How far can you get with Pimsleur French

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Dom213
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How far can you get with Pimsleur French

Postby Dom213 » Fri Apr 16, 2021 7:00 pm

I want to enter a monastery in France. The Prior told me that an advanced knowledge of French is not necessary to enter, but one must have some understanding. If I get through all 5 levels of Pimsleur French, how far will that get me? Will I have a basic understanding of the language? I want to get to an intermediate level of speaking
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Re: How far can you get with Pimsleur French

Postby rdearman » Fri Apr 16, 2021 8:03 pm

Don't you have to take a vow of silence?

I don't think you'll get to intermediate level (whatever that means) using just pimsleur you'll need other resources. Look here for more stuff:
https://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=2914/
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Re: How far can you get with Pimsleur French

Postby Deinonysus » Fri Apr 16, 2021 8:12 pm

I have completed all five levels of Pimsleur French and I do believe it should bring you to a solid intermediate level of speaking. However, bear in mind that it only trains speaking. You will probably do quite well in simple conversations but don't expect to be able to read novels, write letters, listen to radio programs, or watch movies, without supplementing with some other resources.

Pimsleur is centered around business and travel terminology as well as small talk. This probably goes without saying but you will need to learn religious terminology on your own.
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Re: How far can you get with Pimsleur French

Postby Dom213 » Fri Apr 16, 2021 8:19 pm

rdearman wrote:Don't you have to take a vow of silence?

I don't think you'll get to intermediate level (whatever that means) using just pimsleur you'll need other resources. Look here for more stuff:
https://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=2914/

No. There are periods of silence during the day but no vow of silence
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Re: How far can you get with Pimsleur French

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Sat Apr 17, 2021 1:31 am

I would also devote some time to French listening. As a newbie in a community, it will be more important for you to understand what others are saying, than for you to be able to speak. If you can follow a conversation, and smile and nod at the appropriate moments, that goes a long way. (This is based on my experience living in the dorms in Germany, but same difference, right?) I would start watching a French dubbed US sitcom. The first 50 hours or so will be a slog, but you will get *so* much better so quickly!

Also, you’ve watched Ainsi soient-ils, right!?!!
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Re: How far can you get with Pimsleur French

Postby kanewai » Sat Apr 17, 2021 2:23 am

I was impressed with the level of language used by the fourth and fifth levels of Pimsleur French. However ... it worked for me because I had already studied the language quite a bit, and needed practice speaking. I think that I would have been totally lost if I had only used Pimsleur.
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Re: How far can you get with Pimsleur French

Postby Sonjaconjota » Sat Apr 17, 2021 8:47 am

I'm very critical when it comes to Assimil, but if the main goal is comprehension, I think their courses are the perfect resource, although a bit pricey.
They can sometimes be found in local libraries.
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Re: How far can you get with Pimsleur French

Postby kelvin921019 » Mon Apr 19, 2021 8:21 am

My experience with Pimsleur is that it only teaches you a very limited amount of vocabularies and perhaps 5 levels would have cover most grammar points up to upper beginner / lower intermediate. Unfortunately I don't believe Pimsleur can bring you that far.

Using language transfer and then / or / or together with Assimil would be a better choice for getting to lower intermediate. Then you should follow up with speaking exercises. Completing passive phase of Assimil only takes you 113 days but completing Pimsleur will take you 150 days. The content of Assimil is much denser than Pimsleur imo.
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Re: How far can you get with Pimsleur French

Postby PeterMollenburg » Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:30 am

kelvin921019 wrote:My experience with Pimsleur is that it only teaches you a very limited amount of vocabularies and perhaps 5 levels would have cover most grammar points up to upper beginner / lower intermediate. Unfortunately I don't believe Pimsleur can bring you that far.


Agreed. Except I do not believe it goes into intermediate territory at all. I completed all five levels of Pimsleur and what you say kelvin92109 is spot on. That is, it's a very limited amount of vocabulary.


kelvin921019 wrote:Using language transfer and then / or / or together with Assimil would be a better choice for getting to lower intermediate. Then you should follow up with speaking exercises. Completing passive phase of Assimil only takes you 113 days but completing Pimsleur will take you 150 days. The content of Assimil is much denser than Pimsleur imo.


Yes, Assimil is much denser than Pimsleur.

Dom213 wrote: If I get through all 5 levels of Pimsleur French, how far will that get me? Will I have a basic understanding of the language? I want to get to an intermediate level of speaking


Pimsleur is an very good place to start as the slow and clearly enunciated speech is excellent for imitating and shadowing as a beginner. I don't recommend skipping Pimsleur, you'll just need more than Pimsleur if you want to reach an intermediate level of speaking. Assimil is a good recommendation, but still best to start with Pimsleur in my opinion.

If you want to develop speaking ability, I advise you to speak out loud by constantly imitating as close as possible all the content found within your language learning programmes of choice (all the phrases for repetition, dialogues etc). Later if you can be sure your pronunciation is where you want it to be, reading aloud is very good too. So, mimic all of the Pimsleur audio, shadow/repeat (mimic) all of the audio in Assimil, for example.

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There has often been debate around the forum as to how far an Assimil course will take you once completed. If we hypothesize that you're aiming for B1 in speaking, which I feel is what you're indicating, by suggesting 'intermediate' (if not, then a clearer definition of 'intermediate' would be helpful), then why are we even suggesting Pimsleur will possibly take Dom213 to the cusp of the intermediate level? As kelvin921019 correctly points out, Pimsleur's vocabulary is very limited, so how can it take one to intermediate/B1, especially since Assimil which is much denser some argue certainly won't get you to B2, but B1 perhaps.

In short, no Pimsleur (all 5 levels) is absolutely not enough to get you to the intermediate level (even only just at that level) of speaking.

Still, don't be put off. Get stuck into Pimsleur, move onto Assimil or another course that interests you but will take you further. If you chip away at it daily, before you know your French will be much better than it is now!
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Re: How far can you get with Pimsleur French

Postby iguanamon » Mon Apr 19, 2021 4:21 pm

First, welcome to the forum, Dom213! Some of my thoughts on Pimsleur are in my multi-track approach guest post on the blog. Pimsleur, on its own, will most certainly not lead a learner to intermediate speaking. Yes, it teaches a limited vocabulary, but that's not what I've found most valuable out the course. Pimsleur's strong points are giving the learner a good chance at developing a good accent in L2 and in giving the learner an opportunity to interact with (and think in) the language using the pauses provided. The course helps make a learner "active" in a language. I felt its loss when I was learning Catalan because there is no Pimsleur Catalan.

Combining Pimsleur with a good text with audio course simultaneously and you are on to a great start in actually learning a language. Just don't expect any course or combination of courses to fully teach a language. Adding in comprehensible native material as soon as possible, in the beginning stages- short texts; short audio to start, longer ones later, helps to fill in the missing bits, expand vocabulary, and allows the language to grow in the mind.

While going through Pimsleur on its own could be useful for very basic traveling situations, its limitations will soon become apparent in longer conversations or listening to longer replies. Another way to boost one's language abilities is to develop "language islands". "Islands" are short, memorized stretches of speech designed to use L2 somewhat above one's level to expound more at length on certain topics like: why you are learning French; what you will be doing and where you'll be going on your trip; some personal information; etc.
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