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The Pimsleur Approach: Spanish Reviews

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Category: Teach Yourself Spanish Guides (AKA Spanish Learning Courses & Software)



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The Pimsleur Approach: Spanish Review


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The Pimsleur Approach is a scientifically researched method for learning a language. It uses a series of audio lessons with carefully planned patterns or repetition, which help words and phrases to stick in your brain. It focuses on natural conversation, teaching a limited number of common words to help you adapt them to your needs. The Gold Course comes with 30 conversation-based lessons on 14 audio CD’s, plus a Pronunciation CD to help master your accent and pronunciation of Spanish word.

The Pimsleur Approach Gold Course is available for a wide range of languages, including Spanish. The basic idea is based on research by Doctor Pimseur, who spent decades analyzing speech patterns and the building blocks of language acquisition. He discovered that repetitions in particular models and rhythms are the best way to adopt new language, and that participants understand and maintain the language better using his methods. Pimsleur argued that human brains are built  to absorb new languages as spoken, rather than studied in textbooks, within 10 days. As such, the Pimsleur Spanish Course should have you speaking confidently in a little over a week.

The lessons are designed to be fun and simple. Since you receive them on CD, you can also easily convert them to MP3s and upload them to your mobile device. This is really handy because it means you can learn a language on your way to or from work, whilst walking the dog or going for a jog. Therefore, learning Spanish can be done almost without realizing it, which is a great time saver. 

Each lesson considers particular words or phrases and their context changes. This allows you to naturally understand the variety of ways in which a word or phrase might apply. Think of “set” (in English) for example. This word can be used in many ways (“set the table”, “he was set upon”, “the jelly is set” and so on). By learning many of these at once, a single word has many potential uses, so the lesson is in depth but simple and versatile.

Many might argue that the Pimsleur approach to language acquisition is flawed, and we might agree that it’s not ideal for advanced users. If you already have a good vocabulary and understanding of sentence structure, but want to develop further, there are probably better courses and websites available. If you’re a beginner, however, you might find that this system works for you, especially if you’re not fond of text books and prefer to learn by listening and talking.

We also feel that these courses could benefit people who need to learn the basics of a language very quickly. If you’re going on a holiday or need to do some work in a country which speaks Spanish, this might be a viable option for you in the short term.

As you might have guessed, the Pimseur Spanish Course is limited in some ways, particularly when it comes to offering a variety of resources. You get the CD’s, and that’s basically all you get. If you are someone who enjoys watching video, working with textbooks or worksheets, playing visual games or interacting on a non-audio level, this probably won’t suit you. However, aural learners may find that this course is ideal.

This system isn’t particularly cheap, but it could be money well spent if you reap the benefits of learning Spanish quickly. Unfortunately the site offers no samples and they’ve done away with their short course options in favor of the full 12 disk set, so options are limited. If you’re thinking of using the Pimsleur Approach, we recommend reading some of the testimonials on the site and exploring the explanations of the research behind the method in order to determine whether it will work for you. 

Check out our #1 rated site instead!
Why not check out Rocket: Spanish, our top rated Teach Yourself Spanish Guide and winner of our prestigious Gold Award! You can also check out our Top 10 Teach Yourself Spanish Guides here!

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