9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Jamais sans mon minou
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
First, allow me to say that, in general, I LIKE the Pimsleur approach to language learning. I have a copy of the complete Comprehensive series (I, II, III, III+ or IV) for German, Italian, and Spanish, as well as the Comprehensive-I lessons for French, Dutch, Portuguese, and Polish. For the most part, I truly enjoyed the learning experience. So, if I liked it so much, why would I give ONLY THREE STARS to Pimsleur Polish?
THE PIMSLEUR APPROACH:
-- Paul Pimsleur incorporated the concepts of "graduated interval recall" and "anticipation" into his language learning method. These concepts are at the very core of his approach to language learning and they account for its success and its justified popularity.
-- This is an all "AUDIO" programme that seems to be directed at the basic communication needs of a business traveller.
-- It is built around a very limited "core vocabulary" that one would most likely meet in common encounters.
-- Grammar is not specifically discussed and, although not so-stated, students are expected to deduce the essential structure of the target language through the thoughtful absorption of the examples.
-- The only written material is a so-called "Reading Guide" that does not correlate well, if at all, to the audio lessons.
-- It works!
-- You really WILL learn to manipulate the "core vocabulary" of the target language and you will RETAIN what you learn.
-- You will ENJOY the learning experience and you will develop a sense of SELF-CONFIDENCE with the basics of the target language.
-- The Pimsleur is an excellent STARTING POINT for learning the phonetics of a new language.
-- In my experience, the method works well for languages that are reasonably close to English; that is, the Romance and Germanic languages. As these languages share numerous cognates, have similar sound systems, and have comparable - but not identical -- rules of grammar, one can deduce much of the target language's structure through thoughtful analysis.
-- Even the combined Comprehensive series (I, II, III, III+ or IV) contain very little vocabulary. In order to acquire a functional vocabulary, even only that required by a traveller, you will have to purchase some other language learning method and continue your learning.
-- The lack of any meaningful written material or any substantive discussion of grammar means that you will have to buy a separate dictionary, a book of verbs, and a grammar and derive your own glossary and your own course notes.
-- The entire Comprehensive series (I, II, III, III+ or IV) comprises some 53 or 64 CDs, or approximately 50 to 60 hours of lesson material. However, despite its truly remarkable strengths, the material runs like one long, uninterrupted lesson. Since there is neither an obvious or natural end to the series of lessons, nor is there a recapitulation, reviewing the material represents somewhat of a challenge. I adopted various techniques such as: (a) working with the introductory dialogues only, or (b) reviewing every third lesson completely. It would be much easier if the Pimsleur course included one final lesson per Comprehensive Level that recapitulated everything up to that point. However, the publishers, Simon & Schuster, are not open to any discussions on changing their product.
-- For languages that are somewhat "distant" from English, the method shows some of its gravest weaknesses.
-- The Polish language has SEVEN CASES, the proper use of which requires the modification of the endings of nouns and adjectives across the cases and this in conjunction with the three genders and in the singular/plural. In my view, the Polish sound system and the variability in pronunciation by the average speaker render it quite impossible for a user of the Pimsleur approach to differentiate the these endings and to apply them reliably.
-- The VERBS in Polish have a structure that differs remarkably from that of the Romance and Germanic languages. In my view, without a grammar and a book on verbs, the user of Pimsleur Polish will not be able to predict how a new Polish verb should be used.
I TRULY LIKE the Pimsleur Approach. However, I believe that it is NOT well-adapted to languages that are somewhat distant from English. I was tempted to give TWO STARS to Pimsleur Polish, but gave THREE for its overall quality.
1. For the traveller who does not want an indepth knowledge of the language, but stills wants to feel reasonably autonomous, I suggest Colloquial Polish: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series)
2. For the more serious student who wants an excellent grammar-based language course, I suggest Spoken World: Polish
3. For the VERY SERIOUS student who wants U.S. Marines-like DRILLS, DRILLS, DRILLS, I suggest Beginning Polish,. Be sure to buy volumes 1 and 2, as the second volume contains drills that are directly related to the first volume. The LINK to the FREE AUDIO files is included in my review of this text.