The Pimsleur Approach

The Pimsleur Approach

So I wanted to learn Russian. The obvious thing to do is to buy a book with all the grammar (did I say that it will make you cry?) with maybe a couple of CDs for a few listening exercises, and you are good to go!

Not so fast. This time, I wanted to try something different. Because I actually want to be able to SPEAK the language, not merely read it like I do for German, after studying it for 10 years.

The internet is a wonderful place where everyone can shout their opinion to whoever wants to listen to it; some people, without any language teaching background, kept mentioning how great "The Pimsleur Method" was. This "method" is simple. You only get audio. A lot of it. 30 lessons that last 1/2 hour each, very little reading or written material. Only speaking. And when you think about it, this is the way children first learn to speak a language. By listening and repeating.

I maintain that a student’s memory is largely the teacher’s responsibility.

Paul Pimsleur

So here is my setup: the 30 mp3s are on my phone, and when I drive the car or have free time at home, I do one lesson or two. The Pimsleur people claim that you will be able to speak the language in 10 hours, and guess what ? it works.

Every unit is very well designed in terms of vocabulary and grammar, which is always revisited at some time later. Progress are fast and evident; this course would certainly give you the confidence to start speaking a new language. Grammar is very rarely explained, but instead, subtly introduced as you go; this makes the Russian declensions almost enjoyable; and it sticks! The only reservation that I have is that some of the structures or vocabulary can be a bit old-fashioned, but that's beyond the point really.

Pimsleur will give you the confidence to want to learn more with the other tools available online, and this to me is invaluable.