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February 2014

Learn a new language with the Pimsleur Method

The Pimsleur Method is a popular language learning approach developed by linguist and psychological statistician Dr. Paul Pimsleur. Eschewing rote memorization, the Pimsleur Method teaches speaking and reading skills via audio lessons that incorporate graduated interval recall, a focus on learning core vocabulary, activating anticipation skills and utilizing organic learning through conversational exchanges.

Today we’ll look at some pros and cons of using the Pimsleur Method to learn a foreign language, as well as how the approach compares with other popular language learning methods.

One of the benefits of learning with the Pimsleur Method is that you won’t need to take any notes. Simply put in the audio lessons and follow along (there are some reading exercises as well). Everything is designed to stimulate your mind into learning your target language efficiently and effortlessly. The method, in fact, boasts that it can teach you enough to begin conversing in as little as 10 days.

Audio-based learning is convenient for those who would like to fit in lessons during commutes to and from work. Unlike Rosetta Stone, you won’t need to be glued to a computer to advance in your lessons. There are no transcripts to follow (whether you’d like them or not); the method is very simple.

The other language learning method worth mentioning is the Michel Thomas Method. Like the Pimsleur Method, it features entirely audio courses. While the Michel Thomas Method courses take less time to complete, the Pimsleur Method provides greater exposure to more vocabulary (approximately 500 new words per level). Pimsleur also utilizes native speakers so that learners become better acquainted with the proper pronunciation of words at normal speeds.

(Read also: “Education Review: The Michel Thomas Method”)

Also like the Michel Thomas Method, the Pimsleur Method includes a mobile device app, the Pimsleur Course Manager, that’s useful for managing lessons. The app keeps track of which lessons you’ve completed and which you’ve yet to progress through. It’s also a lot easier than learning off of a CD, as lessons can be started with simply a tap of a button.

The Pimsleur Method is available in a long list of languages. While cheaper than the cost of attending an actual course in a school, there’s still a hefty price tag if you wish to purchase the entire series for a particular language. For those who prefer studying at home, however, it’s a great alternative to consider.

Have you tried the Pimsleur Method? What did you think? Let us know on our Facebook Page and be sure to “like” TELC English to stay updated on more learning tips and tricks!