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Pimsleur

Course Approach
Pimsleur
draws its name from its developer, Dr.Paul Pimsleur. The program makes a bold claim that “you will benefit from the years of research and development that have helped create the world’s most effective method for teaching foreign languages.” And the program is certainly prolific, offering courses in no less than 42 languages.

A lot of emphasis in placed on learning through listening. In fact, writing words down is discouraged. Also considered important it the amount of time that elapses between reminders of the words you are learning. Pimsleur states that the “program is carefully designed to remind you of new information at the exact intervals where maximum retention takes place. Each time your memory begins to fade, you will be asked to recall the word.”

Wow, there is a lot of science wrapped up in that sentence, and if Pimsleur can make good on its claims, the program is worth just about anything they might want to charge.

Getting Set Up
An easy online download to my hard drive got me set up with Pimsleur Spanish. I created a folder on my desktop and placed the PDF Users Guide and the 10 sound files that came with the program in it – easy.

Doing Lessons
Learning Spanish through Pimsleur was just as easy. There is no written material to follow, and no games to play. All that was necessary was to listen to the conversational Spanish in each lesson and repeat when instructed to do so.

Lesson situations are chosen to duplicate everyday business and social interactions. Pimsleur says that the “program’s unique method of presenting dialogue in-situation relieves you of the most common learning problem, the problem of meaning.”

My course had 10 half hour lessons. Each lesson progressed to the next with increasing difficulty and a variety of situations. The course is designed to teach Spanish in a relatively short time.

Following the program was a no-brainer. The narrator acted as guide and instructor as I worked my way through each lesson.

Other Features
Lessons are available on CD and audiobook chips. Each audiobook chip comes with a USB reader that you can pop into your computer to play. They can also be zipped directly to your Apple® iPod® for on-the-go learning. 

Support
A toll-free number (in the U.S.) and email support are available.

Summary
The main differences between Pimsleur and the other programs is that it is an Audio-Only solution. The computer is not required in order to learn a language.

Pimsleur is the simplest of the programs reviewed to use. That doesn’t mean that it’s not effective however. Their road to success rests on their unique claim to have developed a system that works the way your brain does to best learn a language. Are they right? Tough to say. But most important, will it work for you? The best way to find out is to give it a try. Certainly, if you’re looking for simplicity and not bothered about written Spanish, Pimsleur is worth a serious look.