Hello, future bilingual viewers! Today we are going to talk about the popular language program, the Pimsleur Approach. Stay tuned for the advantages and disadvantages of this system. Hopefully, this overview will help you decide if Pimsleur is right for you.
What is the Pimsleur Approach?
Well, it is an audio-based language learning program that claims you can start learning a language in just 10 days. With 29 available languages, including French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Arabic, the Pimsleur Approach should have you striking up basic conversations in just over a week.
The courses took over forty years to develop and perfect. This approach does not require pen and paper, as the CDs are scientifically sequenced to stick with you after just one listen.
What is so great about it?
Number 1: It utilizes a method called “spaced repetition”. Spaced repetition is when you are told a foreign language phrase and then told to repeat it. Then, you have to remember it and repeat the words again at different time intervals.
The spaced repetition was created in 1932, so it’s nothing new. But it is an incredibly efficient way to form new memories.
Number 2: The Pimsleur Approach focuses on pronunciation. Through constant repetition and a breakdown of each word, your pronunciation will improve. This is great, as a word slightly mispronounced may mean something else entirely.
Number 3: Audio based technology means you can take it anywhere. Well, anywhere you don’t feel silly talking to yourself. As learning a new language and driving both take a great deal of concentration, I wouldn’t suggest playing lessons in the car.
Number 4: Lessons are short — only 30 minutes each. There is only so much repetition one can do before they tune out completely. The lessons each teach everyday language (not tourist phrases) in a short time span. These lessons are effective and just long enough to teach you while your full attention is being paid.
Why isn’t it great?
Number 1: There are complaints that the program is boring. Why? Well while effective, does spaced repetition sound thrilling to you? That’s because it’s not. Repetition is proven to work, but it doesn’t make for riveting audio.
Number 2: The ads are pretty obnoxious. The Pimsleur Approach advertisements are the ones that go on about “language professors hating them” and “learn a language in 10 days”. The website is a little more clear when it says start learning a language in 10 days.
Any program that tells you that you can learn something complex in a very short period of time is exaggerating.
Number 3: The Pimsleur Approach uses only speaking lessons, not writing lessons. Some languages don’t offer reading lessons either. Therefore, it is best for those who want to focus on learning how to speak another language and who are auditory learners. Other language programs with writing and reading lessons have an edge for those language learners who are visual.
Also, as in America, many conversations are made up of informal language and slang. The Pimsleur Approach teaches formal language only.
How much is it?
While the website will give you the “too good to be true” price of $9.95 for the first four CDs, the fine print will tell you that you are to receive a new course every 60 days. For each course you decide to keep, you will be billed four monthly payments of $64, or $256 total.
Each course has a 30-day trial subscription. If you choose to return a course, you will just have to pay for return shipping. A phone number is provided should you choose to cancel future courses at any time.
Now that you know what Pimsleur is about, I hope that you can decide for yourself whether or not it is the best language course for you. Please let us know in the comments if you have ever used the Pimsleur Approach or any other language program and what you thought of it. Have a great day!