How do You Achieve Spoken Language Proficiency?
The Intermediate–Low Spoken Proficiency Level
Upon completion of the Pimsleur Comprehensive Level I Program (30 lessons), the learner will have achieved spoken–language communication skills at the Intermediate–Low Level. This level is characterized by the ability to participate in simple, direct conversations on everyday topics, in everyday situations; by being able to satisfy immediate needs, such as ordering food and making simple purchases; and by being able to establish rapport with strangers in a foreign country.
The Intermediate–Mid spoken Proficiency Level
Upon completion of the Pimsleur Comprehensive Level I and Level II (60 lessons), the learner will have achieved the Intermediate–Mid Level. This level is characterized by creative ability in the target language and by being able to communicate personal meaning to native speakers by combining and recombining known elements and conversational input to correctly form sentences of increasing length.
The Intermediate–High Spoken Proficiency Level
Upon completion of the Pimsleur Comprehensive Level I, Level II, and Level III (90 lessons), the learner will have achieved the Intermediate–High Level. This level is characterized by the ability to obtain, sustain and bring to a close a number of basic communicative exchanges, to satisfy personal needs and social demands, and to survive and cope in the target language and culture. The learner can converse with growing ease and confidence, narrate and describe in terms of past, present and future using connected discourse of considerable conversational length.
Pimsleur Method Operational Requirements
Pimsleur customers are advised that there are specific requirements for purchasers intending to obtain these levels of spoken language proficiency.
The Comprehensive Pimsleur Program comprises three Levels (90 lessons), which contain the core–of–the–language based upon the frequency–of–use of grammatical structures and everyday vocabulary by native speakers of the target language. This language corpus is divided into three discrete parts: Levels I, II and III. To achieve the proficiency levels described above, students are advised to complete all Levels in numerical order, starting with Level I.
Keep in mind that a little learning is a dangerous thing — especially for Foreign Language students! New Pimsleur students who previously have not been able to communicate with native speakers, but who still feel, because of some school language classes, that they are past the beginning level and make the decision to skip Level I actually will miss the most important basic language elements in terms of usage, that is, a full one–third of the core–of–the–language taught in the program. This amount of missing language information and the essential spoken language practice caused as a result of this deficiency is enough to cause the learner to fail to reach the Intermediate Proficiency Level goal.
Another of the important basic requirements to be able to achieve these proficiency goals is for the learner to complete one (and only one) new lesson every day in each level, in strict numerical order. The limit of one new lesson a day is necessary to allow the built–in practice in the program to be in–put and the new sounds of the foreign language to be retained in the learner’s brain. It is also essential to proceed to the next lesson, the next day, only if you are correctly answering the questions in the lesson at about an 80% rate. The Method is designed to have the learner proceed through the Program with a minimum of frustration and a maximum of enjoyment and a sense of fun!
Effective Foreign Language Memory Training as Well as Effective Sound Discrimination Ability
The Pimsleur method solves the all–important problem by introducing every foreign word — both those hard to pronounce as well as the less difficult — in a meaningful context, with an effective backwards build–up. There is a built–in memory–training sequence designed to provide “successive approximation” repeats which enables the learner to arrive at effective pronunciation of hard–to–say foreign words. In addition to solving pronunciation problems, the Pimsleur Method automatically enters each item in a memory–building module call Graduated Interval Recall. This schedule guarantees that, by the end of each level, everything you have learned will have been processed into the language learning portion of your brain, which will have effectively “stored” the structures and vocabulary from your short–term to your long–term memory, making it available for your use when you are speaking in the target language!
And, You are Introduced to Reading the foreign Language
Students who do not participate in doing the important Introduction to Reading, in those Pimsleur programs in which we teach reading, often find themselves unable to correctly pronounce words in the target language when they see them. However, learning to sight–read a language is a subsidiary skill, which can only be effectively learned AFTER a learner has acquired basic spoken–language skills. This is why we teach these skills in the precise order — speaking first and reading second — as it is done in acquiring your mother tongue.
Pimsleur students need to be reminded of this skill when they reach the particular stage of foreign–language learning when some students begin to feel a desire to see the written forms of the spoken language. Linguistic specialists. As well as reading specialists, agree that intelligent and meaningful reading of language requires the spoken–language base such as Pimsleur provides.
Learning to “read” a foreign language, which you do not speak, is the primary reason why students who approach a language from a textbook do not gain the ability to become proficient in the spoken language, or for that matter in truly reading for meaning, as opposed to word–for–word dictionary translations. This also sums up why the Pimsleur Method does not provide printed texts of that reserved for the practice of spoken language only! Having a printed script of a language you cannot speak effectively defeats your wish to be able to understand and speak the target language in a way that allows you to engage in real and proficient conversation.
Simply follow these wonderfully uncomplicated guidelines and you will be delighted with the results you will accomplish by investing 15, 30, or 45 hours of your time — spread out over only a half–hour each day. You will be able to talk with interesting individuals in whatever part of the world you plan to visit.