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Why is Pimsleur such crap?

  Tags: Usefulness | Pimsleur
 Language Learning Forum : Language Programs, Books & Tapes Post Reply
62 messages over 8 pages: 13 4 5 6 7 8 Next >>
jae
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
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 Message 9 of 62
18 May 2010 at 5:26pm | IP Logged 
Pimsleur certainly can't be your only resource for learning a language, but I do consider it a great stepping stone for anybody who's a complete beginner in a language and is looking for independent study. I personally have an acquaintance, who managed to get to a between-beginner-and-intermediate level of Portuguese in just a couple of months (and without too much effort). He was basically able to function in basic situations and have simple conversations with Brazilians.
1 person has voted this message useful



Warp3
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 Message 10 of 62
18 May 2010 at 5:27pm | IP Logged 
Those who insist on repeating the "parroting sentences" line must not get very far into the program. Yes, there is plenty of phrase repetition (it is a repetition based course, after all), but later in the course you also construct new sentences by mixing and matching segments from existing known phrases. That isn't parroting. That is using the pattern matching portions of your brain to produce new sentences from existing knowledge.

Don't get me wrong. Pimsleur has its share of negatives, but I honestly don't feel this is one of them.
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Guido
Super Polyglot
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ArgentinaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
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 Message 11 of 62
18 May 2010 at 10:58pm | IP Logged 
GREGORG4000 wrote:
It's designed for confident American men who want to take foreign
women to restaurants and drink beer and water


Some other programs
are designed for farm boys who want to impress Italian supermodels! Wow!


Edited by Guido on 18 May 2010 at 11:02pm

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dolly
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United States
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 Message 12 of 62
18 May 2010 at 11:02pm | IP Logged 
Without a tutor there isn't a better way to learn pronunciation than Pimsleur. I've used software that tells you how accurate your pronunciation is, but Pimsleur gives you the best models to imitate. There's something about these recordings that puts the clear, correct sounds of the words into your head, for life.


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alang
Diglot
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Canada
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 Message 13 of 62
19 May 2010 at 12:53am | IP Logged 
Guido wrote:
GREGORG4000 wrote:
It's designed for confident American men who want to take foreign
women to restaurants and drink beer and water


Some other programs
are designed for farm boys who want to impress Italian supermodels! Wow!


Well I support Pimsleur for the absolute beginner's. It definitely helped me, but I have only taken foreign women to restaurants and I drank water. I am allergic to alcoholic beverages. I also had to make the program suit me, as I am Canadian and not American and I normally replied I am from Canada.

Referring the farm boys impressing Italian supermodels with that particular program. ROFL!
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Volte
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 Message 14 of 62
19 May 2010 at 12:55am | IP Logged 
dolly wrote:
Without a tutor there isn't a better way to learn pronunciation than Pimsleur. I've used software that tells you how accurate your pronunciation is, but Pimsleur gives you the best models to imitate. There's something about these recordings that puts the clear, correct sounds of the words into your head, for life.



For you, for some languages, perhaps. That definitely doesn't match my experience with Pimsleur Czech, where it was all a blur to me, or even Pimsleur German - there were quite a few phonemes I was mangling to the point of unrecognizability after using that.

I fully agree that the software that claims to do so is a joke, but Pimsleur isn't something I've found very effective either. Very careful shadowing of very short clips, looped, works better for me.

Edit: I should also mention that sounds don't seem to stay in my head for life, no matter what I do... nowhere near.

Edited by Volte on 19 May 2010 at 12:56am

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meramarina
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 Message 15 of 62
19 May 2010 at 5:06am | IP Logged 
Well, to be fair to those confident Pimsleur guys, at least they learn how to offer choices. Not only do they learn how to ask foreign women to go with them to restaurants--going to hotels and going to "my place" are also options! And you can have wine OR beer! Think of the possibilities!

The course offers a few phrases, three locations and two beverage choices, all of which work out OK for the guy . . . or, at least, it would have worked, if Pimsleur had not also told the lady how to say no! And to be fair to Pimsleur, a lady can use these same lines with a guy. This does not happen on the recording, but anyone can adapt the program to his, or her, own preference(s). Think of the possibilities!

But not too much . . . you don't have enough vocabulary from Pimsleur to describe what happens next, if anything.

I learned some pronunciation from Pimsleur, but I became impatient with the limited vocabulary.

And speaking of that Rosetta Stone ad, there's a hilarious parody of it in the New Yorker. I posted a link to it several months ago, but here it is again:

Mi Chiamo Stan by Ian Frazier

Edited by meramarina on 19 May 2010 at 5:07am

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kmart
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Australia
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 Message 16 of 62
23 May 2010 at 2:37am | IP Logged 
Well, I learnt enough Italian from Pimsleur alone (all 3 levels and I bought them at a good discount) to feel confident traveling around Italy and into areas with few English speakers - including asking my non-English-speaking Sicilian landlady for a bottle opener, directions to various places and having a detailed conversation about her daughter, grandchildren and sister who was a nun. I received numerous compliments about my pronunciation, and what was more flattering, my tentative questions were answered with fast-paced, voluble replies, indicating they had taken my language skills to be higher than they were, due to accurate pronunciation and correct grammar.
Pimsleur may not suit everybody, but if you want a program that teaches you the most useful travel phrases first and builds on them to more sophisticated conversations, in a way that allows you to intuitively absorb grammar, and you like to practice, practice, practice until you get something correct, then it works well. I only wish they continued the course to higher and higher levels, I'm sure my Italian would be a lot better if I had more Pimsleur to study !


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