Customer Reviews: Pimsleur Spanish Conversational Course - Level 1 Lessons 1-16 CD: Learn to Speak and Understand Latin American Spanish with Pimsleur Language Programs (English and Spanish Edition)
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on March 16, 2006
I purchased the Pimsleur's Conversational Spanish CD set with 18 lessons (not sure if this is the same, but close). I am a military brat and stand true to the belief that learning another language should start at the early elementary age. I retained more Japanese in 3 years, 24 years ago, than 3 years of studying Spanish at the high school level. Being in the construction industry, the hispanic community and workers have flourished, and with that my need to communicate with them. I have bought and tried other types of audio Spanish teaching media, but the Pimsleur's method is truly the only one that actually teaches you to think for yourself, which is what is actually going to happen when your in a conversation. To start with a conversation, and not memorizing all the verbs and their tenses and numbers, etc has made this very enjoyable and wanting to buy the entire volume. (I called directly today to order.) It's like starting to play an instrument: you don't want to learn all the scales and how to read music, you just want to be able to play a song or two right away, and that's what this Conversational Spanish does.
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on January 6, 2007
I disagree with all the glowing reviews, and seriously doubt any of the reviewers started from square one and felt they were prepared to visit a Spanish-speaking country from it alone.

Pimsleur does have a great idea, inspired by the Foreign Service Institute's approach, but the thing is it takes TIME. What's good about the method is you're drilled and drilled and drilled... what you learn here will stay with you a long time.

The flipside (and it's a big one) is that with all that repetition, you learn almost nothing. You'll learn the numbers (up to a hundred), how to tell time, how to order a generic beer (almost every lesson spends considerable time on this), and how to ask where a hotel or restaurant is.

But if the hotel is not "right here" or "over there," (the only possible answers, apparently) you'll have no clue. Forget about "turn left at the intersection and continue for two-and-a-half blocks." You can order a beer, but forget about a salad, the daily special, what the waiter recommends, a steak, some chicken, or tea or a soft drink.

You can go shopping but unless you want to buy "things" you'll come back with nothing. Nada! "Cosas" [things] is the only thing covered! Forget shirts, dresses, pants, maps, guides, film, cameras, books, hats. Forget about buying a plane ticket, a train ticket, asking for help, asking what's playing, finding the beach, a nightclub, a doctor, a cop, or even checking into the hotel that was conveniently "over there."

To get any truly useful survival skills with this approach, these eight disks would need to be followed by at least a hundred others. And with three hundred disks practiced over two years, I have no doubt you'd even be able to converse on a variety of topics, which I believe was Pimsleur's intention. But Pimsleur's eight disks is so tragically short of qualifying for tourist survival Spanish, that it's comical, as long as you're not the one using it.

There are better ways to learn, but they will require more effort on your part, such as drilling yourself on phrases, learning vocabulary, and (gasp!) some grammar. I would recommend Easy Spanish Step-By-Step for grammar and essential vocabulary, and probably Teach Yourself Spanish Complete Course (Book + 2CD's) (Teach Yourself Language Complete Courses) (or Teach Yourself Latin American Spanish Complete Course) for audio, and adequate survival phrases. For getting beyond very basic, stock phrases, listen to the podcasts at Don't neglect the multitude of other resources available to you there and elsewhere on the Internet as well.

Pimsleur's disks are still quite useful for practicing the sounds with time to repeat ... I'd recommend borrowing them rather than buying if that's an option. If not, you might try the course that inspired Pimsleur at, which is completely free.
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on March 6, 2012
I read the reviews for this product and was a bit angered at some of the negative reviews so I wanted to write my own.

Some say this product isn't great, but I really disagree. One said it's only for beginners--YES! If you don't know Spanish, this is a great way to start.

I bought a Pimsleur course for Cantonese years ago before traveling to Hong Kong and I loved it. Even with the limited number of words and phrases I knew, I felt comfortable going into the remotest areas of the New Territories, where no English was spoken and thanks to Pimsleur I could ask for some things and even ask a waitress to take a photo of me and my dad.

The same is true for Spanish. I bought this program because my fiancee is from Ecuador and I seem to be traveling to various Spanish speaking countries a lot now to meet her. I recently went to Panama while in the midst of the Pimsleur lessons.

This was my third trip there and what a difference I felt knowing more Spanish thanks to Pimsleur. I was able to carry on a conversation with the taxi driver, the bartender at my hotel, and people in stores. I went on a tour with some people from other countries including Spain and Venezuela and could speak some to them too!

No, my Spanish is not perfect, but I felt such a sense of power in that I was able to do things I wasn't able to previously. What a tremendous amount of freedom.

This is just an introduction and you'll need to keep studying to learn more and increase your fluency, but the Pimsleur approach has really been the best for me. I have Rosetta Stone, but I got bored with it. I don't like clicking on one word at a time. I want to hear conversations--and Pimsleur give that to me. That's why, based on my success with the Cantonese program, I bought the Spanish one.

