1.225 von 1.241 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
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
- 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.