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Your favorite language program?

 Language Learning Forum : Language Programs, Books & Tapes Post Reply
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United States
Joined 4208 days ago

18 posts - 21 votes
Speaks: English*, German, Spanish

 Message 297 of 376
11 January 2013 at 7:45pm | IP Logged 
German - Class Room, High School with Bavarian native speaker, immersion - in country for 3 years, Class Room 3 Semesters College.

Latin Variant Spanish - Pimsleur Gold on unit 3

At present, I really like Pimsleur though this is my first experience with it.

Yes it has a smaller vocabulary but if you believe the advertisements there is an emphasis on the operative portions of the language that will at least, hopefully give you the tools to learn more as you go.

For me the best thing is that the program seems geared for those with a verbal learning style. With Rosetta Stone, I found it difficult to sit in front of the computer for the time necessary to master the lesson. My plan at present is to go back to the program after I complete Pimsleur in order to expand my vocabulary and develop reading skills.

I recently purchased FSI German too as a review for this language but have yet to recieve or work with it.   

I've seen that others on this thread have been combining Pimsleur with FSI, for those who do do you feel this brings you to a level high enough to test and certify?

Edited by Wanabe on 15 January 2013 at 7:42pm

1 person has voted this message useful

Joined 4304 days ago

91 posts - 142 votes 
Speaks: English*, French, Spanish, German, Malay
Studies: Arabic (Egyptian), Persian, Russian, Turkish, Mandarin, Hindi

 Message 298 of 376
11 January 2013 at 8:34pm | IP Logged 
Elexi wrote:
How does Pimsleur get you speaking in the correct accent in a way that Assimil doesn't?
- that just sounds like S&S marketing to me. I can't believe anyone would go back to
Pimsleur for learning accent after completing Assimil - with the exception of the
inconsistently applied back-chaining technique in Pimsleur, you have two native voices
to copy. Assimil has around 4-6 voices - If you practice repeating out loud line by
line in the passive wave, you will develop as good, if not better, an accent as doing

As to passive-active and the element of surprise that you focus on - in the discussions
that has been had on whether or not to press pause in Pimsleur, many people here say
they have to repeat some lessons three times to get to the 80%+ rate - that shows that
people are not learning from the linear nature of Pimsleur but getting passive
knowledge and then going back to answer correctly - Similar to the passive/active wave
in Assimil.     

As has been said, each to their own. I personally find the process of Assimil to be a
far superior learning experience than listening to that guy who sounds like jock
football coach and learning bad 1960s American businessman chat-up lines. For audio-
only stuff I have got much more out of the Teach Yourself 'XXX Conversation/'Phone XXX'
CDs. But, if you find Assimil boring and somehow are hooked by Pimsleur, then fine.
However, having done French and German in both products, I am unconvinced by any
arguments that Pimsleur gives you more. It manifestly gives you less, for more money.

Between 12 December and 25 December I studied Russian all day. I started with both Pimsleur and
Assimil and by day 4 quit using Pimsleur. Well, I've had success. Beyond the few Skype calls I've had, I
recently ran into an old friend from my German class who happens to be Russian and we had a chat and
set up a coffee date in Russian for me to practice in more detail with her, although the idea to set up a
coffee date certainly sounds more like Pimsleur's method ('Pimpsleur'), I owe my accent entirely to
Assimil for assimilating stress, lax vowel sounds, and consonant clusters when Pimsleur did it too slowly
for me to recognize the proper combinations of consonant clusters between other, irrelevant clips of

Nevertheless, Pimsleur has helped me with my Egyptian accent in Arabic. I remember that first glorious
month when nobody (at the Arabic-speaking potluck night) expected me to have any vocabulary nor
accent and yet I spoke with a lovely accent that the learners were envious of and the native speakers
were happy to hear!

In short, I concur, to say one method delivers a better method to acquire a good accent seems
impossible to say because of the nature of language learning. It is possible to pick up a good accent
using neither of these courses and people have in the past and will continue to do so in the future, so at
the end of the day it simply matters whether you want to go at a slow pace or a fast pace.
1 person has voted this message useful

Spinchäeb Ape
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4342 days ago

146 posts - 180 votes 
Speaks: English*, German

 Message 299 of 376
18 January 2013 at 8:15am | IP Logged 
I learned German by majoring in it at a major university and then by going on exchange to Switzerland and Germany. This was in the 80s. I just used the text books and cassettes for the classes. I also had a friend from Switzerland mail me cassettes of radio shows that he recorded for me. This was pre-internet. No podcasts or web pages were available. I don't know if any of the materials I used are available today. I did not use Pimsleur, which actually was around then.

I'm now learning French. This time I'm learning a language on my own. I started in Rosetta Stone, which I found somewhat useful, but lacking. I found I don't agree with their "learn everything intuitively" approach. I'm not against intuitive learning. I just prefer to combine it with rational study. I therefore bought two grammar books, Essential French Grammar by Seymour Resnick and French Grammar and Usage by Roger Hawkins. The former is a small book that covers just the basics. The latter goes into much more depth. If I had paid for Rosetta Stone, I would be piping hot mad. It has some value, but it's not worth the price they ask for it. I got it for free because a family member bought it and then let it collect dust for almost a year. When he tried to sell it on Amazon, his sale was shut down due to copyright restrictions -- this even though it's a legitimate copy of the program! He's the one who was furious. In any event, he gave it to me if I promised to use it, which I have.

RS has some value. It's kind of fun to see pictures and learn words in context. I feel like it's a partial solution. It builds vocabulary. I just didn't feel like it got me going with conversation skills quickly enough.

