Michel Thomas vs. Pimsleur

General discussion about learning languages
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Fortheo
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Re: Michel Thomas vs. Pimsleur

Postby Fortheo » Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:24 pm

If you're a fan of audio courses and you have the time, then I'd say use both. Each course's strength fills in some of the weaknesses of the other course. For example, you will find grammar explanations in Michel Thomas, but you won't be exposed to much vocabulary, and you might not be given the best pronunciation model; pimsleur on the other hand will give you more vocabulary (more, but obviously not all that you need) and it will be a native speaker that you shadow, so your pronunciation will improve as well.
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Re: Michel Thomas vs. Pimsleur

Postby Fortheo » Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:34 pm

Arnaud wrote:In fact I like MT courses when it's not MT who speaks ;)
I listened to the french version of them (except for russian and japanese which are only in english)
Russian is really good. Japanese, German, italian are good. I didn't like very much Spanish, the teacher is boring. Chinese is horrible, imho.
What I don't like in Pimsleur is the repetition from the end of the words/sentences...(I don't know how it's called in english, sorry)


I'm glad I'm not the only one. I definitely preferred MT Japanese and Russian over the French course. Although, I must admit that it's mostly because I didn't enjoy listening to Michel swish saliva around his mouth and smack his lips.
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Re: Michel Thomas vs. Pimsleur

Postby mastrinka » Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:10 pm

I am huge fan of Michel Thomas courses vs any similar audio courses for language learning.
The reason why I liked it so much is the same why most people don't like it - non native students.
MT Spanish was first audio course that didn't made me feel like a fool and language anti-talent. I was looking forward to each new lesson. The students make mistakes, I make mistakes and it felt like some kind of competition who will say it better :)
Huge plus is also that he doesn't follow the usual scenario "tourist in the foreign country" teaching mostly ordering and asking for direction vocabulary.

He will not teach you full language though, but I think he'll give you pretty good level of understanding basic building blocks.

I don't have any experience with Pimsleur so can't say much about it. :)
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Re: Michel Thomas vs. Pimsleur

Postby TexDeuce » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:54 pm

I've completed both (Pimsleur 1-5 and Michel Thomas 4 out of 5 programs).

I used them in my car and for that they were worth their weight in gold.

I would say use both as they hit on different aspects.

MT is more like you having your own personal teacher. You "sit in" a classroom while he explains things. He helps certain aspects sink into your head and you understand why things are said the way they are. His accent isn't good but that's ok.

Pimsleur is basically teaching you how to speak with a good accent. And for that it is absolutely one of the best things out there. Mimic that accent exactly every damn time. And eventually words and sentences start coming to you and being automatic. All of it very functional.

I have been understood 100% of the time and though I will never be mistaken for a native I have been told my accent is nice. I credit Pimsleur the most for this.

If I had to only pick one I would choose Pimsleur. But MT is worth the time as well.
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Re: Michel Thomas vs. Pimsleur

Postby miket12 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:51 pm

I'd say start with Pimsleur but perhaps only the 1st 2 volumes, then go to Thomas. This is based on my experience using both for French.

Pimsleur excels for the complete beginner, slowly bringing you along. Pimsleur is explicitly built around the idea of spaced repetition and forgetting curves, quickly quizzing you on new words and sentences and then increasing the length between asking you again. The problem is that by the time you're at lesson 30 you can probably go a bit faster than they let you; I worked thru the entire set of 3 albums a few years ago (I think there are now 5) and thought that the return vs time invested was poor after the 1st 30 lessons.

Thomas doesn't do as much repetition as Pimsleur but he excels at explaining the logic of the language. He has little stories (don't know if they're actually true) about how some words and usages came to be. I felt like I had a greater command of the language after Thomas, although you'll need to work on vocabulary after the course.

Don't think that either will make you anywhere near fluent. Both, for example sidestep teaching verb conjugation with a beginner trick. You learn to conjugate the verb "like" so you can say "I would like to", "We would like to", etc. which means that the verb itself doesn't need to be conjugated. "I would like to" swim/walk/eat/sleep/sing you name it, the verb stays in the infinitive. They also use the verb "going" in a similar manner. If I remember right Thomas does eventually teach some more verb conjugations and the past tense, but after finishing these courses I don't think you are where someone with a year of college language would be.
Last edited by miket12 on Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Michel Thomas vs. Pimsleur

Postby zenmonkey » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:58 pm

For German, MT is a good intro if you are a complete beginner. Pimsleur, I found to be too boring to engage. In either case, you need to complete those relatively fast for them to have any impact and move on to other material.
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Re: Michel Thomas vs. Pimsleur

Postby reineke » Tue Aug 15, 2017 4:24 am

A thin grammar cheat sheet vs. 45 minutes of audio stretched over 45 hours. Since they are free you should try both.
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Postby Lysander » Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:10 pm

I was able to check out MT's French Foundation today. It took a bit to get as there was a waitlist. My library has seemingly 18 copies of every Pimsleur course and one each of a few Michel Thomas courses :lol:

Thomas' accent does not bother me nearly as much as his slurping sounds. Poor guy sounds like his dentures aren't in quite right.

The students, on the other hand, I could do without. Using audacity, I started editing them out. It is a bit time consuming, but the new tracks are cut down by almost 60%, and it is so much nicer to just focus on the teaching point and saying the answer when MT asks for it than listening to the students ramble, guess, and make mistakes I am not.

Is it really worth the time to edit all 81 tracks of the Foundation course like this? Who knows. But making the ~8 hour course ~3.5 or so will be nice.

I listened to the first few minutes of the Foundation Review cds. They seem great. I just wish the publisher was wise enough to offer just the teaching part of the main course as well! I feel like there is nothing new under the sun, so if someone else here ever edited MT like this, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Once I finish editing and go through the course, I will come back and share my views of it all :)
Last edited by Lysander on Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Michel Thomas vs. Pimsleur

Postby Speakeasy » Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:32 pm

Strange, I was under the impression that the “Language Transfer” discussion thread was latest incarnation of the never-ending MT vs Pimsleur debate. I recommend that a new sub-forum be created to house all of the Michel Thomas vs Pimsleur discussions. I am confident that rdearman can write a simple script that will detect the mere mention of either of these competing all-audio products and ensure that these are filed automatically in the new sub-forum. As the discussions themselves are repetitive, their order of filing is of no consequence. ;)
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Re: Michel Thomas vs. Pimsleur

Postby Cainntear » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:53 pm

Speakeasy wrote:Strange, I was under the impression that the “Language Transfer” discussion thread was latest incarnation of the never-ending MT vs Pimsleur debate. I recommend that a new sub-forum be created to house all of the Michel Thomas vs Pimsleur discussions. I am confident that rdearman can write a simple script that will detect the mere mention of either of these competing all-audio products and ensure that these are filed automatically in the new sub-forum. As the discussions themselves are repetitive, their order of filing is of no consequence. ;)

Funnily enough, some other people might say the same thing about the many repetitive threads about comprehensive input, for example, or even, dare I say it, audiolingual courses, but we all have different preferences, don’t we? The site would be very different if we all lived in our own little silos...
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