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A Natural Method of Learning: Assimil



The Assimil Method, a renowned approach in language learning, stands out for its unique combination of simplicity and effectiveness. Developed by Alphonse Chérel in 1929, the method has been refined over decades, yet retains the essence of its initial design - making language learning accessible and natural. 


Central to the Assimil Method is its intuitive and gradual approach to language learning. Unlike methods that rely heavily on rote memorization or immediate immersion, Assimil introduces learners to a new language in a phased manner. Initially, learners are exposed to simple, everyday dialogues, which gradually increase in complexity. This incremental approach aligns with natural language acquisition, as it allows learners to build a solid foundation before progressing to more complex structures. Each lesson in Assimil includes dialogues, explanatory notes, and exercises, providing a comprehensive learning experience.


Another hallmark of the Assimil Method is its emphasis on passive learning in the initial stages, followed by active application. In the passive phase, learners are encouraged to absorb the language through reading and listening, with an aim to understand without pressure to speak immediately. This immersion helps in internalizing language patterns and vocabulary. The active phase, which usually begins after a solid understanding is established, encourages learners to start speaking and using the language actively. This transition from passive to active learning ensures that learners are well-prepared and confident in their language use.



Assimil offers a range of courses prepared for different learning objectives. The "Learn" series targets beginners, aiming to bring them up to an A2 level in language proficiency, while the "With Ease" series focuses on teaching basic rules of grammar and a vocabulary of 2000-3000 words​​. For advanced learners, the "Perfectionnement" and "Using" series delves into the more sophisticated aspects of the language, including idiosyncrasies and idioms. Additionally, the method meets the specialized needs with its Business series, Idioms series, and Slang series, each designed to address specific aspects of language use like business vocabulary, common idioms, and contemporary slang​​. Specifically designed for beginners, the Assimil courses offer an easy entry into language learning. Each course begins with a comprehensive introduction to the language, including pronunciation guides, writing system details, and general language features, before diving into the core lessons​​. This beginner-friendly approach reduces the initial intimidation often associated with learning a new language, easing learners into the process.



The Assimil Method also stands out for its focus on contextual learning. The dialogues and materials are designed to reflect real-life situations, making the language practical and relevant. This context-based learning aids in better retention and application, as learners can relate the language to actual scenarios they might encounter. Moreover, the method offers insights into the culture associated with the language, providing learners a more holistic understanding beyond mere linguistic competence.


In terms of accessibility, the Assimil Method is known for its user-friendly format. The materials, including books and audio recordings, are designed to be self-explanatory and suitable for self-study. This feature is particularly beneficial for learners who may not have access to formal language classes or prefer to learn at their own pace. The flexibility of the method, coupled with its comprehensive content, makes it a favored choice for independent language learners worldwide.


In conclusion, the Assimil Method offers an effective, intuitive, and flexible approach to language learning. Its phased, context-based, and learner-centric model is consistent with the natural process of language acquisition. By balancing passive absorption with active application and providing practical, real-life contexts, the Assimil Method not only facilitates linguistic proficiency but also fosters a deeper appreciation and understanding of the language and its cultural nuances. For learners seeking a comprehensive, self-guided language learning journey, the Assimil Method is undoubtedly a strong contender.


References


Assimil method review. Comenius Trilinguis. (2022, June 2). https://comeniustrilinguis.wordpress.com/2020/01/15/assimil-method-review/


Assimil Review - a fresh look at a longstanding resource. All Language Resources. (2023, July 20). https://www.alllanguageresources.com/assimil/


Kennedy, S. (2022, May 21). An honest and thorough review of Assimil. Eurolinguiste. https://eurolinguiste.com/an-honest-and-thorough-review-of-assimil/









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