Best Methodology to Learn with Pimsleur Spanish

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Best Methodology to Learn with Pimsleur Spanish

Postby gorilla1969 » Tue Mar 23, 2021 12:58 pm

I've used the Pimsleur Audio Ds in the past with good success and have some basic Spanish skills but have not studied in a while. I recently signed up for the subscription 'premium' service where languages can be studied using various mobile devices to get back into it. I do like this platform better.

I wanted to ask others who've used Pimsleur as to how best to use study using the Pimsleur method. The intro to the course states 30 minutes a day is all that's required. In the past, it took me about 60 to 120 minutes to get through a lesson (audio only) as I'd not feel I understood all the nuances of the lessons in a single 30 minute sitting and sometimes felt lost. The way I way trying to learn was that I'd take notes during audio lessons, study, and re-listen to the lesson one or two more times. Is the considered the correct method of learning using the Pimsleur method or is really only 30 minutes each lesson necessary and I'm being too much of a perfectionist?

What are other people's experiences with how best to learn with the Pimsleur lessons [1) study each course thoroughly or 2) simply do each lesson coursework only one time or 3) something other]? I know there's supposedly a science behind learning with this method. What's the recommended method to learn best and am I wasting time by scrutinizing each lesson too much.

Please let me know your experiences. Thank you.
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Re: Best Methodology to Learn with Pimsleur Spanish

Postby iguanamon » Tue Mar 23, 2021 3:35 pm

I always used Pimsleur in combination with a complimentary textbook with audio course in order to take advantage of synergy. As to Pimsleur itself, the course advises the learner not to use the pause button and to do the lesson until you can respond correctly 80% of the time, then move on. If you're not at 80% correct responses, then do the lesson over until you are. I'd do a lesson once in the morning. If I needed to do a particular lesson again, I would do it at down-time throughout the day or in the evening, or I'd repeat it again the next day.

Pimsleur doesn't expect perfection and neither should you. Once you reach 80% correct responses in a lesson, move on. Momentum is such a very important, and an often underrated, aspect of language-learning. Building on momentum is critical. You will see the vocabulary and grammar points again, either in the course or outside of it in another course, or in native material. Don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good. I have seen a lot of people fall by the wayside because they allowed perfection to ruin their progress.

Edit: Just noticed that this is the OP's first post. Welcome to the forum, gorilla1969!
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Re: Best Methodology to Learn with Pimsleur Spanish

Postby blackcoffee » Tue Mar 23, 2021 8:56 pm

I did Pimsleur Spanish last summer. YMMV, but here's what I did.

I mostly listened to one lesson a day while taking a walk, so no notes. If I did two in a day it was a few hours later on another walk. (Some people listen while driving, but I find I can't pay sufficient attention to both.)

Occasionally I would feel like I wasn't quite getting it and repeat a lesson the next morning. I didn't find that repeating a lesson, whether the previous lesson or one many lessons prior, improved my accuracy any. I was probably in the 80-90% range, and really that's fine for the method. It was annoying at first to hear myself saying something wrong and realizing it was wrong as I was saying it! But I guess it's part of the process because at least I varied what came out wrong over time. I had some Spanish background from years ago though, so I might find it more useful to repeat lessons with a new language or one with more unfamiliar sounds or a different writing system.

I did find the Pimsleur app easy to use and I liked the quick match quizzes. Even though they are multiple choice, they give the English prompt aloud so you can respond before looking at the choices. I would periodically go back and review previous levels. Even more importantly for me, doing these confirmed the spelling of new words and expressions.

I can't imaging getting far using only Pimsleur, but I found it a great adjunct to working through other books. I found it especially helpful for learning to recognize numbers in real time.

Good luck!
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Re: Best Methodology to Learn with Pimsleur Spanish

Postby kanewai » Tue Mar 23, 2021 9:08 pm

The strength of Pimsleur is that it trains your ear to hear the language. I'd avoid taking notes unless you're really lost. I agree with iguanamon that it would be better to supplement it with textbook or another course that targets a different part of your brain.

My favorite method was to use it while out walking - preferably somewhere where no one could see me talking to myself. For some reason it helps to keep my body occupied while I'm listening. At home I get too distracted, bored, or impatient with it. In the beginning I think I needed to repeat about every fifth lesson, though it varies a lot. And I use the 'pause' button liberally, even though it's discouraged, so one lesson usually takes about 40 minutes for me.

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Re: Best Methodology to Learn with Pimsleur Spanish

Postby Araminta » Tue Mar 23, 2021 10:05 pm

I used Pimsleur in my car while commuting a few years ago. No note taking and no one to hear me mangle the Spanish language. I thought it helped make certain common phrases automatic and my pronunciation improved. This was very useful when I traveled to Spanish speaking countries after years of zero Spanish input or output. I agree with the others about grammar being more easily absorbed in a different format. I felt like I was getting "free" language practice when I listened to Pimsleur or similar audio courses in my car. For some reason, practicing in my car makes me crazy these days. I wish I could still do it.
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Re: Best Methodology to Learn with Pimsleur Spanish

Postby kelvin921019 » Wed Mar 24, 2021 3:42 am

I'm a rather visual learner, so I can't memorize a word if the spelling of the word does not appear in my mind. I also can't grasp the grammar by "induction" so I need something to fill my gap in grammar.

I tried to use Pimsleur alone but the effect was pretty bad as I can't retain the word / expression in my mind. I usually complement Pimsleur (or the other way round) with a traditional textbook for learning the grammar and vocabularies. If you're using the app, you can check the phrases bank and try to copy down the phrases after each lesson (so that you can review after the subscription expired) :lol:
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Re: Best Methodology to Learn with Pimsleur Spanish

Postby gorilla1969 » Wed Mar 24, 2021 6:23 pm

Thanks everyone! I got a lot of great info from the post. I'm already making some changes to my study routine including the walking recommendation.

I would normally study by listening while driving to work (I have a 35-40 minute commute) but it was hit-or-miss (no pun intended) depending on traffic distractions. The walking is a great idea especially since I used to walk during my workday lunch hour and now can start doing that again.

I have an older textbook from an adult Spanish class I took a few years ago which I can also try to fit into my daily schedule to help supplement the Pimsleur course.

Once again, everyone's comments were most helpful. Thanks again.
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