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Pimsleur Spanish Level 1 CD: Learn to Speak and Understand Latin American Spanish with Pimsleur Language Programs (Comprehensive, Band 1) (Englisch) Audio-CD – Audiobook, 1. April 2002

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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.

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Start Here Before Spending the Big $$$ 11. Juli 2003
Von David H. Peterzell PhD PhD - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
There is little doubt that The Pimsleur CDs for Spanish I will get you off the ground and learning Spanish painlessly (if not exactly rapidly). If the thought of learning Spanish while being stuck in rush hour traffic, or driving across country, is appealing to you, then Pimsleur is the good stuff.
Having said that, I think it pays to be aware of a few things before making the Big Purchase.
Because the price tag for these CDs is high, you might find it helpful, as I did, to try Pimsleur's "Quick and Simple" set of CDs for Spanish first. Those CDs duplicate (with minor differences) the first 8 lessons of the Spanish I collection. So if you wish to be cautious, that is probably the best way to get started with Pimsleur products, rather than buying the more expensive, more comprehensive products right away. You'll get a sense of whether this is the route you want to go if you want to learn more Spanish.
Whether you start with the Spanish I package, or the Quick and Easy CDs, you will be exposed you to the heart of what makes the Pimsleur method unique and painless. The approach is based on (1) The Principle of Anticipation (a mastery technique that is different than rote recall), (2) Graduated Interval Recall (an approach that provides new stuff to memorize at optimal intervals), (3) Core Vocabulary (an efficient, optimal selection of a small number of key words that you need to know, as opposed to an extensive vocabulary), (4) and "Organic Learning" (learn speech, eg sound, rhythm, intonations, as opposed to a bunch of textbook gramatical rules). I should add that there's something subtly humorous about the content of the CDs, so if you have a sarcastic or wicked sense of humor, you won't be totally bored.
Like many, I found the approach efficient and useful, and I had lots of fun with the CDs as I drove around town blathering away in Spanish.
But it is worth emphasizing that Pimsler is not the only game in town. There are other very high-quality competing approaches (e.g. Platiquemos Spanish), that are generally less expensive. On Platequemos, for instance, the speakers sound like they are from Central and South America, and one gets the impression that they are teaching a version of Spanish that is useful in the Americas.
I think it pays to be aware that with Pimsleur you are learning a very general form of Spanish that does not always play well in some Spanish-speaking counries. In the lessons, for instance, you are quickly instructed to say "Encantado" (pleased to meet you) after meeting someone. When I mentioned this to some Mexican friends, they just laughed and said "you probably won't get killed for saying that, but from know on just say 'mucho gusto' and nobody will get hurt!" A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing!
The culture-specific meaning of some words is a big issue. Take words like "familia," "confianza," "amigo," "amor," and "tu." We may think we understand the implications of these familiar words, especially after learning a little Spanish, but newcomers are unlikely to understand their deep and subtle meanings within the context of (for example) Mexican culture.
So, I think it pays to learn phrases and code words from a specific culture or country that most strongly interests you (something you'll never get from plodding through the simple and general Pimsleur approach). To this end, there are books that often discuss a specific country's idiomatic expressions or slang. For instance, I've been interested in learning more about Mexico's version of Spanish, as well as its culture. I benefitted greatly from Boye Lafayette De Mente's book, "There's a Word For It In Mexico" (also marketed as "The NTC's Dictionary of Mexican Cultural Code Words"). In the case of Mexican Spanish and culture, Octavio Paz' "The Labyrinth of Solitude" is excellent, too. Travel guides for specific countries, such as the Insight Guides, often provide a few words of slang that are unique to specific regions.
It pays to have a fluent spanish speaker as a co-worker, friend and/or lover while you are learning from the CDs, as they might, on a good day, rescue you from whatever linguistic cliff Pimsleur sends you over. If you don't yet have a Spanish speaking lover, you may need to purchase some additional resourses, e.g. "Wicked Spanish", "The Lover's Dictionary," or "Hot International Phrases" to help you get into/out of trouble. And don't forget to buy every Shakira CD that has ever been recorded!
Don't be fooled by the $$ coupon that comes with the Pimsleur CDs. In my experience, a much better price can be found using Amazon.com.
232 von 241 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Pimsleur Spanish Review 4. Juli 2010
Von James Williams - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is James from James Spanish (the learning Spanish blog). Pimsleur courses have been trusted by language students for decades, and are known to be one of the most complete and effective courses available for learning a second language. Taught entirely via audio, there are no textbooks, no work sheet, no written lessons at all. This makes it not only ideal for busy students who want to learn while they are driving, exercising or working but also for students who have a natural dislike for reading and writing. The aim of the course is to get students speaking Spanish comfortably and confidently, without worrying about spelling or penmanship.

