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French (Pimsleur Language Program) Audio Cassette

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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067131520X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671315207
  • Product Dimensions: 25.3 x 23.6 x 3.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 907 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,873,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews
70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An ambitious and impressive approach Oct. 8 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The Pimsleur method takes relatively small amounts of information and really "works it" - getting you to use the vocabulary and grammatical skills you've learned in and out of sequence, and with varying inflections and authentic French mannerisms. The lessons are scrupulously cumulative, and always give the student an adequate base of review and support before going into new territory. That Pimsleur has managed to design such a comprehsive method that fits into such a nice, tight little high-intensity 30-minute daily package - and be so effective - is to me very impressive.
By comparison, it seems virtually all the other audio courses out there (I have personally tried Living Language, Barrons and Berlitz) focus on giving you lots of vocabulary and formal grammar, with nowhere near as much foundational support. With these other methods, there is an inherent assumption you will have the discipline and motivation to work all this "raw information" up to a usable speed of performance and recall-something which I suspect few people ever manage to do successfully on their own. Information like that is free now-just go to or some such place and you will find free materials that rival the methods just mentioned. If you want to learn how to _use_ this information in a thorough and meaningful way, I suggest you at least sample this 8-lesson, "abridged" version.
The three "complete" versions (40 half-hour lessons each) are considerably more expensive - out-pricing every other method on the market. They each work out to being approximately the same price as a college- or university-level course with as good or perhaps even better results, so I suppose it's not as unreasonable a price as it appears, especially considering you have greater overall flexibility and the ability to retake the course or any part of it as often as you wish.
The inherent weakness in all of these audio methods is of course their rigidity. Because they necessarily must be a pre-planned, one-size-fits-all system, there may well be areas where you need a greater or lesser degree of detail and support based on your background and abilities. Likewise, there are no opportunities to deviate from the method to attend to matters of your own culture, interests or personal oddities. Despite this, the Pimsleur method, out of all the ones available, gives the most solid framework on which to build for future learning - and of course learning any language properly (including one's first language!) is a lifelong process.
50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent course! Aug. 17 2000
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I was skeptical about the pimsleur method at first, so I bought this basic french course for $34 and a Barrons "Mastering French" in 14 CDs for $90.
After comparing the two, the pimsleur method is by far the best way to learn french, if you're a lazy person. With pimsleur, you don't need to read books and memorize vocabulary words and grammars. When I listen to the Barrons CDs, it is impossible to learn french without reading the book that was included with the set. The Barrons method is pretty much classroom-type learning while the pimsleur method is street-type learning.
I guess it depends on how much time you have and the type of person you are. If you want to learn French while sitting down at a desk with a book and pencil, then Pimsleur is not for you. On the other hand, if you want to learn French while commuting to work or jogging (watch out for cars!), etc,.. then Pimsleur is the way to go.
It's true that Pimsleur method is slow, i.e. on the first CD you learn very simple phrases like "Do you understand French?" But it is highly effective. And considering that you don't need to open a book at all, I think it is well worth it. You'll learn French effectively with very little effort (and that's how we measure how good these things are, right? afterall, anyone can learn a language if they put 100% effort).
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A breakthrough Sept. 2 2000
By A reader - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I've tried every home-study device out there -- basic instruction books with tapes, grammar handbooks, interactive CD-ROMs, flash cards, children's books, even those French magnetic poetry words, and got practically nowhere. With the Pimsleur CDs, I am finally making progress. No, I'm not claiming I can carry on a detailed conversation, but I am speaking French aloud without fear or embarrassment, and am comprehending elementary phrases at the speed and fluency of everyday conversation. And yes, this method does make you an *illiterate* French speaker, but reading and writing French doesn't do much good in real life if you cannot spontaneously speak and understand it at a fluent speed.
At first I was annoyed that the lessons crawled at such a slow pace... after all, like everyone else I want to be fluent in a foreign language by next week. However, I find that my retention of what I learned is much better in these smaller chunks of information. It seems to help enormously to have a solid grasp of manipulating a few fundamental words and phrases, rather than fleeting knowledge of many.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An incredible intro to the language April 5 2003
By Indybg - Published on
Format: Audio Cassette Verified Purchase
Before you buy this, you should know that it is only the first half of the comprehensive French I, and if you're traveling independently (as I was), you'll need the whole thing. After finishing off the 16 lessons of this, I found that my local library had the comprehensive set, and was able to use that to prepare for my trip.
That said, the Pimsleur method is stunning. The first few lessons can seem a bit frustrating--all you learn is different ways to say "Do you speak English?" and "Do you speak French." What you don't realize is that the program is actually giving you a sophisticated introduction to French sentence structure just using a few words, and you fly ahead from there.
Where this differs from tapes that just give you phrases is that it actually gives you the ability to form your own sentences, adapting to different situations. The program never teaches you specifically how to handle, say, getting a room in a hotel, but when I was backpacking through small villages in France, I was able to handle this without a hitch.
You will need a phrasebook or a dictionary on your trip to fill in the vocabulary gaps, and if you plan on counting past fifty or saying anything in the past tense, you will need to obtain the comprehensive program. But if you're going to France in a tour group and just want to be able to understand a bit of what's going on around you, this is perfect.
The effectiveness of this program cannot be overstated. My library has levels II and III. I'm planning on going through those and heading off to backpack in Quebec this summer.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent program! It really works! Sept. 2 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This program is fun and teaches you all the essential elements of the French language in a relatively short time. It gives the student all the basic frameworks that one needs to engage in a French conversation. This set contains the first 8 lessons from the comphrehensive program. They are fun and easy to learn. Don't even think about it, just go and get it, it really works. I can't wait to get the comphrehensive program.