Assimil course: my favorite method to start learning a language

For those who are wondering : no, I don’t speak all the languages mentioned below. I just happen to have an unfortunate tendency to feel like learning all languages at the same time …

Let me declare it very solemnly : my favorite method to begin learning a language is by far the With Ease collection of the Assimil course. I’ve tried many others, that’s true, but I always come back to this one. I’ve tried it (to learn Rumanian, Arabic, Norvegian and Russian) and found it painless every time, which is a noteworthy feature for a language learning method.

Now, here is all the good I think of the Assimil course :

#1. The learning process is smooth

Each lesson builds on the former one without mind-churning, overwhelming complexities. There usually are 100 lessons and each one comes with only a few new things to learn, vocabulary and grammar mixed as needed. It’s a discovery process, not a painful grammatical obstacle course.

After 50 lessons, it is recommended that you go back to the first one to see if you can translate your earlier lessons (from English to the one you’re learning) and so, I’ve tried : it’s in fact nice to check on the progress made with ease.

#2. There is an Assimil course that is unique for every language

Not only does each new lesson build upon the former one, but it is also adapted to the tongue in question. The lessons of the Chinese Assimil method don’t lookn like the ones for German for example.
A cultural environment that is adapted to the language you’re learning is important. It helps to put the vocabulary and even the grammar in context.
Moreover, if you happen to learn another language with the same method, you will memorize vocabulary within a new ambiance, with other texts (written or spoken) and other drawings. Below for example, you can see that the 3rd lesson for Arabic is not at all the same as the 3rd lesson for Norvegian above.

#3. Nice drawings !

I personnally think that a language course without cartoon-like drawings is just worthless. That’s only my opinion, I understand, but it’s quite firm ! Just look for yourself :

We all learn languages differently. Those who have a memory that is more visual than auditive surely understand me. The others though can look at the next section below because Assimil has it all planned out.

#4. Other supports : CDs, DVDs, MP3s, e-books, e-method

If it exists, Assimil has it ! Here are the different formats of learning materials for an English-speaking person learning French :
– book + CD MP3
– book + CD audio
– book alone
– MP3 recordings alone
– audio recordings alone
– e-method

Nota bene : I found all those infos on the French Assimil website. The available formats (formats disponibles in French) display as icons below on the right :

#5. The speakers you get to hear are native ones

They learned those languages as babies, no foreign accents allowed in the Assimil course ! Now, don’t misunderstand me : foreign accents are, I think, very sexy. This is another quite firm opinion of mine. Foreign-sounding accents are living proofs of a person’s huge efforts to understand what a bunch of other people are saying and that’s very sexy.

While learning a language though, it’s essential that you listen to native speakers. They use the right tone when they vocalize sounds, exclamations, syllables that are not completely pronounced and syllables on which on the contrary to put emphasis. Native speakers intuitively do the job and your beautiful foreign accent will find its natural rhythm more easily if you listen to them.

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