Pimsleur is one of the most popular foreign language learning audio programs. It is one of the oldest language learning programs (second perhaps to only Rosetta Stone). There are 50 languages in this program. You can use Pimsleur app to learn any of the 50 languages. Each lesson is unique and is well-known for its results.
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Some of Pimsleur’s main criticisms have historically focused on its high price tag and lack of readable materials. In the past, these were fairly noteworthy flaws.
In 2019 the new multiplatform subscription was implemented under Simon Schuster Pimsleur, allowing students to fully access all programs in a single language for a monthly subscription.
The organization has developed a fantastic and effective read section of the course, which makes it a holistic way to learn a new language.
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There have been many Pimsleur lovers (it has always been a good technique of learning the language through audio), but there are even larger fans now after the latest upgrade.
- Pimsleur Review 2021
- Pimsleur Languages
- Principles of Pimsleur
- Pimsleur Specs
- How to access Pimsleur
- Pricing and Premium Subscription
- Pimsleur Method
- Optional Content
- Some Courses are not Useful in Real-life situations
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- Often Boring
- Courses go too fast
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- Weak reading program
- Fewer words learned in a huge amount of time
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- Limited Vocabulary
- Unrealistic Context
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- Unrealistic claims
- Marketing lies
- Some courses have an artificial tone to them
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- Review of Alternatives to Pimsleur
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Pimsleur is mostly an audio course for new language learning. It uses a type of call-and-answer strategy to learning, where the user is introduced to his new language with translation and repeats after the audio. Pimsleur emphasizes speaking, listening, a lot of speech, and even reading.
Late Dr. Paul Pimsleur’s invention was the Pimsleur language learning curriculum, which established a series of language learning courses in the 1960s.
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Dr. Pimsleur was a psychological and linguistic specialist. He has done a lot of research in the field of language acquisition and studied how people and children learn languages. His main concern was how new languages were learned.
Pimsleur is almost a household name as far as language instruction is concerned. Of the conventional English language classes, only Rosetta Stone is better known.
While marketers may have re-packaged and renamed the Pimsleur language learning programs on various occasions, they have remained faithful to their creator’s original strategy.
Pimsleur is still based on audio and still uses a call, recall, and response method.
In 2005, some vendors made digital copies of some languages available.
In 2008, Speak Spanish and Dora & Diego, Pimsleur’s first line of children, was released in conjunction with Nick Jr. Playaway was authorized to provide the whole line of Pimsleur to military players preloaded.
In 2010, following the tragic earthquake in Haiti Pimsleur gave its Haitian Creole Course free for relief and humanitarian workers. Pimsleur worked along with the USO, the Boston Foundation, and Playaway to provide Pashto and Dari courses for U.S. troops fighting in Afghanistan. This course is provided to all military staff free of charge. The SpeakEasy operation was financed by a donor and Pimsleur devotee from Boston. DRM-free and new low-priced Pimsleur Digital Line were restarted in 2010.
In 2011, Pimsleur provided support to aid agencies and volunteers in the wake of the tsunami disaster for an 8-hour Japanese training.
In 2012, Pimsleur published the updated interactive software edition of its Pimsleur Unlimited Spanish, French, and Italian courses.
In 2013, with the introduction of a new blog by Pimsleur Speaks: on language, learning, and culture, Pimsleur celebrated its 50th anniversary. Pimsleur contributed 15 lessons of her Tagalog course, which was followed by Typhoon Haiyan, to support aid agencies and volunteers.
In 2015, Pimsleur published in its interactive software style three further Unlimited languages (Mandarin, Portuguese and Russian).
As a digital download, Pimsleur launched its Unlimited product line internationally in 2016.
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In 2018 Pimsleur unveiled its new app for Pimsleur, compatible with Amazon Echo devices, for iOS and Android devices. Pimsleur substituted Pimsleur Premium for the Unlimited Product line available through in-app purchases or on its website.