I also like that they don't go over grammar, etc., but just give you conversations. You can figure the grammar out once you are familiar with the sentences. And as you learn new words, you can use the tools you have from this program to create new sentences.

I have found that by just having a conversation with those people you meet in Spanish speaking countries and letting them know that your Spanish is not the greatest, they help you. They give you the word you're looking for and you add it to your vocabulary.

I will continue with Pimsleur and will probably buy the big collection for further study. I can't recommend this one highly enough.
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on January 20, 2007
I bought Pimsleur's Conversational Spanish in hopes of addressing my greatest deficiency in the language: the art of conversation. After reading so many positive reviews, I certainly thought that the product would help to that end. Sadly, though, its sixteen lessons stay on a very basic level, culminating with learning how to say "seventy" and "We want to eat with you," words and phrases I did not need a cd to teach me.

If you are starting without any Spanish background, this may be a good, practical item to buy. If not, I would recommend looking for another product.
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on August 24, 2006
I got this item for my husband, who had the French version and loved it! He tried a couple of other versions of someone else's "Learn to Speak Spanish" program because Barnes and Noble was out of this, and he was very disappointed. I then ordered this and he is very pleased. It helps you to learn spanish in a conversational way that immerses you in the language rather than just repeating back unrelated words that they tell you. My husband has never had any language training before, but wanted this because he deals with a lot of spanish speaking people in his work. We highly recommend this one.
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on September 7, 2007
Exactly what I was looking for! I drive to work, roughly 45 minutes each way, and always wanted this time not to be wasted. The length of lessons fits right-in with some 5 minutes to spare in case of an interrupting phone call. The course assume absolutely no off-time studying and no usage of printed material whatsoever. Additionally, being alone in a car, I am the most comfortable about pronouncing sentences aloud, compared to being in a real class (this I remember from my years at University) or at home with my family around (as of now, this would be the only other option).

The pauses after English prompts are just right. On rare occasions when I get destructed and miss a moment to try my Spanish guess, there is always time to repeat the Spanish after the recorded voice before the next English prompt comes in. New words and expressions are naturally mixed in with repeated ones from previous lessons, making ideal byte sizes of new material in every next lesson while keeping you from forgetting what's learned before.

There are 16 lessons in total. Of course, you can not stuck it all in your head in 16 sessions. If I feel that I miss more than 10% of prompts, I jump couple of lessons back. I had to jump to 4 after the first series of 1 to 6, then back to 6 after getting to 8 for the first time and so on. I went over number 12 today and feel confident about moving on to 13.

I was reading the reviews before choosing this course, and one of those complained about this being Latin American Spanish rather than European Spanish. For me this is an advantage: my goal is to be able to communicate with locals and personal during our vacations to places like Mexico or Dominican Republic. I was surprised with how perfectly the program fits the goal. Dialogs concentrate on general courtesy, saying basic things about yourself, finding your way around, social eating and drinking, buying thins, timing, counting... It feels like the material was compiled with somebody exactly like me in mind: the phrase "One beer, please" is introduced as early as Lesson 5, if I remember correctly. I am looking forward to impressing my wife and kids during our next trip.
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on July 12, 2006
I just finished all of the CD's and I feel like I learned alot. I really wanted a program that I could do in the car and use while walking.. ie something you don't need to constantly rewind. It was perfect!

Since I can't find a Part II of this Series, I purchased Behind the Wheel Spanish and I'm really not liking it. I've gotten used to learning each word individually with Pimsleur and with this new program it give you 20-30 new words and then says to memorize on your own time.

Highly reccomend Pimsleur
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on March 17, 2006
This is a very good set of cd's and I'm busy learning conversational Spanish. I know French and these tapes are teaching me to think in Spanish and not French; and correcting my pronunciation. I knew the very, very, very basics of Spanish before this but I think I will be able to relax and converse much better in Mexico now!
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on June 18, 2012
I'm only on my 3rd disc and feel like I have already learned more than when I took a 6 week course at the community center. I put the disc in when I leave for work in the morning since my drive is around 40 min and then I practice what I have learned with the Spanish speaking ladies in my office building. They have told me several times my accent is perfect. Since I am just mimicking what I hear on the disc I figure it must be working as advertised!
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on April 17, 2014
I bought the 9.99 basic Pimsluer approach. Out of nowhere I get two of the "gold" packages in the mail and my card has been charged $256. When I call them to see what the deal is I'm already in collections and on top of that they won't let me return the unopened "gold" editions that I feel I never ordered or wanted. THIS COMPANY IOS SHADEY, DON'T GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY. A ton of other people have had the same experience, don't give them your money!
BTW if you really want the Pimsluer approach go rent it from the library for free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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