How do I Use the Pimsleur Language Program?
In order to gain the full benefits from the Pimsleur Language Programs, stick to the guidelines below…
- Choose a quiet place where you can practice without interruption and a time of day when your mind is most alert and your body least fatigued. You might study in your car, listening to the program while you commute or travel.
- Once you've started the program, simply follow the tutor's instructions.
- Speak out loud when directed by the tutor and answer questions. There will be pauses after every instruction, giving you time to reply. It is essential to your progress that you speak out in a normal conversational voice when asked to respond. Your active participation in thinking and speaking is required for your success in mastering this course. After your response, a confirmation will be provided as reinforcement.
- Do not have a paper and pen nearby during the lessons, and do not refer to dictionaries or other books. The Pimsleur Method works with the language-learning portion of your mind, requiring language to be processed in its spoken form. You will only interrupt the learning process if you try to write the words you hear.
- Complete the lesson units in strict consecutive order-don't skip around!
- Try your best to work through only one particular lesson (30 minutes long) each and every day. Dr. Pimsleur's research shows 30 minutes to be the optimum period for learning language, after which the mind loses its ability to retain new information. Although you should do no more than one particular lesson per day, you can repeat the same lesson unit any time during the day.
- If you are responding correctly about eighty percent of the time, then you're ready to proceed to the next lesson on the following day. It is important to keep moving forward, but also not to set unreasonable standards of perfection that will keep you from progressing, which is why we recommend the eighty percent figure as a guide.
- If you do not feel comfortable moving on to the next lesson, simply repeat the lesson. Daily contact with the language is critical to successful learning. As long as one lesson is completed each day, even if it is repeated, you will be making progress!
Note that in any large country, and even in many smaller countries, regional differences in language are common. In the United States, for example, a person from Maine can sound very different than someone from Texas. Pronunciations ("accents") vary, and there are also minor differences in vocabulary. For example, what is called a "drinking fountain" in New York or Arizona is known as a "bubbler" in Wisconsin, and a "soft drink" in one part of America will be called "pop" elsewhere. The differences in English are even more distinct between North Americans and Britons, or between Britons and Australians. But all are native speakers of English; all can communicate with spoken English, read the same newspapers, and watch the same television programs, essentially without difficulty.
In addition to regional differences, there are social differences. Pimsleur Language Programs use a standard "educated" speech, which will generally carry you throughout foreign countries without difficulty.