In 2020, Pimsleur added bonus content to its Pimsleur web and mobile application Premium courses. It started to sell its courses on its US, Canada, Australia, and UK websites using a subscription approach.
The subscription concept is also accessible in the Pimsleur mobile app worldwide for in-app purchases.
Pimsleur Review 2021
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Pimsleur is one of the most accurate and effective language programs. But this audio system will not teach you to read or write, nor does it feature interactive games or exercises in many of its languages. The use of Pimsleur is good for those who are learning to speak.
Every Pimsleur lesson is a well-researched and organized learning methodology is based on linguistic and psychological studies. This is not a substitute for talking to real people, but it comes quite close as far as language programs are concerned.
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Every Pimsleur lesson is also very focused on pronunciation whereas most other programs try to ignore these lessons (like Rosetta Stone for example). However, lessons are much more than an audio collection. The course is created literally to get you to think, read and respond in your own language.
The website of Pimsleur offers a free week of complete access to your course. The best way to find out if Pimsleur is a course that works for you is through the course, so check out the free one-week trial.
If you are searching for a review article that can tell you all about Pimsleur, this review article is for you. You should be able to say at the end of this Pimsleur review whether Pimsleur should be your appropriate pick.
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If you need to learn a language, Pimsleur offers you a fantastic chance. There are 50 languages for persons whose language of instruction is English to study with Pimsleur. The counts are supported by many dialects since they are sold separately, for example, Japanese, European Spanish, and Latin American Spanish.
Pimsleur language programs offer lessons in Albanian, Chinese, Cantonese (East and west), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Persian Dari, Holland, Farsi (Eastern, Egyptian, Modern Standard), African, German, Greek, Hungarian, Greek, Korean, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Ojibwe, Pashto, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian and European), Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Spanish (Latin American and European), Japanese, Swahili, Mandarin Chinese, Tagalog, Thai, Turkish, Twi, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese. German, German, Greek, and Finnish.
Principles of Pimsleur
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Pimsleur’s method focuses only on teaching principal vocabulary, commonly used words and sentences of a language through an amazing lesson every day. It is aimed at bringing a language learner to the heart of the language and avoiding confusion. You can review your progress every day.
Dr. Pimleur carefully studied which would be the optimal spacing for the information that was retained by the human brain creating the Spaced repetition systems.
The method challenges all the students to answer first and then only after an interval of just some seconds the answers are shown. This kind of lesson really encourages students who are learning a language to work on a specific skill or knowledge and before they go in for a vocabulary change.
Pimsleur, in contrast to other language learning platforms, provides students with the opportunity to learn languages in a relaxed environment. Every lesson is useful if your pronunciation is in need of some improvement.
When it comes to teaching reading lessons, writing lessons, spelling, and grammar, Rosetta Stone or Duolingo are more accurate than other programs. The language development program is lacking in rigidity, which is something that many rival alternatives are missing.
It began as an audio-only learning program on cassette tapes, but it has gone a long way in recent years as it has expanded its online learning options.
How to access Pimsleur
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The Pimsleur language study lessons can be obtained in various ways.
As a per-language subscription, you can first access Pimsleur lessons online. You can download and purchase a course, using the free Pimsleur app for Android or Apple mobile devices. Or the identical program can be purchased using a web browser. Once you have a Pimsleur account and have purchased a language program, you can use an Amazon Alexa device to practice your language and review Pimsleur progress you have made.
When you purchase Pimsleur this way, it works like any other language learning program online to allow you to log in from any device to your account and the app will fetch your course and remember where you left off the lesson. You can review the progress you have made.
This may sound like a given, but with its internet presence, Pimsleur has not always been up to date.
The second way to get Pimsleur is by buying MP3s you can always download and own. The lessons in the MP3s are precisely the same as the audio lessons or otherwise in the subscription.
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Third, you can purchase CDs. Since the program has been available for many decades, you can still buy some classes on the disc if you want something real.
