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Is Pimsleur the Best Way to Learn a Language?

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Postby xiongmao » Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:29 am

I must try Pims.

The thing I like about Rosetta is that it more or less mirrors my Chinese course, so it's great revision material. Also it's nice that the lessons are split into 10 minute chunks, so it's so easy to find time to have a practice.
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Postby Cornfed » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:28 am

xiongmao wrote:Mindless repetition is the best way to learn. There really aren't any shortcuts.

This would seem to contradict 100 years of study on the subject.
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Postby xiongmao » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:23 am

Lol. Yes mindless repetition is the only way I've found that works.

Each day I pick a word and keep repeating it to myself. It works because wenzi and bihu have been committed to memory and I never forget them.

Rosetta Stone uses the same techniques. I've had to say/read or recognise the word for bicycle about 100 times now, but it's finally been committed to memory.
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Postby stillcode » Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:42 pm

I don't have any experience with Rosetta Stone, but I do have extensive experience with Pimsleur Japanese I through III.

Pimsleur served as an excellent base for me. I would listen to one exercise per day and take extensive notes. Of course, not all sounds in Japanese are present in English, so I'd mark certain words that had a special pronunciation so that I'd remember them when reviewing. Practicing repeating after the speaker was good, but, reviewing my notes everyday were what helped me a lot.

Later on, I took Japanese at the University level. Thanks to Pimsleur, the classes were a cake walk.

Even still later on, I moved to Japan and really solidified my Japanese speaking ability by speaking and working with the natives there every day.

But, when I look at my journey to becoming competent in speaking Japanese, Pimsleur was there to help build me up.

I highly recommend Pimsleur if you are serious about learning a foreign language. Pimsleur by itself will not get you beyond very simple and important sentences for daily life interactions. However, Pimsleur does give you an excellent stepping stone to further study.
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Postby S_Parc » Sun Apr 14, 2013 8:00 pm

xiaomao and others, here's what stillcode forgot to mention about Pimsleur...

Normally, if you use a phrase book/kindle or a Rosetta-like PC-tablet app, you repeat words & key phrases, however, you don't really develop a type of memory anchor or system of recall. Thus, you can spend hours to only pick up a handful of phrases. Unlike weight lifting, medicine ball training, or aerobic exercise, the pain/gain thing here doesn't really apply.

With Pimseleur, each 30 min lesson builds on the one before it. Thus, at minimum, you're only required 1 daily lesson, as the subsequent lesson will repeat the key items in the prior lesson. Thus, you can finish an entire Pimsleur I to III, within 90 days, if you do each and every lesson, every day without interruption.

Here's the essence of how it works ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forgetting_curve

So in effect, Pimsleur's spacing & measured repetition of material, maximizes the reversal of the forgetting curve.
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Postby clowny » Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:29 am

I used a number of resources to learn french, including pimsleur. I will tell you what I learned through my own experiences with learning a second language.

The best way to learn a language is to USE it. USING the language means that you have to live in a country where that language is spoken - where you're being exposed to and using the language yourself on a daily basis.
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Postby xiongmao » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:26 pm

Just back from a date with a lovely, lovely girl. This was a watershed moment - this time my Chinese was better than my date's English.

Well it was tough going, but I'm beginning to realise that I DO have the potential to become very good at Chinese. It's just going to take time.

The main problem is committing words to long term memory. Rosetta does this very well indeed, but it uses a very slow process to do so. But once they're in long term memory, they stay there.

Pimsleur is next.

We students in our Chinese class are gradually improving. We're gaining the ability to ask questions in Chinese, and we're even starting to chat to each other in Chinese.

Another year of total immersion and my Mandarin would be amazing. The downside is that there are just so many different languages and dialects being spoken here, so it's much harder to learn than it would be to learn French in France etc.

Just found the HSK study materials in the bookstore, so this is my next goal.
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Postby fuzzy_corleone » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:00 pm

I'd imagine hiring a private tutor/teacher would be best. Not exactly sure how you can effectively learn a new language through an expensive computer software.
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Postby S_Parc » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:49 pm

In the greater Boston area, we have the Minuteman Library Network, where a lot of Pimsleur and Rosetta stuff is available to the residents of the region.

I'm sure if you look around, you might be able to find some interlibrary system in your locale as well. For Pimsleur, that's a few hundred dollars in savings.
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Postby zacb » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:58 pm

I have both Tagalog and Spanish now. I am a little skeptical of the reading lessons, but that is me. Buenas tardez! (Don't now the spelling, so forgive my bad spelling lol)
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Postby xiongmao » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:52 pm

I've got 4 Chinese teachers now (3 official, one is using me as her test subject as she is training to become a Chinese teacher).

I have to say that self study using Rosetta Stone is the best thing so far. Yeah, the mindless repetition is really working, especially for nouns.

I learn next to nothing in class. However, class is useful for practicing speaking

Pimsleur is next, but learning languages is extremely time consuming! There's also a heck of a lot of Rosetta to get through.

Really I need to find a way of uploading vocabulary to my long term memory. Once in long term memory, I never forget words. If I could speed that up then I could easily become fluent.
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Re: Is Pimsleur the Best Way to Learn a Language?

