Have you ever seen those annoying ads that say, "language professors hate him" and "learn a language in 10 days?" These are (fake) Pimsleur ads, and while you might not learn a language in 10 days with it, it IS a good course nonetheless. Don't let the ads fool you.
Pimsleur is among the top language courses for beginners that you will find. It's offered in over 50 languages and many top polyglots such as Benny Lewis from FluentIn3Months.com, recommend Pimsleur as a great resource for getting you started in a language and getting used to the sounds & pronunciations.
I've used Pimsleur for languages such as Spanish and French and have went through the course in full. I'm amazed by how well I came out of Pimsleur being able to pronounce the language and all I had to do is sit back and listen. I never thought it would do much considering this, but I was wrong.
What to Anticipate:
Two of the biggest questions you are going to be asking yourself is, "Does the Pimsleur method actually work and how long will it take?"
You should know that everyone is different when it comes to learning languages. Some learn better by visuals, and some learn better by audio. If you are more of a visual learner, then obviously Pimsleur will not be as good a pick for you simply because it's all audio based.
For the question of how long it will take - some people learn slower than others, so you may be able to finish and retain more in 3 months than another person who listened and studied for 6. It also depends on the amount of free time you have. If you have 5 hours of free time vs someone who has 2 hours, then you should expect to finish quicker.
I found that for me, based on all the time I had available to go through it, it took me around 3 months to get through it all. I didn't do a lesson every day, however.
Just be aware that the only thing you will be doing is listening to audio and maybe some simple writing lessons.
Here's a sample of what to expect...
- All you have to do is listen
- Short and effective lessons
- Teaches everyday language, not tourist phrases
- Your pronunciation will improve tremendously
- You can take it and listen to it anywhere you go since it's audio based
- Talk at a rate of speech not to slow but not too fast either.
- Gets boring fast
- Mostly teaches in formal language as opposed to informal
- No writing lessons and some languages (Chinese, Japanese, Swiss-German, and Ojibwe) don't offer reading lessons.
Pimsleur guarantees spoken proficiency if you complete the first 30 lessons of a Pimsleur program.
Overall, I think Pimsleur is a fantastic course that everyone serious about learning a new language should go through. It confuses me how programs like Rosetta Stone get more attention than something like this. You won't come out of it being fluent of course, but your pronunciation and vocabulary will be far improved. It's a great course for beginners. You should check out my Pimsleur vs Rosetta Stone post before you make any final decisions though.
I say, if you really want to get started with a language, have the time for it, and have the extra cash to spend - go for it. You won't be disappointed.
Zachary the "Languageholic"