Fourth, Pimsleur can often be found in public libraries free of charge. Some libraries offer internet access so that you can learn from home. Sets of Pimsleur CDs that can still be borrowed from others.
Audible.com is the last way to get the program. If you take this path, you own the Pimsleur program which you have bought in the same manner as any other audiobook you buy on the site.
Pricing and Premium Subscription
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3 formats 3 prices
Pimsleur language courses are presently available in three different formats: CD, Mp3, and a monthly subscription.
Monthly subscription: $14.95/Month for all levels
Pimsleur now offers a monthly subscription option in addition to its annual membership. With a subscription of $14.95/month, the Pimsleur app provides access to all levels available in your specific target language, according to its marketing materials (available on tablets, phones, and computers).
This is by far the most popular option among consumers, owing to the fact that it is the most cost-effective and adaptable. If you want to pay as you go and stop when you’ve reached your language goals, that’s fine with Pimsleur too.
CD purschase format: $345 for 1 level
CDs are the most expensive of the available formats. In order to purchase a single level of Pimsleur on CD, you will need to shell out $345 dollars. This package will include 17 CDs, including 15 CDs with two 30-minute audio courses on each, as well as two CDs with the readings. Some minority languages have only one level with instruction rather than 30 audio lessons and are therefore less expensive.
Pimsleur also offers bundled discounts, which allow you to purchase 2 or more levels at a discounted rate each level, saving you money. The bundle parameters differ based on the language used to create the bundle.
Mp3 purchase format: $119.95 for 1 level
Pimsleur’s mp3s are the most affordable format, with a single level costing only $119.95. (excluding minority languages). Instead of receiving audio CDs, you will receive quick downloads of the audio mp3 files in their entirety. The publications are available as downloadable PDF files.
The Mp3 format is also available in a variety of package configurations. Alternatively, for $21.95, you can purchase 5 lesson pieces from any level of difficulty. In addition, with the mp3 purchase option, you will be able to keep your audio files indefinitely, but with the monthly subscription option, you will lose access to Pimsleur if your subscription is canceled.
Other Alternatives to Access Pimsleur
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Aside from that, Audible Pimsleur is available for purchase through Audible, Amazon’s audiobook subscription service. You can purchase 5 lesson sections from any level for $20-$30, or for $14.95 each month, depending on the level you choose. If you have an audible membership, you can listen to whatever you like, depending on your preferences. The following is important to know about Audible Pimsleur: it is only accessible in audio format and does not include a reading component or any other supplemental elements. If you are a subscriber to Audible, you may find this option to be of particular interest. In all other instances, the app is a more cost-effective long-term investment.
Many people are unaware that Pimsleur classes are available at many public libraries, which is a great resource. See if your local library has what you’re looking for before going out and purchasing it. Why pay for something when you can get it for free?
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The majority of Pimsleur’s lessons are delivered via audio files. If you purchase Pimsleur Premium, you will also be able to participate in interactive exercises.
There is usually also access to PDFs that you can download or booklets that go with the CDs that contain a printout of all the words and phrases taught in each lesson. The primary program, on the other hand, is audio-based. Listening and speaking out loud are two of the most effective ways to learn.
Pimsleur is named after Dr. Paul Pimsleur, a linguist who died in 1976 and was known for his applied linguistic research. He spent years investigating the phenomenon of spaced repetition.
So, what exactly was the method that Pimsleur devised and refined? Graduated Interval Recall, Core Vocabulary, Principle of Anticipation, and Organic Learning are the four pillars of Pimsleur’s technique, according to the company’s website.
These are frequently highlighted in Pimsleur’s advertising, therefore it’s important to go through them in detail here.
Graduated Interval Recall (GIR)
A great deal of Pimsleur’s study was conducted on human memory and the learning process. Dr. Paul Pimsleur came to the conclusion that if you were shown the same new word at graduated intervals, you would be more likely to recall the term after each time you saw it, according to the research. As a result, rather than introducing you to new terminology only once or twice, you would practice with them several times over the course of several weeks or months.
