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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2002
Two years ago my employer required me to begin to learn Mandarin. They had purchased the Original Pimsleur Mandarin Cassettes several years prior to my joining the company. I made it through eight lessons before I took a position with another firm. However, my desire to learn Mandarin had been ignited.
I didn't feel comfortable spending the $350.00 to buy the full Pimsleur course myself, so I went to the local library and checked out the resources there. I tried three different courses by other authors and was amazed how sub-standard they were. Nothing compared to the quality and retention the Pimsleur method gave. When I saw that the Instant Conversation series was available I bought it immediately. I reasoned that for less than $50.00 I could find if I really wanted to learn Chinese. After my experiences with the other learning systems I was not sure I wanted to continue. I'm now starting the third CD and I am confident I will spend the money for the next level of instruction. Every day I learn more and retain probably 80% of what was covered in each lesson. Due to the confidence the Pimsleur method gives I know that mastery of Mandarin Chinese is attainable. I have a friend at work who is a native speaker and she tells me my accent is negligible. I could not think of a more promising recommendation then that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2003
This is better than Berlitz, and I never thought I would say that about a language product. There are so many study-at-home language products that are boring and ineffective. This is more like the Suzuki method of studying music. Listen, imitate, learn!
The method definitely deserves 5 stars, but there are problems with the "Instant Conversation" product. (The negatives can be noted by reading the Amazon reviews of the corresponding product for Spanish.) To advance to the whole first set of the comprehensive Pimsleur method, you have to pay for these first 8 CD's again, in effect, and at a higher price. (When you buy the comprehensive Mandarin I, it is my understanding that half the CD's you buy are identical to these. Therefore your investment in this beginner set is unwise.) Too bad that they didn't make a special (stand-alone) set for this product instead of just removing the first 8 of the 16 CD's in the Comprehensive Mandarin I.
Those considerations aside, this method is unbelievably effective. I have taken private and group Berlitz, bought untold numbers of study at home sets, and have taken languages in the university. This is fast and really effective. I'll be buying more of the Pimsleur method in other languages, too.
Bottom line: This was an relatively inexpensive way for me to test the Pimsleur method in some depth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2004
I will be leaving for Taiwan in a week and am thankful for this wonderful introduction to Mandarin. After purchasing the Instant Conversation, I used the large rebate to continue my study of Mandarin with Pimsleur's Mandarin I.
I have been living with a Taiwanese family (in the US) for the last few months and they tell me that my understanding and pronounciation of the Mandarin I have learned thus far is beautiful. There are, of course, slight differences in pronunciation between the Beijing accent of the CD's and the Taiwanese accent, but it hasn't been problematic.
Thanks Pimsleur!
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on June 24, 2004
This is the first Pimsleur course I've used, and I wish I had discovered them sooner! I usually don't learn languages completely by ear, but it's proving to be a great way to learn Mandarin. I even find that I remember things my Chinese friends teach me so much easier since I am getting used to picking up new words without seeing them or writing a notecard on them! I've I am on Disc 3 so far and have had no problems remembering any of my lessons. Additionally, I think my pronunciation is coming very easily because I am not trying to translate Romanized characters into Chinese sounds.
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on September 4, 2003
I found this at a book outlet for [cheap], and I bought them immediately because Pimsleur tapes have been recommended to me.
Well, these are fantastic: You retain everything you hear, and it's actually very exciting. Before using these, I couldn't understand pronounciation at all but with them I am beginning to grasp it.
I have tried Berlitz's living languages series and these tapes are a million times better. They're very effective and fun. I highly recommend them.
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on March 23, 2004
I already have the Quick and Simple Mandarin Chinese by Pimsleur and really loved it but, even though the description says-
'goes beyond the Quick and Simple...'
The first 8 lessons (first half) is merely a repackaging of the 8 lessons in the Q + S.
So, I cannot comment on the second half because I was so upset about being duped that I returned it!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2003
great series as an intro to a language
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