on July 9, 2008
This is the first French language product that has been an effective tool for me to actually learn French. I've taken local classes, used Rosetta Stone, and purchased Smart French audio CDS. Yes...I am an old dog and its very hard for me to learn new tricks. Pimsleur was effective because of the reviews that occur throughout the audio set. You just don't memorize it one time and then never hear it again. The next session builds on the previous session with a some "new material" and by the end you've built a "small" but effective vocabulary. I also learned specific language rules that were omitted or assumed common knowledge in my French class. I understand that other users may want a written book or guide. However, I've found that with French, it is better NOT to know how the word is spelled because it doesn't sound anything like the way it's spelled. It's definitely better to learn the correct pronounciation FIRST. I highly recommend this audio series. It was much more effective than the Smart French Audio CDs.
on September 11, 2006
This is a fantastic product, and one of the best ways to really get an early handle on grammar, and an outstanding way to practice speaking and pronounciation at any level. However, please do not do not get disapointed when you don't speak perfect French in 8 hours. This will give you basic tools to build on, but then you need to spend some time in a French country, or take several years of university classes.
When considering the investment in a foriegn language, consider that it may take 1000 hours (for an extremely easy language like French) to feel very comfortable in the language. That's one hour of serious study each day for three years. Or you can go sit in a Parisian cafe and talk to people who are willing to tutor you (extremely hard to find without some pretty good skills to start with) and you might get there in a few months.
I like this product because it's the very best available for naturally teaching you the grammar basics and for helping you to build the core vocabulary (stuff like and, but, or, many, few, the, a, an, whowhatwhenwherewhy), the core language structure (negation, word order), and it's outstanding for it's ability to teach language sounds...
A side note...be willing to sleep between lesson times. Something happens when you sleep, and you'll be better at it by the next lesson. That's why it's important to do this every single day, so that you have the maximum number of study-sleep cycles.
on March 17, 2008
Pimsleur's Conversational French CDs are very easy to use and convenient. We keep them in the car because we are there often. Everyone joins in repeating the phrases. Most of the sentences are ones that you would use in getting about a French speaking area. However, I would have liked having a written booklet with it, because it is difficult to determine b or v and some other pronunciations. On the whole I feel it is worth the reasonable we paid for it. The lessons progress from one to the other so that there is a continuity in learning.
on January 14, 2009
Let's be frank or in this case, French. There is no 'instant conversation' as in, "Voila! Now you are gifted with an immediate understanding. Go forth and communicate." The fact is you have to put in some real effort and study to reach a reasonable level of proficiency. I know, because I speak a number of languages poorly but thanks to Pimsleur CDs I'm probably less irritating to waiters, shop keepers and hotel staff in French and German. I'm dang near certain they chuckle less too!
The CDs cover ample basics and if you transfer the discs into your I-POD or plug them into your car you can play them and do the exercises until you get a working understanding going. If you're riding the train or bus you may get a few strange looks from your fellow commuters or say, learn a few new helpful phrases, like swear words I picked up from a fellow commuter. 'You never know when you might need it,' he said.
The CDs provide good value for what you get and are a good learning tool too. But as I said, you'll need to invest some time and effort to get that 'instant understanding.' Take the time. The better we communicate, the better we inevitably become.
A shame though the CDs don't teach you to sneer.
on September 1, 2009
Pimsleur language programs are really good, and Conversational French is no different. This is an easy way (with repeated listenings) to learn a bit of another language. It won't make you fluent, but it will give you a familiarity with a language, its vocabulary and pronunciation, that will give you some confidence in using it.
on January 29, 2009
The conversations are brilliant along with the drill. However there is no written transcripts for you to verify the spellings or the subtleties of pronunciation, and very often the tense changes with a minor twist in pronunciation, which our non french ears may not be able to decipher. Considering the high cost of the package the company should have included the transcripts, maybe in a soft form.
