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There are a few variations/interpretations on the Assimil method - I discuss the way I use the Assimil books on my blog ([...]) so I won't repeat it here.
I only have two small issues with this book (so far - I'm up to lesson 13/56) - one it the format which has changed in the latest iteration of Assimil's books. Previously they had a more robust cover (though it's still fairly hard wearing - which is great for a book that gets dragged everywhere!), and also the lack of a red cloth bookmark. Originally I thought I wouldn't care about that, but it is just the best way for quickly accessing the book in those spare moments. Even on public transport, I often have just a short gap in which to check what's being said, and the built-in red cloth bookmark was invaluable for this. Bring back the cloth bookmark please, Assimil!
The other "minor" problem depends on how good your French is :-) Unfortunately, the advanced German course is only available in French. My own French is not great, and so a lot of the explanation of more colloquial/metaphorical usage is a little lost on me, but overall I feel fairly confident I'm understanding most of the explanations. I just look up anything more complicated online. The great thing about the audio being purely in German is that once you've read the text and understood it (perhaps with a bit of looking up online) you can listen to the audio over and over without the influence of any other language. With other language courses, I imagine trying to do them in a language in which you are not very confident would be pretty much impossible.
When you use Assimil programs though, it is clear why they don't produce all their volumes in all languages - there is a lot of thought and care put into both the quality of the translations, and also in appropriate explanatory footnotes.
If French is not a barrier for you, then this is the book for the advanced German learner. The dialogs are clear and professional, the text is well written and genuinely funny (the same couldn't be said of the beginner's course in German :-) ) and they are worth every penny of their price. You will go past just about any modern "advanced" course in the first half of the beginner's Assimil book.
And one last point - although you definitely need to practice speaking with native speakers to improve your speaking abilities, you will actually develop good conversation abilities (good pronunciation and comprehension) without native speaker practice. However, it won't help you with gathering your thoughts and explaining yourself in your target language - only real-world practice can do that!
Perfectionnement Allemand OverviewThis title features a book, mp3 CD & 4 Audio CDs. Si vous possedez deja les bases essentielles de l'allemand, cet ouvrage vous permettra d'acquerir toute la finesse de cette langue, l'aisance et le naturel indispensables a la pratique courante. Grace a la diversite des themes traites, vous decouvrirez l'Allemagne d'aujourd'hui et sa culture trop souvent meconnue.
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