Here are the pluses and minuses of Pimsleur Spanish

Plus #1: Student-Friendly Method of Teaching

Pimsleur Spanish does not rely on repetitive drills or lists of words that have to be remembered by rote. Instead the vocabulary, grammar and sentence structure are taught naturally, as a child would learn from listening to people talk, and repeating the words and phrases back. Each lesson is an easily digestible thirty minutes, and never overloads you with too much information. The course is designed for one lesson to be studied each day, giving you a steady but manageable pace. Level 1 is an excellent introduction for beginners, and will give a solid foundation of pronunciation, essential grammar and a basic vocabulary without overwhelming.

Plus #2: Logical Method of Teaching

The lessons follow a logical pattern, allowing you to build on the knowledge from each previous lessons as you progress. Since each lesson is short, the course is great for those who can't devote a large amount of time to studying a new language, but who are serious about learning Spanish.

Plus #3: Method uses a Slow and Manageable Pace Ideal for anyone who categorizes their self as "foreign-language-learning challenged."

The Spanish speaker in the lessons is easy to understand, and never speaks too quickly. Conversations in Spanish are accompanied by English translations of words and phrases, and you learn to use these in response to being asked a question. This method challenges you to recall Spanish vocabulary and learn how to use it, rather than just repeating something which you have just heard. In this way, the information is more likely to stick in your brain, and you gradually become comfortable using a larger and larger amount of vocabulary.

Here are the minuses of Pimsleur Spanish

Minus #1: Overly Formal Spanish

The Spanish is only fit for tourists and businessmen and others desiring to learn formal Spanish. This may actually be a plus for some. But not for me. Since my initial motivation for learning Spanish was to communicate with friends at work in Spanish, the formal Spanish does not work for me. In some cases it has done more harm than good because when using certain Spanish phrases from Pimsleur some of my Spanish speaking friends have actually laughed at me and asked "where are you learning those ancient Spanish phrases?" Obviously, this did not motivate me to increase my study time with Pimsleur Spanish.

I recently became engaged to a native Spanish speaker from Venezuela who speaks some English but prefers to speak in her native language. Her parents (my future in-laws) speak absolutely no English.

By the way, I was introduced to her from a next door neighbor from Venezuela. My next neighbor from Venezuela, my next door neighbor from Mexico and I, we are now becoming the closest of friends, and so are our families. I have invited them to my home for cookouts and they have invited me to their homes for dinner parties. So I now have an even greater desire to speak familiar Spanish and less of a need to learn formal Spanish.

If your primary motivation for learning Spanish is to communicate with a native Spanish speaker who you are dating, your in-laws or future in-laws, or your Spanish speaking friends, then I would say skip Pimsleur Spanish and get LSLC.

I have purchased all of the most popular Spanish courses without exception, and LSLC is the only one that I have discovered that teaches familiar Spanish for the person seeking fluency. All the other courses were either in one of the two following categories or a combination of the two:

a. Formal Spanish for travelers and business persons
b. Spanish for those who never wish to reach fluency but merely wish to learn the basics of Spanish before moving on to learning another language. Also known as the foreign language hobbyist.

