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.
In this review, we’ll present our honest opinion about this program. In our books, Pimsleur is not for everybody. Come along and discover if Pimsleur suits you.
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 version of spaced repetition, which the Pimsleur Method™ now follows with strict adherence to a predetermined timeline. The Pimsleur Method™ starts with high-frequency recall in seconds and minutes and gradually extends to days, weeks, and months. The Pimsleur program offers clear instructions and a strict order to follow. Each lesson is for one day’s work. And there are specific guidelines concerning when to repeat an exercise 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 that cassettes and Pimsleur coexisted for a long time!
The program heavily relied on audio, which remains its backbone after more than 50 years. Through spaced repetition, Pimsleur is able to take learners by the hand and initiate them into the language. Although an app and website exist, the method remains almost exclusively audio-based. There’s also a reading section, 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, revisiting words and expressions from earlier lessons is expected. So, do not be surprised if, seemingly out of the blue, you face memory and retention challenges. 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!
Pimsleur Italian encompasses five modules, each spanning a month and comprising 30 lessons (thus, you complete one a day). Each daily session takes one hour. So, the whole course takes five months if you practice daily for one hour. Are you in?
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 list of words they teach sticks with students better because they review it frequently. And with that vocabulary learned, a student can continue expanding and consuming his own material once he has completed the course. In other words, they’re saying, “Hey, we’ll give you the appetizer, but you’re gonna have to order your own entré.” Thus, Pimsleur is ideal for students just starting to learn a language. Do you have experience acquiring a second language? No? Then, the first few weeks can be challenging. That is why so many students get frustrated and quit. Thus, Pimsleur intends to aid you through that crucial initial learning phase.
Complaints against Pimsleur
Despite Pimsleur’s 50 years of endurance, the platform still undergoes criticism on several fronts. And you will be interested in learning about these complaints.
- First, as 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 most notorious negative comments against Pimsleur is its restrictiveness, not allowing exploration freedom. Some people prefer a structured curriculum. Thus, they enjoy being led by the hand. But others like to explore on their own. So, if you’re in the latter group, Pimsleur is not the program for you.
- And this leads us to the fourth complaint. Due to the structured nature of the platform, those with language-learning experience may find the program restrictive. And even consider its pace too slow and exasperating. And we agree. Seasoned students can learn a language faster on their own. For this type of student, it’s like being in college and taking 1st-grade classes. If you plan to acquire 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. So, be prepared. Pimsleur does the job of getting you started in the language. But you will need to find your own source of motivation to complete the course.
Pimsleur has voice recognition software!
As mentioned above, Pimsleur is an audio-based program. So, the learning process will require you frequently repeat or answer questions. Thus, your voice needs to be 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. Every module costs $150 (one module equals 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 enables students to finish the 5-month program for $100. In other words, you pay $20 a month.
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
Dated social scenarios
It’s a course mainly for beginners
Hey, what’s the deal with this 50-year-old course? Are you one of those podcast people? Because this course is all about that audio format!
The audio aspect of the course is perfect for accompanying idle chores. But not everybody enjoys putting on their headphones. What about you? Do you mind listening while you eat or commute?
If you still don’t know what to decide about Pimsleur but have made it this far in our review, we advise you to check out Pimsleur for free by clicking here.
Nothing empowers you more than deciding based on your own experience. The free trial lasts seven days. There are no strings attached.