Pimsleur Discussion Thread

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Elexi
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Re: Pimsleur Discussion Thread

Postby Elexi » Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:22 pm

I am in Speakeasy's group A - having completed French 1-5, Dutch and (a good while back) Italian 1-3.

I would add German 1-5 to that, but I must confess that German 5 broke me around lesson 20. I no longer cared about the terrible floods that occurred last year in Bremen and Mrs Meyer not wanting the American tourist to use her washing machine. I found myself having to repeat lessons in 5 minute chunks multiple times to be able to hit the 80% level of accuracy. With that level of drudge, I just concluded that I was better off study something else.

I would agree with Speakeasy's view that Pimsleur 1-2 is what you need, but I certainly got a great deal out of French 4 and 5, the focus on the subjunctive was most helpful in getting the use of the subjunctive up to speed.
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Elsa Maria
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Re: Pimsleur Discussion Thread

Postby Elsa Maria » Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:23 pm

I've completed Level one (which is 30 lessons) for both Russian and Dutch. Because the content is quite similar (ordering drinks, stopping for gas, asking directions, talking about your family, telling time), it really made me realize how much harder it is for me to absorb a language like Russian in comparison to Dutch. Pimsleur Dutch seems so easy in comparison to Pimsleur Russian. But it really is nearly the same content.

Pimsleur is my go-to resource for when I am cooking or washing dishes. Yes, it is slow paced, but that means I can actually concentrate on it while I am doing something other mindless task in the kitchen. Dutch only has Level One, and I don't think I would go further anyway. If I ever come back to Russian, I would consider another level. It has been months since I listened to those Russian lessons, but many of the sentences really seemed to have stayed with me.

I get it through an audible subscription, so the price seems reasonable to me. Sometimes the courses go on sale, or credits go on sale.
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LunaMoonsilver
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Re: Pimsleur Discussion Thread

Postby LunaMoonsilver » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:00 pm

I've been using Pimsleur the past few weeks for Korean and Polish, and yeah, it's a bit hit-or-miss, but overall I think it's kind of helpful. I say this mostly because I use it when I go out running, so I can just listen to the course (and tell if I'm breathing properly because if I'm not, I can't answer. I am not good at running. :lol: ). So it is convenient for me. Buuuuut, I am feeling some of the frustration at the course content. I've just done Polish I lesson 4 and they've only just introduced the feminine forms for nationalities—which is annoying that I have to wait so long. That being said, I'm not using Pimselur in isolation and it's getting me both through my runs and used to pronouncing words out loud, so it's more of a help than a hindrance.

(Though yeah, those first few lessons where you as the guy are told to keep asking the woman 'excuse me' 'do you understand ______' is devoid of all social cues smh. Leave that poor woman alone!)
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Elsa Maria
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Re: Pimsleur Discussion Thread

Postby Elsa Maria » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:14 pm

I literally just finished the Dutch course this week, so it is fresh in my mind. One irksome thing to me is that it used the formal you at all times, and introduced the informal you at the very end. Given what I know about the usage of the formal vs. the informal, it would be better to focus on the informal you since it gets used the most.

Now that I am done with the course, I will let it rest in my brain a bit then run through the first five minutes of the later lessons, because those are conversations. And I will repeat a few of the later lessons in full.

Now I have to figure out something new to listen to in the kitchen, lol. I have 10 Norwegian lessons, or I could go back to the Russian ones!
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Lianne
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Re: Pimsleur Discussion Thread

Postby Lianne » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:52 pm

Do people really find Pimsleur that easy/slow? I just redid French 1, when I'm already at a low intermediate level, and I did find most of it easy. But I am definitely starting to have to focus hard in French 2! (It really challenges my working memory, since I often have trouble remembering the whole sentence I'm meant to be translating...) And in my limited experience using Pimsleur as a beginner, I found it challenging almost from the start.

As for the questionable content, I wasn't bothered so much by the mere fact that you're playing a man asking a woman to dinner. I was more bothered by the parts where she says "No, I don't want to go to dinner with you." and he responds with "Do you want to go to dinner at 6:00? Or at 7:00?" Like the guy really doesn't know how to take no for an answer! There are parts where he literally doesn't back down until the woman's husband is mentioned. :x It's a little too realistic.

But that aside, I'm in the group of people who recognises that Pimsleur isn't the be-all-and-end-all of language study, but finds it to be a useful tool.
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Cavesa
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Re: Pimsleur Discussion Thread

Postby Cavesa » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:31 pm

Lianne wrote:As for the questionable content, I wasn't bothered so much by the mere fact that you're playing a man asking a woman to dinner. I was more bothered by the parts where she says "No, I don't want to go to dinner with you." and he responds with "Do you want to go to dinner at 6:00? Or at 7:00?" Like the guy really doesn't know how to take no for an answer! There are parts where he literally doesn't back down until the woman's husband is mentioned. :x It's a little too realistic.


Yes, that's exactly it. I guess nobody minds that there is a guy trying to asking a woman to dinner, that would be absolutely normal. The thing is, that several lessons are based on him being creepy and not understanding a clear "no", which is a very unpleasant situation in the real life. And the Pimsleur user is asked to play the creep. It felt bad and almost made me wonder how far would that creep's dialogues go. That's not a fortunate way to start a language course.

If the newer courses are better thought out, they might be worth a try.
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Re: Pimsleur Discussion Thread

Postby Speakeasy » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:51 pm

Elsa Maria wrote:I literally just finished the Dutch course this week, so it is fresh in my mind. One irksome thing to me is that it used the formal you at all times, and introduced the informal you at the very end…
This is a frequently-observed feature of Pimsleur Level I courses.

