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So you’re missing Pimsleur...

  Tags: Listening | Pimsleur
 Language Learning Forum : Language Programs, Books & Tapes Post Reply
30 messages over 4 pages: 1 24  Next >>
Wulfgar
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4546 days ago

404 posts - 791 votes 
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 17 of 30
26 February 2012 at 2:33pm | IP Logged 
Volte wrote:
I've used it right before going to Japan, and right before going to the Czech republic, if memory
serves. My Japanese was "funny sounding", while my Czech was incomprehensible.

It's pretty rare that I hear someone say Pimsleur isn't good for pronunciation. In fact, that's what many feel is it's
strongest point. Is it possible that you didn't use it as intended? By that I mean considering yourself correct even if
your pronunciation didn't match the recording. I really can't think of anything else. It has worked really well for me
with Japanese, Mandarin, French and Russian.
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Volte
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
Joined 6314 days ago

4474 posts - 6726 votes 
Speaks: English*, Esperanto, German, Italian
Studies: French, Finnish, Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 18 of 30
26 February 2012 at 4:36pm | IP Logged 
Wulfgar wrote:
Volte wrote:
I've used it right before going to Japan, and right before going to the Czech republic, if memory
serves. My Japanese was "funny sounding", while my Czech was incomprehensible.

It's pretty rare that I hear someone say Pimsleur isn't good for pronunciation. In fact, that's what many feel is it's
strongest point. Is it possible that you didn't use it as intended? By that I mean considering yourself correct even if
your pronunciation didn't match the recording. I really can't think of anything else. It has worked really well for me
with Japanese, Mandarin, French and Russian.


To the extent that my pronunciation was wrong but I was unable to correct it, being able to assess that I was doing it wrong was surprisingly unhelpful. With Slavic languages, for example, I've often been left with a feeling of "I'm not even hearing that correctly, and my imitation of it sounds way off, and I'm not sure how to fix it"; I have that feeling even more strongly with Korean. Learning a bit about phonetics over the last few years has helped. For other details, like Japanese pitch accent and differences in intonation patterns, I presumably didn't even realize that I was doing things wrong when I was using Pimsleur.

I can learn to pronounce things correctly, but it often involves friendly and very patient speakers of the target language, often supplemented by lots of careful phonetic diagrams with recordings.

When I rely purely on audio (plus repeating it, shadowing it, and various other variations), the results are better than if I tried to read a phrasebook without ever listening to anything, but unless the language is very phonetically straightforward for me, my pronunciation is still pretty bad.

Pimsleur seems to work well for some people for pronunciation. I've found it helpful for consolidating basic phrases before visiting places as a tourist. But I haven't personally found it very useful for pronunciation.
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Majka
Triglot
Senior Member
Czech Republic
kofoholici.wordpress
Joined 4532 days ago

307 posts - 755 votes 
Speaks: Czech*, German, English
Studies: French
Studies: Russian

 
 Message 19 of 30
26 February 2012 at 5:23pm | IP Logged 
I don't know the Pimsleur Czech course, but I had the opportunity to try the French one.
And I can understand where Volte comes from: I learned French some 20 years ago, completely forgot it and now I am learning it once more from beginning. And even through I had already had the phonetic part once down, sometimes I couldn't hear what the Pimsleur course wanted to teach me, even for words where I knew the right pronunciation already. Some words are spoken slightly different in different parts of the course or even the same lesson.

And the problem with Czech (my mother tongue) is that it does have quite a small tolerance for correct and comprehensive pronunciation.
Compared to it, English is on the opposite spectrum - I have still slight but recognizable German accent when speaking English but it never hinders the comprehension of my speech.
But I personally know several Austrians who speak more or less flawless, even when somewhat limited Czech. But they all have accented pronunciation and foreign melody of their speech and have often problems to be understood. And I would bet their accent is not heavier than mine was in English some years ago. And all I got was "What part of Germany are you from?" instead of a look meaning "What language was it again?" they get sometimes.
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Wulfgar
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4546 days ago

404 posts - 791 votes 
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 20 of 30
26 February 2012 at 5:27pm | IP Logged 
Volte wrote:
To the extent that my pronunciation was wrong but I was unable to correct it, being able to assess that I was
doing it wrong was surprisingly unhelpful. With Slavic languages, for example, I've often been left with a feeling of "I'm not
even hearing that correctly, and my imitation of it sounds way off, and I'm not sure how to fix it"; I have that feeling even
more strongly with Korean. Learning a bit about phonetics over the last few years has helped. For other details, like Japanese
pitch accent and differences in intonation patterns, I presumably didn't even realize that I was doing things wrong when I
was using Pimsleur.

