Assimil Language Learning Series Review

Assimil is the ‘off-the-beaten-track’ version of the Teach Yourself series. It’s suggested as an alternative every so often.

What is Assimil?

Assimil is a French company, formed in 1929. Originally, the courses were for French speakers, looking to learn English. To this day, there aren’t as many courses with an English base as other series. That said, the company has diversified, and offers courses with a range of bases, German and Hungarian having a reasonable selection. The language learning courses are comprehensive, similar to Teach Yourself or Colloquial, but with quite a different approach. They’re also more in depth in general. The word Assimil is derived from assimilation, which is about the sum total of how their approach actually works.

How does Assimil work?

There are generally one hundred lessons in each Assimil program. For the first fifty lessons, you’ll be doing reading and listening. The books are generally set out in a similar way. Each lesson is a double page. The first page represents dialogues in the target language, and the second page is the first language translation. The accompanying audio is a recording of the dialogue.

Why Should/Shouldn’t I use Assimil?


What are the benefits of Assimil?

  • It is far more in depth in terms of the amount of language covered than its counterparts Teach Yourself and Colloquial.
  • Using sentences as the base for learning as opposed to vocabulary is great idea.
  • If your goal is to read non-fiction in your target language, the course is great because of it’s approach and style. In general, Assimil handles passive learning a lot better than active learning.

What are the problems with Assimil?

The dialogue is unnatural. Some of the conversations are not so realistic, and they cover ground that you’re unlikely to ever need to cover. I suppose it’s good because it helps you to think outside the tourist box that Teach Yourself and Colloquial provide. That said, a better medium could probably have been established.

You don’t start doing any active skills until you’re well into the course. Most courses don’t start with active learning until you are on lesson 50 of 100. This is not so great.

Most of the courses aren’t available in English. There are over one hundred language courses available using the Assimil method, but only about ten of those are available to English speakers. Of course, you could always use our language learning method to pick up a second language, then do the Assimil course for your third language in your second language.

Where can I get Assimil products?

You can get Assimil products at the best price from Amazon. You can use our links below to search for them for your target language:

Assimil (US) or Assimil at Amazon UK

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