Customer Reviews


4 Reviews
5 star:
 (3)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
Most Helpful First | Newest First

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Method But. . ., March 4 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Chinese (Mandarin) II, Comprehensive: Learn to Speak and Understand Mandarin Chinese with Pimsleur Language Programs (Audio CD)
I have sung praises for Pimsleur language tapes/CDs both on Amazon and elsewhere on the net for many years now. I know of no other self-teaching method that gets you up and running in a foreign language so effectively. Indeed, I have completed their full courses (i.e., 3 unabridged volumes) in French, German, Spanish, and Italian as well as their mini-courses in Thai, Hindi, and Czech.
The Pimsleur Mandarin series is excellent, as usual. However, in working with this current series I am reminded once again of a major limitation that never fails to frustrate me. I refer to the basic working script. This differs slightly in content and emphasis from language to language, but is roughly the same throughout all the unabridged courses.
My fundamental problem with all the Pimsleur scripts is that they seem to be oriented toward a (hypothetical) individual working in a foreign subidiary of a multinational corporation. I consider this a problem because it emphasizes social niceties and water-cooler talk instead of practical on-the-ground vocabulary. I mean, sheesh, shouldn't I know the words for east, west, north, and south by lesson 20 of Mandarin II? I frequently find myself tearing out my hair because I am not being given the tools (vocabulary) for successfully negotiating everyday travel situations.
In sum, Pimsleur is a great method for learning a foreign language. I just wish the content of the courses were more strongly focused on the practical, everyday needs of independent travelers.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended!, Dec 3 2003
By 
Malcolm Robinson (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Chinese (Mandarin) II, Comprehensive: Learn to Speak and Understand Mandarin Chinese with Pimsleur Language Programs (Audio CD)
After finishing Mandarin I, I felt as though I had a good feel for the language, but my vocabulary was too limited to be of any real use. Mandarin II solves this problem by introducing the most basic and useful structures which weren't included in Mandarin I (For example, "should, have to, never, always, before, after, etc."). It is almost impossible to carry out basic conversations without these structures. Mandarin II also deals extensively with the past tense (which isn't really a tense) to the point where it can be used, more or less, with confidence.
Mandarin II is very similar to Mandarin I in lesson structure, pace, and quality. Like Mandarin I, the lessons are intense, and they teach so much in such a short time, but they're also very fun. As I worked through Mandarin II, the tones and pronunciation started to shift to the subconscious level and I could successfully combine two falling-rising tones in a sentence without even thinking about it. It's as if I'm absorbing the language naturally. This would have taken forever without Pimsleur. Even with a personal tutor, the use of time wouldn't have been nearly as efficient.
I've also finished Mandarin III (which is also excellent) and I now feel as though I have a good overall knowledge of Mandarin, and my pronunciation is close to perfect (I've been told that I don't have an accent). I am now trying to learning the more advanced aspects of the language through self-study and conversational practice, which is entirely possible after completing this course.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Learning while u drive works..., Aug. 24 2002
By 
This review is from: Chinese (Mandarin) II, Comprehensive: Learn to Speak and Understand Mandarin Chinese with Pimsleur Language Programs (Audio CD)
I wrote a review on Pimsleur Mandarin I. Excellent set. Waited for II. Now it's out. PM II maintains the excellent standards of volume I.
Two months after getting PM II, I went to Beijing for a science meeting (for ten days). I was in excellent shape. Nearly everyone understood me: waiters, shop people (bargains galore), taxi drivers, etc. I never quite had the time to master volume II like I did volume I. But the best thing is the diction and sound that you CANNOT get from a book alone. Pimsleur uses stock phrases to a point, and then mixes them and creates new ideas. Sentences do become longer (occasioanlly they are so long I can't remember them to translate -- I am after all driving). It is not a trivial list of slogans. You actually learn. They speak at a pace that forces you to become more fluid and conversant -- but you can replay the units. Of course it cannot mimic the spontaneity of real-life conversations, but it does an excellent job nevertheless.
Pimsleur is best if regular opportunities exist to practice. Pimsleur is not that simple, yet it is comfortable and thorough. The different arenas: eating, travel about town, "small talk", are all well chosen. I used all of them in Beijing-- some more haltingly than others, some comfortably naturally.
I now hear most tones the first time. I still don't quite stress them strongly enough (I discovered this while there). The down-and-up tone is really emphasized. The daily practice is getting my tongue more and more comfortable with the unusual sounds and twists.
I still think it's a bit pricey. I have the convenience of sitting in a college class -- which does NOT give the oral practice that Pimsleur does, but the class does give me a wider understanding of context and word order.
I will get Pimsleur III when it comes out. I'm serious about learning the language. I think Pimsleur can deliver a lot, but not everything. It is convenient, CDs don't wear out, and I'll keep reviewing. You need to find supplemental ways to expand the dialog still. I AM a satisfied Pimsleur fan.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Still the best, Aug. 8 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Chinese (Mandarin) II, Comprehensive: Learn to Speak and Understand Mandarin Chinese with Pimsleur Language Programs (Audio CD)
I waited a few years for this, and it was worth it. I'm a native English speaker, and I've dabbled in German, Spanish and Japanese, but I still think that Mandarin is the easiest language I've ever learned. It is a straightforward, simple, flexible and consistent language with no surprises. The tones are not that hard to learn; there are basically only four of them, and you learn them by experience and practice, and by HEARING and REMEMBERING them, not by memorizing. All in all a very well-done and polished production. According to the Amazon release date, Mandarin III should be out February 2003; can't wait! I also hope they do a fourth level, like they have with the German and Spanish.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xb63e89fc)

This product

Only search this product's reviews