The fact that you are thinking this is starting to sound like a spaced repetition System is 100% correct. A type of spaced repetition strategy was used by Pimsleur, which was one of the earliest, if not the first, language learning tools that utilize this approach. Even though Mr. Pimsleur did not invent the technique of spaced repetition, he was a pioneer in applying it to the field of language acquisition.
In Pimsleur, you can be sure that any new word or phrase you are introduced to will be repeated numerous times during your learning process. The classes, on the other hand, will not be shoving the language down your throat on a daily basis.
You should expect a progressive progression in your vocabulary when you use Pimsleur software. You’ll use fresh terms more frequently, while the more familiar ones will gradually become less and less prominent.
Principle of Anticipation
When we hear someone say something (question, sentence, etc.) our brains analyze the information instinctively, and we find a response practically without thinking about it.
The anticipation principle suggests this hearing and anticipation process helps us learn and speak in a foreign language, especially when we have feedback on the correct erroneous answer.
Let’s tell you that you wish to learn English, and I taught you the sentence, “This is a dog.” You’d better remember and comprehend if I said, “What is that?” (naturally, pointing to a dog), and then you replied correctly.
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In contrast to a number of traditional language lessons which state “this is a dog” and leave it there, Dr. Pimsleur believed that if you had to hear the question, recall it alone, say it aloud, and then get feedback.
You will have to repeat and remember every sentence you hear in a Pimsleur course. After the translation of a word is heard, the speaker will ask you a question, followed by a little time of silence, in the language that you study.
You need to recall and recite the right sentence loudly for a few seconds. The speaker repeats the proper answer to the inquiry after the silence.
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Here’s the meaning of spaced repetition. You first hear a phrase in a foreign language and are asked to repeat it. Next, memorize the sentence and tell the words out loud at scheduled intervals. The intervals begin quite short and become longer and longer.
For instance, first, you hear a word, and then 15 seconds later you are requested to say it. You are then asked to speak it 45 seconds later, then 1.5 minutes afterward. The time intervals grow fast till in days and weeks they are measured.
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This way of learning works for anyone who is willing to use it. For every hour, you will learn a lot (and remember a lot) using any spaced-repetition strategy.
Professor C. A. Mace invented spaced repeats back in 1932, thus it’s an ancient and trustworthy concept. Language classes using spaced repetition were developed while cassette technology was common in the 1970s.
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This is the concept that there are certain words and phrases that are more necessary to learn than others, and that you should devote the majority of your time and energy to learning them rather than less useful ones.
In the language you’re learning, the value of a word is defined by how frequently it appears in the language.
The idea here is to provide your mind with as little information as possible so that it can readily master it. As soon as you have mastered this vocabulary, you can move on to learn more about the rest of the language.
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The words and phrases used in the Pimsleur course are selected in such a way that they provide you with the most relevant vocabulary as quickly as possible.
If you follow the program’s recommendations (once a day), you will progressively progress through the most important terminology.
Words are best learned in the context of actual life versus in isolation, this is the principle of organic learning in short. Instead of learning ‘cat,’ ‘dogs’ and ‘birds,’ it is a lot better to learn these words during a discussion, such perhaps talking to your friend about his new pet (which, as far as I am aware, is not a conversation used in the Pimsleur classes). I’ve only used it as an example).
Each class is designed around two people talking. Each talk is prefaced by a thorough description of where and what the speakers are doing.
Each lesson will invite you to imagine yourself in the situation of the speaker. The setting can range from talking to strangers on a bus in Russia to making phone plans to a pal in a Mexican hotel lobby (depending on the language you want to learn).
With its audio lessons, Pimsleur offers free PDFs and books to accompany them. They are, for the most part, optional. If you skip them, you will not be missing out on anything; but, you will be required to go through all of the core lessons at your level if you do not.
