To me it looks like this new edition has as much content or more as the 1998 edition, aka New French with Ease. I'm quite fond of the 1998 edition and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it, but I think the new edition looks good too, and it doesn't seem any less substantive than its immediate predecessor. (I can't speak to French Without Toil.)
Here are the sample lessons:
1998: text and audio
2020: text and audio
And there's a video comparing the two editions here (or you can scroll down, I'll embed it at the bottom of the post).
The 2020 edition has fewer lessons (100 compared to 113) but about the same number of dialogues, because it includes a dialogue in each week's review lesson, which the 1998 edition doesn't. And according to the video, the review lessons in the 2020 edition are significantly longer.
The Assimil site says that the 2020 edition has 3h40m of audio, whereas the 1998 edition has 3h10m.
The 2020 edition has a shorter and simpler first lesson, which seems to be the trend (one I personally don't mind and indeed appreciate when the target language is totally unfamiliar). But in the later sample lessons, it's the reverse:
1998 lesson 50: 13 lines, 5 notes
2020 lesson 50: 19 lines, 11 notes
1998 final lesson: 13 lines, 4 notes
2020 final lesson: 17 lines, 7 notes
The formatting in the two sample PDFs is similar, and the 1998 edition ends the lessons on p. 484 out of around 600 pages total, whereas the 2020 edition ends the lessons on p. 634 out of 828 pages total.
As I say, I really like the 1998 edition (for one thing, there's a lot of humor), but the new course seems just as substantive, maybe more.
Regarding the CEFR levels, I think the "A1-A2" on the website is meant to refer to the learner's level when they start the course, not when they finish. (But I agree that one "With Ease" course all by itself won't get you to B2.)
General discussion about learning languages
- Orange Belt
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