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HomeLanguage LearningThe Spanish Trainer’s Pimsleur Spanish Assessment: Does the Listening-based Technique Actually Work?

The Spanish Trainer’s Pimsleur Spanish Assessment: Does the Listening-based Technique Actually Work?


For those who’re a language learner, you’ve most likely heard of the Pimsleur studying packages.

Even since 1963, these packages have been instructing languages to tens of millions of scholars around the globe.

However do they really work? Can you actually study Spanish with Pimsleur?

I’m a Spanish native speaker who teaches and writes about languages for a residing.

I do know a factor or two about language studying assets.

So, to put in writing essentially the most informative and sincere Pimsleur Spanish overview that I probably can, I attempted the tactic myself to “study” Spanish.

This submit is the results of my week of studying my native language with this technique.

What Is the Pimsleur Technique?

The Pimsleur technique is an audio-based program that focuses on listening and talking.

There are different expertise current right here and there, however the core of this system revolves round your listening expertise.

By having you take heed to and repeat what’s being mentioned, Pimsleur units out to show you a language in a pure, seamless method. And thru this context of conversations and listening workout routines, you’re additionally launched to Spanish grammar and vocabulary.

The Pimsleur technique is predicated on 4 rules:

  • Anticipation: It’s important to suppose earlier than you reply, which has similarities to what occurs in an actual dialog.
  • Graduated Interval Recall: That is principally a flowery time period to name spaced repetition. You examine ideas/phrases/guidelines and revisit them at totally different time intervals.
  • Natural Studying: You study like a toddler would do, by listening. Grammar, vocabulary, accent and pronunciation are all taught collectively within the type of listening enter.
  • Core Vocabulary: You study the vocabulary that’s truly used usually by native audio system. 

Other than these 4 rules, the Pimsleur technique is predicated on three golden guidelines:

  • No paper, no notes, simply hear
  • Full one 30-minute lesson a day
  • Reply aloud, not in your head

As you’ll be able to see, this really is a technique centered on listening and talking, so if that’s the type of useful resource you’re on the lookout for, carry on studying.

What Does Pimsleur Spanish Need to Provide?

Pc software program and app

Though Pimsleur is sort of 60 years outdated, it’s discovered to adapt to the present strategies to study languages.

Initially offered within the type of cassettes (do you keep in mind these?), the Pimsleur technique is now accessible each as an app and as a web-based language-learning program.

You will get it for Home windows, Mac, Android and iOS, and you may even use it with Alexa

Castilian vs. Latin American Spanish

What I like about Pimsleur is that it has two separate Spanish programs, one for Castilian Spanish and one for Latin American Spanish.

Other than together with totally different accents, each programs differ within the content material of some conversations and the vocabulary used.

As a language instructor, that is most likely the function I admire essentially the most.

Free Welcome Lesson

Each language provided on the Pimsleur web site features a current: The very first lesson is totally free.

That is superior due to two principal causes:

  • You get to see how Pimsleur actually seems to be like as soon as inside
  • You’ll be able to determine whether or not the tactic is for you earlier than spending your cash

The free lesson has all of the options the remainder of the teachings embody, so that you’re capable of truly really feel what it’s wish to study Spanish with an audio-based technique.

How A lot Does Pimsleur Spanish Value?

Pimsleur isn’t the most cost effective language-learning technique on the market.

In truth, in the event you ask me, it’s costly for an audio course.

There are hundreds upon hundreds of free Spanish studying assets accessible, however studying Spanish with Pimsleur is certainly not considered one of them. Listed below are all of the pricing particulars you’ll want to know, as of September 2021:

Pimsleur Spanish Solely Audio

This system affords 5 Spanish ranges with 30 classes every. That’s a complete of 150 full classes.

For those who go for the Pimsleur Spanish Solely Audio model of the course, every stage will value you $119.95. You can too purchase all 5 ranges in a single package deal for $550.

The Solely Audio course consists of the teachings in MP3 or CD format (solely within the US), and the whole thing of the content material is totally audio-based.

Pimsleur Spanish Premium

You can too go for the Premium course. Pimsleur Spanish Premium prices $150 per stage, or $575 in the event you purchase all 5 ranges without delay.

