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After the Pimsleur audio German course

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 Message 1 of 7
27 January 2024 at 8:21pm | IP Logged 
Hi I'm using Pimsleur audio German to learn German,    I have finished the five levels
that are available which according to the website should take me to about A2 to B1 level
in German.
I found the audio way of learning the best way for me,    I was wondering if someone
could recommend any further audio German language learning,   that will take me beyond up
to B2 and beyond?    
kind regards,   Gin

Senior Member
Joined 3871 days ago

507 posts - 1098 votes 
Studies: German

 Message 2 of 7
28 January 2024 at 6:37am | IP Logged 
Hello, ginlane,

The Replacement Forum
You might wish to know that, owing to recurring technical and administrative issues
which had rendered the regular maintenance of this forum a very difficult task, a
replacement forum was launched in July 2015 as: "A Language Learners’ Forum" . Since
that time, virtually all regular activity has ceased on this forum. I suggest that you
register on the new forum and pose your questions to the members. Now then, in response
to your question …

Pimsleur: Strengths
The Pimsleur programme is a well-known and highly-respected introduction to the very
basics of a foreign language. The method’s chief strengths lie in: (a) its ability to
assist the student acquire a fairly good “feel for” the underlying structure of a
foreign language, (b) the development of a certain level of “automaticity” in the L2’s
basic sentence structures; hence a degree of “fluency” in some frequently-occurring
sentence-patterns, (c) its reinforcement of a narrow range of high-frequency vocabulary
items, and (d) a sound guide to pronunciation.

Pimsleur: Limitations (not B1, not even A1)
Despite its many virtues, and although the programme introduces individual elements of
grammar which do, indeed, appear in some CEFR A2 courses, owing to the narrow range of
vocabulary introduced and used throughout the series, the level upon completion of the
entire Pimsleur I-V programme would be CEFR A0, or perhaps A0+. Please do NOT interpret
my assessment as a criticism of the Pimsleur method, I am merely pointing out one of
its limitations. I have used the full Pimsleur series for the study of Spanish,
Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, German, Polish, and Russian. I thoroughly enjoyed the
experience and, from my perspective, these courses were worth every penny that I paid
for them (and, for the record, I purchased them from the publisher). So then, to your
question …

Audio-Only, Self-Instructional, Language-Learning Programmes
For a number of reasons, there are very few audio-only language-learning programmes
available. While the “Michel Thomas Method” is quite popular (a situation that I
simply cannot fathom), marketing hyperbole aside, it does not teach to the same level
or depth of the Pimsleur programme and, in my opinion, it is not a serious competitor
to the latter. Accordingly, it would not be a good choice as a follow-up to the more
comprehensive Pimsleur programme. Yes, the Michel Method does offer self-styled
“intermediate” and “advanced” courses; however, having used them myself, I simply
cannot recommend them under any circumstances, at all. A “knock-off” variant of the
Michel Thomas method would be the “Paul Noble” German course; however, it is extremely
elementary in scope and, for this reason, I cannot recommend it as a follow-up to the
Pimsleur programme. So then, given the limited offerings, your preference for audio-
only programmes means that you will have to stick with Pimsleur German through to Level
V and then move on to more conventional materials.

Life Post-Pimsleur: Conventional Materials
German is one of the most popular second languages studied by speakers of English.
Accordingly, the English-speaking independent language-learner is faced with the
challenge of choosing amongst a bewildering array of well-conceived, high-quality
courses. The materials frequently contain a course manual accompanied by a set of
audio recordings which were prepared with assistance of voice-trained native speakers.
The course content typically comprises a series of “mock dialogues” representing
situations which a traveller to the region where the second language (L2) predominates
is likely to encounter. The level attained upon successful completion of these
materials ranges from CEFR A2 to B1. A word of advice: give no credence whatsoever to
publishers’ claims of higher levels of language skill being possible or of the
acquisition of “conversational fluency” when dealing with native-speakers. It just
ain’t true! So then, of the myriad of
opportunities -- my personal library of materials for the self-instruction of German
exceeds 3,000 courses, readers, books, and diverse supplementary materials all dating
from the mid-nineteenth century to the present -- what would I recommend?