Ah, this I've heard several times before. Personally, I learn how to pronounce all the sounds of a language before I do
anything else. I agree that Pimsleur doesn't explain certain sounds well, if at all. Also, as far as not being sure what you're
hearing, I recommend working with a transcript. I thought you meant you were doing those two things and still getting bad
results. Pimsleur is limited, like any other language program. Adjust for the limitations and it is an excellent tool for learning
pronunciation.
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atama warui
Triglot
Senior Member
Japan
Joined 4576 days ago

594 posts - 985 votes 
Speaks: German*, English, Japanese

 
 Message 21 of 30
26 February 2012 at 6:07pm | IP Logged 
Jeffers wrote:
I think you're mixing up fluency with proficiency. Fluency is the ability to speak easily and smoothly, at whatever level of proficiency you are. Pimsleur doesn't teach a lot, which is why I wrote that it's lousy as SRS, but what you learn, you will be able to speak easily and without hesitation if you use it correctly. This is because it gets you used to responding quickly.

It teaches to a pretty low level of proficiency (let's say A1 for the sake of this discussion). But it specifically works on your fluency at that level.


Let's see.
If you know what to pay attention to while doing Pimsleur, it can indeed teach you that.

That's not the point of this thread though!

Actually, this thread had been derailed from "how to assemble a SRS-esque audio course with the given tools" to "what's Pimsleur good for".
It doesn't even matter what else Pimsleur courses can do. Pimsleur uses SRS in an audio course to teach words (among other things) and, for someone who went on in their learning, looking back at their progress to this point, this SRSing of words it what could help them improve further, if there were audio courses using this methodology.

I can train intonation, pronunciation or speaking in other ways. Now that I can converse with Japanese people in Japanese, my main concern is "more words", to have a higher retention rate and to express myself better. Further progress in fluency for an intermediate student means more words - if you know more, you don't have to think so long and hard while speaking when, even if you forgot one word, you can just substitute it with another one that fits, or you have enough words in your repertoire to go other ways to get your point across.

Pimsleur was not "lousy as an SRS" at all. I never forgot the words it taught me. This is the only thing an SRS is supposed to do. This is what I hoped to get with ALS, but it doesn't have this feature.
GradInt does, but with its bugs and UI (on Windows, I don't know other platform versions), it's just not possible for me to create such a course of, say, the Core 6000 or 10000 and then happily forget ANKI and what have you (because Pimsleur audio alone already makes words stick).

If there was a way to create such a course, guess what, you'd learn grammar for 3 months, then just kick off the Pimsleur SRS and develop the other useful skills without being bothered by explicit vocab studies anymore.

(In my case, learning Japanese, acquiring vocab and learning the script are seperate processes. While I do pick up some words while reading, my focus is on the Kanji, and I can learn tons more and way faster if I could relax and say "what if the words don't stick, they don't have to, that's what I have Pimsleur for, just concentrate on those Kanji". This would be more effective for me.)

I'm kind of desperate for such a Pimsleur method vocab audio course. That's what this thread was and should be about.
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Wulfgar
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4546 days ago

404 posts - 791 votes 
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 22 of 30
26 February 2012 at 6:42pm | IP Logged 
atama warui wrote:
I'm kind of desperate for such a Pimsleur method vocab audio course. That's what this thread
was and should be about.

Are you going to keep the rate that Pimsleur teaches in your proposed program? If you increase it, things may not
stick as well. 500 words in 90 hours. At that rate it would take 3600 hours to learn 20k words, for example.
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atama warui
Triglot
Senior Member
Japan
Joined 4576 days ago

594 posts - 985 votes 
Speaks: German*, English, Japanese

 
 Message 23 of 30
26 February 2012 at 7:06pm | IP Logged 
I'm not sure how many words in what time can actually stick. There must be a limit to how much one can memorize in a given amount of time.
Pimsleur courses could technically have taught a lot more within the 45 hours it took, but it also incorporated other information and production drills for grammar points inbetween.

I can imagine that, designing such a course, the first few hours will have minute long gaps between the words, but as new words keep coming while repetitions are to be done, with overlaps and such, after a while, you would have "non-stop action".

Now, with GradInt, you could actually accomplish that, but ALS does not provide the feature. It only has a template for asking the question the way the Pimsleur courses do.. "can you remember how to say" (A) (pause) (B) pause (B)..
That alone is not enough to make a SRS :/

The goal would be to inject new words in "lesson packs" between repetitions (7 at a time, for example), then maintain them SRS-style until you reach the point where you only have to repeat them once a year or so. By that time, I'll have encountered them anyways, given they're from a frequency list.
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atama warui
Triglot
Senior Member
Japan
Joined 4576 days ago

594 posts - 985 votes 
Speaks: German*, English, Japanese

 
 Message 24 of 30
26 February 2012 at 7:12pm | IP Logged 
If you would produce Pimsleur-style 30 minute lessons, incorporating the fact they're supposed to be done at roughly the same time every day (thus, the time between 2 lessons would be 24 hours), it would take a few months to learn all the words featured, but they sure as hell would be ingrained. You can do that while commuting, too, for example. You'd also have enough time to listen to other audio, like podcasts, in between the lessons

That's what I think.


edit: unfortunately, GradInt seems to be written in Python, so I can't just improve its UI. Or I'd just copy the repetition interval into ALS, which would probably the best solution. Both tools are open source, AFAIK.

Edited by atama warui on 26 February 2012 at 7:14pm



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