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Ranking of Assimil courses

  Tags: Hit List | Assimil
 Language Learning Forum : Language Programs, Books & Tapes Post Reply
64 messages over 8 pages: 13 4 5 6 7 8 Next >>

Winner TAC 2012
Joined 4113 days ago

5446 posts - 6003 votes 
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Speaks: German*, DutchC1, EnglishB2, French, Italian, Spanish, Esperanto
Studies: Latin, Danish, Norwegian, Turkish
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 Message 9 of 64
15 April 2011 at 8:12pm | IP Logged 
This is very interesting to compary different ASSIMIL courses respective their quality.

I cannot compare because I have only experience with

- Türkisch ohne Mühe

which is of excellent quality. I especially appreciate the additional information which is given on life in Turkey and the Turkish culture.

1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 4277 days ago

4399 posts - 7687 votes 
Speaks: Lowland Scots, English*, French, Spanish, Scottish Gaelic
Studies: Catalan, Italian, German, Irish, Welsh

 Message 10 of 64
15 April 2011 at 10:12pm | IP Logged 
ChiaBrain wrote:
I remember reading a post of Professor Arguelles' saying that their "El Catalan Sin
Esfuerzo" (Catalan for Spanish Speaking People) was their best work.

I found the French version (which uses the same audio) very good. (Caveat emptor: I used it after learning Spanish, French and some Italian.)

The Basque book I got (Iniciación al Euskara) was pretty horrendous. The first few lessons were uncharacteristically phrasebooky, and had a list of conjugated verbs tacked on the end. There were several exchanges of the sort:
"who is that?
"that is Koldo? He is a student."
"And who are they?"
"They are Inaki and Amaia."
"Are they students?"
"No, they are teachers."

I know exactly why they did it this way... "because Basque is different".
Yeah, well, if it is too different to be taught "the Assimil way", why try?

Some of the dialogues had a narrator. A) No natural dialogues have narrators. B) The narrator talks just like the conversants, which I find really disorientating.
5 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 3719 days ago

1349 posts - 2292 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, English, Spanish, Catalan
Studies: French, German, Latin

 Message 11 of 64
15 April 2011 at 11:30pm | IP Logged 
Cainntear wrote:
ChiaBrain wrote:
I remember reading a post of Professor Arguelles' saying that their "El
Catalan Sin
Esfuerzo" (Catalan for Spanish Speaking People) was their best work.

I found the French version (which uses the same audio) very good.

Are you sure they share the audio? The Spanish version has 70 lessons. The French version, at least the one that
they sell nowadays, has 100 lessons.
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 3611 days ago

727 posts - 1830 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*

 Message 12 of 64
16 April 2011 at 1:27am | IP Logged 
It would be very difficult for me to rank Assimil courses since how one experiences them is directly related to the level at which they are used. It is not the same to start with an Assimil course from zero than to use one to build upon already laid foundations. In my case, I like to use Assimil once I'm at the intermediate stage, and prefer grammar-translation types to start a language.
4 persons have voted this message useful

Super Polyglot
Senior Member
ArgentinaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4794 days ago

286 posts - 581 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*, French, English, German, Italian, Portuguese, Norwegian, Catalan, Dutch, Swedish, Danish
Studies: Russian, Indonesian, Romanian, Polish, Icelandic

 Message 13 of 64
16 April 2011 at 11:05am | IP Logged 
Excellent: Italian (10), English (10), French (9), Dutch (9), Portuguese (continental, 8), German (8), Polish (8), French Perf. (9),
German Perf (8). (points)
Good: Swedish and Dutch Perf. 7/10 for both
Boring: Italian Perf (boring lessons, useless vocabulary and horrendous typography). 3/10
Outrageous: Inglés Perfeccionamiento (it's all about politics and economy). 1/10
5 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3831 days ago

937 posts - 1835 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: French, German, Latin

 Message 14 of 64
16 April 2011 at 11:31am | IP Logged 
Here is my opinion - of the ones I have used:

1. New French With Ease, Dutch with Ease, Le Latin (which, contrary to most, I rate above the old Latin Sans Peine), German Without Toil, Danois Sans Peine, Italian Without Toil (which is worth it for the songs alone!),
2. French without Toil (I love this course, but its chaotic layout lacks the elegance of the New French with Ease offering), German With Ease (good but let down by its mistakes), Using French, Spanish Without Toil, Spanish With Ease
3. Italian With Ease, Dutch without Toil, , Latin Sans Peine (let down by its audio), Le Grec sans Peine
4. Using Spanish (too many mistakes)

I have the perfecting series for Dutch, German and Italian but I haven't used them, so I can't comment.

2 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3548 days ago

261 posts - 365 votes 
Studies: Italian

 Message 15 of 64
16 April 2011 at 12:57pm | IP Logged 
zerothinking wrote:
It does seem to me that language courses were better in the past. Exception being we now have audio easily available.

I've heard a lot of people say this about Assimil. I myself have two copies of Assimil Dutch - one from the 1970s and one from the late 1980s. I must confess that I have not actually used either of them (yet!) But on the basis of a fairly careful examination, I would have to agree that the earlier one is clearly better. The more recent one one still looks, by any average standards, very good. Yet the 1970s edition still manages to surpass it.

There was often a kind of quirky humour with the earlier Assimil courses. They contained jokes, funny stories, etc, which made them real fun to read. This is less apparent in the more recent editions.
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
United States
Joined 3713 days ago

292 posts - 816 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Italian, Spanish, Latin, Uzbek

 Message 16 of 64
16 April 2011 at 6:32pm | IP Logged 
From my own experiences:

L'Alsacien sans peine - dialogs felt real and mirrored the culture described
Using French - I used this in France; every day I noticed and got to make use of the things I was learning, so on the money for semi-formal conversation in the '90s at least
Italian with ease (older version) - funny stories where the humor heightened the experience and helped you pick up on what was going on

Pretty good:
Breton sans peine (Morvannou's 2 tome set) - nice presentation of the language and the dialogs felt authentic. But the attempt to present all four dialects was an overreach
Latin sans peine - fun presentation, but I moved on to other things before finishing it
Le Nouvel espagnol sans peine - nice culture notes and the dialogs were fun, if not as funny as earlier Assimils; better than Spanish with ease, which was reviewed accurately above

Le nouvel italien sans peine - Just did not flow like an Assimil book should
Chinese with ease? - I couldn't get into it

L'Arabe sans peine

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