What level of material does an Assimil "Using" course contain?

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What level do you think Assmil "Using" will get a learner to?

A2- (low level A2)
2
10%
A2+ (high level A2)
0
No votes
B1- (low level B1)
5
25%
B1+ (high level B1)
4
20%
B2- (low level B2)
8
40%
B2+ (high level B2)
1
5%
 
Total votes: 20

Kevin
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What level of material does an Assimil "Using" course contain?

Postby Kevin » Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:44 pm

Assimil Using claims to get a user to C1 level. However, I have searched before and have mainly just seen most people say that it does not bring a user to a C1 level nor does it contain C1 material.



What level would you say an Assimil "Using" series contain?


Remember, this is not the with ease series, but the Using series, which is what is used after the with ease series.


All answers all welcome but I would love to hear especially from those who have used the Using series before
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Re: What level of material does an Assimil "Using" course contain?

Postby Speakeasy » Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:25 pm

I have copied/pasted my comments on this subject, with minor modifications, from the "General Linguaphone Discussion" thread:

Levels Achievable with Self-Study Language Course Materials
The questions of whether or not intermediate/advanced materials exist for the independent study of foreign languages, and what levels can be achieved with them, have been discussed a number of times in the HTLAL and in the LLORG.

As neumanc reminds us, many (most) publishers over-state the possibilities of their language courses, using terms such as “Intermediate, Advanced, Expert, Mastering, and Fluent” with wild abandon. The mere fact that a self-study course presents a particular grammatical concept in a dialogue is no guarantee that the student will be able to manipulate this concept of the target language with a high level of fluency in the real world. Furthermore, I would submit that, despite the exaggerated claims of the publishers, achieving a CEFR B2 level relying solely on such materials represents a goal which is, for all practical purposes, unachievable.

The only "genuine" second-stage materials for independent learners that I have ever come across are listed below. Please note carefully that my attribution of B2 is “theoretical”; that is, while a portion of the materials presented in these self-study courses may cover issues that are also addressed in reputable university-level upper-intermediate courses, there is no guarantee that the repetition of these materials will actually lead the independent leaner to the B2 level.

Assimil
First-stage courses: A2-B1
Second-stage courses: B1+ ... B2 (not likely)

Living Language Ultimate
First-stage courses: A2-B1
Second-stage courses: B1+ ... B2 (not likely)

Linguaphone
First-stage courses: A2-B1
Second-stage courses: B1+ ... B2 (not likely)

Combination: Assimil, Living Language, Linguaphone
Second-stage courses: B1++++ ... B2 (not likely)

I did this with both German and Spanish and I am not quite convinced that it was a fruitful exercise. Yes, covering all three of these courses did reinforce my lower-intermediate skills, but doing so did not move me any closer to the upper-intermediate level. At some point, we simply have to remove the training wheels and get into the traffic; that is, we have to move on to native materials.

I have not come across any other "genuine" attempts by publishers at marketing intermediate-level materials for the independent study of foreign languages. I agree with neumanc that there are no advanced-level materials specifically designed for independent learners.
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Re: What level of material does an Assimil "Using" course contain?

Postby zimorki » Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:52 pm

I used advanced French course, Using French. Compared to B2 level coursebooks Alter Ego 4 or Campus 4, Assimil was quite easier and you can't reach a firm B2 level in French just with "with ease+advanced" combination. They'll bring lots of things, a great base in the target language but being B2 requires thematic diversity and lots of exposure to native material. They don't "cover" all the vocabulary needed for B2.

I also used new advanced English course and it was one of the most helpful language books I've ever studied. This book was more difficult than French one. I don't call them "equivalent" either, because these two books were focused on different points. Perfectionnement Anglais is full of idiomatic expressions and British daily life usages, it helped me a lot for listening skills. But I can't decide whether it's C1 or B2ish. It's better for learners who already are B2 or B2+ in English and want to fill their advanced vocabulary gaps.
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Re: What level of material does an Assimil "Using" course contain?

Postby kanewai » Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:48 pm

I think there's a difference between the level of material a course contains, and the level that it will actually bring a student to.

For example: I consume a lot of native material in my target languages, some it quite advanced. So, in essence, I am using C-2 (native-level) material. And yet, in no way shape or form will these books and podcasts etc actually bring me to a native level of fluency.

