5.0 out of 5 stars Pimsleur Japanese I
I lived in Japan (Chitose, Hokkaido) for almost 4 years as a language-developing child. I plan to go back for a visit and possibly to develop business. The Pimsleur method is effective. I remember the phrases, and constructing new sentences is increasingly easy. I converted the CDs to MP3 format, and I use my MP3 player during my YMCA workouts in the morning. (As I...
Published on May 12 2004 by Ronald Thomas
3.0 out of 5 stars It's ok. Not worth the ridiculous price.
I've bought tons of Japanese-learning material, both book and software, and most of it at least partially disappointing regardless of price point. Pimsleur, despite its lofty hype and even loftier cost(!), is no different. It's ok, but it's not the holy grail that most reviews would have you think it is, with my own reasons summed up thus:
1) You don't learn as much...
Published on Feb. 20 2004 by Straight Shaun
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pimsleur Japanese I,
This review is from: Japanese I, Comprehensive: Learn to Speak and Understand Japanese with Pimsleur Language Programs (Audio CD)I lived in Japan (Chitose, Hokkaido) for almost 4 years as a language-developing child. I plan to go back for a visit and possibly to develop business. The Pimsleur method is effective. I remember the phrases, and constructing new sentences is increasingly easy. I converted the CDs to MP3 format, and I use my MP3 player during my YMCA workouts in the morning. (As I repeat the phrases sotto voce, people often enquire and praise the effort. I also get a good measure of my cardio routine rate of perceived exertion.) The sound quality is great throughout the dynamic range.
4.0 out of 5 stars Nihongo ga sukoshi wakarimas,
By A Customer
This review is from: Japanese I, Comprehensive: Learn to Speak and Understand Japanese with Pimsleur Language Programs (Audio CD)I love this Japanese course. I have done the first 3 lessons and can do them perfectly. I took 2 years of high school German and can only remember "Ich spreche sie Deutch nicht ser gut"(and I don't write it so well either). I only gave this 4 start because it should include written material so you can make sure you are pronouncing the words correctly. Before I looked it up in the dictionary I thought sukoshi was spelled skoshi because it sounds that way. Here are some tips for this course: Do each lesson at least 2 times or until you get 100%. Use the pause button. Do only 1 lesson a day. When you are finished try to repeat the dialogue in your head or aloud throughout the day over and over.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Beginning,
This review is from: Japanese I, Comprehensive: Learn to Speak and Understand Japanese with Pimsleur Language Programs (Audio CD)I rated it five stars because it satisfied my requirements. I do not know how it compares to similar products.
An evening walk was the only time I had available to learn Japanese. Pimsleurs audio-only approach requires a concentration level consistent with a leisurely walk. (It was too demanding to learn while driving.) I walked an hour per night for four months to complete Pimsleurs Japanese I, II, & III. I listened to two thirty-minute lessons each night. I also spent a short amount of time preparing vocabulary cards that I occasionally reviewed.
Normally I learn by reading and analysis, but I wanted to improve my aural learning ability. At times the rote learning frustrated me. At lesson 27 of Pimsleurs II, I capitulated to my analytic side and spent an hour studying Japanese verbs. My ear was hearing slight sound changes in the verbs, and my mind wanted to know what was going on. After understanding why the sounds were changing, I forced myself back to the aural-only approach.
What did I learn? I learned a small kernel of Japanese consisting of about 350 words (about one word per mile) and a handful of common speech patterns. There was almost no grammar instruction. Of the Pimsleurs course material I recognize 95%, I recall about 80%, and I speak fluently about 50%. When I speak with native speakers, I often stumble over words and phrases that I spoke easily while walking. However, I can speak many sentence patterns fluently, i.e. without thinking first. This is significant progress for me. My pronunciation is sometimes careless which confuses listeners. The Pimsleurs course is not a replacement for the immediate corrective feedback from a tutor. I tested my comprehension ability by listening to Japanese television (NHK). I understood less than 5% of the news programs, about 10% of the melodramas, and a little more than 10% of the children shows. I think this is not too bad for 120 hours of self-instruction.
