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How to Learn a Foreign Language Kindle Edition

19 customer reviews

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Length: 160 pages

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About the Author

Paul Pimsleur  (October 17, 1927–June 22, 1976) was a scholar in the field of language teaching, testing, and applied linguistics. He developed the Pimsleur language learning system, which, along with his many publications, had a significant effect upon theories of language learning and teaching.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By t00lman on September 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
A hearty thanks to the publishers and Pimsleur.com for resurrecting this wonderful book and making it available to the masses via the Kindle. A print copy, if you could find one, could set you back $2400+ up till now.

And a special thanks to Paul Pimsleurs wife, Beverly, and their daughter Julia, for their vision, tenacity, and determination to republish this book. Their selfless commitment to improve the human condition is now plain for all to see.

This book tells you clearly and concisely how to learn a foreign language. I know of no other book or teaching method surpassing this method of learning ... and I've tried about all of them over the past 40 years. Every tactic Pimsleur talks about in this book, I learned on my own --- the hard way. I wish this book had been around when I began learning foreign languages. It would have made my studies a lot easier.

Pimsleur says that our standard approach teaching foreign languages through rote drills is silly. He's right.

I signed up for a French course in community college in 1968. Within a week I was bored and I dropped the course. Why? The instructor began the course by speaking in French never uttering a word in English. That would have been okay if her emphasis had been on engaging the students in short, conversational stimulus responses rather than rote drills of pronouns and vocabulary none of us understood. She violated the number one rule of language teaching: get the students to listen and talk. Instead, she focused on her knowledge and her power over the classroom mindlessly talking at us until we tuned out. This is one of the faulty teaching approaches Pimsleur cites in his book. Sadly, this continues today. I still shudder at the notion of learning French.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Firelight on January 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a true gem for anyone interested in learning a language. Dr Pimsleur takes out the fear factor in learning a language. In the book Dr Pimsleur explains why 90 % of American high school language learners give up the language they pursued in less than 2 years; and why that is such an unnecessary tragedy. Dr Pimsleur breaks down how people learn language best and explains various aspects of language learning, including what kind of teacher/method you should look for.

I personally have gone through the Russian Pimsleur system and can attest it is better than any other language system out there; at least for me and many others. Every Pimsleur website or brochure you read will explain to some degree why the Pimsleur system works. This book goes beyond the brochures to teach the reader how it can be enjoyable to learn language and how one can go about it; with or without the Pimsleur system.

This book is a quick read, with short easy to understand chapters. If you have ever been discouraged by language learning, please read this book. In it Dr Pimsleur admits that there may be people out there who theoretically cannot learn a language, but from his experience any student with some motivation to learn can and should learn a language; for the simple reason that it will be an enjoyable journey with a pleasant reward.

Pros:
Short easy read
Encouraging
Real life stories
Easy to understand statistics

Cons:
None found
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ryan C. Nagy on February 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am reading the Kindle version of this book after doing all four levels of Pimsleur Spanish. I am an American living in Mexico and bought this book because I feel like my language learnings has slowed. Pimsleur gives all kinds of good practical advice, advice that fits well with a person-centered, holistic world view. The book will help you work with your own strengths and desires and will help you to pick a good language learning strategy and modify it as needed. It will also help you pick a good language teacher and language school.

What I am finding fascinating are the instructions for how to record and create your own language drills and exercises similar to what he does in the Pimsleur audio series. I am very excited to try this out.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rahlan on July 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was a bit disappointed in this. I am a fan of the Pimsleur Method and was hoping that there would be an outline of the method so that one could formulate a Pimsleur-type program using most any language. My fault for having unrealistic expectations, I guess. It WAS an interesting read, but nothing like I expected. Even without my expectations, it was just OK. Lots of overviews of world languages and such. Informative yes, but not as practical as I'd hoped.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G. BARTO on July 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Paul Pimsleur is, of course, the creator of the fantastic Pimsleur courses. In this book, he fleshes out the ideas behind language learning that went into creating them, along with other strategies for exposing yourself to and learning other languages. A good portion of this book appears in a slightly different form in the booklets that come with Pimsleur courses, but the expansion upon the content is nice as is hearing about language learning in his authorial voice. If you wish to learn a new language, you should just get the Pimsleur program for that language. But if you're a fan of the programs and want to know more about the thinking that went into them, this is a nice, clean read.
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