My Recommendations: Beginner-to-Intermediate Self-Study Materials
1. “DLI German Gateway” was developed on behalf of the U.S. Armed Forces in the 1970’s
as follow-up to their very basic language familiarisation course. To me, its chief
appeal resides in the reinforcement of the basic structure of the German language. It
represents an excellent opportunity to solidify much of what you learned
with Pimsleur and to prepare you for more challenging materials. It is freely-
available via the “” website (
It is located amongst the “DLI” materials. Your search engine might caution you that
the Yojik website is unsafe. I, as well of most of the members of the current and
replacement language forums, know and trust the guy who runs the site. Like many self-
instructional language-learners, he’s a bit of a nerd; but he’s trustworthy.
2. “Assimil German” (German With Ease): the latest generation is of this course is
particularly well-conceived, most particularly for its presentation of colloquial
speech and ‘on the street’ communications. The previous generations are equally well-
conceived; however, the language deployed in the previous generations of this war-horse
is in a slightly higher register; not overly-formal, just more appropriate when
speaking with adult strangers. The only criticism that I have of the Assimil courses
is that, at times, the accompanying notes seem to have been prepared for someone who is
already quite familiar with the grammatical concept being discussed and who therefore
does not require much by way of explanation. In addition, the Summary Grammar in the
appendix is so summarized as to be virtually useless to the beginner. My way of dealing
with this issue is to keep a “simple” German grammar at hand and to consult it as
3. “Linguaphone German New Format”. The instructional method employed is a “lite”
version of the “audio-lingual method” which enjoyed wide-spread academic support in the
U.S. in the 1960’s through the mid-1970s. In addition to the habitual mock dialogues
which are used to introduce the language, the course includes several hours of
“sentence pattern” exercises the practice of which is designed to reinforce the
student’s acquisition of the L2's basic structure.   Although the course is no longer
available for sale from the publisher, I can send you a copy via a file-sharing website
(big file!).   
4. “FSI German Basic”. This course was developed in the 1960’s on behalf of the U.S.
Foreign Service Institute (FSI), U.S. State Department, for the instruction of American
diplomatic personnel. The instructional method employed is the original “full-blown,
bone-crushing, vomit-inducing” audio-lingual method (What, you’re feeling a little
tired? Great, give me 5,000 more sit-ups, you worm-infested slug!). Given the
linguistic needs of the average diplomat, the language presented in the FSI courses is
in a higher and more formal register than one would encounter on the street or in the
typical commercially-prepared language course. Furthermore, some of the vocabulary no
longer has the purchase that it once had (I may be the last person alive to use
“purchase” in this sense). Nevertheless, assuming that you can fight your way through
to Unit 4, and keep going, you will find that the sentence-pattern and other drills,
which form the heart of the programme, to be of great benefit in acquiring and
solidifying your grasp of the structure of the German language. As an aside, a little
more than a decade ago, although the materials were in the public domain, the process
for obtaining a copy of them from the U.S. Government was not widely-known and, for
this reason, unedited commercial copies of the FSI courses sold in the range of 1,700
$US. I know, I paid just such a price! Not to bother, though, the courses are now
freely-available via the “” website (
German.html) FSI German Basic is located amongst the “FSI” materials.