Minus #2: Very limited Vocabulary and Grammar

Another negative to Pimsleur Spanish is that the course teaches very limited vocabulary and grammar. After finishing all 3 levels of Pimsleur Spanish, I realized that if I had only used the Spanish that I had learned from Pimsleur, I would not have been able to hold a conversation with a 4 year old in Spanish. Pimsleur does not teach you enough vocabulary to hold an intelligent conversation in Spanish. What Pimsleur is good at is teaching you basic phrases for a trip to a Spanish speaking country. But if you want to have a real conversation with your friends about your plans for the weekend, then Pimsleur is a complete waste. Unless the only plans you have for the weekend are to drink beers. How to order a beer or a "cerveza" is one of the phrases that you will learn in Pimsleur.

After completing all 3 levels of Pimsleur Spanish, you will feel comfortable saying phases in Spanish such as I am . . . , I was . . . , I have . . . , I used to be. . . , and I am going to. But as soon as the time comes for you to express yourself and conjugate Spanish verbs in a normal everyday conversation with a phrase beginning with I should . . . , I should have . . . , I would . . . ., I would have . . . , I could . . . , I could have . . . , I was going to . . . , I will have . . . , I was (verb) ing, I had . . . , you will be at a complete loss of words.

This is another area where LSLC does an excellent job. Each lesson in LSLC covers a different area of conjugating verbs with a different type of verb and a different area of vocabulary. For example, in one lesson, you will learn how to conjugate A-R verbs in the preterit tense along with how to say the names of family members in Spanish (e.g. uncle, aunt, nephew, sister-in-law, mother-in-law, , son-in-law, grandmother, etc.).

What I like about LSLC is that it also covers the familiar names for these words. In other words, you will learn not only "abuela" but also "abuelita." The latter being the more familiar Spanish word for "grandmother." Of course, if you are only learning Spanish in order to learn a few tourist phrases for a vacation that you are planning to spend at a resort in the Dominican Republic or Mexico, then there really isn't a need to learn how to say uncle, aunt, nephew, sister-in-law, mother-in-law, , son-in-law, grandmother, etc. On the other hand, if you are like me, and need to learn Spanish to communicate with in-laws and close friends, these vocabulary words are indispensable.

Minus #3: Does not thoroughly teach topics that are difficult for English speakers to grasp.

Pimsleur Spanish just barely covers Spanish subjunctive verbs. The subjunctive is by far the most difficult category of verbs for English speakers because there is no equivalent in English. It is impossible to have a real conversation in Spanish without knowing the subjunctive. The subjunctive is used to express expectations, skepticism, doubt, uncertainty, demands, wants, needs, insistence, advice, and impositions of will. Without knowing the subjunctive, you cannot say a simple phrase in Spanish such as "I want him to leave." Pimsleur Spanish almost completely ignores this most important area of the Spanish language. On the other hand, LSLC2 covers the subjunctive in greater depth than any course that I have ever used. And as I have already mentioned, I have used all of the major courses.

The bottom line is that I am a very results-oriented person. I prefer to use a course such as LSLC where I have to review each lesson a dozen times to master and then at the end of the course I feel confident when speaking in Spanish. I prefer this over a course where I only have to review each lesson one time in order to master such as Pimsleur, and then after finishing all 3 levels I did not feel confident enough to even hold a simple everyday conversation with a 4 year old.

But the real test is not how confident you are in your ability to speak Spanish after completing a Spanish course. The ultimate test is how well you are actually able to communicate with common Spanish speaking folks in a normal every day conversation. This is where Pimsleur will let you down.

After completing all 3 levels of Pimsleur, I was completely unable to understand anything that my two next door neighbors said to each other in Spanish. The two neighbors who I mentioned above, one from Venezuela and the other from Mexico who I mentioned above. Even though I had asked them to speak to me only in Spanish to help me improve my Spanish, they would always resort back to speaking to me in English when they realized that I was struggling to understand them.

