- Audio CD
- Publisher: Pimsleur; 30 lessons, plus reading instruction edition (April 1 2002)
- Language: English, Spanish
- ISBN-10: 0743523571
- ISBN-13: 978-0743523578
- Product Dimensions: 31.8 x 5.1 x 27.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 980 g
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #413,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Pimsleur Spanish Level 1 CD: Learn to Speak and Understand Latin American Spanish with Pimsleur Language Programs Audio CD – Audiobook, Apr 1 2002
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About the Author
Dr. Paul Pimsleur devoted his life to language teaching and testing and was one of the world’s leading experts in applied linguistics. After years of experience and research, Dr. Pimsleur developed The Pimsleur Method based on two key principles: the Principle of Anticipation and a scientific principle of memory training that he called “Graduated Interval Recall.” This Method has been applied to the many levels and languages of the Pimsleur Programs.
Top customer reviews
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The material is well divided.
Having said that, I think it pays to be aware of a few things before making the Big Purchase.
Because the price tag for these CDs is high, you might find it helpful, as I did, to try Pimsleur's "Quick and Simple" set of CDs for Spanish first. Those CDs duplicate (with minor differences) the first 8 lessons of the Spanish I collection. So if you wish to be cautious, that is probably the best way to get started with Pimsleur products, rather than buying the more expensive, more comprehensive products right away. You'll get a sense of whether this is the route you want to go if you want to learn more Spanish.
Whether you start with the Spanish I package, or the Quick and Easy CDs, you will be exposed you to the heart of what makes the Pimsleur method unique and painless. The approach is based on (1) The Principle of Anticipation (a mastery technique that is different than rote recall), (2) Graduated Interval Recall (an approach that provides new stuff to memorize at optimal intervals), (3) Core Vocabulary (an efficient, optimal selection of a small number of key words that you need to know, as opposed to an extensive vocabulary), (4) and "Organic Learning" (learn speech, eg sound, rhythm, intonations, as opposed to a bunch of textbook gramatical rules). I should add that there's something subtly humorous about the content of the CDs, so if you have a sarcastic or wicked sense of humor, you won't be totally bored.
Like many, I found the approach efficient and useful, and I had lots of fun with the CDs as I drove around town blathering away in Spanish.
But it is worth emphasizing that Pimsler is not the only game in town. There are other very high-quality competing approaches (e.g. Platiquemos Spanish), that are generally less expensive. On Platequemos, for instance, the speakers sound like they are from Central and South America, and one gets the impression that they are teaching a version of Spanish that is useful in the Americas.
I think it pays to be aware that with Pimsleur you are learning a very general form of Spanish that does not always play well in some Spanish-speaking counries. In the lessons, for instance, you are quickly instructed to say "Encantado" (pleased to meet you) after meeting someone. When I mentioned this to some Mexican friends, they just laughed and said "you probably won't get killed for saying that, but from know on just say 'mucho gusto' and nobody will get hurt!" A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing!
The culture-specific meaning of some words is a big issue. Take words like "familia," "confianza," "amigo," "amor," and "tu." We may think we understand the implications of these familiar words, especially after learning a little Spanish, but newcomers are unlikely to understand their deep and subtle meanings within the context of (for example) Mexican culture.
So, I think it pays to learn phrases and code words from a specific culture or country that most strongly interests you (something you'll never get from plodding through the simple and general Pimsleur approach). To this end, there are books that often discuss a specific country's idiomatic expressions or slang. For instance, I've been interested in learning more about Mexico's version of Spanish, as well as its culture. I benefitted greatly from Boye Lafayette De Mente's book, "There's a Word For It In Mexico" (also marketed as "The NTC's Dictionary of Mexican Cultural Code Words"). In the case of Mexican Spanish and culture, Octavio Paz' "The Labyrinth of Solitude" is excellent, too. Travel guides for specific countries, such as the Insight Guides, often provide a few words of slang that are unique to specific regions.
It pays to have a fluent spanish speaker as a co-worker, friend and/or lover while you are learning from the CDs, as they might, on a good day, rescue you from whatever linguistic cliff Pimsleur sends you over. If you don't yet have a Spanish speaking lover, you may need to purchase some additional resourses, e.g. "Wicked Spanish", "The Lover's Dictionary," or "Hot International Phrases" to help you get into/out of trouble. And don't forget to buy every Shakira CD that has ever been recorded!
