I have long wished that I knew how to speak more than one language. Among the languages that I wish I knew how to speak conversationally, French is right up there near the top. I honestly think that everyone should know how to speak at least one other language. As members of a global community, it puts you at a disadvantage to only know your native language — especially in the workplace and while travelling. That is why I jumped at the chance to try out the Pimsleur Approach to learning a new language.
This audio program was devloped by linguistic expert, Paul Pimsleur and has been teaching countless people to speak other languages since 1963. If it’s good enough for Harvard and the FBI, I figure it’s good enough for me.
This course is very straightforward. It doesn’t include any workbooks that you have to write in and you don’t have to spend 2 hours a day trying to learn. You just pop the cd into your cd player, listen, and respond. The first thing you will listen to is an explanation of the program and how it uses four proven principles to teach you how to speak French conversationally.
The Four Principles:
Graduated Interval Recall
Dr. Pimsleur’s research on memory was perhaps one of his most revolutionary achievements. He discovered that if learners were reminded of new words at gradually increasing intervals, each time they would remember longer than the time before. He documented the optimal spacing for information to move from short-term into long-term, or permanent, memory. This theory is at the base of all the Pimsleur programs.
Principle of Anticipation
Our brains are hard-wired to automatically process speech and “anticipate” a correct response. It’s an intricate thought process that most of us take for granted. Dr. Pimsleur’s research demonstrated that new connections are activated whenever this dynamic system is triggered. By systematically asking for understanding, pausing for a response, and then reinforcing the correct response, Pimsleur courses accelerate learning, increase understanding, and activate new neural pathways in the learner’s brain.
Effective communication in any language depends on mastery of a relatively limited number of words and structures. Trying to learn too much at once substantially slows the process, and many people quickly become discouraged. Pimsleur courses deliberately limit the amount you learn at any one time, giving your brain a chance to internalize each new item before moving on. Once this foundation is built, adding new words and phrases becomes easy and natural because there’s a clear framework to attach them to.
Every new item introduced in a Pimsleur course is given within the context of a conversation or exchange. This helps learning and retention in a multitude of ways, from allowing your brain to automatically integrate intonation, rhythm, melody, and pronunciation, to embedding prompts for your memory. When you need a word, it’s there – seamlessly on the tip of your tongue.
I actually really like this method of learning a new language. All I have to do is dedicate 30 minutes to listening to the lesson and repeating that lesson until I feel confident with understanding and using the vocabulary. I’d definitely like to get the next level of the course.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.