But after finishing both levels 1 and 2 of LSLC, the three of us are able to have conversations only in Spanish and I am able to understand close to 100% of everything that they say to me and well over 80% of what they say to each other. And when I don't understand, I can tell them and they will explain in Spanish (not in English) and I will then understand fully. I will not say that I am now completely fluent in Spanish. But without any reservations, I will tell anyone to their that "I am fully conversational in Spanish." I can express myself and communicate with my Venezuelan fiancée on any topic that I wish in Spanish. And I would not have been able to accomplish this goal just by using Pimsleur.

So how do I sum it all up?

I highly recommend Pimsleur Spanish for the traveler or tourist who is not seeking fluency in the language but only mastery of the most commonly used tourist phrases. I also recommend Pimsleur for the foreign-language-learning enthusiast who is not seeking fluency in any particular language but knowledge of the basics of a language before moving on to studying another foreign language. However, I do not recommend Pimsleur Spanish for someone who falls into one of the following 3 categories:

* Someone (like me) who wishes to learn conversational Spanish in order to communicate with close friends or in-laws
* Someone (like me) who wishes to learn familiar Spanish in order to improve communication with someone who you are romantically or intimately involved with
* Someone seeking fluency in the language. With the limited vocabulary and grammar offered in Pimsleur achieving anything more than a very basic level of Spanish is impossible.

If you fall into any of the 3 above categories, investing in Pimsleur Spanish will be a complete waste of time and money.
183 von 189 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
How Does Pimsleur Rate Against the Competition? 29. Juni 2005
Von Vinny B - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I have completed all of the three main levels of Pimsleur Spanish as well as Pimsleur Spanish plus. I have been studying

Spanish on my own since early 2002. I would consider myself somewhat proficient but far from fluent. I am going to attempt to compare Pimsluer Spanish with some of the other courses that I have used and that are available here on Amazon.

Compared to Rosetta stone, I would consider Pimsleur a lot more fun. Rosetta Stone was a rather tedious course. And the more

fun a course is, the more that you will study with the course. The advantage that Rosetta Stone Spanish has over Pimsleur

is that you will learn more vocabulary. Also if you are a visual learner you will make progress quicker with Rosetta Stone because Pimsluer Spanish is all audio. Pimsluer Spanish is also a lot more "convenient" than Rosetta Stone because Pimsleur Spanish can be used in your car or even your ipod. However, Rosetta Stone Spanish requires you to sit in front of a computer. In any case, Rosetta Stone makes an excellent compliment to Pimsleur Spanish or Learning Spanish Like Crazy.

Compared to Learning Spanish Like Crazy, I would consider Pimsleur easier to master. I was able to complete the Pimsleur

materials by going through them just once or twice. On the other hand, I had to go through the Learning Spanish Like Crazy

materials as many as five times before I felt comfortable enough with the material to move on to the next lesson.

Arguably, that's because LSLC covers more vocabulary and grammar than Pimsluer Spanish. Clearly, one advantage that Learning Spanish Like crazy has over Pimsleur Spanish is that it offers much more vocabulary. The vocabulary in Pimsleur was also a bit archaic and just too formal. On the other hand, the LSLC spanish course puts a greater emphasis on everyday spoken Latin American Spanish. The major disadvantage with LSLC is that the company is new and has only completed one level while Pimsleur Spanish has at least 3 levels. According to the LSLC web site, they are still working on Level 2. The last time that I had checked the LSLC web site was only offering the CD version of the course with a package of several other FSI Spanish courses. But you can get the LSLC CD course here at Amazon.com with out the extra FSI courses for substantially less money.