Postby Alicece » Thu Feb 04, 2016 3:13 am

No doubt that the best way to learn a language is learn with a native teacher, unlike other subject, language is a subject which can't be leave withou a native person give directions if you want to be fluent. I was taught myself learn Chinese many years but still my Chinese clients couldn't listen clearly what i say.
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Re: Is Pimsleur the Best Way to Learn a Language?

Postby Winston » Sat Jul 16, 2016 10:59 am

Teal Lantern wrote:
zacb wrote:I was trying rosetta stone, but that does not work very well. What program has been the best in your opinion?


extrovert == rosetta, introvert == pimsleur
but you were gonna figure that out, eventually. :)


How is Rosetta Stone more for extroverts? I don't think so. Pimsleur puts you into basic conversation right away with other people, including strangers. So it's a good way to learn how to start a conversation with an approachable foreign woman. lol. In fact, the speakers in it are usually one man and one woman meeting for the first time or arranging a social date. That's perfect for us.

Rosetta Stone on the other hand, requires a computer and requires you to sit and work through many repetitious Q&A's and multiple choice questions, that after 30 minutes, makes me feel sleepy and drowsy. I tried it and couldn't tolerate it for long. It felt like hard work. And since I have no ability to memorize well the way other Asian people do, it's harder for me.

Pimsleur does not even require a computer. You just need an audio mp3 players, like a walkman, boombox, or even your smart phone. You just listen to it everyday and your subconscious eventually picks it all up and it gets easier each time. It's taught in a natural conversation format too. It doesn't require much work unless you want to focus on it. You just listen and repeat. You can listen to it while showering, driving, cleaning or doing errands. It's almost like listening to music in the background, which is a lot easier for sure.
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Re: Is Pimsleur the Best Way to Learn a Language?

Postby Winston » Sat Jul 16, 2016 11:01 am

If you want to learn Chinese quickly and easily with little effort, download the Pimsleur courses in Mandarin. They are mp3 files that you can put on your phone. I've done that and it's super easy to learn Chinese from them. You just listen and repeat everyday, and replay them over and over again and eventually your subconscious mind learns it all for you by itself! They teach you the language the way a 5 year old learns a language by conversing with their peers in school, so it all comes naturally.

Pimsleur is popular and comes in many levels. I just put level 1 on my phone and listen to it everyday, even when I'm outside or taking a walk or doing errands or driving in the car. Even if I don't memorize every word, it all goes into my subconscious mind so it gets easier each time I replay it because my subconscious mind recalls it better each time. You only need to put in a little effort repeating the dictation. But even that is quite easy and doesn't require not much effort or memorization at all. You can even do it while in the shower or trying to fall asleep.

If you can't afford to buy it online or in a store near you, you can download it on torrent sites. Here is a link to its torrent, which contains a complete course with Levels 1 to 3 and transcripts. You need a torrent client to download it though, like http://www.utorrent.com

https://thepiratebay.org/torrent/6312659/Pimsleur_Mandarin_Chinese___transcripts

This version below is a quick start with introductory lessons. It contains the first 8 lessons from Level 1 in the above torrent. If you download the above, there's no need to download this one. But if you just want a quick sample to try out, you can try out these.

https://thepiratebay.org/torrent/5649766/Learn_Mandarin_Chinese_(Pimsleur)_(4_Audio_CDs_-_MP3)

Note that Pimsleur language learning CD's are available for all other major foreign languages too, not just Chinese.

Here is some info about Pimsleur Chinese from the manufacturer's website:

http://www.pimsleur.com/learn-chinese-mandarin/pimsleur-chinese-(mandarin)-level-1-cd/9780671790615
http://www.pimsleur.com/learn-chinese-mandarin

"Why Pimsleur?

- Quick + Easy – Only 30 minutes a day.
- Portable + Flexible – Core lessons can be done anytime, anywhere, and easily fit into your busy life.
- Proven Method – Works when other methods fail.
- Self-Paced – Go fast or go slow – it’s up to you.
- Based in Science – Developed using proven research on memory and learning.
- Cost-effective – Less expensive than classes or immersion, and features all native speakers.
- Genius – Triggers your brain’s natural aptitude to learn.
- Works for everyone – Recommended for ages 13 and above."
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Re: Is Pimsleur the Best Way to Learn a Language?

Postby retiredfrank » Sat Jul 16, 2016 11:33 am

The real advantage of Pimsleur is pronunciation. If you don't get that right, you will never learn the language properly. Pimsleur is all about correct pronunciation from day one, so you don't develop bad habits that will be difficult to break later.

Pimsleur is just the beginning. You should also watch television or listen to podcasts to further develop listening skills. Listening connects directly to speaking, so building listening will naturally build speaking. If you can't understand television in a foreign language, you are NOT fluent in that language.

I also can highly recommend the Assimil courses. The website is French, but you can get some of the courses there in English version. Delivery to the USA is fast.

For Russian and Chinese, visit the NCLRC site for simplified news podcasts. Excellent for building listening skills.

http://www.nclrc.org/webcasts/chinese/index.html

http://nclrc.org/webcasts/russian/index.html
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