Hi all

im looking into getting assimil spanish with ease and I was hoping to get some feedback on this course. Has anyone tried it? Specifically has anyone tried the latest edition as opposed to the 1987 version?


I’m a big fan of Assimil and I have started 3 language journeys with their “With Ease” series – though Spanish didn’t happen to be one of them, I don’t doubt that their Spanish course is just as good as their French and German ones.

Regarding the earlier versions – I must RANT: The one dude on YouTube that claimed that the earlier versions of Assimil were somehow better than the current editions did a huge disservice to the language community in my opinion. All he has managed to accomplish is plant doubt in the minds of new students about a perfectly good product that’s available today. Even if it was true that there was once a magical time in the 70’s and 80’s when Assimil books were “better” than the current editions, those older editions don’t exist anymore – and even if you found one, the audio would be included on 40 year old cassettes or LPs. Is there an app for those on the iPhone?

The current editions of Assimil are great, they’re available, and they come with digital audio files. I think the whole comparison to earlier editions that people bring up from time to time here, is really just taking away from what these courses can accomplish for language learners today.


I’ve read Assimil editions from different times. My father owned the original Spanish-based French course and the French-based Italian one and I’ve come across and purchased a couple more of the old ones: French-based English and German (after a few lessons, it is written in Fraktur script!!!). I used the “middle” ones back in the day and then many of the modern ones.
I think it’s true that there was a time in which some Assimil courses got dumbed-down and their quality diminished. In particular if you compare the old versions of popular languages to the “middle” ones, you’ll find that they were much shorter and left off a lot of the content that the old ones covered. I suppose this is the oritgin of this criticism. Notice that the really old ones (golden age?? are older than the 80s).
However, modern editions tend to be very good. Different but on par with the very old. Besides the difficulty of listening to the audio that you mention, the old ones also use a somewhat old-fashioned language. I love to learn it but it’s not so practical for new learners. So they are not a good choice and anyway the new editions are excellent in most cases and readily available plus the language choice has increased immensely.
I agree that the blanket criticism of modern Assimil by the YT guy is a big disservice to language learners.

Would you only recommend assimil for a complete beginner? I’m probably an A2 maybe a high A2, do you think it would still be beneficial to help get to the intermediate level? Of course as a supplement to other materials. The reason I ask about the older version is that I have a copy of what seems to be the 1987 version and digital copies of the audio. I was just wondering if they were still good to use or it would be better to buy the new we version.

It would most certainly help you a lot. Beginner’s Assimil books in the original are marked “Débutant/faux débutant”, that is “Beginner/False beginner”. I find this concept of “false beginner” an interesting one. The idea is that often you want to go back to basics, in order to fill up gaps in your knowledge. That may be true even for learners at pretty high levels. I often do it myself.
At a “A2”-ish level it’s particularly useful because you’ll still find a lot of unknown vocabulary and you’ll be able to learn grammar structures in a more systematic way than you’ve probably done so far.
If you have a 1987 edition, go on ad use it, it certainly won’t hurt you, even if the new ones are more complete. The main difference IMO is that both the very old and the very new editions contain about 100 lessons, whereas some of the middle ones are substantially shorter and therefore far less complete.

I have no experience with the old version, but I do have the new version. I think it would probably still be useful even if you’re at A2. ftornay makes a good point that it can be useful to go back to basics. I also like the little bits of grammar explanations sprinkled throughout the books, with some more in depth coverage after every 7th or so lesson (assuming that’s the way they were in 1987 too). Assimil likes to market these as going up to B2 level which is totally incorrect in regards to vocabulary, but it maybe does touch on some of these type of things from a grammar point of view.

The audio I think would still be very beneficial even beyond your A2 stage.

BTW, I’ve not made it through the whole Spanish with Ease (gotten through about 30 chapters). Only because currently my main focus is German (I did go through the entirety of German with Ease), but overall I really like the Assimil books.

1 Like