Assimil German. Lesson 34


The icy blast of winter is apparently about to hit the UK.  In the West Country (my part of the world), it is five degrees and raining heavily, so it is totally miserable with no redeeming features whatsoever.

Grump. Grump. Grump.

I’m now on Assimil German Lesson 34, and since my previous post on the subject have done a lesson day, regular as clockwork for thirty minutes.

In my rules for using Assimil German, my first rule was that I was going to study German for thirty minutes a day.

No more than thirty minutes. No less than thirty minutes. This wasn’t an arbitrary time period,  and is as I understand it  the length of daily study recommended for the Assimil courses.

I have stuck to this, and it is hard, hard, hard.

It is hard because each lesson is detailed. There is new vocabulary, a dialog to be studied, grammar notes to be pored over and exercises to be done.

Thirty minutes is it must be said, a bit of a rush. I remember this as being a problem with Assimil Polish.

But, I’m sticking to the thirty minute rule for these reasons:

Lack of time. I live my life, see friends, have a family, job and so on. In short, I am quite busy.

I am establishing a habit. I am establishing the habit of learning German, and I can always find thirty minutes a day to study the language.

My style of language learning is slow and steady, and I’ll tell you why this matters with German below.

My primary focus (this year) is French. My primary focus is French at least until the end of the year, so German can’t encroach too much onto the time I’ve put aside for French.

Curiosity. Assimil courses indicate that you can reach a B2 level (see below) once you have completed the course. I don’t believe this for a minute, but  am intrigued to see how much I can learn using the Assimil method properly.

How long does it take to learn German?

On the cover of Assimil German, there is a little sticker with a B2 on it. The B2 refers to a level within the Common European Framework of Languages (CEFR), and for all intents and purposes means conversationally fluent.

Assimil German with Ease is designed to be completed in one hundred and fifty days.

So, in approximately one hundred and fifteen days, I will be  conversationally fluent in German.



There is NO WAY IS THAT POSSIBLE with half and hour of studying a day.

I really don’t want to sound negative about Assimil German as I love it. I love the book. I love the audio. I like the explanations. Yadder.  Yadder. Yadder.

I don’t know why language courses feel the need to inflate the level of competence that you will have reached after completion.

My current guess, is that after finishing the course, and having had some conversation practice, that I might be able to have reached a high A1 or low A2 on the CEFR framework.

I would consider A2 a great achievement after six months of half an hour a day studying.

We shall see.

Slow and steady

As promised a few lines ago, I’ll tell you why slow and steady matters for me with German, and that is because …

German is going to be one of my languages.

I want to reach a B2 level in five languages.

German is a good choice for me, as apart from the inherent coolness of a language with insanely long compound words, and a great literature, I have the opportunity to hear and probably practice on a semi-regular basis.

I have discovered before (with Polish), that if a language doesn’t feature in my life in some way, I can only dabble, which is often ultimately unsatisfactory.

I’d thought that Afrikaans would be my fourth language, but that is not to be as  German (my latest flirt)  Ich liebe dich 🙂

In case you are wondering:

I’ll update you on my progress in two weeks, shortly before the dreaded Assimil active phase!

And I know what my fifth and final language is going to be.  I’ll tell you next time, but I’ll give you a clue, it is romantic …

Besos and baci,


Assimil German


Some time back I wrote that I was keen to learn start learning German in the near future for a trip around parts of Europe, along with the queen of my heart.

Well, the time to begin has now arrived, or to be more precise arrived six days ago, when I bought, received and started Assimil German.

I am a more or less total beginner having spent a month using the rather turgid barons FSI course before buying the Assimil German course.

I am completely intrigued to see how much it is possible to learn in 30 minutes a day. This is the amount of time recommended at the start of the book.

I will according to page VII:

gain a conversational knowledge of German within a few months

Excellent. That seems like a good time investment.

I have previously used Assimil Polish with patchy results.

Thirty minutes a day wasn’t enough for me to learn each Polish lesson and I spent much longer. Now it is possible that this was my mistake.  The beginning of the book warns sternly against spending too long studying.

I was using the French version of Asimil Polish which suggests not doing to much in case you:

surcharger voter mémoire

overload your memory. I don’t know if this is a particularly French concept but the same advice isn’t given in the English version of Assimil German:)

I must have been overly diligent and spend too much time using Assimil Polish.

Well I’m not going to make the same mistake again, and will only spend a maximum of thirty minutes a day studying Assimil German.

I might also have learnt something from my Polish experience. I am just going to use Assimil over the next 150 days and see where it takes me.

There are 100 lessons in all.

Each day you do one lesson after which where you aim to understand the German without looking at the English. After day fifty, you not only do lesson 51 but also  return to lesson 1 in the ‘so called’ active phase. At this point, you try and translate each lesson from English to German.

Und so weiter.

The active phrases was where I struggled with Polish.

Updates every ten days or so.