me to enter Moscow Linguistic University. Now I buy only used courses, which are much cheaper.

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Can anyone recommend the Assimil series of language courses

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