Those who do choose to use them will be able to benefit from an accompanying audio track that will guide them through the topic. For example, in the Mandarin Chinese course, you will see both pinyin and Chinese characters for individual sounds and, subsequently, for entire sentences. As you read through the words and examine their forms, the audio clips will help you remember how to pronounce them. This section of the course is significantly more self-directed than the rest of it.
Good Audio Lessons
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In a Pimsleur course, the 30-minute lessons are where the majority of the learning takes place, and we believe they are executed really well.
With Pimsleur, you’ll spend the majority of your time speaking and listening to the audio lessons, which is exactly what you’ll be doing. It is strongly recommended that you take audio lessons every day according to the Pimsleur approach, and this method works well if it fits into your schedule. Anyone who has a commute that is more than 30 minutes long, for example, may find that these skills are simple to include into their daily routine.
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It should be noted, however, that these teachings can necessitate a significant amount of concentration. Passive, distracted listening isn’t going to be very effective in this situation.
The audio courses are very interactive, which means that you will have the opportunity to engage in the dialogue. Throughout the session, you will have lots of opportunities to practice your pronunciation with both male and female native speakers, as the narrator will provide some explanations and guide the course.
Aside from that, the audio lessons build very nicely on one another, particularly at the introductory level. Each session provides an appropriate refresher for the preceding lesson, and you are continually building on what you have already learned in order to progress further.
Great User Interface
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Upon logging in, you will be taken directly to the beginning of your session. The play buttons for the lessons you’ve completed or prepared for are visible. Lessons must be taught in a sequential manner. Until you have completed the prior lesson, they will be locked. Then you can use the skills and ‘practice’ activities to help you enhance your academic performance.
The program employs both the listen-and-repeat and the call-and-response patterns of communication. The call-and-response sections force you to think about what you’re going to say so that you’re not just repeating what everyone else is saying the entire time.
Every lesson begins with a brief exchange of words. By the end of the class, you have heard the dialogue a second time and are able to comprehend it since you have spent most of the course memorizing the words and phrases that make up the dialogue.
Short and Convenient lessons
Pimsleur courses are broken up into chunks with each audion lesson of 30-minutes, which you may listen to while driving. It was essentially created so that you could practice at your own pace and on your own schedule. The Pimsleur method recommended that you try to complete a single lesson every day in order to achieve the best outcomes.
You will learn new vocabulary everyday.
It is not difficult to come up with creative ways to fit the required 30 minutes into your daily agenda. You will enjoy the Pimsleur method since it allows you to use precious practice time to fill in those apparently random gaps of time throughout the day.
Best for Visually impaired
For blind and visually impaired language learners, Pimsleur is the most effective curriculum available since, with the exception of the software version, it is entirely audio-based, unlike other programs.
Focus on pronunciation
One of the most significant advantages of this method is that it is primarily concerned with attempting to make language courses sound natural.
The circumstances appear to be fabricated, but at the very least it offers them and builds a mini-story with each one. Compared to other courses that only give knowledge in the form of vocabulary and grammar, Pimsleur courses are far more comprehensive.
Each session is audio-based which begins with a full discussion between speakers, and by the end of the class, you will have fully comprehended all of the components of the dialogue.
This is a significant accomplishment, and it only serves to highlight the system’s outstanding capabilities. Excerpts from the book are helpful and non-technical, so you can acquire the sense of some grammatical concepts as well as the vocabulary.
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In most cases, this will be the first practice activity you will participate in, and it will also be the most basic.
With these flashcards, practicing is a breeze: you can choose whether you want to translate from your target or source language, and then you’ll be presented both the audio and written versions of some material from the current session to get you started. Expect to receive no more information such as noun gender, verb tense, or word type!
After watching and listening to the word or phrase, and then clicking to display the translation, you will either pick “Skip” or “Got it” according to your own preference.
In the event that you choose “Skip,” which is most likely because you were unable to come up with the correct translation, the flashcard will be displayed again at the end of the set.