Don't be fooled by the $$ coupon that comes with the Pimsleur CDs. In my experience, a much better price can be found using Amazon.com.
In lessons 1 through 5 you will learn how to conjugate the verb "entender" in the present tense and say "I understand" and "you understand" in the "usted" form as well as ask the same
You will also learn how to say I speak "Castellano" or you speak "Castellano." You will also learn how to inquire about one's health, and ask about one's nationality. basic greetings such as good morning, good afternoon, and good night. And you'll learn how to say "here" and "there," and inquire about the location of hotels and restaurants. Lessons 1 to 5, will also teach you how to say "I know" and "you know," as well as I have and you have.
From lessons 6 to 10, you begin to learn numbers from 1 to 11. You also learn how to ask how much do things cost and saying "I want" and "you want" and how to ask the same. The verb gustar is also covered. You will also learn how to say let's go eat.
From lessons 11 to 15, you will learn more numbers (numbers 12 to 59). And how to say "I pay" and "you pay," and "I buy" and "you buy." Pronouns such as "la" and "las" are also introduced and also how to tell time, as well as the substitute future tense (e.g. I am going to eat as opposed to "I will eat.")
Lesson 16 to 20 teach you how to say more numbers (from sixty to ninety-nine). You also learn how to say "my spouse has" and "we speak," "we eat," and "we want." You will also learn possessive adjectives such as "my," "your" and "our." The irregular verb "poder" and the "para que" structure" are also introduced in the present tense. Lessons 16 to 20 also contrast "estamos" and "somos." Reflexive verbs are also introduced while you learn how to say "I am leaving" and "we are leaving."
From lessons 21 to 24, you are introduced to formal commands and learn such commands as "give me a glass of water/wine" and "write it." You are also introduced to demonstrative
pronouns for "this, that, and those." The regular "ar" verb is also introduced. You also learn how to inquire about a doctor and say "give me his number." The personal "a" is also introduced as well as how to state if a location is near or far, ask one's name and state one's name, ask where does one live, and give directions.
From lessons 25 to 30, you will learn more commands. For example, how to say the command "come." But only the formal commands are covered. Direct pronouns are also covered in greater detail. The present perfect tense is also introduced along with numbers in the hundreds. Diminutives are also covered. In the final lesson (#30), the informal word for you is briefly introduced: tu (I have omitted Spanish punctuation marks because they sometimes appear as fuzzy characters on my Amazon reviews.)
Pimsleur Spanish has an extremely fun method to learn Spanish. Not only is it fun but also quite effective. The speakers are also all natives with excellent pronunciation. The sound quality of the lessons is also excellent. The course also comes with a small booklet to give the student an introduction to reading Spanish.
Although it is one of the best Spanish courses that I have ever reviewed, it is not worthy of 5 stars. I say that for two reasons. For one, with 15 hours of recorded audio, Pimsleur Spanish provides the student with very limited grammar and even less vocabulary. The student only learns two verb tenses. The present verb tense and the present perfect tense. Actually, three if you include the imperative. In my professional opinion, with 15 hours of recorded audio an adult of average intelligence is capable of learning several times as much vocabulary and grammar than what Pimsleur I covers.
The second reason why I cannot give Pimsleur Spanish 5 stars is because the Spanish is not representative of the Spanish that Latin Americans actually speak or at least not the Latin American Spanish that is spoken today. In the first lesson "hablo Castellano" is taught. It is 100% correct to say that phrase but nowadays it is not how one would normally say "I speak Spanish" (unless you were really trying to impress someone). The same applies to Pimsleur's approach of teaching "encantado" instead of "mucho gusto." And "adios" is taught instead of "chao." With the exception of Mexicans, most Latin Americans today use "chao" for bye. Maybe "back in the day" we didn't -- but now we use chao.
I am still glad to recommend that you buy Pimsleur Level I because of its highly effective and fun teaching method. But don't count on it to teach you much grammar and vocabulary, especially not today's Latin American vocabulary. With that said CHAO.
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