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Dr. Paul Pimsleur devoted his life to language teaching and testing and was one of the world’s leading experts in applied linguistics. After years of experience and research, Dr. Pimsleur developed The Pimsleur Method based on two key principles: the Principle of Anticipation and a scientific principle of memory training that he called “Graduated Interval Recall.” This Method has been applied to the many levels and languages of the Pimsleur Programs.
I have done Pimsleur French (I -III), Spanish(I-III), and am now working on Italian II. I am looking forward to doing German, and more in the future. Yes, I'm a Pimsleur addict. And I'm someone who took two years of French in college and never learned how to say anything. I'm also someone who got my lowest grade in college in foreign language! And that's after lots of work then. But, Pimsleur really, really, does teach you how to converse, if you are willing and able to pay the money, and put in the time.You won't know lots of vocabulary (but that's easy to learn later) but you will know how to construct all the basic sentences you need to. You'll be able to converse with people at the train station when your train is delayed, at the store when you buy something, etc. This is converse not just ask directions! and people will tell you your accent is pretty good. If you are very serious about being fluent, or knowing how to read, you will need other info later - but if you really, really want to be able to manage like a cosmopolitan tourist or business person, not like the typical English only American, these are the best courses. I recommend allowing a minimum of a month for each I, II, and III. More is better. I really 'get' it if I work through and then put them away for a few months, and then go back. Doing the first one only will not really prepare you to converse, but you will be able to order at restaurants and stores, and be polite. The second will allow simple conversation, and the third more complex conversation - especially if you work on your own on your own vocabulary for your sitaution.
Fugeddabout it! The best way to learn to speak Italian. Took these cassettes to Italy with me when I was about a third of the way through them. I had no problem getting around and communicating, even in towns where little or no Inglese was spoken. I couldn't hold a deep conversation, or a lengthy one, but to be able to survive in a foreign language when still completing level I was really gratifying. And recently I bought Ultimate Italian as a supplement. It's good, but nowhere near Pimsleur. Pimsleur is brilliantly designed to lock the learning into your memory. You find yourself thinking in Italian, not translating back and forth in your head. There are, of course, less expensive vendors of Pimsleur to be found on the internet, e.g., languagelovers.com. But the course is worth every Euro. I can't wait to start Level II. If you can afford it, and your interest is chiefly speaking Italian rather than reading and writing it, this is tops. If, on the other hand, you want to read and write in Italian, you should look for a different course or supplement this one.
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Before reading the rest of the review please keep in mind the following facts about my background so that you can take the comments from that perspective. I have been studying foreign languages on and off for about 20 years. I enjoy studying the minutia of grammar. I have studied French in depth from books and from watching French TV. I have studied some Italian from books. Enough about me.
I have just finished Italian I and I will go through it one more time before ordering Italian II.
I am not easily impressed, but I am very impressed with the Pimsleur method. I have bought many learning tools including software and books to try to help learn foreign languages. This Pimsleur course is by far the best in my opinion.
The method I have used to learn French focused on first learning the grammar in detail, then watching French TV with a dictionary in my hand. The result is that after doing this for years I can understand French pefectly. The problem is that I can't speak it.
The Pimsleur method actually forces you to learn to speak the language. It works very well. You learn the grammar indirectly. Like others I wish there were more grammar explanations, but for me it didn't matter since I have some background in Italian Grammar.
I would recommend getting one of the Italian grammar basics books. It would help you to understand some things better.
For proper pronounciation, the pimsleur method is awesome.
The Pimsleur method says not to use books. They say that the reason is because you will anglicize the pronounciation. This means that you will pronounce it using English phoenetics. I found this to be very true. These cd's corrected a ton of pronounciation errors I was making.Read more ›
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Pimsleur Italian I, as well as the other like products in the series, is good for basic instruction; that is, if you already have a fundamental understanding of romance languages and various other resources at your command.
Independently, learning the language via self instruction and use of books and such can be overwhelming, thus Pimsleur can be a good tool. I believe it's good for people who are not willing or ready to commit to a classroom, but have a lot of self initiative to learn. For instance, I came back from Italy after living there for several months and then wanted to improve my skills. Pimsleur can help motivate and give you a good starting map, instead of simply gazing inside a text book and hoping for the best.
Pimsleur will take you by the hand and guide you through basic pronunciations, phrasings and sentence construction. It prepares and frames your mind appropriately for taking an active learning, not just to see the words on page and wonder where to put your emphasis. This causes you to speak your way into the language and start thinking in Italian. Preparing the mind mentally is perhaps a major advantage to learning.
If there are any problems, perhaps it is that Pimsleur often seems to jump into the conversation too easily; that is, while it assumes that you will figure out the actual words, conjugations and agreements. Italian has many agreements, between verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs and so on. It can be very complicated and confusing at times to learn this language. (I find it more difficult than learning French.) Usually, Pimsleur does not explain these things or it seems to oversimplify.Read more ›
For help in selecting the right Pimsleur Language Program for you, or with technical questions, call us at 1-800-831-5497, 24/7. For more information on Pimsleur, visit, www.pimsleur.com.
Dr. Paul Pimsleur (b. 1926, d. 1976) devoted his life to language teaching and testing and was one of the world's leading experts in applied linguistics. He was fluent in French, good in German, and had a working knowledge of Italian, Russian, Modern Greek, and Mandarin Chinese. After obtaining his Ph.D. in French and a Masters in Psychology from Columbia University, he taught French Phonetics and Linguistics at UCLA. He later became Professor of Romance Languages and Language Education, and Director of The Listening Center (a state-wide language lab) at Ohio State University; Professor of Education and Romance Languages at the State University of New York at Albany; and a Fulbright lecturer at the University of Heidelberg. He did research on the psychology of language learning and in 1969 was Section Head of Psychology of Second Language Learning at the International Congress of Applied Linguistics.
Dr. Pimsleur was a member of the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF), American Educational Research Association (AERA), Modern Language Association (MLA), and a founding member of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), who award the Paul Pimsleur Award for Research in Foreign Language Education every year.
His many books and articles revolutionized theories of language learning and teaching. After years of experience and research, Dr. Pimsleur developed a new method (The Pimsleur Method) that is based on two key principles: the Principle of Anticipation and a scientific principle of memory training that he called "Graduated Interval Recall." This Method has been applied to the many levels and languages of the "Pimsleur Programs."