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As the last lesson told, it's hard to depart from this lovely book A very friendly, open-minded, concise, plain-written book; a must-have for any Language learner. I finished this book today, and here is my review.
I started off doing a lesson each day using a Pomodoro timer. At that pace, you can complete this book in just over 3 months. However, later on I doubled my workload and I covered the last 40 chapters in 18 days. The structure of the book is as follows: There are footnotes within the German text to explain pertinent grammatical points.
After the text, there are I finished this book today, and here is my review.
After the text, there are two exercises. The first is a reading exercise, that mimics vocabulary and grammar introduced by the main text. The second is a 'fill in the blank'-type exercise that's a very simple and useful check to see if you absorbed the new vocabulary and how the new grammatical structure works. Both exercises are very short. The course has audio, wherein the main text and the first exercise of each chapter is read clearly. The audio is slower in the earlier chapters, and then approaches conversational speed in the later chapters.
Starting at lesson 50, you are required to do a 'second wave', whereby you revise the book starting at chapter 1, simultaneously continuing with lesson 50 onwards.
In other words, you do lesson 50 with lesson 1, lesson 51 with lesson 2, and so on. You will realise how much you have learned during this second wave.
You'll remember how you struggled in the beginning and how much easier it seems to be now. I haven't done a unique word count of this book, but I've read online that the word count is upwards of I have yet to take a Goethe test, but the short preliminary tests on the Goethe site put me somewhere around B2.
Personally, I think I'm closer to a B1. I've made this progress mostly using this book, Seago's Intermediate Grammar book, and by reading general stuff in German online. To get the most out of this book, I did the following: Read the main text.
Write out the main text. Write translations above new words.
Later, these will be added to my flashcard deck. Underline any grammar I'm not sure about, so I can look it up online.
Do the exercises. I listen to the audio at another time, such as when I'm cycling to work, or going to sleep. I do this so that my brain can mull over the content when I'm in different places and different states of mind. I do Anki flashcards every day with the above content. I ought to translate the English back to German, but I never did.
During the last 20 or so chapters, I wasn't sure if I was making any more progress. It seemed as though a new idea was being introduced in each chapter, and then not used again. This isn't true in the earlier chapters, where ideas are continually building on one another. I suppose it's inevitable for any text to do this: There was nothing to eat in the fridge, so I went out to the restaurant across the way.
What kind of food do you like? I really like that Assimil jumps right in and skips the laborious introductions that span several chapters in other courses. But this also means that depending on the learner and depending on the language, the usefulness of the material in the books really varies. Overall, the language in the texts is relatively formal. Personally, I prefer this.
I would rather be overly formal than rudely informal. Especially with a language like Korean where honorifics are important. Assimil claim that their Sans Peine series will take learners to the B2 level according to the CEFR scale and that their Perfectionnement series will get you to the C1 level.
In terms of vocabulary, it was not as thorough as I would like from a course that works through so many levels. For most learners, this is fine because relying on just one course or learning tool to teach you a language is never a good strategy, but it could be deceiving for those expecting an all-in-one language resource.
I will say this: Because the Sans Peine course gets to B2 level in about 71 lessons, they quickly grow challenging. What Could be Better about Assimil?
I did have some issues with the Assimil approach. The introductions and basic pleasantries were not as in-depth as I would have expected for a course aimed at beginners. There are some phrases that fall into this category, but the course quickly shifts into situational and culture-related dialogues.
The one thing that I would really love to see added to the series would be additional relevant phrases at the end of each chapter. These could be phrases that might fit into the example dialogue and they would serve two beneficial purposes. One, you could role play and swap out some of the phrases so you really get to maximise the dialogues in the book. And two, you get additional vocabulary and phrases suitable to the theme of each chapter without having to figure out the grammar to piece them together yourself.
Most computers no longer have a disc drive built in, so I had limited listening options. Fortunately, there is now an option to download the course with a USB key with the audio. Finally, the selection of Assimil courses available to English speakers is relatively small in comparison to their overall catalogue. This also makes accessibility outside of Europe somewhat difficult or more expensive. If you do speak French or another continental European language , however, Assimil is an excellent resource to work on laddering.
Today, we have the pleasure of welcoming the actor Alain Belon. Thank you for coming, Alain! Ignore the exercises, or use them as additional sources of example sentences as discussed above with accueillir.
Ignore most of the instructions. You can learn a lot more from other uses of your time. Also, if you end up downloading one, make sure it comes with the CDs. I suspect that this has something to do with old, out of print versions, which are reputedly a bit better in terms of their content.