Use Pimsleur While Walking
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Whenever you can figure out how to accomplish two beneficial activities at the same time, such as learning a foreign language and exercising, you should do so. This is an area in which the audio platform provided by Pimsleur is extremely useful. All you have to do is remember to take your headphones off while you are crossing a busy street, and you should be able to get some exercise while also learning a new language.
In case you like to learn while walking or jogging, you might be interested to know that this course is totally audio-based and is compatible with iPhones and Android devices, as well as desktop computers. While walking back and forth in your house with an iPad, you can discover that you could get in a significant amount of beneficial exercise and language study at the same time.
Some Courses are not Useful in Real-life situations
One typical issue about Pimsleur is that some words you learn are not that useful in real life. The original courses have been intended for travelers.
At the time, when Pimsleur was introduced, it made sense because the bulk of overseas travel was probably caused by businessmen. But that’s simply not the situation today. The ordinary Pimsleur student is probably not an entrepreneur.
This picture of the traveling businessman affects Pimsleur’s vocabulary and scenarios, especially in early courses. In the early days, you almost exclusively find yourself in circumstances in which you speak in a very courteous but formal way to strangers.
If the language you study differentiates between formal and casual grammar or terminology, it might be frustrating.
Take, for instance, Spanish. Spanish contains both a formal pronoun for you and an informal pronoun. You use the formal ‘you in circumstances you would say “sir” or “ma’am,” to give you a basic concept of how this works. You can see how learning can be troublesome just in formal terms.
Although it is nice to be courteous and presumably you will meet strangers in your foreign language, it is probably the same, if not much more, informal uses as the official one.
Pimsleur does not include informal use, but only formal language.
The language you learn from these scenarios is useful, however, Pimsleur should update its contents to satisfy a learner’s more modern needs.
We know that Pimsleur lessons are audio-based. So, after listening to the lessons for the first time, studying with Pimsleur lessons can get somewhat monotonous, and it can become extremely monotonous after listening to them numerous times.
It is possible to continue adding new lessons to Language101.com and other similar software in order to keep things interesting.
Courses go too fast
Another typical difficulty with using Pimsleur is that the levels of beginners advance quickly. If you’re absolutely new to language study, then you will have to pause and play any audio lesson again and again.
This becomes difficult if you learn a language with a complicated method of pronunciation. While Pimsleur breaks every word down with a syllable, it sometimes feels like it glazes fast over a hard tone. It’s told you to listen and repeat. Pimsleur offers little more assistance than that.
It would be wonderful if the early lessons were given a sound system first that broke down the harshest sounds of the language and taught you how to generate the sounds physically. It would also be good to make common mispronunciations by English native speakers.
Weak reading program
Pimsleur does have good reading lessons. It appears that every reading lesson has been developed by a separate group of individuals from the ones who created the core classes.
It should be noted that the content of Pimsleur’s reading lessons has absolutely no relation to the content of their audio courses. In other words, you will never be able to read the stuff that you have just learned to speak because you will never be able to read it.
Because every reading lesson is tightly aligned with the speaking lessons, you will always be learning to read the same words that you are learning to speak at the same time.
Fewer words learned in a huge amount of time
You can safely skip the current lesson with a book or software course to find out that the terms covered in this one should be low on your priorities.
If you skip an audio lesson, you can actually miss vocabulary you need to learn quickly, and no written summary or preview means that you do not know what will be discussed. The sample talk at the beginning of the class is an excellent opportunity to gain a vague concept, but other items are discussed.
If you are more of an independent student and use classes. An audio course such as this takes some liberty away as you have to go through it in the right sequence. This is actually an advantage for students who prefer to complete all the work for themselves in the course, but you should analyze your learning and instead of vice versa adjust the course to your needs.
Critique of “not having the correct vocabulary” can be expressed for every course, but because of its incredibly limited number of vocabulary Pimsleur deserves it more than any other. This one-size-fits-all hint that the exact terms you are being taught are quite misleading. The entire contents of your course in Pimsleur can be covered in just two or three chapters of the best book courses.