First, I would note that, here in the Province of Quebec, apparently out of fear of doing irreparable harm to them, school children are no longer introduced to the formal or even the plural forms of address until the third grade. Rather, children address their instructors and anyone else the come across in the singular/informal form irrespective of their number and position in the social hierarchy. Their instructors, when addressing a group of children, rather than using the formal/plural forms, make gestures with their arms as if “enveloping” the little ones as a group and employ the informal/singular verb forms. This practice is mandated by the Ministry of Education. When I studied French in high school in the early 1960’s, the first two months of the programme were devoted entirely to the instruction and daily written practice of the regular and irregular verb forms, in every tense and mood, employing all persons and numbers. I do not believe that I was harmed by the experience. But then again, it is possible that this unrestrained instruction in all of the verb forms accounts for my having developed into a self-acknowledged curmudgeon.

Second, I would note that many introductory self-instruction courses which go no further than CEFR A1 do not introduce the familiar forms of address at all. I would imagine that the main reason is that these courses are primarily designed for would-be short-term visitors to the region where the L2 predominates and that omitting the early introduction these forms is intended to avoid embarrassing “faux pas” on the part of the user. While I admit that social norms are constantly evolving and that some native-speakers whose languages distinguish between formal and informal forms of address prefer using the latter quite freely, not every does! As an example, there exists in French a common retort to be used by someone who feels injured by the presumptive use of the informal forms of address; liberally translated, it would something akin to: “I do not recall our having raised pigs together!”, the meaning being that, had the two people actually worked together in such a vulgar enterprise, the use of informal forms of address would be taken as a given. Given that the informal forms can be picked up with little effort, as the occasions arise, there is no harm done in omitting them in the early stages.

Third, I would point out that the current edition of the Pimsleur Users’ Guide advises the student: “you will have a practical, everyday vocabulary at your command … you will be able to handle social situations graciously” which I believe implies an emphasis on the formal register. Nevertheless, Pimsleur does, indeed, begin to introduce the informal forms of address somewhere around the middle of the Level II programme and, while it is used throughout the programme, the emphasis continues to be on formal speech. As the Pimsleur Dutch course terminates at Level I and presently goes no further, this element is not yet obvious.

EDITED:
Typos, of course.
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Cavesa
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Re: Pimsleur Discussion Thread

Postby Cavesa » Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:16 am

Speakeasy wrote:Their instructors, when addressing a group of children, rather than using the formal/plural forms, make gestures with their arms as if “enveloping” the little ones as a group and employ the informal/singular verb forms. This practice is mandated by the Ministry of Education.


Who in their right mind could have come up with that?

Not introducing the "formal" addressing is about the social norms that the schools want to instill in the children. Removal of the "formal" language is a common experiment in various countries with both versions. I was part of one such experimental school too and it was a tragedy on so many levels. This approach sets the children up for failing many situations in the normal society.

But not introducing the normal plural? That means teaching them mistakes that are harder to correct later (the stupidest mistakes I make in my French are those learnt the earliest. I guess my "beacoup" mistake and I are gonna celebrate our 20th anniversary next year.). This is absolutely crazy.

I do not recall our having raised pigs together!”,

In Czech, it's the cows. I agree, being too formal for a given situation is a much smaller mistake than being too informal. If Pimsleur introduces the formal version of any language too late, it is a mistake, as these habits should be acquired early on and gotten used to. Especially by a beginning learner, wishing to acquire a lower level at the language soon and put it to use asap. After all, isn't that the Pimsleur's goal and target public?

Using the informal pronoun and verb instead of the formal one is a common way to show someone disrespect and offend them. An argument gone wrong between strangers or people knowing each other through formal situations is gonna lead to the informal addressing. It is done either on purpose or instinctively.

Of course the foreigners are being given the benefit of the doubt usually. But people should remember, that this one thing is part of a bigger picture and show respect otherwise. There are foreigners, from which I don't mind the informal you at all. But there are some, who behave in a way that makes it feel like double offence (addressing me informally, and also not having bothered to learn the basic rules of my culture). :-D Any language course should teach this.
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Speakeasy
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Re: Pimsleur Discussion Thread

Postby Speakeasy » Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:40 am

Cavesa wrote: … Who in their right mind could have come up with that? Not introducing the "formal" addressing is about the social norms that the schools want to instill in the children …
Cavesa, while I have the deepest respect for your erudition and your vast knowledge in all matters touching upon language-learning, I find that your comments betray a retrograde attitude towards the most recent, enlightened views on the raising and education of children. It has been scientifically proven in numerous studies that, before 8 years of age, children are simply incapable of distinguishing between the formal and informal registers and their associated singular and the plural forms of verbs and pronouns; notions of politeness and self-restraint are equally beyond them at this stage in their development. Furthermore, any attempts at introducing such concepts at too early a stage cause children to endure unbearable psychological stress which results in near-to-irreparable harm that only professional counselling can even hope to address later in life. These are proven facts. Uninformed parents are free to disagree with the Ministry of Education. Nevertheless, the Ministry has a higher responsibility to ensuring the well-being of its charges and it will not be swayed by outdated arguments no matter how heartfelt these beliefs may held. ;) ;) ;)
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Tutescrew
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Re: Pimsleur Discussion Thread

Postby Tutescrew » Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:05 am

Just to extend what Elsa Maria pointed out above, I have borrowed Pimsleur Spanish 1 and 2 from interlibrary loan a couple of times. My commute is almost exactly 30 minutes one way in a car, so I can go through a unit twice, or do two units a day when I am reviewing. Can’t beat the price! I do like how it forces/prompts for an answer. I wouldn’t want to use it as my only course, however. When I am at home and studying, I have been using Assimil.
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