Which version of Assimil Spanish should I buy, 2014 or 2017?

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njsgdsza
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Which version of Assimil Spanish should I buy, 2014 or 2017?

Postby njsgdsza » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:08 pm

Is there any difference between these versions?:)

Edit: Their customer service replied that the cover is the only difference between the two versions (English base, the author of both books is Francisco Javier Antón Martínez). So I'm probably going to get the 2017 version. Thanks for all of your helpful comments!
Last edited by njsgdsza on Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Speakeasy
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Re: Which version of Assimil Spanish should I buy, 2014 or 2017?

Postby Speakeasy » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:28 pm

Welcome!
Welcome to the forum, njsgdsza!

Generations of Assimil Courses
Assimil, like many other publishers, has a practice of publishing new “editions”, replete with separate ISBN’s, for what are the same language course , when viewed from the perspective of the contents; that is, the dialogues and exercise. While I have never come across an official reason for this practice, I would imagine that this has to do with simplifying inventory management both for themselves and for the vendors of their products. Nevertheless, the practice makes it quite difficult to determine which edition is truly different from another as to their contents. In an attempt at separating the different publications, many people here on the forum refer to “generations” of courses.

Recent Generations of Assimil Spanish
In this case, you’re somewhat fortunate. I checked the website of Amazon.fr for “Assimil l’espagnol” and noticed that the two items to which you referred were composed by different authors:

previous generation (2002? – 2014?) Francisco Javier Antón Martínez
current generation (2017?) : Juan Cordoba, Marie Cordoba


The fact that different authors are associated with the above publications suggests that the latest version is a “new generation” having completely different dialogues, exercises, and audio recordings, when compared to the previous one.

Which One Should You Choose?
For true aficionados of the Assimil Method, who are so enamoured by the approach to teaching that they collect all generations within a given series, this is an unanswerable question. However, as you are unlikely to purchase both generations, I will attempt to help you answer your own question.

In recent years, Assimil, when publishing new generations of their language courses, seems to have adopted a practice of (a) using a less-complicated language structure, and (b) introducing the language at a slower pace, when compared to the materials of the previous generation. This practice has resulted in a (comparative) simplification of the materials as well as a lower level of achievement upon completion of the course. Some users welcome these changes as they assist the absolute beginner more easily grasp the basic structure and vocabulary of the target language. Others deplore the practice and decry it as a “dumbing down” of a highly-respected product. As both evaluations are expressed by seasoned language-learners, but as they represent personal preferences, no one can truly tell you which generation would be best for you.

Another matter which is more-or-less relevant is that the most recent generation will “tend” to use more current vocabulary and idiomatic expressions when compared to a previous generation. However, in my opinion, this factor should not carry a great deal of weight in making the final decision. That is, in my view, a reasonably intelligent adult -- and I assume that anyone who wishes to take on the challenge of learning a foreign language through independent study is such a person -- has been gifted with sufficient capacity for discerning what is useful and what can be discarded, and can trusted to use either the most current generation of an Assimil course, or a previous one, to equally good effect.

Finally, generally speaking, the reviews of the two different generations of the Assimil Spanish course, both here on this forum and on its predecessor, as well as on Amazon, have been consistently very favourable. Thus, I do not believe that you would be disappointed by either course.
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Re: Which version of Assimil Spanish should I buy, 2014 or 2017?

Postby neumanc » Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:51 am

In addition to Speakeasy's excellent answer, I want to add that the dumbing down has definitely stopped with the 2017 course. The 2014 version of Assimil's Spanish course is the shortest Spanish course Assimil has ever had. The 2017 version is significantly longer and has more content, which can very easily be seen and even felt if you hold the book. However, the 2014 version has very good reviews, so maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to buy both courses and possibly even work on them at the same time. The grammar will be introduced relatively similarly, while the vocabulary will be quite different due to the completely different stories in the two books, so the two versions should complement each other quite well.
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Re: Which version of Assimil Spanish should I buy, 2014 or 2017?

