Most helpful critical review
not bad, could be better.
on July 18, 2002
This Pimsleur course, like others, is crafted with skill. I've come to expect great quality out of Pimsleur. There are 16 courses, 2 course per CD. Each course is 30 minutes long. The beginning of each course (except the first) is a small exercise in comprehension, plus review, and then the rest of the course (20-25 minutes) is devoted to new material or more review. The format is consistent, so in this course, there is a male and female conversationalist, and a narrator prompting you in english.
I would argue that the first 4 CDs generated the greatest momentum, in teaching one to do basics such as greetings, asking for simple directions, answering them, and the like. But the latter half tends to peter out and does not yield as much benefit as one should get from listening to the last 4 CDs.
As one reviewer noted, there's a tendency in this "instant conversation" course to overemphasize certain points of the language that may seem rather useless, including the ability to tell the time from one to twelve o'clock with great fluency, and the ability to tell the cost of items from one ruble to 20 rubles. (And few things cost 20 rubles). I gather that these lapses of overemphasis occur because these 16 courses were largely derived from the Comprehensive Level I course. There are slight differences between the two, but for the most part, the first 16 here map to the first 16 courses in Comp Lvl 1.
That being said, perhaps Pimsleur was a little hasty to release this condensed, more affordable version in the hopes that it would attract customers. When I purchased it, the front of the box proclaimed that one can save [more] on the Comp Lvl 1 course (!)...At least you can save...on the longer course. Otherwise, it is a good product. But falls short of Pimsleur's standard for excellence.