Pimsleur Spanish Premium consists of the Pimsleur Spanish audio classes plus a ton of further interactive instruments (see the “Follow” subsection beneath).

Truthfully, in the event you determine that is the tactic for you, throw in just a few extra bucks and go for the Premium model.

It features a little bit of studying and a collection of workout routines that can make your studying course of far more enjoyable.

5-lesson packages

There’s additionally a 3rd buy possibility for these of you who don’t wish to spend a lot cash without delay: 5-lesson packages.

For $21.95, you should buy 5 classes at a time. Easy!

That is additionally an excellent possibility in the event you don’t plan to do one lesson a day as this system suggests.

The unhealthy information? Solely the primary three ranges of Spanish can be found with this selection.

What Do Pimsleur Spanish Classes Look Like?

30-minute audio lesson

pimsleur spanish review

The core of each Pimsleur Spanish lesson are the half-hour of audio every of them consists of.

Classes begin with a dialogue in native Spanish.

The dialogue is then analyzed and translated, and it’s used as the idea upon which the lesson is constructed.

The vocabulary of every lesson is repeated, dissected and revisited a number of occasions throughout these half-hour, and by the tip of the session, you’re supposed to recollect the brand new phrases and have the ability to simply recall them when prompted.

Excessive-quality audio… primarily in English

The draw back of those classes is that, other than the dialogue originally, all you’ll hear is English and Spanish vocabulary uttered by a non-native particular person.

The standard of the audio is excellent regardless of the longevity of the course, however the quantity of native Spanish included in every lesson could be very little.

Audio-only classes received’t allow you to work on different language expertise

The Pimsleur technique is implausible for working in your listening, talking and conversational expertise.

Nonetheless, particularly if you buy the audio-only programs, that’s virtually every part you’ll do.

I discovered expertise akin to writing and studying to be utterly ignored within the audio-only model of the course, and the Premium model solely covers studying superficially.

Abilitiespimsleur spanish review

One in all my favourite Pimsleur options is the “Abilities” part, which, sadly, is solely accessible for Premium learners.

On this part, you’ll have the ability to see the abilities you’ll be engaged on throughout a lesson, and you may simply click on on or faucet every ability to see the phrases and expressions included in that class.

As an illustration, lesson 1 of the Castilian Spanish course consists of 4 expertise: Pay attention + Perceive, Survival Abilities, Meet + Greet and Well mannered Phrases.

The best factor about Pimsleur expertise is that you just’ll be studying extra of them as you go, and former expertise will probably be getting “crammed” with new phrases and phrases as you full the teachings.

Followpimsleur spanish review

The final part of the Premium course is the one the place you’ll be able to lastly follow what you’ve discovered. Higher late than by no means!

This part is split into 5 subsections:

1. Studying 

I used to be a bit misplaced once I first accessed the Studying subsection.

The phrases aren’t associated to the audio classes, and so they aren’t even translated. What sort of studying is that?

Nonetheless, after listening to the presentation of the subsection, it type of made sense.

Stage 1 of the course doesn’t embody actual studying.

As an alternative, it’s an introduction to the sounds of Spanish.

You’ll have particular person phrases and phrases learn by a local speaker and also you’ll need to repeat them, listening fastidiously to the English directions every of them consists of.

The aim is to show you how you can pronounce Spanish accurately, first by engaged on the sound of particular person letters, then letter mixtures and, lastly, phrases and sentences.

2. Flashcards

The Flashcards subsection is principally that: flashcards.

You select which language you wish to see first (English or Spanish), and you then get flashcards with the core vocabulary of the lesson you’re doing.

Every flashcard consists of the native pronunciation of the phrase.

3. Fast Match

This train consists of 10 English sentences for which you’ll have to decide on the Spanish translation amongst 4 attainable solutions.

The sentences are taken from the lesson’s dialogue, and you may hear to every of them earlier than selecting your reply.

4. Communicate Straightforward

This subsection is meant to enhance your Spanish pronunciation, rhythm and accent, however I discover it a bit underwhelming.

What you truly get is a fraction of the lesson’s dialogue divided into sentences. 

It’s important to hear to every sentence and repeat it after the audio.

It’s a bit like Spanish shadowing, besides it’ll solely take you a few minutes to finish the duty.