The other thing is that grammar is not really explained during the course. Its more rote learning. I would strongly recommend the 10 CD Michel Thomas method along with the Advanced course. Not only are the transcripts there, but the tenses and grammar are explained very well, as well as its far cheaper.
They always say, if you are going to visit Paris, you should try to learn a little French. Even a little, and the dreaded haughty Parisians are much more tolerant and may even trot out their textbook English to help you along.
I took a few years of French a looong time ago, and for me this is the perfect program. It helped me to be able to visualize the words I was speaking but have the major focus on the pronunciation. I could remember back into the distant past and envision the spelling as I spoke. Without that distraction, I am able to focus on my pronunciation, which is the most intimidating part of speaking French for me. (All those guttural Rs, and they do not all sound the same....) After going through the 16 lessons on this set, I am really delighted with what I have learned and retained. So much so that I want to learn more...but more on that later.
Pimsleur seems to be pushing their software programs more these days. I really wanted audio CDs. The 1/2-hour lesson format is perfect for my work commute. There are no written materials, it's all about how the words sound, and that worked really well for me. I feel like I have enough French to get along for a relatively brief visit, and to impress my traveling companions who, I am confident, will not have nearly as much French in their brains as I will.
The downside for me has absolutely nothing to do with this particular product but rather with how Pimsleur markets their programs. This set of 16 lessons is very reasonably priced. When I got to the end I felt like I could use a little more. There is no way to buy lessons 17-32 by themselves, and the cost of 1-32 is several times the cost of 1-16. If you are determined, as I was, to continue with the Pimsleur course, it's worth it to shop around - prices vary widely. However, it's hard not to feel a little used and abused by Pimsleur's marketing strategy.
Anyway, I enthusiastically recommend this set for the traveler who wants to pick up some essential French. The program is very thoughtfully designed for that purpose.
on August 14, 2012
I finished this 'conversational French' lesson and all I've done is learn how to get someone to come back to my hotel. The learning tool is great in theory, however, it doesn't teach you much besides, "would you like to have some wine at my place?". It gets kind of weird after a while when the woman starts teaching you how to say, "sir, you don't understand me. I don't want to have a drink with you or go back to your place later." I definitely picked up on the language, but I also learned how to pick up on a stranger, which isn't something I was hoping to take away from this lesson for my upcoming trip for my wedding anniversary. It's a decent learning tool and maybe I would have been more satisfied if I bought the whole French package...possibly I would have learn more. But when I finished this set, I felt like I wasted time learning useless phrases. I would have preferred a more traveler-friendly version, not creepy-pick-up version. But in all honesty, the teaching technique is great and I learned everything that was taught on the discs. Maybe content review should be performed by Mr Paul Pimsleur. Unless it's a French thing...
on August 23, 2007
Pimsleur's products are excellent. The CDs provide the very thorough repetition and drill necessary to begin building real converstional/listening skills. I've used Pimsleur to garner "travel fluency" in both French and Spanish. While I've continued studying French, I still ocassionally revisit the Spanish discs to review before travel.
I've tried various beginner's listening CDs. Pimleur's are by far the best. They are an excellent first step.
on February 14, 2012
I've already taken a few French classes at college, and was looking for a way to stay fluent with a French accent- I had heard that Pimseleur products only use native speakers for their audio CDs, so figured this would be a great resource. For me, it has served its purposs.
However, if you are looking to learn a language, this is not the way to go. Reading the fine print, you'll find that this is actually only one small part of language learning program, and doesn't even fully qualify you for a 'money back gaurentee.' When looking at the price of the full program, you're better off going with Rosetta Stone.
I purchased a Rosetta Stone package with levels 1-3 for Spanish, and I can honestly say it's the best languge immersion program I've come across. So basically, if you already have a foundation in a foriegn language and are looking to become more fluent in conversation, this is an adaquate option. If you're trying to learn a language completely, look else where (possibly Rosetta Stone).