37 von 37 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Jamais sans mon minou
- Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I own the complete Pimsleur Comprehensive series (I, II, III, III+ or IV) for GERMAN, Italian, and Spanish, as well as the Comprehensive-I lessons for French, Dutch, Portuguese, and Polish. Nonetheless, I have put off commenting on this method for quite some time. It seems that people either love it or hate it, and I didn't want to be drawn into the raucous debate. Now for my review:
THE PIMSLEUR EXPERIENCE:
Imagine that you're learning to swim. Mom and dad take you to a wading pool. The water temperature is simply perfect! There are no boisterous children in the pool. Mom and dad help you don a flotation device that looks and feels like your favourite stuffed toy. They guide you through the basic techniques of "treading water" and the "dog paddle" and, even though they treat you like an adult, they never let you go. You exit the pool feeling refreshed and self-confident. Despite the fact that you're NOT a "natural floater", you KNOW that you're going to learn to swim and you LOOK FORWARD to the next session with GENUINE ENTHUSIASM! You have just experienced the Pimsleur Approach.
THE PIMSLEUR APPROACH:
1. Paul Pimsleur incorporated the concepts of "graduated interval recall" and "anticipation" into his language learning method. These concepts are at the very core of his approach to language learning and they account for its success and its justified popularity.
2. This is an all "AUDIO" programme that seems to be directed at the basic communication needs of a business traveller. It is built around a very limited "core vocabulary" that one would most likely encounter in common situations.
3. Grammar is not specifically discussed and, although not so-stated, students are expected to deduce the essential structure of the target language through the thoughtful absorption of the examples.
4. The only written material is a so-called "Reading Guide" that does not correlate well, if at all, to the audio lessons. The Reading Guide is really a "reading for pronunciation" guide, NOT a "reading for comprehension" guide.
1. It works! You really WILL learn to manipulate the "core vocabulary" of the target language and you will RETAIN what you learn.
2. You will ENJOY the learning experience and you will develop a sense of SELF-CONFIDENCE with the basics of the target language.
3. The Pimsleur is an EXCELLENT STARTING POINT for learning the phonetics of a new language. In my experience, the method works well for languages that are reasonably close to English; that is, the Romance and Germanic languages. As these languages share numerous cognates, have similar sound systems, and have comparable -- but not identical -- rules of grammar, one can deduce much of the target language's structure through thoughtful analysis.
1. Even the combined Comprehensive series (I, II, III, III+ or IV) contain very little vocabulary. In order to acquire a functional vocabulary, even only that required by a traveller, you will have to purchase some other language learning method and continue your learning. See LIFE AFTER PIMSLEUR, below.
2. The lack of any meaningful written material or any substantive discussion of grammar means that you will have to buy a separate dictionary, a book of verbs, and a grammar and derive your own glossary and your own course notes. See PRO/CON, below.
3. The entire Comprehensive series comprises some 53 or 64 CDs. However, despite its truly remarkable strengths, the material runs like one long, uninterrupted lesson. Since there is neither an obvious end to the series of lessons, nor is there a recapitulation, reviewing the material represents somewhat of a challenge. I adopted various techniques such as: (a) working with the introductory dialogues only, or (b) reviewing every third lesson completely. It would be much easier if the Pimsleur course included one final lesson per Comprehensive Level that recapitulated everything up to that point. However, the publishers, Simon & Schuster, are not open to any discussions on changing their product.
4. Based on my experience with PIMSLEUR POLISH, I am not convinced that the approach is well-suited to languages that are "distant" from English. That is, as the differences in sound systems increase, it can be difficult for an adult learner to distinguish the subtle changes in pronunciation that can have an important impact on meaning. Furthermore, it becomes increasingly difficult to deduce or intuit the grammar or basic structure of the target language.
1. Owing to the lack of any meaningful written material or any substantive discussion of grammar, you will have to buy a separate dictionary, a book of verbs, and a grammar, and derive your own glossary and your own course notes. Is it possible that Paul Pimsleur INTENDED for students to use the books just mentioned, to work backwards through the English audio to derive their own glossary as means of REINFORCING the learning experience? This is only speculation on my part and the publishers, Simon & Schuster, are silent on this matter.
2. Which brings me to the matter of TRANSCRIPTS of Pimsleur courses:
(a) Simon & Schuster does not and will not provide transcripts. Don't bother requesting them.
(b) You might find some bootleg transcripts on the internet. Be aware that Simon & Schuster considers the "publication" of transcripts (which even includes circulating links to transcripts) as an infringement of their copyright. They have vastly more legal resources than you or I will ever have, and they are prepared to use those resources to protect their rights. So, here's a word of advice: don't set yourself up as an "example" to be used "to encourage compliance" by others ... go ahead, punk, make my day!