Pimsleur, on the other hand, has. I love the way it makes you think! It teaches you how to say some things, then based on that, it makes you figure out how to say other things. I also like the spaced repetition where they teach you expressions and then move on; then they come back and reinforce what you've previously learned. I think it's a great program for learning how to SPEAK, and only speak, a language. It has some exercises with written things, but they're inadequate for learning how to write in the language. I use Pimsleur when I'm out and about, driving, working out, etc. with a tiny MP3 player. I found a transcript of a couple Pimsleur lessons and I wish I could find the whole set somewhere. If you've run across someone who has transcribed it, please let me know. I've been using Google Translate to figure out how to write the things they say in the lessons.

I also really like Rocket French. Like Pimsleur, it puts you right into conversations. It uses some spaced repetition like Pimsleur, though IMO not quite as effectively. What I do prefer in RF over Pimsleur is it includes transcripts of all the conversations. I like this because I simply memorize many of the conversations. I used to do acting and so I'm using to learning my lines. I find memorizing full conversations instills the grammar and idioms into my brain. RF also includes workbooks where they take you in baby steps through the grammar, and it includes tests and keys so that you can correct them. I find that useful. The course also includes some basic flash card software that's kind of fun.

Another thing I do is use the Language 8 web site. There you write things in the language you're learning and a native speaker comes along to correct it. In turn, you correct the work of someone else who's learning your native language. It's been a huge help since this time around I don't have a teacher to ask questions of. I'll learn something in my grammar book and then try it out on Language 8. It's been a God-send.

The one thing I'm not doing that I really should is having regular conversations with native speakers. At the university we had this in the form of a weekly conversation hour, and of course during class time. I'm going to ask at the local university if they have such a thing. If anyone here knows how I can find a Skype friend or Skype group for French conversations, please let me know. In general, I hate Skype and don't even have it on my computer, but I would install it if it meant I could practice French.

I've also tried Tell Me More. It was fun. I thought it was not a good program for starting as a beginner, but had value on an intermediate level.
4 persons have voted this message useful

Joined 4240 days ago

21 posts - 39 votes
Speaks: Danish*, English, Serbo-Croatian, Dutch
Studies: Persian, German, Russian, Arabic (Written), Turkish, Thai, Polish, Bulgarian, Pashto, Urdu, French

 Message 300 of 376
19 January 2013 at 8:44pm | IP Logged 
1) Assimil
2) TY
3) Pimsleur
1 person has voted this message useful

Joined 4188 days ago

21 posts - 43 votes
Speaks: Finnish*, Polish, English

 Message 301 of 376
05 February 2013 at 2:49pm | IP Logged 
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United States
Joined 4553 days ago

6 posts - 7 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, French

 Message 302 of 376
16 February 2013 at 7:49pm | IP Logged 
Here is my gameplan for right now. A little background, I have studied Spanish from elementary through
college so I already have a foundation in the basics. I have also learned every word and sentence off of the
first level (3 CD's) of the Learn in Your Car Series.

I have started with Living Language Platinum Basic-Advanced, for a couple reasons. I already have a
base in the language, and it covers grammar and vocab. It is a nice overall course that has 3 textbooks, 9
audio CD's, mobile apps, an internet forum where they answer any questions, an online course that
reinforces what you learn in the book, and e tutoring. The e tutoring is awesome because you get to speak
to a live tutor and go over wherever you are at in the course. They are 30 minute sessions with no
more than 3 people in the session with you. It is amazing and for the price you get a lot with this course.

Living Language will be my primer, because the advanced level really only gets you to a early intermediate
or so. While doing this course, I am listening to Pimsleur Unlimited Spanish 1-4 in my car. I drive an hour
round-trip to work everyday, so I will get a minimum of an hour with Pimsleur everyday.

When I finish the Living Language textbook/audio cd's and online course, I will move onto FSI Spanish
levels 1-4.
This will be where the learning gets intense, I really want to burn this FSI course into my brain. While doing
the FSI, I will be finishing Pimsleur in my car. After Pimsleur I will finish the intermediate and advanced
Learn in Your Car Spanish sets. I presume I will be listening to Pimsleur and LIYCS well into the FSI
course. What I listen to in my car after that I am not sure but open to suggestions.

I wonder if I should take another course while using FSI. I'm not sure on that right now. I am thinking
about doing the Michel Thomas course intermittently with the FSI course. That might be an option.

I am also doing vocab and grammar flashcards and reading Spanish easy reader books.

When I am finished with this leg of my Spanish learning journey, I should have completed the entire
courses of:
Living Language
Michel Thomas
Learn in Your Car Spanish

What comes after this I don't know, I will have to determine my level of Spanish and go from there. I think
understanding a native speaker talking at a rapid pace would still be difficult, so these courses are really
just the beginning.

Edited by TexDeuce on 16 February 2013 at 7:59pm

1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
United States
Joined 4422 days ago

229 posts - 421 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Italian

 Message 303 of 376
19 February 2013 at 6:23am | IP Logged 
TexDeuce wrote:

After Pimsleur I will finish the intermediate and advanced
Learn in Your Car Spanish sets. I presume I will be listening to Pimsleur and LIYCS well
into the FSI course. What I listen to in my car after that I am not sure but open to

One option could be to review the audio from the FSI units you've already completed. I
find FSI a bit too intense for driving on the first listen to any given lesson, but the
drills that I've already (or nearly) mastered are fine.
1 person has voted this message useful

Joined 4359 days ago

36 posts - 46 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Dutch

 Message 304 of 376
21 February 2013 at 2:40pm | IP Logged 
A lot of people here seem to rate the TY courses, but I found them a bit dull and not too useful. I prefer Assimil and Hugo ... in 3 months.

Oh and Michel Thomas was a great introductary course.

Edited by NMW on 21 February 2013 at 2:41pm

1 person has voted this message useful

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