Assimil Chinese review.

About Assimil Chinese Course.

One of the most popular series from Assimil for Mandarin learners is called Chinese with Ease. These series consist of a total of 105 lessons and they are divided into two volumes. The first volume includes a total of 49 lessons and it follows passive phase of this course. Passive phase means that you only need to read the dialogues provided and then listen to audio CD’s and repeat the conversations. The second volume includes additional 56 lessons and they follow active phase. This phase means that besides listening and reading dialogues you will also need to complete some exercises and there will be reviews of previous lessons provided too. Both of these mentioned volumes come together with 4 audio CD’s, which includes dialogues that are presented in the books.

In each lesson of Assimil you will be provided with a dialogue in Chinese language, which will also have translation to English language on the right side of the page. These conversations are quite lively, since they cover everyday events in China and uses useful phrases and vocabulary. At the end of the page there are also some notes provided, which will explain grammar and other concepts that are being used in these conversations. In order to know how to pronounce words that are being used there are also some pronunciation keys provided at the end of the page and you can also listen to audio CD’s that are included in this course. In addition to that, after each 6 lessons there will be a review a lesson included too. When you will move to 2-nd volume of these series each lesson will also include some translation exercises, which will help you increase retention on the material that you are learning. It is worthwhile to mention that Chinese series have dialogues written in both characters and Pinyin. Also introduction of this course presents users with information on Chinese tones and Pinyin writing system that are very important when learning this foreign language.

Writing-Chinese-With-Ease-book

It is also worthwhile to mention that Assimil offers additional book for Mandarin learners, which is called Writing Chinese with Ease. As the name of this book suggests it is aimed at users who want to learn how to write Chinese characters. It is best to use this book in combination with Chinese with Ease books; however it can be also used separately by learners who want to learn writing system of this language.

What Do Consumer Reviews Say?

In general Assimil courses have very positive feedback from its users; however it can be said that they are a bit less positive when it comes to Chinese language. Some users of this course point out that Assimil doesn’t always provide accurate translations or that it lacks humor that is present in other series of Assimil.

Despite these small errors, they still recommend Assimil course for studying Chinese since it can be a valuable source of vocabulary, examples, explanations and etc. Read a couple of actual user reviews of Assimil Chinese course bellow.

Assimil-Chinese-testimonials

For more consumer reviews of Assimil Mandarin course, visit Amazon page here.

Review of the Main Pros and Cons of Assimil Chinese.

The Main Pros:

  • The uniqueness of Assimil course is that it teaches Mandarin by introducing you to full sentences of this language, so you can see how Chinese is structured and later start to notice patterns. Due to this you can see how this language works, which is a great benefit over courses that only provide you with lists of vocabulary to learn (that are taken out of context);
  • By finishing both of Chinese With Ease books you can expect to expand your Mandarin vocabulary by about 1500 words, which is quite a lot than compared with similar courses;
  • Both audible and visual Chinese learners can benefit from Assimil course, since it includes audios and books;
  • Even though Assimil doesn’t provide users of this course with extensive grammar explanations or lists of rules to learn, provided notes are sufficient to understand the main Chinese grammar concepts;
  • There is a transcript of dialogues provided in both Pinyin and Chinese characters, so with Assimil you can also improve your writing and reading skills. You should also know that Assimil offers additional book (Writing Chinese with Ease) for learners who want to learn writing system of this language, which can be bought separately;
  • It is not too difficult to immerse yourself into Chinese language while using this course, since Assimil includes very little English language, which is necessary for providing explanations. It is also worthwhile to mention that you will only hear Mandarin in audio lessons;
  • Although Assimil doesn’t offer features like games or quizzes, provided dialogues are quite fun to read so you will not get bored while studying via this course. Also almost every lesson comes with a cartoon, which makes these lessons a bit less monotonic and enrich written content;
  • You can learn how to pronounce Mandarin words correctly from Assimil course since books come together with audio CD’s where you will hear native speakers of this language. It is also worthwhile to mention that letters in the dialogues that need to be stressed out are bolded, so you can learn how to say words correctly;
  • By learning from Assimil course, you will be able to take part in real life conversations quite fast. This is because provided dialogues in the book uses very useful vocabulary and phrases. Due to this it can be said that Assimil can be used as a survival course when visiting Mandarin speaking country;
  • It is not necessary to dedicate much time daily while learning via Assimil course, since each lesson is quite short and you can complete it within 15-30 minutes;
  • Even though Assimil doesn’t provide learners with extensive Chinese culture lessons, there is some useful information in this area provided in the dialogues;
  • Assimil can be considered as one in all solution for learning Mandarin, because it provides material that can help to improve your Chinese speaking, reading, writing, listening, grammar skills and also it presents learners with some culture information.

The Main Cons:

  • It can be said that Assimil course is not the quickest way to learn how to speak Chinese. By using courses like Rocket or Michel Thomas you can start speaking this language from the first lesson and with Assimil it might take at least a couple of weeks since learners are being thought this language through sentences and patterns.
  • The other limitation of Assimil is that you can only improve your speaking skills by repeating tapes that are provided with this course. Other programs that are reviewed in this website provide Chinese learners with features like Speech Recognition (Rosetta Stone) and Voice comparison (Rocket) that encourage users to speak out load more often;
  • Since the main material in Assimil course comes in a form of books, it is not very convenient way to learn Mandarin while on the go;
  • Assimil doesn’t provide learners with features that would keep their motivation to study Chinese further (like leaderboards, quizzes and self-rating), which are found in some online courses that are reviewed in this website.
  • Some learners might find it too difficult to retain information from Assimil course, since some vocabulary only appears in a couple of lessons. Also this course provide learners with very little exercises that would help to increase retention;

Summary of a Review.

To conclude this review it can be said Assimil offers quality courses for Chinese learners that follow proven to work and effective method for learning foreign languages. Before considering purchasing one of Assimil courses it is important to keep in mind that this method requires to be very persistent while studying so it is more suitable for serious Mandarin learners. So if you can’t dedicate at least 15 minutes of your time daily, you might not get very good results with this course.

Some of the strong sides of this course are that it teaches Mandarin vocabulary that is practical, provides easy to understand language and grammar explanations, comes together with quality audio CD’s and can help to improve all aspects of this foreign language. Some of the weak sides of Assimil are that it is not the most convenient course for learning Chinese on the go, it doesn’t provide learners with sufficient exercises that would keep retention high and material lacks engagement.

If you think that Assimil’s method of teaching Mandarin might be not suitable for your learning style you should also check our detailed review article about Chinese Learning Programs Online.

Where to buy Assimil Chinese Courses?Buy-Chinese-Assimil-courses

Since Assimil courses are made by French based company and they are more oriented for European market, they are available only at a couple of retailers in USA. One good place to buy Assimil Mandarin courses is from Amazon.

At the moment you can find both volumes of Chinese with Ease on this website and they come together with audio CD’s. The price for the first volume is ~$64 and the second volume is another ~$70 so you can buy both of these books for ~$134. In case one of your goals is to learn Chinese characters too you should also consider buying Writing Chinese with Ease book, which is currently priced at ~$25.

Find Assimil Chinese Courses on Amazon.