You will feel that you have learned nothing more than basic pleasantries and personal words from this course. While the repeat works enough for you, working on efficient learning tactics to make greater use of your memory would make you employ the same content much faster. A repeat method as the major learning strategy is wasteful.
The Pimsleur Method is commonly criticized because it does not teach enough vocabulary.
A total of a few hundred new terms are introduced in each language series. The exact amount depends on the number of levels given that some languages have just one level and others have three, four, or five levels.
Language programs like Pimsleur are not intended to be comprehensive vocabulary sources. They exist to teach you the language’s “foundation,” so that you may do the rest yourself.
No language product or course will teach you all the vocabulary you want.
You have to do it.
The context used is just too unreal to help you in real-life situations.
The majority of the audio is in fact in English!
“Hear and repeat” is used in the course, and the material is then translated from English to the target language. However, there are generally just instructions for transferring content from English to the target language included. This kind of thinking will constantly cause you to be late. It transforms you into a dictionary, with the result that you can only say any statement in English if you have communicated it in advance. Instead of developing conversational skills, the course produces robots.
You can’t move past absolute fundamentals in a language after this course. Maybe the 15-hour versions are longer, but I can only perceive that the lesson is a little more at the same rate.
Pimsleur (and others that advertise their products) routinely make completely unrealistic marketing claims. For example, Pimsleur has frequently announced that you can learn one of the languages in 30 days. It’s a wild commercial lie.
Yes, you can learn much Spanish in 30 days using Pimsleur, however, after 30 days of study with Pimsleur Spanish lessons, no one can seriously state you speak Spanish like a native speaker.
In a similar vein, Pimsleur Approach ran a message titled “Learn Spanish in 10 Days.” Simon & Schuster is presently advertising that you can learn a foreign language like Spanish at an intermediate level in 30 days if you purchase their book.
It’s all a marketing ruse, believe it or not. No. Using Pimsleur, you won’t be able to communicate in Spanish or any of the other foreign languages within the first 30 days.
Some courses have an artificial tone to them
The caliber of the voice performers and the quality of the dialogue vary from program to program. While there are some Pimsleur courses that sound very fantastic, such as French, Russian, Irish, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish, there are others that sound less appealing.
The sound of some languages, such as Thai and Arabic, is excruciatingly fake. Because you don’t want to be mimicking a monotone speaker, this has a slight negative impact on the program’s effectiveness, but the main disadvantage is that it makes working through the content drier and more boring than it needs to be. If your language learning approach is becoming monotonous, this is not a good indicator.
Review of Alternatives to Pimsleur
ItalkiImage from DreamsTime
Italki is an online marketplace that connects language learners with teachers for one-on-one sessions via video or audio chat. It was founded in 2009 by a group of language learners. There are thousands of language instructors available to teach French, Spanish, Japanese, and practically any other language you can imagine. Depending on where your teacher is from, a paid lesson may not be too expensive (teachers set their own prices).
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You can also communicate with any native speaker of any other language from all around the world and improve your communication abilities.
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Fluentu is a website that teaches languages through the use of native-language video content. Use the flashcards, subtitles, and games available on the site to learn new words in context while watching native TV shows, movies, ads, and other content in the target language. Despite the fact that it does not cover much grammar, it is an excellent approach to improve your listening skills and vocabulary.
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However, although Pimsleur includes some exercises that provide reading practice, they appear to be more concerned with teaching learners how to pronounce written words and phrases than with teaching them how to read for meaning and comprehension. You can review your progress with the app.
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The only place you’ll find a solid reading comprehension exercise is somewhere else. LingQ is a language-learning tool that gives concentrated reading practice by color-coding material based on which terms you already know and which words are new to you. It is available for both iOS and Android devices. You can quickly define words by clicking on them, and you can also save them for later study by clicking on them.
