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Since you’re here, I’ll take it you’re interested in finding out how long it takes to learn Spanish with Pimsleur.
Or perhaps, is Pimsleur even effective in learning Spanish?
Don’t worry language learner, in this article I’ll be answering all your questions about whether or not try Pimsleur for Spanish.
Including is Pimsleur Spanish worth your money? Is Pimsleur Spanish better than Duolingo? (Alright fine, I’ll answer that now. Yes. But honestly every language app is better than Duolingo. Yes, I said what I said.)
Which is better Pimsleur or Rosetta Stone? Should you do more than one Pimsleur Spanish lesson a day? Is Pimsleur Spanish Latin American?
And one we’ve all been guilty of asking — what is the best program to learn Spanish?
Just as a little background before we get into the review, I’ve only been using Pimsleur Spanish for 30 days. Staying consistent with Simon & Shuester’s sworn-by method, I’ve also only done one lesson daily.
One lesson is approx. 30 minutes and they encourage you to only do one lesson per day. I’ve found that the biggest difference between Pimsleur Spanish and other language learning programs is the focus on listening and speaking over reading and writing.
As a matter of fact, I haven’t used Pimsleur reading tools at all. They offer supplemental text material at the end of each lesson, but I’ve never used it.
Their claim is that you can learn a language in just 30 minutes a day. One audio lesson takes up said 30 minutes, so I wouldn’t have been able to delve into the reading material and also provide a genuine review of their claim.
But I must admit that I’m quite familiar with Spanish writing. (Three years of Spanish, remember?) I don’t need to read the words once I’ve heard them pronounced.
Don’t take that as me saying I’m fluent in any means. It’d been a year since I seriously learned the language and I’d lost a lot of it.
However, in order to provide a fair review of Pimsleur Spanish, I started with their Level 3 course instead of their Level 1 course. Pimsleur Spanish has five (30-day) courses and I think their level 3 is pretty consistent with my barely B1 proficiency.
After I finish the next 3 months, I’ll do another review. Now on to the good stuff.
Is Pimsleur even effective in learning Spanish?
Long story short– yes. Pimsleur Spanish is impressively effective.
And that’s coming from someone whose truly tried a little bit of everything.
I finished three years worth of Spanish courses at school about a year ago, and my progress with Pimsleur Spanish has exceeded any 30-day period’s worth of in-school learning during that same duration.
Having tried Glossika, Innovative Language, Duolingo, FluentU, Rosetta Stone, Netflix, and a few other tools, I can honestly say that Pimsleur is the most effective at mastering pronunciation and listening skills.
In my opinion.
Pimsleur is essentially an interactive “podcast” that you talk back to. It’s the closest you’ll get to having a conversation in Spanish without actually having a conversation in Spanish.
The lesson is in both English and Spanish, however you only respond in Spanish. When new words are introduced they’re repeated just enough for you to remember them.
Newer words are used quite frequently in lessons soon after learning them, before being gradually faded out for newer words.
However, similar to Anki and spaced repetition software, words are always re-heard in lessons right before you’d be at risk of forgetting them.
The lessons force you to think quickly, as you’re only given a few seconds to answer in Spanish before the answer is provided for you.
And since you’re constantly hearing Spanish pronunciation, your own pronunciation can quickly progress to a near native level.
Is Pimsleur fun?
Of course, this answer varies by learner. In my personal experience with language learning programs, I do believe that Pimsleur is one of the more enjoyable programs.
However, most programs are so elementary style, that it’s not hard for another program to be more “fun.”
Pimsleur offers a fresh, new approach to the language learning process. In my books, that’s always “fun.”
But it’s by no means on the same level as watching Spanish Netflix or YouTube. It’s not necessarily ‘exciting’ as much as it’s mentally invigorating.
The biggest things I like about Pimsleur’s unique setup is that you’re not confined to staring at a screen (or textbook) and you don’t have to take notes (though beginners should).
I spent every single Pimsleur lesson either simultaneously walking outside or stretching in my room.
That’s right– I was able to turn language learning into an active pastime. And I had absolutely no problem focusing on the lesson. So yes, I found that to be quite fun.
Pimsleur Vs. Duolingo Vs. Rosetta Stone
I would rank these three:
- Rosetta Stone
Duolingo is simply too repetitive, random, and “elementary” for me. Oftentimes, sentences aren’t really ones you’d ever use in daily life (unless you’re six years old).
I totally get using Duolingo as an absolute beginner looking to ‘dip’ your toe in Spanish, but I wouldn’t encourage it’s use for long term.
Duolingo lessons are very repetitive and don’t build upon one another as much as other language program’s lessons do. I just find them to be quite random, and you’re free to argue me on that.