My Recommendations: Intermediate Self-Study Materials
Most people who purchase self-instructional language courses approach their studies as
a “self-improvement project” in a manner similar to their attempts at losing a few
pounds prior to an upcoming vacation. Given their lackluster efforts, it should come
as no surprise that they enjoy a similar success with theses projects That is, despite
their laudable but unrealistic goals -- “I only want to be able to have a conversation
with the locals” – they rarely finish their language courses. Accordingly, such people
are unlikely candidates for more advanced self-instructional language courses.
Publishers are quite aware of the situation and, for this reason, most of them are
reluctant to deploy the resources necessary to having genuine intermediate/advanced
materials prepared, produced, inventoried, and marketed. That is, apart from the
occasional genuinely serious student, there is no market for such materials or, more
precisely, none that justifies the investment necessary to support it. There are three
exceptions, here they are:
1. “Assimil Using German” available either directly from the publisher or in brick-and-
mortar book stores and, of course, via Amazon, Abebooks, and the like.
2. “Living Language Ultimate German Advanced”. Although Random House ceased
publication of most of their language-learning materials circa 2012, copies of their
“Ultimate” series are still available, at reasonable prices, via the internet.
3. “Linguaphone Deutscher Aufbaukurs” which is available directly from the publisher.
I have studied all three courses and, should you be serious about learning German, I
would advise you to do likewise.

My Recommendations: Advanced Self-Study Materials
Don’t believe the publishers’ hype, there are no such materials, not for self-study,
that is. At this stage in your language-learning, you’ll have rely on your own “self-
directed studies”; that is: advanced readers, books on any theme that interests you,
the internet, working with a truly excellent tutor (good luck finding one), moving to

Finally: Grammars (been there, done that)
Most introductory language courses place an emphasis on acquiring a basic skill in the
spoken language and introduce only a minimal amount of grammar. Typically, a more in-
depth presentation of grammar is reserved for the intermediate level. Some students --
like myself -- with a view to improving their performance or at avoiding mistakes, are
genetically driven to “mastering the rules” before joining in the game. In the hope of
increasing their understanding of the basics of a foreign language, they expand their
studies beyond their current course materials and devour grammars. Initially, I
adopted this approach to studying German; that is, until I realized that, as a beginner
student, doing so was akin to my “going down the rabbit hole”. To my dismay, I
discovered that the sample sentences in most grammars contain vocabulary with which the
beginner is totally unfamiliar, they deploy a particularly challenging syntax (this is
quite often the case in German grammars) and they include other grammatical features
which the beginner is unlikely to recognize but which a keen grasp thereof is essential
to a complete understanding of the example sentence. Furthermore, the explanations of
a specific
point of
grammar often go well beyond the basic issues, covering the entire gamut of nuances,
occurring exceptions and so-forth. Faced with this situation, the beginner either
abandons his search for understanding or spends – and loses – enormous amounts of time
and energy digging through dictionaries (where he is presented with definitions that
are beyond the scope of his present abilities to understand how the different meanings
apply in different settings) and finds himself making futile attempts at
understanding material that is quite simply beyond the beginner level. I learned this
lesson the “hard way” and I eventually came to the conclusion that the beginner should
acquire a “summary grammar”, familiarize himself with how the information is organized,
and consult the it as required in support of the notes available in his current course
materials. Walk, then run!    

Warm regards,
PS: If you want a copy of the Linguaphone German New Format Course, please send me a

Typos, stylistic changes.

Edited by Speakeasy on 31 January 2024 at 3:04pm

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United KingdomRegistered users can see my Skype Name
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 Message 3 of 7
28 January 2024 at 9:55pm | IP Logged 
Hi Speakeasy,
Thank you very much for getting back to me,   I wasn’t confident that anyone would
write me back.   I could also tell that it didn’t look like anyone was maintaining this
website.    BTW, is this the new website?    https://forum.language-learn

Yes I really appreciate the information, resources and materials are you recommending
in your comprehensive reply.

My situation is, I’m a Brit, living in Austria, near Innsbruck,   I’m gonna sink if I
don’t get the language down,   and I’m not gifted for languages,   also this place has
a dreadful dialect,   nothing like high German!

I’ve been told by others that the Pimsleaur course isn’t that great as they teach very
little grammar.      However I’ve found it’s the only thing that actually gives me any
progress in my German learning,     before that I was taking a scattergun approach,
getting my learning materials from all over the place, and not really progressing!    
And, also, at one point I had paid for a course called Smarter German     (Do you know it?)    It was kind of okay but also,   a
little too “grammar heavy” I thought,   I kind of lost interest, I didn’t really want
to be sat at a desk for the amount of time it would have taken to complete up to the B2
course they were offering!

