Most helpful positive review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2004
I would definitely have to agree that the Pimsleur series is the way to begin your studies. The key word being 'begin'. I recently finished a month in Mexico after all three courses, and while I would not agree with their definition of fluency level, I will say it was invaluable. However, do not expect to know many areas that are important to learn. Parts of the body, Most rooms of the house, colors, etc. You will learn quite a bit, but it is only 45 hours, so consider it a starting point. While I still struggle with verbs and pronouns and vocabulary, those are easy enough to pick up after you have learned the basics. Probably a more accurate description of fluency would be low intermediate, instead of high. Also, the third edition seems a bit more hurried than the rest, and is definitely of lower quality recording. Yet, it is still the best course I've ever found. Presently, I am studying the materials beyond Pimsleur endorsed by Mark Boyen on the Pimsleur 1 course review section. Between studying each lesson several times a day, and practising on the people I met, please feel sorry for them, I was able to achieve an ability to get the basics done. This is much more than I've ever been able to accomplish with any other method. The Castilian doesn't really interfere with the program, though it makes no sense to use these speakers, if you have already studied the difference. And while it won't take you to native fluency, I cannot overemphasize how valuable this course has been to my learning the language. As a result, and with the additional courses, and ongoing trips to Mexico, I believe I will achieve a near native fluency by the end of this year. However, that won't happen on 30 minutes a day. While it is a good course, you are learning a monumental task, and by it's nature will require many hours of study to truly develop fluency. While the phrases will appear to be too fast at first to be of any use, you will adapt and discover they are actually too slow at the end, since native speakers tend to speak much faster. While a lot of people state they wish Pimsleur made more in their series, I am satisfied there are enough courses out there to bring you over to fluency already. Pimsleur takes you to the point where you will need to do all that boring verb, pronoun, study drills. And, it is fairly easy with their method. Once you've completed this series, you will be able to survive in Mexico with the basic building blocks of the language. But fluency is still a long ways from there. But for the serious student, with realistic expectations, this course is the best first step for learning. Certainly better than any college class.