Most helpful positive review
on May 6, 2002
I bought the 30 tape course in November 2001 for a trip to Beijing in February 02. Now maybe I was being a little ambitious expecting to learn much however I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised.
The course was easy to follow. As other reviewers have done I listened to the tape driving to work. Due to the rapidly approaching holiday I also went out in my lunch hour and parked up in my car in a quiet place listening and repeating. Then driving home I played the tape again. Maybe once more that same night before bed or in the early evening. So each tape was listened to at least 4 times. Sometimes I'd do the same tape for 3-4 days as quite often it was just on as background accompaniment during my commute. Over the Christmas/New Year holiday I was about half way through the course.
The system works. The words and phrases stick in your memory. By the time I went to Beijing I felt able to tackle conversations. I was able to make myself understood to the extent that I had taxi drivers speaking to me in rapid fire Mandarin expecting me to follow the conversation. If I had the money and had another trip back to China I'd definitely buy Mandarin 2 as the only downside is the lack of a really comprehensive vocabulary. Having said that it really is survival Mandarin which is needed in China away from, and even in, the tourist areas.
Finally, to show how good the system was and without being a big head, I was speaking better Mandarin than a guy who'd been living in Beijing for 7 months. Another local Westerner who'd been there for 10 years told me that it had taken him about 2 years to get to the level of speech/understanding that I was at. So thank you Pimsleur.