- Series: With Ease
- Paperback: 636 pages
- Publisher: French and European Publications Inc; Bilingual edition (January 26, 2016)
- Language: French, English
- ISBN-10: 2700518136
- ISBN-13: 978-2700518139
- Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Assimil French Pack : book + 4 audio CD 's [ French for English speakers ] (With Ease) (French and English Edition) (French) Bilingual Edition
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Having done all of this, I can say that my level in French went from near zero to a much higher level. This course has been far more useful and content rich than Routledge's Colloquial French. If you can only have one, choose this one!
If you haven't used Assimil before, it's basically a graded bilingual reader with grammar notes. French on the left, English on the right. The dialogues are usually cute and have a bit of humor, but not all. The later lessons discuss topics like slang, idioms, history, culture, work, and moving in France. I enjoyed majority of the lessons, but a few felt a bit less interesting.
Every seventh lesson is a review lesson. You are supposed to do one per day. The CDs contain French-only audio, which is used during normal study. Each non-review lesson has the entire dialogue recorded, and the first set of exercises. These are great transcription practice. On the 50th lesson, they give you "the active wave", where in addition to doing one new lesson, you also review lesson 1, but translate the English into French. I prefer to just review.
Assimil is extremely good for self-study. If you are the type who can sit down and really focus for 30-60 minutes, this course is great for you. I kept a dated journal where I did my lessons. I wrote out each exercise in full and transcribed the first set (since they are recorded, why not?). Reading aloud and shadowing the speakers was also tough but rewarding. It was quite a workout overall!
Like most course books, you get out of it what you put back in. You will forget things, so the more often you read/hear/speak certain words or phrase, the more likely they are to be familiar and available to you when you need to speak/write. Doing the exercises can seem mechanical and like a waste of time, but since I used them to practice transcriptions and spelling, I can say they really helped. It's hard to memorize where some of the accents or silent letters go, but I assure you that if you have written them over and over, you will have internalized it.
I did some additional reading/listening (audiobooks+ebooks), and that also helped with this course, that is, kept the language comprehensible and the difficulty level down.
This book covers the present tense, present perfect tense ("have verbed"), imperfect, future, conditional, and touches on the present subjunctive. This is most of what is required for normal conversations. It doesn't cover the literary past tenses. I guess we'll have to see if their advanced course, Using French, covers these. Nonetheless, they aren't terribly difficult to learn from just reading.
My only complaint is that some of the audio files in the CD were labeled wrong, so i had to refer to the book to correctly name the audio files on the CD. Also, had a hard time burning the cds onto my laptop. I had to use some other laptop to burn them, for some reason mine would not read them (not sure if it's a common problem). Above all, I'm really enjoying the lesson and feel that I'm benefiting from them.