I haven’t used Rosetta Stone in years. However, I do remember the program offering more of a focus on pronunciation than Duolingo.
And all in all, Rosetta Stone genuinely feels like a Spanish course. It’s setup is very academic-like and it goes into depth on numerous topics.
So for someone who’s never before dabbled in Spanish, I can definitely see the appeal. I’d even admit that Rosetta Stone is better for people looking to master the written Spanish language.
However, Pimsleur offers a very unique learning experience. As mentioned earlier, it literally mimics a 30 minute partly bilingual conversation.
As someone who’s more interested in mastering speaking and listening to Spanish, Pimsleur is the clear winner.
It teaches you “unconventional” yet commonly used words and phrases earlier than the other two. Like parking station, laundromat, “has to do with”, “day trip”, and more.
Plus, Pimsleur introduces tenses as well as irregular verb conjugations in a much less confusing manner than most programs. It’s a very casual, gradual introduction that allows most learners to learn the tenses without even realizing it.
Is Pimsleur worth the money?
The subscription? Definitely. The CD’s (without a sale)? Let’s just say, I wouldn’t.
A Pimsleur Language Program subscription offer gives you access to ALL the lessons in any single language for one periodic charge. During your subscription you have access to as many levels of a course as are available.
Subscriptions of either $14.95/month or $19.95/month are available for Spanish. I currently pay $14.95 for Pimsleur “Basic” and I’ve yet to feel at all deprived.
I think $14.95, even over a 5-month period for a total of $74.75 is a great deal for reaching near fluency in a language as useful as Spanish. $19.95 per month is great deal too if you’d like more in-depth learning experience.
It’s when you try to Pimsleur courses forever that the price quickly adds up.
Pimsleur Spanish Level 1 costs $119.95 just by itself. That’s $119.95 for 30 days worth of learning compared to $19.95 for a 30 days subscription.
If you’re planning on re-listening to Pimsleur lessons or either rent, lend, or gift your Pimsleur courses to others then buying the full course for life would definitely be your best bet.
You could even opt to “bundle and save” by buying Pimsleur Spanish Levels 1-5 for $550.00.
Just remember that language learning is a hobby that shouldn’t have to break the bank. You shouldn’t equate price with your commitment to the language.
My recommendation for fellow full-time students learning the language?
Stick with the subscriptions. Use Pimsleur’s supplemental reading section to add words and phrases yourself to your digital own flashcard deck. I’d suggest using Anki, since the applications’ spaced repetition algorithm will make sure you don’t forget them.
Keep in mind to take advantage of Pimsleur 7-day free trial before committing.
Is Pimsleur Spanish Latin American?
Yes, this review is on Pimsleur’s Latin American Spanish course.
According to Pimsleur, their best value plans for Latin American Spanish are Pimsleur Premium for $19.95 / month + 7 day free trial and Pimsleur (Audio) for $14.95 / month + 7 day free trial.
They also offer a Castilian Spanish subscription plan for 2 levels of 30 lessons each for $14.95/month.
How many levels in Pimsleur Spanish?
Their Latin American course has 5 “levels” or micro-courses. (Though I’d love to see six someday soon!)
Each level has thirty 30-minute audio lessons, almost 2 hours of reading instruction, and 19 hours of audio in total, all featuring native speakers.
Should you do more than one Pimsleur lesson a day?
You can, but I wouldn’t encourage it. At the end of each lesson, Pimsleur encourages you to do one lesson a day.
If you have extra time to spend on Spanish, then either delve into their reading instruction or use another source.
Language learning isn’t a process that should be rushed. You need time to let new vocab and grammar structures sink into your mind.
And you need to be consistent. Following through with 30 minutes of Pimsleur every day means that you’ll for sure have 5-months worth of quality Spanish teaching material.
If I’m being honest, doing more than one Pimsleur lesson in one sitting just seems downright boring. A lesson a day keeps things interesting, as you’re challenging yourself to see which words you remember from yesterday and… well all the days before.
Consecutive lessons are typically relatively similar in terms of words used so completing them back to back may feel like overkill. Plus may actually hinder your progress in memory retention.
Don’t kick it till you try it. At least give Pimsleur a fair chance.
As promised, this review is 100% honest. Pimsleur isn’t perfect, but it’s definitely one of the more effective language learning programs out there.
At least for Spanish anyways. I noticed that their programs for lesser learned languages like Vietnamese are quite sad in terms of content.
Their French course goes as in depth as their Latin American Spanish one, but be warned that the CD prices are significantly higher.
That’s all I have to say about Pimsleur for the time being, but I’ll be back when I finish the course for good!
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Keep learning languages my friend! And I look forward to seeing you again real soon.