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Spanish with Ease (Assimil Method Books)

4.3 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-2700501315
ISBN-10: 2700501314
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Text: English, Spanish
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Product Details

  • Series: Assimil Method Books
  • Paperback: 474 pages
  • Publisher: Assimil France (January 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 2700501314
  • ISBN-13: 978-2700501315
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #945,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In Europe the Assimil books are common. On this side of the Atlantic, we are more familiar with Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur and the like. While Rosetta Stone must be good for something (I'm not rich enough to try it; it looks awful), and Pimsleur will give you a nice accent on the small vocabulary and small piece of Spanish grammar they cover, Assimil starts you on the road to language mastery. The book starts off with a 49 day "passive phase" where you will learn how to understand a big chunk of Spanish, but will not develop much in the way of productive skills. This can be frustrating, even though the actual studying is pretty close to effortless, and it only takes about a half hour a day. Assimil includes much more vocabulary and complex grammar than most "beginner" courses. Next comes the "active phase" where you actually start to be able to produce the language you have learned to recognize and understand. This is where the the brilliance of Assimil comes in; the slow start leads to an easy, fast finish, or that is the idea at least. I am not finished with the "active phase" as I write this. So far the "active phase" is even easier than the "passive phase" was.
This may not be the fastest road to fluency, but I bet it is the easiest. Harder approaches may lead to more dropouts, so for most of us this is probably the best approach. This is also the cheapest, although I wish people would stop mentioning the cheap price of Assimil compared to other language programs. If they keep this up, Amazon may raise their prices.
Let's see, one tenth the price, five times easier, leading to three or four times the ability, half as fast.
Assimil seems like a pretty good deal to me.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been learning spanish for the past 7 months and have tried 3 systems including Assimil (current system). For the first 4 months I used Pimsleur. While that was a very good system to work on pronunciation it was missing the text. I found myself asking how is that spelled and would write down the spelling on post-it notes and stick them to my dash board (not driving of course). With that I made good progress and would listen to each lesson for at least 1 or 2 days. After about 4 months I got a little bored of it and decided to change systems. I researched Lingq.com and found that to be a welcomed change. This system has the ready portion I was missing and with the ability to download content I was set. This system allows users to import audio and writings for other users like a sharing type program. This worked well for about 2 months but is was too free form since you got to pick what you wanted to work on. I will probably go back to this once I am finished with Assimil. Now Assimil. So far I am on lesson 15 and going strong at 1 lesson per day. If you do more than that I don't think you are absorbing it well. You have to take your time, this is not a race. I do have to mention that without Pimsleur and Lingq I would have a very hard time with the vocabulary. Those previous systems gave me a good base to work with and is allowing me to smoothly work through the lessons with only 4 or 5 new words per lesson. If I was brand new to spanish it would be very many more new words per lesson and would take a few days per lesson. I am able to listen to the audio on my way to and from work at least 10 to 15 times each lesson each way. This tends to drill it in. With 109 lessons with 15 review lessons (every 7th lesson) I anticipate being finished in 3-5 months. As I mentioned it is a marathon not a sprint. This is a top notch system and has what the previous systems were missing (structure, audio, and text).
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Format: Audio CD
I don't think you really can learn a foreign language on your own. But as far as these self-studying tools are concerned, Assimil's Spanish with Ease shows that they have put in the thought and effort to design the courses. It is well worth the extra money (compared to other self-taught Spanish books.)
Let me first tell you what this is not. It's not a phrase book for tourists and is not a comprehensive Spanish grammar course, and it doesn't give you a free dictionary. And you need to sit down and read the book to learn (I simply don't buy the "All-Audio" model by Living Learning.) But if you are serious about learning Spanish on your own (i.e. actually going through all the lessons), Assimil is a very effective tool.
For example, the book is printed in Spanish on odd-numbered pages and corresponding English on even-numbered pages so that people could refrain from "cheating" by looking up the English. The lessons are mostly interesting dialogues that could arise in daily life. It provides informative footnotes that explain idiomatic usages. It gives a pretty detailed grammatical appendix (including some irregular verbs) and variations of regional usages in a dozen Spanish-speaking countries. It also have very fun cartoons to go with the lessons. The accented syllables are boldfaced.
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Format: Audio CD
Assimil programs are based on effortless assimilation of the language material. I believe that Assimil programs are most popular language learning programs in Europe.

From the very beginning you are immersed in the language - the program has 109 lessons on 478 pages and 4 CDs with approximately 3 and half hours of audio entirely in Spanish.

Each lesson contains short dialogues and is accompanied by any notes and grammatical explations, which are also reviewed later on. Throughout the book are interspersed cartoons and jokes making learning of Spanish even more enjoyable and fun.

Note: The tapes / CDs that accompany the book are spoken with Castillan pronounciation - Spanish spoken in Spain - not in Latin American.

Once you're done with this book, you can continue onto the next volume - "Using Spanish".
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