Assimil’s French course has been a staple in French language learning for decades. It’s time to put it to the test and find out if it lives up to its reputation as a comprehensive and effective method for self-study.
Assimil is a France-based publishing company that specialises in publishing foreign language courses. Created by Alphonse Chérel in 1929, the company has grown into a household name in France, however outside it isn’t nearly as well-known. Assimil is a popular language learning method that uses a combination of listening, reading, and speaking exercises to help learners acquire a new language. Many people have had success with the Assimil method and find it to be an effective way to learn a new language.
The Assimil method is based on Intuitive Assimilation which was created by Alphonse Chéral. The method consists of working your way through the first half of the course known as the passive phase, during which you immerse yourself in the language simply by reading and repeating each lesson. Once you have completed the passive phase you move on to the active phase where you go back over the previous lessons while continuing to learn the new lessons.
One of the key features of the Assimil method is its emphasis on immersion. The method uses native speakers and authentic materials, such as dialogues and texts, to simulate the experience of living in a foreign country and learning the language naturally. This helps learners develop a feel for the rhythm, pronunciation, and idiomatic expressions of the language, which are essential for speaking and understanding it fluently.
Another advantage of the Assimil method is its flexibility. It’s designed to be self-paced, so learners can work at their own speed and adjust the level of difficulty to their abilities and needs. The method also offers a range of materials, including books, audio CDs, and online resources, so learners can choose the format that suits them best.
The Assimil French 2020 edition contains 100 lessons with 812 pages in total. Quite a leap from 634 from the previous edition (1998).
- About the Assimil Method (expectations, how does it work)
- Pronunciation (vowels, accented vowels, consonants, linkage and liaison, stress)
- Lessons 1 to 100 (pages 1-634)
- Grammar Overview (pages 636-667)
- French – English Lexicon (pages 668-738)
- English – French Lexicon (pages 739-811)
The book’s layout is similar to that of a parallel text, you have the target language on the left and the teaching language on the right. The lessons follow a uniform approach comprising of :
- Dialogue – Parallel dialogues English/French
- Notes – Usually explaining small grammar points relating to the dialogue
- Translation exercises – translate French sentences into your L1 (native language/teaching language)
- Fill in the blank exercise.
- There is a revision lesson every seventh lesson which goes over various grammar points and expressions that were introduced in the previous lessons.
There aren’t any huge layout changes compared to the previous edition, only font colour and sizing seem changed.