Assimil vs. Mini stories

I want to start Spanish soon as my second foreign language and intended to primarily use Assimil for my intensive study for the first few weeks and supplement this by the LingQ Mini stories. Many people seem to rate Assimil highly but on listening to Steve’s recent video however, he found it a bit limited with the extend of vocab and the story-line being somewhat uninteresting.

Perhaps I should change things round…primarily use the Mini-stories for intensive study for the first few weeks, supplemented by Assimil. Do you think this is a better idea to get the intial grasp of the language? I have a B2 level in French.

Hi Villiers, I have not heard of Assimil, nor used. it. There are lots and lots of interesting things to read in Spanish on LingQ, There is also lots and lots of duscussion on how to learn languages in Spanish too. Not just the mini stories. For me I am very impressed with LingQ. The concept of parsing the language into 2 or 3 or 4 work segments is brilliant for aquiring a language. I primarily use LingQ for all my language studies. I am Learning German and keeping up with my Spanish. I do use another app called Duolingo for both German and Spanish. But from there I use it becausue I can Study Spanish and English with German as the base language, and I study German and English with Spanish as the base language. For me Studying Spanish with English as the base language on Duolingo I find too tyring as I am about a C1 or C2 in Spanish. Hope this helps. oh… also I do a lot of other things too… Like watch Netflix in Spanish or German… etc. To vary my content.

I’ve found that the mini stories are a little too difficult for an absolute beginner, and that Assimil is better at easing you into the language. I recently started Hebrew, and am starting with Assimil and listening to the mini-stories as well. I also find the mini stories to be incredibly boring, whereas I tend to enjoy Assimil’s texts (but that depends on personal taste, of course. Steve’s preference is strongly in the other direction. Plus not all Assimil methods are the same. I’ve never tried the Spanish course).

If you go back and listen to Steve as he started Arabic (and with other languages), he seems to always start with a beginner method such as Assimil or Teach Yourself or what have you, before/while starting in on the mini stories.

The main point is that eventually you’re going to have to do both (or similar things). You need a LOT of content, and both the Assimil and the mini stories are good for getting you closer to the B1/B2 levels…

  1. As far as self study language courses out there, Assimil is by far the best, and you can’t really go wrong with it.

  2. Mini Stories, and probably a lot of other alternative methods out there, can also be good and they will teach you the language over time, so it’s really just a question of how you engage with them. If you enjoy the Mini Stories, then do the Mini Stories.

  3. Steve is awesome and I’ve followed his advice on many, many things related to methodology. He’s also the founder of LingQ so of course he’ll recommend using the LingQ content over Assimil. LingQ has also been adding more and more good beginner content, such as the Mini Stories over the years, so beginners can really use the site now from the start.

  4. You can do both and see what you connect with better. Chances are, like most of us, you’ll probably end up using some combination of a couple of different methods to get to B2 in a new language.


I am starting to learn Indonesian. I do read Lingq’s mini-stories but I’ve found that I move on faster and feel more confident with Assimil. So, for now at least, Assimil is my main method but I do read over the mini stories and listen to them. Over time, I plan to listen more to the mini stories as a way to start understanding audio input. I think this is a good combination, I haven’t even bought Assimil audio, just the book.

I love Assimil, but since you already know French and there’s an awful lot of content for Spanish available, you don’t really need Assimil. If you already have it, I’d either start with it first or do both at the same time.

As for me, Assimil is much better than Mini-stories.
It gives you a lot of context, communicative situations, step by step explanations of grammar and helps you notice phrases.
I did it for French but the method is the same for every language (European at least).
Import Assimil into LingQ and you’ve got an amazing resource. For French it’s already imported :slight_smile:
While Mini-stories are just really boring for me.