The thing is, I have a driving job,    so I’m using the audios while I’m at work on the
road,       and in any case, I was never good at desk-based learning,   I’m not keen on
writing,    although I don’t mind reading!

I can enjoy listening to the audios, but I just need something that will help me with
vocabulary, and grammer   and take me further than where I currently am.    I’m not
sure but Pimsleaur says after completing the fifth level of their programme, I should
be between A2 and B1   ...... That’s a super rough guess!    but probably not as good
as that for the grammar aspect of the language!

Thank you so much for offering the “Linguaphone German New Format Course.”    Yes, I
would certainly love to take a copy from you if I can.     Please let me know how we
can go about the exchange.

Also, if there is any other courses that you might recommend,   I would be very
interested to find know about them.
And while I say that audio courses seem to work best for me,     I could always be
persuaded if you have a course that you could recommend.    When I have my day off I
can try it and sit at a desk for a bit.     Maybe I will have more patience this time.

Well thank you for your help Speakeasy and I look forward to hearing back from you

Kind regards, Ginlane

Senior Member
Joined 3871 days ago

507 posts - 1098 votes 
Studies: German

 Message 4 of 7
29 January 2024 at 5:07am | IP Logged 
Hello, Ginlane,

Thank you for your appreciative comments concerning my reply to your initial post.
Well then, given your description of your current situation, it seems that you’re in a
bit of a pickle! Some 35 years ago, at my request, my employer parachuted me into a
similar “sink or swim” situation wherein everyone in my entourage and in the wider
community spoke French only and virtually none of them could express themselves
intelligibly in even rudimentary English. Although I could not speak French upon my
arrival, a year later, I successfully sat the Province of Québec’s mandatory language
exam for professionals wishing to work in the province, receiving a score of 96% on
their CEFR B2 exam. I am sharing this anecdote with you as it might serve as a measure
of encouragement. In my experience, simply talking with the locals tuned my ear to the
French language and (slowly) helped me transfer from the mode of “listen-translate-
digest-compose-a-reply, translate-it-then-speak” to the vastly more communicative mode
of “listen-in-the-L2, compose-a-reply-in-the-L2, and deliver-it”. Admittedly, this
takes take time, but it’s doable.

With respect to your comments concerning Pimsleur’s approach to teaching grammar, it is
important to recognize that the author of this method of instruction strongly believed
that the mere repetitive exposure to, and repetition of, well-crafted examples of
grammatically correct phrases and sentences would permit the alert and motivated
student to “infer” the underlying language structure without elaborate explanations.
So then, in a sense, you’re correct in saying that Pimsleur does not “directly” teach
grammar. Nevertheless, Pimsleur does “teach” grammar, albeit “indirectly”. The almost
constant repetition of the course’s materials, coupled with spaced repetition, force
the student’s mind to internalize the basics of the L2’s structure. It works marvels
and it is low-stress, but it takes an inordinate amount of time to cover a small amount
of material … which brings me to the following point:

At a rate of one-lesson-per-day, completion of the full Pimsleur programme (levels I
through V) would take you about five months. Upon completion, you would have acquired
a reasonable grasp of the basic structure of German; however, owing to the almost
bizarre syntax that Germans employ in many situations,
official/academic/scientific/journalistic/educated speech would still be beyond your
reach. Furthermore, you would not possess sufficient vocabulary permitting you to
partake in genuine conversation in German. While you be would be pleased with your
hard-earned progress, you would not have covered material equivalent to even one-third
of the Assimil course or that of any of its competitors.

