You will get conversational with the Pimsleur Method
Let me start out by saying, “I love the Pimsleur Method.” It’s the best computer program for learning a language. It’s also the third-best way to learn a language (the first two best ways are not programs or apps). What makes the Pimsler Method so effective is listening to input you can understand and you begin speaking right away. Speaking and listening are the two keys to learning a language. Speaking and listening are how you get conversational in a language.
Now with that said please don’t buy into the marketing hype that you can reach an intermediate level in 30 days. I’ve seen this on some sites purporting to sell Pimsleur products and other dubious sites as well. The fastest you will get to intermediate langue is 3 months. Everything else is a marketing lie – please prove me wrong so I can buy the product.
The Pimsleur Method will get you speaking a new language
The reason The Pimsleur Method stands out from the rest of the overcrowded language learning app and program field is that it actually works! If you were to go through the program and complete it, you would be able to speak the language. This is in stark contrast to all other programs and apps I’ve used in which no matter how long you use them you still can’t speak the language.
The Pimsleur Method is one of the oldest language programs on the market with 50+ years in the business. In fact, when I used it (here’s a hint to my age) I had to wait a week for the CDs to come in the mail. It was well worth the wait. Of course, you can get the Pimsleur Method online immediately today.
Pimsleur copycats – don’t get suckered
Pimsleur has been around for so long and is so effective that a lot of Pimsleur knockoff sites and products have popped up. If you decide to try the Pimsleur Method make sure you are getting the real thing. It’s called the Pimsleur Method and it’s distributed by Simon and Schuster. The site is Pimsleur.com.
Why the Pimsleur Method works
There are quite a few features that make the Pimsleur Method so effective. Firstly, the Pimsleur Method is a system, not just a tool. Duolingo is a tool. Flashcards are a tool. The Memorize app is a tool. The Pimsleur Method uses several different tools and it’s the combination of these tools which makes the magic happen.
Spaced repetition is one of the most effective tools for learning vocabulary. You will see spaced repetition used in other programs and apps but the Pimsleur Method not only use spaced repetition correctly it combines it with other tools to increase its effectiveness.
Spaced repetition is simply repeating vocabulary at certain intervals, spaces, so you don’t forget the words. We know that with vocabulary (and other items) the more time that passes the more we forget. The premise behind spaced repetition is to review the words before you forget them and reset the forgetting clock. The more often you see the words the longer you remember them. Thus, the time between each review becomes longer until the word is part of your vocabulary. The Pimsleur Method uses highly effective review intervals.
Another tool in the Pimsleur Method is listening with comprehensible input. Listening and speaking are the keys to learning a new language. Listening to a new language when you understand the meaning is how language is acquired. In the Pimsleur Method, you are given the meaning in English and then learn how to say it in the language you are studying. This isn’t the best way to achieve comprehensible input but it works. There is a lot of listening involved in the program and this is necessary for learning.
Speaking and listening – the keys to getting conversational
The Pimsleur Method toolbox also contains a lot of speaking. The Pimsleur Method has you speaking a lot in the form of repetition and, more effectively, by responding to dialogues or asking you to translate a sentence you’ve learned.
Another great tool is the method of learning new words in reverse syllabic order. As awkward as this sounds it makes getting the pronunciation much easier. For example, the Italian word ‘scusi’ (excuse me) has two syllables, ‘scu’ and ‘si’ so it is learned with the last syllable first, si then scu:
It’s quite effective.
The Pimsleur Method also uses a good deal of explanation of how the language works as you move through the process. This is NOT dense grammar lecturing but easy to understand items as you come across them in the dialogues that facilitate understanding.
It’s been well established that we learn a language by listening and speaking and the Pimsleur Method is audio-based. It does offer some additional forms of learning such as flashcards, matching, and other game type activities, but in my opinion, these are not necessary, although they are helpful.
One of the drawbacks of the Pimsleur Method, but also one of the reasons it actually works to teach you a language, is the limited vocabulary it offers. We know through Zipf’s law that for most languages you need only know about 300 or so words to communicate effectively and the Pimsleur Method delivers that. And the reality is once you have the basic communication down, it’s much easier to increase your vocabulary. As much as I’d like to walk away with a 1,000-word vocabulary for any given language after going through the program, the truth is I only need those 300 words.
And this is the viewpoint of Dr. Pimsleur as well. The Pimsleur Method espouses that it is the mastery of the keywords and the structure of the language which makes effective language learning possible. A second premise is that trying to learn too much at once frustrates and bogs down the learner which leads to discouragement, giving up, and failing.
Your mind needs a break to get conversational
Part of not overwhelming you with vocabulary is the necessity for your brain to rest and absorb the information. It’s a lot like exercising. First of all, you don’t rush into the gym and try a lift hundreds of pounds, you start out with a lightweight and work up as your muscles become stronger. Just as you start with a few words and work up as your vocabulary becomes stronger. Secondly, you don’t go to the gym and lift weights continuously without resting. You lift and then take a break giving your muscles time to rest and then lift more. The same is true for our mind, it needs a break to recuperate and absorb the information.
According to Pimsleur,
“It takes about fifteen hundred [words] for a ‘basic’ command of a language and perhaps five thousand to be really fluent” and “by creating a conversational framework using simple, useful words and sentences, learners could internalize the basic structures. Once that ‘scaffolding’ is built, new vocabulary and more difficult combinations become easy to master” and because “grammar and pronunciation are built into every lesson . . . you’ll learn them effortlessly just by speaking and listening.”
This concept of acquiring a language, including grammar, by speaking and listening is well established as is learning vocabulary by building on an established structure. This is why the Pimsleur Method works.
Accessing the Pimsleur Method
At this writing, the Pimsleur Method offers a free lesson immediately so you can see how it works. Then you can sign up for 7 free lessons and cancel anytime. I really suggest you do this. You will quickly discover if you have the time in your day and the discipline to study for half an hour every day, and that’s the minimum you have to put in every day.
If you decide you can do this daily and want to purchase the program the cost varies by the language. Italian for example cost, at this writing, $150 per level with 5 levels or you can buy the whole package for $575. Polish has only one level at $199 or five lessons at a time for $21.95. I won’t go through all the pricing options, but it gives you an idea of what you can expect to spend.
The Pimsleur Method is the way to get conversational
Almost every other product on the market gives the illusion of learning a language, time spent learning each day, lessons completed, vocabulary learned, but with the Pimsleur Method, you will actually be able to speak and understand a new language.
The Pimsleur Method works. It’s really up to you if you genuinely want to learn a new language. If you are serious about learning a language, get the Pimsleur Method.