(c) Mea culpa! A couple of years ago, I prepared transcripts for the complete Comprehensive I, II, III, III+ series of one of the courses. I know that you're going find this hard to believe, but here is what I learned from the experience: (i) I found that the very nature of the course, which is something akin to an extended conversation, meant that the transcripts made for truly excruciating reading and that they were very difficult to follow while listening to the audio, (ii) they did NOT, in any appreciable sense, advance my learning of the target language, (iii) if I had had access to the transcripts during the period that I studied the course, they would have been more of a distraction than anything else, (iv) preparing the transcripts was a colossal waste of my time; time that would have been better spent pursuing other learning activities. Ultimately, I never consulted the transcripts and I eventually put them in the recycling bin.
(d) I found that, in the long run, preparing a simple glossary of new vocabulary, by lesson unit, in a notebook (for my own use, of course), was far more useful. Furthermore, as I pursued my studies, I eventually discarded the notebook.
A DISSIDENT VOICE:
If Pimsleur offers a series of Comprehensive courses (I, II, III, III+ or IV) for the language you're studying, you should decide just HOW LONG you want to stick with the programme. I have completed the full series for German, Spanish, and Italian, and I have come to the conclusion that the MAXIMUM BENEFITS of the programme are achieved in the Comprehensive I and II packages. The initial two levels provide a solid "feeling" for the language and they will prepare you for the more intensive courses that other publishers offer. Even if you don't mind paying the additional cost of the Comprehensive III, III+, IV courses, in my view, they are not worth the investment in TIME.
WHICH PIMSLEUR PACKAGE?
1. There are at least three versions of the Pimsleur courses available:
(1) the "Basic" version that contains 10 lessons on 5 CDs,
(2) the "Conversational" version that contains 16 lessons on 8 CDs, and
(3) the "Comprehensive" version that contains 30 lessons 16 CDs, the last CD is a repeat of all of the so-called Reading Lessons. Depending on the popularity of the target language, the Comprehensive version may be offered as a series: I, II, III, III+, IV.
2. Note carefully that the FIRST LESSONS in all of the VERSIONS are IDENTICAL. That is, if you buy the LESS comprehensive versions and then move up the line to the MORE comprehensive versions, your new packages will contain the initial ten, or sixteen lessons, from the lower versions. It is quite possible that the publishers market the less complete versions in the hopes that you'll get hooked and move on up to the more expensive Comprehensive series.
3. Either the publishers, Simon & Schuster, or some of their licensed vendors MAY or MAY NOT give you a partial credit your purchase of the lesser versions; obviously, certain conditions would apply. MY ADVICE is: IF you've decided to try the Pimsleur programme, then BUY the COMPREHENSIVE-I package.
4. Finally, you should note that SOME licensed vendors offer "BUY-BACK" programmes that significantly lower the overall price of a complete Comprehensive series (purchase Comprehensive-I, convert the CDs to mp3 files, make a back-up copy of the files, send the original package back to the vendor in exchange for Comprehensive-II, or some other Comprehensive package in another language, and continue the process).
LIFE AFTER PIMSLEUR:
1. First, be prepared for a SHOCK! Mom and dad are nowhere to be seen! Compared to the Pimsleur Approach, virtually all other self-study language methods will make you feel as if you've been thrown into the DEEP END ... of the North Atlantic ... in winter ... and you're all alone! In a very real sense, you will find yourself wondering what happened ... hey, what's going on here, I thought you were going to teach me to speak a foreign language! Although, in all cases, the information is provided, you will have to develop your own strategy on how to learn it. Oh well, we've all gotta grow up sometime!
2. The world is awash with good self-study language courses for travellers. If your goal is only basic tourist-speak, without much grammar, you might consider the ROUTLEDGE COLLOQUIAL series. Some reviewers of this series are quite harsh with their comments. In my opinion, they misunderstand the deliberately limited scope of the Colloquial series.
3. If you want to understand the structure of a language and develop even greater competence, the LIVING LANGUAGE "SPOKEN WORLD" and "ULTIMATE" series are, in my opinion, the best "commercial" packages available. Unfortunately, for many of the more popular languages, Random House now offers only the LIVING LANGUAGE "COMPLETE" series which, while good, is nowhere near as solid as the those just mentioned.