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This is a resource that could be used in conjunction with Pimsleur to provide a complementing experience. When it comes to encouraging learners to commit new words to long-term memory, Pimsleur’s interval recall technique works quite well. However, it does not provide the learner a great deal of choice over what they are learning. Anki is diametrically opposed to everyone else.
Anki is an SRS tool that is as powerful as it is customizable, allowing users to construct their own study decks from scratch. Audio, example sentences, notes, cloze (fill-in-the-gap) activities, and other elements can be included. In addition, for individuals who do not want to spend the effort creating their own resources, there are numerous community-made shared decks available. The fact that Anki is free to download and use anywhere except the Apple App Store, where it costs $25, is perhaps the most compelling feature for many. You can also communicate with any native speaker of any other language from all around the world and review your communication abilities.
Image from LiveFluent
You might have heard of Rocket Languages from its ever-growing web advertising. Rocket Languages offers more than 12 different courses in Spanish, French, German, etc. Each is developed in the style of dialogues surrounding recorded audio.
The dialogues feature English explications and frequently teach the vocabulary in “bunks” or phrases compared with individual words. There are additional classes to break the complex grammar and learn difficult words.
Although audio is at the heart of every lesson, Rocket Languages also concentrates on reading and writing. If your language has a distinct script, the course provides personalized words and even videos about how words or characters can be handled (this is great for languages like Arabic or Japanese).
Image from OnlineCourseRator
Pimsleur and Babbel have a lot in common in that they are both important players in the language-learning space and that they both cater to learners who are searching for a well-rounded resource.
Compared to other programs, it places a greater emphasis on acquiring written language early on, which some students may find more appealing. For visual learners or those who want to improve their reading and writing skills while also improving their oral and aural abilities, this could make it more enticing for them.
Using conversation activities that make use of speech recognition technology to provide feedback on pronunciation, Babbel helps students in learning new words and improve listening and speaking skills.
What to do After Pimsleur?
If you have completed all of the lessons available through the Pimsleur technique, you may like to explore additional options such as Memrise, Duolingo, and other similar programs. These other platforms provide a significantly faster approach to reviewing material for long-term memory retention. They also cover a greater amount of content in a variety of methods than Pimsleur does.
Does its age empower it?
This is a question that should be asked of all high-profile services such as RS, Michel Thomas, and Assimil, among others.
How much does the fact that something has been around for half a century like Michel Thomas add to its overall significance?
It’s important to remember that programs like Pimsleur were developed during a time when cassettes were the fashion and there was no Internet or convenient means to practice with native speakers.
So it seems logical that something like Pimsleur would have been revolutionary at the time – not only because it was an excellent approach, but also because it was something new that took advantage of the technology available at the time.
And it is true that any brand that has been around for a long period of time gets familiarity and trust.
In spite of all of this, I believe Pimsleur is an exceptional and timeless product.
Putting age aside, it’s a fantastic product for what it is and, even after decades in the market, it continues to be a really unique product in a saturated market full of imitators.
Like any course, it can teach you something, no matter how faulty.
Pimsleur is a monotonous, yet efficient, spaced style of repetition. Since the audio is 100%, you can use it as long as you walk. Each class of approximately half an hour has little foreign language material. One 28 minutes of instruction we studied was a foreign language material of only one minute and 10 seconds.
This is actually a great method to start a language and the comfort and performance feeling can be significant for many learners, so this emotional boost can actually be a major contributor to the success and can even be a very helpful way to start learning a language. But it is short in terms of actual material.
For decades Pimsleur has been around, and that’s no fluke. It is a good resource and languages are well taught. Pimsleur offers free access to its classes on its website for a week. You can see here and see for yourself whether the Pimsleur approach is good for you. This finishes our review blog post about Pimsleur.
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Author: J Maver
Passionate in tech, software and gadgets. I enjoy reviewing and comparing products & services, uncovering new trends and digging up little known products that deserve an audience.