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Pimsleur promises easy and fast language learning without any need to practice reading or writing. Furthermore, their course is fully portable, allowing you to turn that 'dead time' in the car, gym or cooking into productive English learning. This makes Pimsleur English far more flexible than other options as your language learning is no longer tied to your computer, class or textbooks. You can even copy the CDs to your mp3 player and take it to the gym, so that you can simultaneously get fit and fluent in English!
Although this may sound a bit too good to be true, researchers at Pimsleur believe that language learning should not have to be a chore. Do you remember poring over text books, memorizing vobab lists and trying to get your head around complex grammar as a child? No, you just listened, spoke and your brain did the rest of the work for you. Our brains are tuned to recognize and understand patterns in languages instinctively so why, ask Pimsleur, put so much effort into 'learning' a language when you can just let it come naturally?
Upon this basic approach, Pimsleur apply their Graduated Interval Recall Theory. Developed in 1967 this idea posits that remembering a word requires more than simply seeing it. To commit it to long term memory it must be repeated and, according to Pimsleur, the intervals of repetitions can powerfully effect the memorization process. Words are repeated at gradually increasing intervals according to a specific algorithm that really gets the words to stick in your head. This process is repeated in different contexts to give users an understanding of the different ways in which a word can be used and to keep the learning experience fresh and varied. This way you will be subjected to a course of intensive learning without it feeling like a dull, repetitive memorization drill. At the same time, your brain will be naturally picking out patterns and rules allowing you to apply your newly learned vocabulary immediately and effectively. Many other products in this category use similar teaching methods, but Pimsleur's is the first and original. The method is excellent for rapid fluency as, although it is intensive, lessons are only 30 minutes in length to ensure that users do not get bored and switch off halfway through.
Although the trail blazer for this innovative language learning method, Pimsleur does lack many of the features that make other products in this category far more comprehensive language learning solutions. Firstly, let's be honest, it's all very well to say that we can 'learn like a child' but the fact is that we are not children and our brains are very different. Neither are we, like children, constantly exposed to the language we are learning nor with parents who will guide us through the learning process. This is not to say that there is no place for the Pimsleur approach, but it does mean that with this product you will not get a comprehensive English course. For example, despite paying a substantial amount, although you may improve your speaking and comprehension significantly, your reading and writing skills will certainly be less developed. Some may see this approach as more efficient and some as superficial. Practically, Pimsleur will be perfect for those looking to learn English simply for business meetings or holidays but if you are looking to gain an all round understanding of the language you will at least need to combine Pimsleur with other products.
Some of the features that Pimsleur lacks include; speech recognition technology, online communities, multimedia activities, interactive activities and language games. This variation makes the learning process more fun and develops your all round English abilities. However, these technologies are not very portable and perhaps you're not looking for fun anyway. In this case, Pimsleur offers you a straight forward, no nonsense product that will give you a grounding in understanding and speaking English; perhaps the two most important aspects of the language. In this way Pimsleur is one of the most efficient learning methods out there, perfect for those pressed for time.
It must be noted that we found Pimsleur's website and pricing policy very confusing. With other products in their range users must sign up to a Rapid Fluency Purchase Program which entails that they automatically receive new boxed sets at given intervals with associated payments being made from their bank account. You do have the option to cancel this program and a 30 day money back guarantee although you must pay postage costs. In the case of Pimsleur English, it is not really made clear anywhere on their website what users are singing up for upon purchase. Please keep this in mind when purchasing any Pimsleur products. Despite this, as one of the most efficient ways of teaching yourself English, Pimsleur may be exactly what you are looking for.
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