In all fairness, I don't think that I should attempt to compare Michel Thomas Spanish to Pimsleur Spanish. Michel Thomas Spanish is a great Spanish course for someone looking to learn just enough Spanish to get by. But it is not a comprehensive

Spanish course and I am sure that Michel Thomas did not intend for it to be a comprehensive Spanish course. But if you are

on a budget or if you just want a crash course in Spanish (and have no desire to ever be completely fluent) then I would

strongly recommend Michel Thomas Spanish. He uses a very natural learning method that is similiar to the way we learned to speak English as a child.

So out of the comprehensive courses which one do I recommend that you buy? Actually all of them. Of course not all at once.

Unless you are naturally gifted at learning foreign languages, its just not realistic to think that you will achieve

proficiency in Spanish after going through just one Spanish course or series of Spanish courses. It takes years of effort and study (or relocation to a Spanish-speaking country). Unfortunately, I have not found a course that will give us a shortcut.
122 von 129 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Good memorization approach 10. Januar 2005
Von Gary Bisaga - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I have been using a number of recorded Spanish lessons to learn Spanish on my own, including the Foreign Service Institute course (Mastering Spanish, levels 1 and 2) and lessons from learningspanishlikecrazy.com. One of the best things about the Pimsleur's Spanish series is that it has more interactivity than the other courses I've used. There are many set up situations where you interact back and forth with a recorded speaker. I have found this to be very helpful in practicing for real live speakers. Mastering Spanish, for example, has a lot more single-sentence utterances you copy, but less back-and-forth. (I understand the new Platiquemos tries to correct for this problem.)

Another good point about Pimsleur is that it uses a repetition pattern developed by Dr. Pimsleur that has worked well in helping me memorize the material. They present a word or phrase several times, go on to other things, then go back to that recently-learned phrase again. A bit later, they hit it again. I find this to be very effective in helping me remember the material.

The main drawback is that the tapes are somewhat slow, and overly formal. For example, phrases like "Encantado," "Que le vaya bien," and "Por supuesto" are taught instead of more informal equivalents (such as "Mucho gusto", "Nos vemos", and "Claro"). But whether this is good or bad may depend on what you want to get out of the language: if you're a tourist or in business, you may want to be more formal, so the more formal phrases may work well for you. For everyday communication, however, I've found less formal is better. Some people immediately tutear (use the informal 'tu') with you, and it would be nice to immediately switch into an informal mode of communication with them.

To overcome the formality trap, get a book like "Breaking out of Beginner's Spanish." I cannot say enough good things for this book. It is an indispensible companion to any self-study course, and will get you using words and phrases appropriate to the situation. You might also want to sign up at learningspanishlikecrazy.com, where you have weekly teleconferences with a native speaker.

Finally, this series is clearly very expensive. But, never fear: try your local public libraries before buying one yourself, either as a "try before you buy", or instead of buying. (I always try to borrow materials first before I buy them, so I can evaluate them myself.) I've been through most of the course now, and have borrowed everything from a local library.

In summary, there are drawbacks to the course, but I find its memorization approach to work very well for me.
52 von 56 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Probably one of the key ingredients to learning Spanish 12. Dezember 2005
Von Tricepilot - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Pimsleur is heavily hyped for a good reason - it works. My own "formula" for learning spanish in middle age includes three approaches: 1) Pimsleur CDs; 2) Grammar study; and 3) Practice with native spanish speakers (or whatever form of "immersion" you can get). Pimsleur works because of the challenge to your memory, using a technique called graduated recall. If you have a way to play them while commuting, your trip will pass like a flash.

My own method of learning pushes me to know the grammar behind what I am hearing, so I purchased Barron's Spanish the Easy Way. I also have several other grammar texts which I purchased on Amazon after checking reviews. One gadget I highly, highly recommend is an electronic Spanish dictionary, which has become indispensable. Once you use on of those, you will rarely use a hardcover version. I carry this with me in my pocket and find myself looking up words all of the time. You can find one of these by Googling it.

Go with Pimsleur, absolutely, but shop around. Make sure you can't do better than the price listed here.
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