I've completed Using French, and completed about half of Using Spanish. I think it's valid to claim that they contain material close to a C-1 level. But I agree with Speakeasy that Assmil + a grammar book + a speaking course will most likely get a student to B-1.

With that, I haven't answered the poll yet. Is the question the post title (What level of material does an Assimil "Using" course contain?) or the poll title (What level do you think Assmil "Using" will get a learner to?)
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Re: What level of material does an Assimil "Using" course contain?

Postby Kevin » Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:05 pm

kanewai wrote:I think there's a difference between the level of material a course contains, and the level that it will actually bring a student to.

For example: I consume a lot of native material in my target languages, some it quite advanced. So, in essence, I am using C-2 (native-level) material. And yet, in no way shape or form will these books and podcasts etc actually bring me to a native level of fluency.

I've completed Using French, and completed about half of Using Spanish. I think it's valid to claim that they contain material close to a C-1 level. But I agree with Speakeasy that Assmil + a grammar book + a speaking course will most likely get a student to B-1.

With that, I haven't answered the poll yet. Is the question the post title (What level of material does an Assimil "Using" course contain?) or the poll title (What level do you think Assmil "Using" will get a learner to?)




Sorry for the confusion, kanewai. I was definitely asking both what level the course can get a person too as well as what level material it contains.

But for the sake of the poll, the official poll would be what level the course could get one to with study and practice. Thank you for your response
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Re: What level of material does an Assimil "Using" course contain?

Postby sillygoose1 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:12 pm

Somewhere within the realm of B1. I would be extremely hesitant to say any of them could get you to B2 unless you already spoke English + German then used the Dutch one, for example. However, just because it doesn't necessarily contain that material doesn't mean you're far off after completing the course. If you study it diligently it should bring you quite close to a level where you will be able to finally dive into native materials and advance from those.

I've used the French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Russian "Using/Perfectionnement" courses. By the time I used the Italian one I was already at a solid level in both French + Spanish so I'd say it benefited me greatly and just maybe got me to a B2 level. I leafed through the Dutch one after learning German and that seemed easy. The Russian one hardly made a dent on my progress despite spending the most time on it. It was a good course, but too different from my other languages. When I first used the French one which was my first foreign language, I was able to dive into short stories and short novels with a dictionary.
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Re: What level of material does an Assimil "Using" course contain?

Postby Serpent » Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:46 pm

Leopejo (active on the old forum) learned Polish to B1 mostly through Assimil (with ease). He's bilingual in Finnish and Italian, and had tried learning Russian before that. Oh and he had just moved to Poland back then (still lives there).

Assimil claims the "with ease" courses are B2. Well, you might be there if you learn literally everything the course contains, including some words and structures that only come up once (maybe only in the translation exercises). But unless you're learning something like Ancient Egyptian, it's probably more satisfying to move on before that (and eventually consolidate those minor things through native materials).
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Re: What level of material does an Assimil "Using" course contain?

Postby garyb » Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:34 am

I've posted about these courses a couple of times so I'll just quote a post on another thread (My 9 week ultra-intensive French resurrection summer project.):

garyb wrote:The advanced Assimil courses are partly a continuation of the basic ones and partly a brief introduction to domain-specific language: literature, geography, journalism, sports, etc. In the two I've done (Using French, Perfectionnement Italien) I found the latter part "too advanced", in the sense that it mostly wasn't relevant to everyday conversation which is what I prefer to focus on and it feels like they've just stuffed in as much variety as possible in order to justify the "advanced" label and make students feel like they're at a higher level than they are. Kinda like when bad tutors teach their more advanced students a bunch of obscure idioms instead of focusing on improving the language they'll actually use: more new and exotic material fools both parties into thinking that more progress is being made. I would have preferred an "intermediate Assimil" that just continues along the lines of the first part. The advanced stuff is interesting from a cultural point of view and just to get a little exposure to these subjects, but I would not waste time doing an active wave on anything beyond the first half of the book, except maybe for lessons that are particularly relevant to your interests.


These more advanced lessons contain language that one might well consider C1-level given their specialised vocabulary and literary usage. But of course that doesn't mean the course will take you to C1, as that material is really a drop in the ocean and an introduction to advanced language rather than a course in it. Kanewai sums it up perfectly.
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