5. Velocity Spherical

I like to recommend you solely entry Velocity Spherical after you’ve utterly digested the entire content material of the lesson, as a result of this train generally is a bit annoying.

You’ll see phrases and phrases falling down your display screen and you need to select their translation among the many selections you’re supplied.

I don’t fancy taking part in towards the clock, so this subsection is my least favourite.

Nonetheless, I admit it’s a great way to essentially check your self and see whether or not you’ve mastered the lesson or not.

Bonus Packs

Each 5 classes you full grant you a free further deck of 30 flashcards to enhance your vocabulary even additional.

There are a complete of 180 further phrases/phrases per stage.

Who Is Pimsleur Greatest For?

I like to recommend Pimsleur for people who find themselves simply beginning to study Spanish or have a really rudimentary information of it.

Moreover, ranges 4 and 5 can be utilized by pre-intermediate and intermediate college students as a refresher course.

Individuals who study greatest by listening to audio are the apparent goal of this course.

Nonetheless, keep in mind a lot of the language you’ll hear is English, with Spanish scattered alongside the best way.

For those who’re a commuter or spend lengthy intervals of time doing house responsibilities (or different duties that don’t require your full consideration), Pimsleur can be an excellent possibility for you.

You’ll have the ability to study Spanish hands-free whereas doing one thing else. 

That being mentioned, in the event you’re an individual who wants to organize for an official examination, desires to follow writing and studying or enjoys utilizing books, grammars and comparable assets, this isn’t the tactic for you.

Pimsleur is targeted on listening and talking, and regardless that the brand new “Follow” part provides enjoyable to the programs, Pimsleur remains to be a “survival expertise” technique and a method of turning into casually conversational with out having to review an excessive amount of Spanish.

For those who’re extra of a visible learner, otherwise you’re on the lookout for one thing extra fashionable and entertaining, an excellent different is likely to be FluentU.

It’s primarily based on an analogous studying precept—that the easiest way to study Spanish is by publicity to native audio system. We simply take it a pair steps farther with our SRS flashcards, quizzes and an enormous video dictionary.

If what you’re on the lookout for is a complete technique to study Spanish, you’ll need to look elsewhere for one thing extra holistic like SpanishPod101.

You may also wish to pair Pimsleur with some good old style studying supplies like textbooks and grammar follow books to get that written, hands-on follow, or train your Pimsleur-acquired expertise with a language change accomplice.

Pimsleur in a Nutshell: Professionals & Cons

Professionals of studying Spanish with Pimsleur

  • No grammar studying. Ideas are acquired naturally by dialog
  • Glorious technique to follow listening and talking
  • Dialogues in native Spanish
  • Straightforward-to-follow quick classes
  • Options core vocabulary that’s truly utilized in actual life
  • Good for absolute newcomers with no prior information of Spanish

Cons of studying Spanish with Pimsleur

  • Writing is totally neglected, and studying is virtually non-existent
  • Very costly programs
  • An excessive amount of English and little or no Spanish
  • Repeating syllables and single phrases time and time once more can get boring
  • No content material for upper-intermediate and superior learners

The Verdict: Is Pimsleur a Good Technique to Study Spanish?

The quick reply to this query is: It relies on what you wish to obtain.

In case your aim is to study a little bit of Spanish earlier than you journey to a Spanish-speaking nation otherwise you want a fast strategy to grow to be conversational in Spanish, then Pimsleur is an efficient technique. Costly, however good.

If, alternatively, you’ll want to actually study Spanish and also you’re on the lookout for a complete language-learning program that covers all 4 fundamental language expertise, look someplace else or complement this technique with different assets.

The extreme quantity of English, the shortage of precise studying and writing follow and the excessive value of this technique are issues it’s best to positively keep in mind earlier than shopping for Pimsleur.

Nonetheless, I have to take into accounts there are lots of sorts of learners, and I perceive this technique is so standard for a cause: It’s the proper technique for audio learners.

So, all issues thought of, I can confidently label this one “Franko Authorised.”


Francisco J. Vare loves instructing and writing about grammar. He’s a proud language nerd, and also you’ll usually discover him studying languages, instructing college students or studying. He’s been writing for FluentU for a few years and is considered one of their workers writers.

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