- Series: Comprehensive (Book 1)
- Audio CD
- Publisher: Pimsleur; Unabridged edition (March 1, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743518349
- ISBN-13: 978-0743518345
- Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 1.9 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 114 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,412 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Pimsleur French Level 1 CD: Learn to Speak and Understand French with Pimsleur Language Programs (Comprehensive) Unabridged Edition
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About the Author
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.
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A concern of mine was that I'm a very visual learner and this is strictly an audio course. After the first lesson I was thinking to myself, Why on Earth did I think I could learn this way? It's so hard! I listened to the first unit 3 or 4 times before feeling somewhat comfortable to continue to unit 2. I didn't have much hope for myself. To my surprise, unit 2 was mostly a review of unit 1 words, just used in slightly different ways, with just a few more new words added. The progression was perfect for me to get even more comfortable with the phrases I had struggled with earlier, while learning a small amount of new material. This is perfect for retention! I'm amazed at how much I'm retaining as I move to the next units. I only need a day and a half for each lesson so far. That's listening and practicing it 3 times before moving on. The beautiful thing is that it gets easier as you go and as you remember more and more of what you were taught in prior lessons.
I bought the comprehensive version because getting the cheaper "teaser" version doesn't make sense if you're serious about learning the language to speak fluently. You'll definitely want to progress with this program so it's more cost effective to pay the higher amount up front. The teaser version would only be good if you just want to "get-by" and learn some basics for an upcoming trip to France.
I highly recommend this product if you want to learn a second language in a fairly short amount of time. I personally don't have the time to spend 45 mins at a computer everyday, learning to speak, read and spell a foreign language. Other courses seem "fun" by playing little memory games or answering questions about what you see in a photo. I don't need all that nonsense. Pimsleur gets down to what you want to achieve; learn to speak and understand what you hear. Plus you don't have to budget or set aside time for it; you'd be in the car driving either way.
I took off one star because I feel the reading element of this program is quite lacking, and really seems like an afterthought. I'd like to be able to write simple sentences in French, and I still cannot do that. So if you're interested in a complete speaking, reading and writing course, this may not be the one for you.
However, for basic conversational French, it's great. I have been able to torture my French-speaking friends (including one native Frenchman) with my Pimsleur French, and they can not only understand me, they all compliment me on my accent.
Speaking is the easy part, of course. Understanding is more difficult, but as long as my friends stick to topics I've learned so far (what time is it, where is the restaurant, do you want to go to lunch, would you like some wine - that was a very important lesson, by the way! - do you have children, how far is it, how much is it, etc.) I can easily understand them as well.
I'm on amazon today buying Pimsleur French 2.
While expensive, this is the most effective system of audio CDs for learning in the car. I have little free time to study French at home, but have a lengthy commute - perfect for practicing/learning in the car.
* Very good audio quality (clear, and voices alternate between male and female native speakers)
* Excellent pacing (the time for me to respond to prompts/questions isn't rushed, but doesn't lag)
* Prompts and cues shift into French as you move along (unlike all the others I tried, which continued to announce/prompt in English to the end)
* Repetition is varied and recurs to reinforce vocabulary at appropriate times
* Focuses on conversational ability rather than grammatical rules; grammatical variants are introduced naturally in conversation rather than reciting variants all at once
* Conversation topics are natural
* Price - the full set of five volumes will set you back around $1000. However, had I not already spent several hundred dollars trying many others (Berlitz, Instant Immersion, Behind the Wheel, Smart French, and Rosetta Stone), this wouldn't hurt so much...
If I had lots of free time to study at home, I would probably recommend Rosetta Stone, which will polish your pronunciation and teach you a wider vocabulary. However, if you don't have that time available and want to learn in your car, I highly recommend the Pimsleur Comprehensive package.