Postby njsgdsza » Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:38 am

neumanc wrote:In addition to Speakeasy's excellent answer, I want to add that the dumbing down has definitely stopped with the 2017 course. The 2014 version of Assimil's Spanish course is the shortest Spanish course Assimil has ever had. The 2017 version is significantly longer and has more content, which can very easily be seen and even felt if you hold the book. However, the 2014 version has very good reviews, so maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to buy both courses and possibly even work on them at the same time. The grammar will be introduced relatively similarly, while the vocabulary will be quite different due to the completely different stories in the two books, so the two versions should complement each other quite well.

Is the author of the English-based 2017 version different from the author of the English-based 2014 edition? As Speakeasy said, the authors of French-based 2017 version is Juan Cordoba and Marie Cordoba, this version came out in French in 2017, I heard that the English-based 2014 version is translated from French-based 2004 version, also I just checked amazon.fr and found that there is a French-based 2015 version which the author is Javier Antón, the same author of the English -based 1987 and 2014 version. So I wonder if this English-based "new" 2017 version really is the new version written by Juan Cordoba and Marie Cordoba, or is it like the 2015 French version which may only changed a new cover? Thank you:))

Edit: I sent them an email asking the same question, they just replied that the English-based 2017 version is just a cover change and there's nothing different between them.
Last edited by njsgdsza on Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Jean-Luc
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Re: Which version of Assimil Spanish should I buy, 2014 or 2017?

Postby Jean-Luc » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:02 am

I have a 2004 version (Martinez). Just fine. I am note quite sure there are a lot of differences like for some Latin version of Assimil. You can check with a newer version with this link (French-Spanish version)

Link removed by Bluepaint due to copyright infringement.
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Re: Which version of Assimil Spanish should I buy, 2014 or 2017?

Postby Random Review » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:21 pm

Also just a heads up if you're studying from an English base: the 2014 edition has some bad errors that aren't in the original French edition, presumably added by whoever translated the French version into English. It's been a few years since I was studying Spanish, so I can't remember any examples; but I distinctly remember that being the case.

Basically you can trust the dialogues and probably the exercises (basically anything that was in the original French version), but take any example sentences you see in the notes with a massive pinch of salt.

I can't speak to the 2017 version as I've never seen it (I literally didn't know it existed until now).
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Re: Which version of Assimil Spanish should I buy, 2014 or 2017?

Postby Speakeasy » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:46 pm

@njsgdsza, given Random Review's thoughtful comments concerning the presence of errors in the English-based edition of the Assimil Spanish 2014 course, it is quite natural that should consider using the original French-based edition. However, as your profile indicates that you possess a lower-intermediate level in English but only a beginner's level in French, my recommendation would be that you use the English-based edition despite its errors. To do otherwise -- that is, to use the original French-based edition -- would require far too much effort on your part and, in any event, your own translations of the French sentences would likely contain even more errors than those contained in the English edition. Just a thought! ;)

EDITED:
Typos, tinkering.
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Re: Which version of Assimil Spanish should I buy, 2014 or 2017?

Postby David1917 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:54 pm

That's the other issue - sometimes multiple generations of Assimil are available at once depending on the base language. Generally, the French editions outpace the others, for obvious reasons.

For example, with Russian we can currently buy on the Assimil site Le Russe in French/Russianin English both by Melnikova-Suchet, however from German we find the previous edition Russisch ohne Muehe heute by Dronov. For awhile, when the Dronov book was the one available in French, you were still able to get the first/better Russisch ohne Muehe only in German.

In addition to the above comments regarding the newest French edition being by Cordoba and Cordoba and the available English edition being by Martinez, I also find it interesting that the German-based course, Spanisch ohne Muehe heute is by the same Martinez but contains 109 lessons in only 480 pages. In this case, I think the German one might be a different Martinez offering, since the titling scheme of "le nouveau...sans peine/ohne Muehe heute" was part of a different generation of courses than the ones that are simply "language name."
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