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Pimsleur Italian Review

Hey folks, have you heard of Pimsleur? It’s been around since your parents were young, and apparently, it’s still “relevant” today. A course with a lengthy existence still enduring in modern times with some blemishes.

In this review, we’ll lay out the truth about this program. Come along and discover if Pimsleur suits you.

Pimsleur Method™ 

Pimsleur is more than just a course; it is a method that bears the name of the late Dr. Paul Pimsleur (an applied linguist who spent many years researching spaced repetition).

Spaced repetition is a learning process that involves exposing students to an idea and then waiting a certain amount of time before revisiting or recalling it. Dr. Pimsleur developed his own version of spaced repetition, which the Pimsleur Method™ now follows with strict adherence to a predetermined timeline, starting with high-frequency recall in seconds and minutes and gradually extending to days, weeks, and months. The Pimsleur program offers clear instructions and a strict order to follow. Each lesson is designated for one day’s work. There are even specific guidelines concerning when to repeat a lesson versus moving on. This structured approach provides a clear roadmap, outlining the time needed and when certain milestones, such as level completion, can be expected.

Pimsleur is an audio course!

Pimsleur, as we mentioned earlier, has been around for decades. It’s so old it’s from the era when cassettes were cool! The program heavily relied on audio, which remains its backbone after more than 50 years. Through the use of spaced repetition, Pimsleur manages to take learners by the hand and initiate them into the language. Although an app and website have been launched, the method remains almost exclusively audio-based. There’s a reading section too, but it’s basically just a sidekick.

In each lesson, an English-speaking narrator or instructor provides instructions while one or more native speakers engage in a dialogue (or monolog, whichever is the case). The English-speaking instructor never uses foreign words but prompts and guides the learner through the lessons. The key to Pimsleur’s effectiveness lies in its intervals. Learners hear a new word. Then continue learning other words and phrases, and then BOOM, the student is asked to recall and use that original word again. As learners progress, they’re asked to recall phrases from earlier lessons seemingly out of the blue, testing their memory and retention. Talk about keeping you on your toes!

Pimsleur Italian review

Do you enjoy challenges? What about taking an Italian lesson every day for five months? Well, buckle up because Pimsleur has got you covered!

The Pimsleur Italian course is divided into five modules, each spanning a month and comprising 30 lessons. The lessons are intended to be completed once daily, resulting in a total of 150 lessons. The entire course can be completed in five months.

Vocabulary is limited

A lot of repetition takes place inside the course. Thus, Pimsleur covers less vocabulary than other language-learning platforms. Pimsleur argues that the less extensive vocabulary they teach sticks with students better because they go over it frequently. And with that vocabulary learned, a student can continue expanding and consuming his own material once he has completed the course. It’s like they’re saying, “Hey, we’ll give you the appetizer, but you’re gonna have to order your own entrée.”

Complaints against Pimsleur

People have various grievances concerning Pimsleur.

First of all, as we mentioned in the previous section, the vocabulary you will learn in this course is limited.

Another complaint is that some of the stories and scenarios behind the dialogs are antiquated, inevitably feeling dated.

But one of the biggest negative comments about Pimsleur is that the course is very restrictive, not allowing any exploration freedom. Some people prefer a structured curriculum and like being led by the hand, but others like to explore on their own. And if you’re the latter, then Pimsleur is not the program for you.

Some people can learn a language faster on their own. Those that have experience learning languages will not enjoy the pace of the course and will find it exasperating. It’s like being in college and being forced to take 1st-grade classes. If you plan to learn your fourth or fifth language with Pimsleur, then it’s a bad idea.

Finally, some students address the course lessons as monotonous. Thus it becomes an obstacle to follow through with the hour-long daily requirement.

Pimsleur has voice recognition software!

