About Assimil Arabic Method.
The first series of Assimil were published more than 70 years ago by a French based company. Today Assimil method is very popular in Europe and there are courses available to learn many different languages including Arabic. While there are usually more series available in French, English speakers can find courses available for them too. In case are an English speaker and you want to learn Arabic, Assimil offers a course called Arabic with Ease. The content in this course consists of 1 book, 4 audio CD’s as well as 1 MP3 CD. By finishing this whole course learners can expect to achieve B2 level at this language (intermediate speaker).
The uniqueness of Assimil method is that it teaches Arabic through more organic approach. Instead of giving you lists of vocabulary to learn or words taken out of context, this course will teach you a new language through full sentences and examples. Each lesson of this course includes a short dialogue in Arabic and then you will find translation of this conversation in English on the other page. The difficulty of each text will start to increase once you will progress with lessons. In addition to reading texts you will also need to listen to audio CD’s, which contain the same dialogues. This will help to learn proper pronunciation of each word and improve your Arabic listening and speaking skills. It is also worthwhile to mention that in Assimil you will find short notes explaining new language & grammar concepts that were used in the dialogues. Also some lessons will include translation exercises that are aimed at improving your retention rate.
Arabic with Ease series contain a total of 77 lessons. Each lesson is not too long so it is possible to complete it within 30 minutes or less time per day. If you can dedicate this much time daily you will be able to complete the whole series in less than 3 months’ time and be able to converse in Arabic comfortably.
Review of The Main Pros and Cons.
The Main Pros:
- Assimil teaches MSA, which is a formal variation of Arabic language. This can be seen as a benefit by learners who are studying Arabic for academic purposes and as a drawback by users who are learning this foreign language for communication purposes;
- It is worthwhile to consider Assimil course if you are interested in improving all areas of Arabic language – reading, writing, speaking, listening and learning some basic grammar. Also you can learn some useful information about Arabic culture through dialogues since their cover everyday situations;
- Assimil course can be very useful for Arabic learners who want to expand their vocabulary. By finishing With Ease series you can expect to learn at least 1500 new Arabic words;
- Since Assimil includes both audio and written material it can work great for both audible and visual Arabic learners;
- It is not too difficult to immerse into Arabic when studying via Assimil because audios contain only dialogues in target language, book includes transcript of dialogues on different page and there aren’t too much explanations in English either;
- Since dialogues in Assimil lessons cover everyday situations you can learn essential Arabic phrases and words that would be useful when traveling to countries that speak this language;
- Learners can learn correct pronunciation and good accent from Assimil audios since they are recorded by native Arabic speakers;
- Although studying material in Assimil comes in a form of book it is quite convenient course for studying Arabic while on the move. The book is very small so you can carry it with you everywhere you go and audios can be transferred to any supporting device. Each lesson can be completed in approximately 30 minutes or less, which makes Assimil a suitable course for busy learners too;
- After each lesson of Assimil you will find short notes explaining grammar and other aspects of Arabic language that were used in the dialogues so you will not need to do any guessing. Also there are transcripts of dialogues included in both English and Arabic so you will always know what a particular phrase or word means;
- Some lessons in Assimil include humorous cartoon. While it doesn’t compare with games, flashcards and other features that are found in competitor courses, it definitely helps to enrich written content and make this course less monotonic;
The Main Cons:
- One of the biggest drawbacks of Assimil is that it is quite difficult to retain material from this course. This is mainly because some new Arabic vocabulary appears only once in the lesson and there aren’t sufficient workouts or features included that would help to keep retention rate high;
- It can be said that Assimil is not very suitable course for learners who need to learn how to communicate in Arabic fast. This is because these series teach Arabic by introducing full sentences of this language so it can take a while until you will start noticing patterns and be able to construct your own sentences;
- In order to progress with Assimil you need to be very motivated Arabic learner. This is because this course doesn’t include motivation boosting features like exercises based on point system, leaderboard that are found in some other Arabic online programs. Also it might be quite difficult to keep track of your progress with Arabic language since there are no quizzes, games, ability to rate difficulty of lessons and etc.;
- Since audios in this Arabic course are not interactive, you can only improve your speaking skills through repeating. Other courses like Rocket, Michel Thomas or Pimsleur either offers interactive audio lessons or they include features & programs that would encourage learners to speak Arabic out load;
- Provided notes in each lesson of Assimil are useful for understanding main concepts of Arabic grammar; however this is definitely not sufficient if you want to have in depth understanding in this area;
- At the moment there is only one series of Assimil Arabic available for English speakers. Additional series are available too; however they are aimed for French speakers;
- Although the price of Arabic with Ease series is not too high (~170 USD) there are cheaper courses available for learning this foreign language that include even more studying material & features (i.e. Living Language);
What Do User Reviews Say?
While for other languages Assimil series tend to have a lot of consumer reviews, this doesn’t seem to be the case with Arabic. Despite that it is possible to find a couple of user testimonials sharing their experience about this Arabic course. These reviews confirm that Assimils’ method is effective for studying Arabic and it provides basic, but clear explanations on grammar. Read a few actual user testimonials of Assimil Arabic course bellow.
If you are interested in reading further consumer reviews of Assimil Arabic, visit Amazon page here.
To come to the end of this review, it can be said that most learners can benefit greatly from a course like Assimil because it offers quality and well laid out material & method for studying Arabic. If you need to learn MSA dialect of Arabic, this course can help you greatly expand your vocabulary, teach you some basic grammar concepts as well as improve speaking & listening skills.
However if you are learning Arabic for communication purposes, it might be worthwhile to consider alternative courses that either teach other dialects of Arabic or are more oriented for travelers. Also Assimil lacks quizzes, exercises, flashcards and other features that would be useful for increasing retention rate & making this course more engaging.
Where to buy Assimil Arabic Courses?
In case you live outside of Europe, it might be a bit difficult to find where to purchase Assimil Arabic series since they are released by French based company. Some retailers that sell this course at the moment are either EBay or Amazon.
Depending on which version of this course you will decide to get, the price can vary anywhere from $60-$170. While some users might be tempted to buy cheaper version of Assimil (only book), it would be difficult to know the right pronunciation and progress with this language without audio CD’s. In my opinion it is essential to get Assimil version with audios in order get full benefits of this course and its method. Otherwise it might be a better idea to consider alternative Arabic studying material.