Review: Pimsleur Spanish
Pimsleur Spanish is a tried-and-true method for learning conversational Spanish. It's essentially an audio
course of half-hour lessons, developed by Dr. Paul Pimsleur based on his research into how people learn languages.
The Pimsleur Method is available for many languages, and millions of people have used it successfully.
Here's a link to the page at Amazon.com that lists
all the Pimsleur Spanish programs.
And here is a
similar list link at eBay.com.
You can learn Spanish -- at least basic conversational Spanish and likely even more -- with Pimsleur.
Recently a friend came to visit us in Mexico. He had never before spoken Spanish, and I was amazed at how well he
was doing immediately in conversation with Mexicans. His secret? Pimsleur Spanish, repeated many many times.
(He had taken high school Spanish several decades ago, and he thought that helped some too.)
I used Pimsleur myself to review my rusty Spanish before coming to Mexico over five years ago, and found it
particularly good for pronunciation.
Some Pros and Cons
- It's audio, so you can take it with you on an ipod or whatever, and listen to it anywhere.
- It repeats the same vocabulary a lot, so you really learn the words.
- The Spanish it uses is too formal in some cases. For example, "Encantado" instead of the more popular
"Mucho gusto" for Good to meet you.
- It's relatively expensive.
- The vocabulary is not really large.
What is the Pimsleur Method?
The Pimsleur Method is based on four ideas about learning language:
- Anticipation -- instead of just repeating what an instructor says, you have to think of what to say, just
like in real conversations.
- Graduated interval recall -- Review the words you know at increasingly longer intervals.
Core vocabulary --- learn the most commonly used words, and learn them well.
Organic learning -- learn by listening.
These four concepts are worked into the programs.
What Others Say
I've mentioned my friend David who used Pimsleur to learn Spanish. He works reading water meters and was able to
listen to Pimsleur cassettes (checked out of the public library) repeatedly as he worked. He actually had done
this a couple of years before he came to visit us, without reviewing the program since then, and still remembered a
A woman I know here in Mexico credits her good start at learning Spanish to both Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone.
And here's a review:
"Pimsleur programs provide plenty of positive reinforcement that will keep learners on track, and we found
that Pimsleur gave us more proficiency and confidence in speaking the new language than any of the other
language programs we reviewed."
-- AudioFile Magazine
There's no doubt that the Pimsleur Spanish programs are a very good choice for learning Spanish. They
are similar to Rocket Spanish in being based on the listening process.
There are a number of different Pimsleur Spanish programs, and they overlap each other, so just take a
look and see which one appeals to you
at Amazon.com , or
at eBay.com. If you happen to have a cassette player, you can often get Pimsleur Spanish at very low prices;
mostly now, it comes on CDs.