As you are prompted to repeat or answer questions in Pimsleur, your voice is recognized and registered. This feature is relatively new on the platform, and it gives you needed feedback about your pronunciation. It makes sense, right? Pimsleur’s all about audio, so why not use voice recognition to help you out? Your responses are graded based on a star system. One star for “I can barely understand you” and all the stars for “Wow, you’re practically a native speaker!”

Pimsleurs price tag

Pimsleur is a costly venture, charging $150 for every module (that’s just 30 lessons).

However, if you’re considering Pimsleur, do not purchase the course. What? Let me explain. They’ve released a new monthly subscription plan with discounted prices. The monthly subscription allows you to finish the 5-month program for a mere $100 (signifying a monthly fee of $20, and you pay monthly).

What’s more, if you go the subscription route, Pimsleur provides you with a free trial of 7 days to see if you resonate with the program! No strings attached.

Pros and Cons of Pimsleur


  • A research-backed, proven method
  • Effective spaced repetition system
  • Affordable with the new subscription model


  • Audio only
  • Dated social scenarios
  • It’s a course mainly for beginners
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Wrapping up!

Hey, what’s the deal with this 50-year-old course? Are you one of those podcast people? ‘Cause this course is all about that audio format! The audio aspect of the course is perfect for accompanying idle chores. But not everybody enjoys having to put on their headphones daily.

If you’re still not sure about Pimsleur but have made it this far in this review, we advise you to check out Pimsleur for free by clicking here. Nothing empowers you more than being able to decide based on your own experience.

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  1. My sister and her family have plans to migrate to Italy before the end of the year. However, their concern is learning the Italian language because my sister is a teacher, and she’s looking to start a teaching job as soon as they get settled there.
    My sister has asked me to check out some Italian courses they could take before finally going to Italy. And that’s what brought me to your site. I have heard of the Pimsleur Italian course. And I have already read several reviews about it. You’re right; although there are some negative reviews, more people say it is worth, at least, giving a try!
    What I like about this course is the 7-day free trial so my sister can assess if it’s the program she and her family needs.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the Pimsleur Italian course.

    1. It is nice to hear how you’re helping your sister and her family. I wish them all the best in their move to Italy. And yeah, the 7-day free trial will help her decision based on her experience with Pimsleur.

  2. Hey! Thanks! I sometimes like old but trusted products. And Pimsleur seems to be one of them.
    I had never heard about Pimsleur before. Although I don’t like it does not utilize visuals, I still like the fact that I can practice while commuting. Let’s see if Pimsleur works for me.

    1. Yes, Pimsleur’s focus is on audio. But as you mentioned, their audio lessons can accompany you throughout your day.

  3. Thanks for your review of the Pimsleur Italian course.
    This sounds rich in history with tried-and-true methods of learning.
    It does, with the monthly subscription seem like a very cost-effective course.
    I might explore this course myself, as I’ve always wanted to learn another language.
    I’m also self-motivated and great at setting and committing to goals.

  4. I had never heard of Pimsleur before but it seems a great way to learn a language. Is it only for learning Italian?
    I like the fact that there is a free trial as well because at least this gives us a chance to have a taster session to see if it’s a good fit.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. I found your post while looking for easy ways to learn Italian, and I have to admit that this is the first time I’ve heard of this method.
    Pimsleur Italian looks interesting. The repetition approach to language development over time is perfect for me and seems the easiest method I have found so far.
    Thanks for the article. I will definitely try it.

  6. I have taken one-on-one Japanese tutoring courses before, and I heard the teacher talk about this learning method at that time.
    I think Pimsleur’s learning method is suitable for non-professionals like me,
    it is very effective to have basic communication with the target country in a short period of time.
    On this basis, to study systematically, the efficiency will be very high.
    the choice is more important than hard work.

  7. This is so cool — had I not stumbled upon your article I’d have never known about Pimsleur! The price does seem to be on the higher end, however, I’m quite intrigued by the idea of spaced repetition – again, a concept I’d never heard before! I’m quite certain I’m going to give this course a shot, through the subscription trial. Thank you for sharing this!

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