Recommendations: learn hiragana first so you can transcribe phrases you hear on the CD, use a playback device that has a cue/review function to rapidly review native pronunciation, and don't start unless you plan to study or use Japanese beyond Pimsleurs III. Good luck!
3.0 out of 5 stars It's ok. Not worth the ridiculous price.,
1) You don't learn as much as you think you do. Yes, the method is sound, with the interspersed repetition and gradual introduction of new material, but the actual amount of language knowledge attained by the end of it is a LOT lower than one would hope.
2) The method (any method, in fact) NEEDS written material. I know it is a "selling point" of Pimsleur that it is audio-only, but in fact the course narration and design subtly discourage the student FROM writing things down or using other written material in conjunction with the course. I won't belabor the "why" since it's just plain common sense, but the bottom line is that some written material helps learning. Period. These courses are in bad need of some quality manuals/workbooks/whatever.
3) The speakers aren't very good. On Pimsleur I, for example, the female doesn't sound native in her pronounciation, and the male speaks WAY too quickly...ridiculously so! It's one thing to speak at a natural speed to get the ear "used" to what one hears in a natural Japanese conversation, but when the speaker speaks so fast that he practically mumbles half-sentences, that's an entirely different story. Despite everything else, this was my single biggest beef with these products, and lest the importance of this shortcoming escape you, remember that this is pretty much an all-audio course(!). The quality control on such a fundamental aspect of the product is pathetic.
4) The cost is way, WAY too high. Successful (and not successful) as this method may be, you know that it's too expensive before you even buy it, hype-to-high-heaven notwithstanding. Take my word, it's simply not worth the insane price. It is simply not THAT much better than other available material that it's worth spending several factors more for. If you're able to get it for less, then yes, you'll get some learning value out of it, but bear in mind the above points...it is very over-hyped, and even more over-priced.
1.0 out of 5 stars some of the speakers aren't japanese,
They should re-record the audio because I personally like the method very much.
5.0 out of 5 stars It Serves It's Purpose,
As you've probably already read, each lesson is about 30 minutes long, and you should try to listen to one lesson a day. How did I do it? I sat in a room and concentrated on the lesson (I also cleaned the house frequently). Would I do just as well if I were focusing on driving in addition to listening to an audio course? I don't know. But I got it to work really good for me, and this mainly has to do with one's own circumstances, not the quality of the material itself.
If you have trouble on a lesson, just listen to the same one again (the same day, if you have the time), listen to it again the next day before you move on to the next lesson. I did this, and I felt I benefited greatly from this.
I finished Japanese I, and I am currently studying one lesson of Pimsleur Japanese II a day, and I'm on lesson 20. It's still working great, I'm listening to the audio lessons in addition to my regular studies. I plan to get Pimsleur Japanese III as I finish Japanese II.
To sum it up:
A great introduction to Japanese, and it is a GREAT (I mean, GREAT) boost if you're studying this in addition to regular study of Japanese.
(I felt that Japanese I was good enough that I just got my Pimsleur German I today.)
5.0 out of 5 stars value for money!!!!,
I have completed Japanese comprehensive level one. When I studied each lesson I would write out the main conversation, then looked up any words I didn't know.
I agree with what others have said, it would be easier to learn if there was a transcript of the dialogue. As soon as I write things down I comprehend it quicker.
I have also completed "Japanese for busy people book 1 with the tapes"(a very good book too!!). I have bought "Learn in your car - Japanese" from audible.com and have completed level one, excellent for expanding you vocabulary.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good if you do not like to study books,
By A Customer
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Japanese I, Comprehensive: Learn to Speak and Understand Japanese with Pimsleur Language Programs by Pimsleur (Audio Cassette - Oct. 1 2002)
Used & New from: CDN$ 98.78