Our Honest Pimsleur Review 2021

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We don’t have to tell you how learning a language is an asset. You are better prepared to mix in with the locals and just be more invested in the culture. If you want to learn a language, what would you do? Sign yourself up for physical classes at the nearest language center? Or, would you consider downloading one of the countless language apps found on your mobile device’s application store? If you don’t want the hassle of physical classes, consider a language-learning program like Pimsleur!

(Last Updated On: January 12, 2023)

What is Pimsleur?

With over 50 languages available to learn, Pimsleur could be a great way to introduce yourself to mastering a language through audio-based learning. It is one of the world-renowned platforms for learning languages – right up there with Michael Thomas, Rosetta Stone, and other commercial giants. You can expect complete fairness from our Pimsleur review – let’s get into it!

Pimsleur was founded by Dr. Paul Pimsleur, and is now owned by Simon & Schuster – a leading publishing company. The online learning platform’s services have been available in the market in multiple forms since the ‘60s. The base of this language learning site revolves around audio, and is accessible through its app or website.

The lessons consist of 30-minute time periods, where learning is fast but effective. Pimsleur recommends to learners that completing a lesson a day is the best way to make the most of the learning materials and resources. Although the majority of the content is reliant on audio, each lesson comes with optional short lessons in pronunciation and reading, as well as flashcards and games to promote an alternate way of learning vocabulary.

Pimsleur focuses on the importance of conversation skills, sprinkling vocabulary, and grammar through context. You have almost no interaction with the screen, no charts of conjugation, and no words to memorise. For users who are more accustomed to the learning methods in a text-based classroom, this platform will require a bit more getting used to.

You can also try Pimsleur’s services out before committing to the site. Check out the “Free Lesson” section on their website, where they allow you to select from the 50 available languages.

Questions about how effective Pimsleur is tends to pop up all over the internet, and you will get a lot of opinions and review pieces on it with a single search. However, few Pimsleur reviews go into the details – stay tuned for our in-depth look at the learning platform.

Free £12.95

Pimsleur Pricing

An important part of this Pimsleur review is the site’s pricing. You don’t have to sacrifice an arm and a leg to succeed at a language – an expensive app doesn’t necessarily result in a better learning platform. In the case of Pimsleur, the courses start from $150 and can range up to $700. There is also a free seven-day trial that everyone can use, which is also an added benefit. Aside from that, there’s an alternative pricing policy. You can choose to pay a monthly subscription fee of $14.95. While that may seem like a lot, these courses come with lessons spanning five to six levels. You are guaranteed intermediate-level fluency in your chosen language.

They also offer a convenient 30-day no-risk guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with their content, you can return the course within 30 days to receive a full refund. But, it does come with its set of terms and conditions which you can read here.

How Pimsleur Works

When you start a language course with Pimsleur, you receive a welcome from Dr. Pimsleur himself, where he narrates the “Golden Rules.” This encompasses responding out loud, not taking notes or looking up something mid lessons, and taking up one lesson a day. Pimsleur claims that if you follow these rules, you’ll be able to learn the language effortlessly through narratives and conversations that make up the majority of the course. The doctor also stresses understanding the system of a language and gives you ample chance to retain anything you’ve learned.

Many people would expect to see Duolingo pop up in a Pimsleur review, so we should note that Pimsleur is nothing like Duolingo. The experience can be compared to listening to a recorded tape with little to no digital interaction. It’s completely possible to finish a whole Pimsleur program without glancing at the screen.

With that said, Pimsleur’s system is highly-interactive. Designed to encourage conversations, Pimsleur provides content filled with vocabulary and opportunities to respond to prompts. An English-speaking narrator guides the lessons, and points out essential information and context you may otherwise miss. The motive of the courses are to make you comfortable with study and vocabulary without the constant need for references.

Instead of sight, the process introduces new words through sound. Some people are more used to and/or comfortable with visual learning styles, but this site makes it easier for you to absorb these words without pure repetition.

When you are introduced to new, more complex vocabulary, Pimsleur will break the word down into single syllables. Following up the audio lessons with the instant reading lessons will help you to see these new words spelled out. Albeit simple, these reading lessons have shown to be surprisingly effective in cementing terms and vocabulary in the learner’s mind.

Free £12.95

Pimsleur Review: Features

The Pimsleur Method

First things first, let’s talk about SRS – Spaced Repetition System. This term gets thrown around a lot in this particular field. Many know that this is a common learning phrase, but the majority of us don’t really understand the concept.

You are shown a word in intervals, and each time it is shown the time gap increases. At first, you almost forget the word immediately. However, gradually, the word becomes more and more familiar and at one point, you remember it with ease. Sometimes this doesn’t take too long, other times you need much more exposure to a word for it to stick around.

Based on his research, Paul Pimsleur created his own version of the SRS and the Pimsleur Method™ now adheres to strict timelines. Once you listen to vocab on Pimsleur, you’ll be introduced to a word or sentence for the first time. Seconds later, you will be prompted to remember it. Seconds turn into minutes, hours, and so on until the word has been learned.

Audio-Based Learning

As Pimsleur is based entirely on audio, this leads us to the question of where it’s ideal for someone better at visual-spatial learning. We think it is. Here’s why. For an online site that is primarily audio, the visuals on Pimsleur are a beneficial surprise to many, as they are unique.

The other factor is how the pronunciation is presented. The words are spelled backward, 1 syllable at a time. This makes you focus on one individual syllable.

Very Formal Language

One common “issue” we found while doing this Pimsleur review as well as similar products is the excessive use of formal language. While practicing these forms is good because you will have to use them where appropriate, this doesn’t help the fact that native speakers aren’t that formal all the time – especially when conversing with strangers or family who are the same age or younger. At the same time, if you are learning a language for business purposes, then Pimsleur is ideal for your learning.

Short But Effective Lessons

Pimsleur markets itself as a product that you only have to listen to 30 minutes a day to earn proficiency in the language. This is a major selling point for Pimsleur, as most people don’t have hours to dedicate to learning every day. Our Pimsleur review found that 30 minutes can go either way – with some learners maximising the time, while others will feel like the timeframe is not long enough. This very much depends on the individual learner and how they make use of the time. With that said, short study periods scientifically allow you to retain more information as it is a fast-paced learning environment.

Free £12.95
8.5Expert Score
Is Pimsleur Worth It?
After some strict evaluation and judgment, we conclude this Pimsleur review by saying that Pimsleur is highly-recommended. Admittedly, it’s definitely on the pricier side of the industry, in comparison to other online language courses. However, with the large amount of positive Pimsleur reviews already out there, we think that courses are value for money. We love Pimsleur’s lesson plans and teaching structures, and many can make the most of the free content available on the site. Still want to know more? Head over to the Pimsleur site to get started with mastering a new skill!
  • A lot of different learning techniques
  • Introduction of new vocab
  • Free trial period
  • Effective Pimsleur Method
  • Lack of lesson flexibility
  • Could be seen as quite expensive

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