4. If you respond well to the U.S.-Marines-Boot-Camp-style of training ... DRILLS, DRILLS, DRILLS -- and, let's agree here, it really does give excellent results -- then you should consider the relevant FSI (FOREIGN SERVICE INSTITUTE) "FSI BASIC" courses. In some cases, only "FSI FAST" courses are available. They are available FREE as pdf/mp3 downloads from the website FSI-LANGUAGE-COURSES.ORG. You should be aware, though, that the majority of the FSI BASIC or FSI FAST courses were meant to be studied with the assistance of a competent instructor. Thus, some of them can be a little difficult to follow if you do not have some basic knowledge of the target language. In my experience, FSI Basic German is pretty much a stand-alone course. However, FSI Basic French requires either some basic knowledge of the language or the guidance from a francophone.
There is probably NO BETTER PLACE TO START learning a foreign language than the Pimsleur Approach. Even if you find yourself agreeing with my CONS, you WILL AGREE with my PROS and you'll ENJOY the EXPERIENCE!
50 von 52 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
- Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I love learning foreign languages, but the large number of options out there for the consumer can be daunting. Everywhere you look you have some people who love the product and some people who loathe it.
When I stumbled across a recommendation for the Pimsleur series, it piqued my interest. I had never heard of it before, so I did some research. It sounded very promising. The idea of verbal only instruction seemed intriguing, and being that I went through three years of HS Spanish managing to learn all the vocabulary and get As every semester yet cannot still understand a moderately basic conversation in Spanish, I figured why not try something new? I had read some raves and I had read some rants, but I also kept in mind there are some people who just have to learn from a book alone.
I WILL however offer this bit of advice. I had started an attempt to learn German some months ago, and I started out by learning the way to pronounce German properly as well as the spelling rules. I started this program at the point where I could read a passage easily (though not know what it was saying). Additionally, through the course of this program I made sure each lesson I wrote down all the new words I learned, as well as some practice sentences. It helps greatly in expanding your ability to write in German, and it also helps drill it in your head better. My Langenscheidt's German-English dictionary was my best friend. I also then would go on an online translation service and practice typing my sentences in German and then translating them to see if I got the jist of how to use the words and proper order. This may not always work, as those services aren't perfect and can screw up some things, but it's good practice. Additionally, when I had some questions as to why certain parts of a sentence came when they did, I consulted sites such as german.about.com and other resources, which were great.
Basically, if you take some initiative to do some self-study to get an even better grasp of the language and it's rules, you'll enjoy the program even more.
As for the program. I loved it. You start off worrying about if you'll be able to remember everything you learned, but you shortly see that the program is designed, as advertised, to refresh your memory every so often so you build upon an ever increasing vocabulary and knowledge of the language.
I certainly wouldn't worry about not being able to learn tons of vocabulary through this program. It's true you won't learn lists of vocabulary words. Definitely not. However, what you DO learn is a strong structure to use vocabulary words IN. It's useless to have a knowledge of 500 German nouns if you can't say what you exactly want to buy or eat and so on. People who are outraged and say it's a rip off because you don't learn tons of vocabulary miss the point of the program.
I'm ready to move on to German II, and can say that German I met all of my expectations and then some. I walked away knowing far more than I thought possible from a thirty day timespan. It was so encouraging and so much fun being able to start saying a number of things in German. I was even able to write a basic letter to a friend in Switzerland after about fifteen lessons. For many lessons I repeated it twice a day to drill it in. By all means, pause the CD player each time you feel you need an extra second or so to think about a response so as to not get nervous and forget or mess up. It works great, and then if you play it a second time around you'll be able to answer even faster and may not even need to pause, but pausing is your friend, as is the rewind button to re-listen to a command, which I found necessary when it gets to the point you're commanded in German.
I would look at the entire Pimsleur series as an excellent start to your language education. By the time you finish you will have a very solid core on which you can then set out and persue even more advanced material. You will certainly be able to say a lot with what you do learn. If you want, a wonderful idea would be to get a book of German nouns or German verbs and practice those each day as well, so you'll be expanding on your knowledge even more.
I'm an extremely skeptical person, so it was a leap of faith for me to put my trust and such a large amount of money into this program. But, the saying is true, you get what you pay for. You could indeed pay $50 for a textbook, but I think after thirty days you'll find you're far from the level where you would be with this course.
If you get over the notion that it is impossible to become fluent in a language easily and in a short amount of time and believe in what Pimsleur sets out to do, you'll walk away a very satisfied customer. I know I did, and I'm extremely excited to continue on with German II and German III. After that point I will continue my German education through advanced books, news, and other material. Your language learning experience is what you make of it. With Pimsleur as part of your curriculum, you'll get where you want to be while having fun and feeling encouraged.