Given your description of your current situation, including your paramount need to
learn German pronto, I would say that, despite your preference for audio-only
materials, you simply cannot afford to continue along your present path. Therefore, …

I strongly recommend that you put your Pimsleur materials aside and that you plunge
headlong into the most recent generation of the Assimil German course. Proceeding from
one lesson to the next, simply read through the dialogues along with the accompanying
translations, then read through the explanatory notes. Should the latter seem a little
opaque, refer to a summary Grammar for clarification. Then, listen to the recorded
dialogues a couple of times and then start repeating them. If you keep your study
sessions within, say, 45 minutes, you should be able to repeat the dialogues about 10
times per session. You might wish to consider conducting two such study sessions, per
lesson, per day. Clearly, this approach is nothing more than the much-reviled “mass
repetition” and “rote learning” of the materials which, while tiresome, is still
quite effective. Finally, as you move through the lessons, you might consider
“shadowing” the dialogues. This involves repeating the audio recordings while you are
listening to them. The process can be quite demanding and, ultimately, you will end up
memorizing at least of portion of the dialogues. I will not shy away from the fact
that all of this requires the expenditure of a significant amount of mental energy.
But, you’re up to it; just strap on your kit and get going!

As an aside, I specifically recommend that you plunge into the latest generation of the
Assimil German course as opposed to any other materials because this particular version
exposes the student to a fair amount of colloquial speech, something that very few
other self-study language courses ever delve into despite the fact that this is where
the rubber hits the road.

With respect to the Austrian dialect, putting aside for the moment the omnipresent
colloquial language which is unique to every language community, from my understanding,
the foreign language student or even the native-German-speaker who is not already
familiar with the Austrian dialect, will be confronted with differences in
pronunciation which can seem initially, at least, quite daunting. There are materials
available on Youtube which might help you decipher the local sound system. Apart from
that, you might wish to work with a tutor; sadly, good ones are as rare as hen’s teeth.


Edited by Speakeasy on 29 January 2024 at 5:12am

United KingdomRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2346 days ago

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 Message 5 of 7
02 February 2024 at 2:44pm | IP Logged 
Hi Speakeasy,
I was wondering if you were got my email?
I guess I was just wondering whether there would be still a possibility to receive from
you the “Linguaphone German New Format”. files   I am really very interested in going
further in my German learning journey!   
It is a constant,   and recurring problem that my poor German causes problems with my
work,   and also understanding customers that I interact with!    although,   dial ect is
also a problem here,   I'm definitely sure that I need to improve my basic German skills!   
and these audio recordings will be the perfect situation for me to learn from.
Anyway,   I hope to hear from you in due course.
Kind regards,   Ginlane

Senior Member
Joined 3871 days ago

507 posts - 1098 votes 
Studies: German

 Message 6 of 7
02 February 2024 at 9:38pm | IP Logged 
Hi, Ginlane,

I apologize for the prolonged radio-silence; I have been experiencing problems with my
Email system. I called my internet service provider and, after having “ritually”
accused me of tampering with their equipment (as a self-avowed techno-peasant, I
wouldn’t know where to begin), they finally agreed to send a technician (tomorrow) who
will review and correct the situation. In the meantime, I will try to find out what
is behind my difficulties in sending you promised files. Clearly, I have been doing
something wrong. While you’re waiting for the Linguaphone German New Format files, I
suggest that you acquire a copy of the latest version of Assimil German.

Warm regards,
EDITED: Typos, of course!

Edited by Speakeasy on 04 February 2024 at 2:47am

Senior Member
Joined 3871 days ago

507 posts - 1098 votes 
Studies: German

 Message 7 of 7
04 February 2024 at 2:46am | IP Logged 
To whom it may concern,

For posterity and so as to wrap up this part of the discussion, my internet service
provider dispatched a technician to my house who deftly redressed the computer problems I
had been experiencing. Ginlane and I established Email communications and I sent him a
copy of the Linguaphone German New Format audio-lingual course (which, for the record, a
number of years ago, I had offered to send to the publisher who declined for want of
interest). From my perspective, unless someone wishes to add their own comments, this
discussion thread is closed.

Warm regards to one and all,

1 person has voted this message useful

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