Pimsleur – a review

I have now listened to all 10 lessons of my Pimsleur Czech course, most of them several times. I’ve a long way to go before I can speak Czech, but I do know quite a few useful words and phrases now, and I am beginning to acquire a feeling for the structure of the language. I also know how to pronounce words, though some of the consonant clusters are tricky. When I listen to Radio Prague or my Czech friends talking, I can get a basic idea of what they’re on about.

Before I started the course, I’d read many reviews of Pimsleur courses, many positive, some negative, so I had an idea of what I was letting myself in for. I now think that Pimsleur courses can give you a good foundation in a language, which you can build on with other courses. They are particularly good for languages unlike any of the ones you already know.

Next week I’m going to start on Colloquial Czech – I had a quick look at it yesterday and found that I could understand quite a lot of the stuff in the first lesson, which is encouraging.

This entry was posted in Chinese, Czech, Language, Language learning.

9 Responses to Pimsleur – a review

  1. pg says:

    As you noted, I find Pimsleur most useful when I have no previous background with the language. Otherwise, I’m more partial to a few other programs. But it is certainly useful as an introduction before moving onto more natural material, like radio, conversation, music, and so forth.

  2. Jamison says:

    I’m pretty partial toward Pimsleur. I am listening to the Brazilian Portuguese right now (and speaking back, which is half of it) while driving to and from the office.

    Having gone through all of the Spanish discs a number of years ago, I have to say that it should be a part of an integrated system to learn really well. A good grammar reference, and good workbook, a ton of flashcards, etc all are important. And talking to real people in the language too.

  3. bulbul says:

    I mostly agree with pg, though I find Pimsleur a useful addition to other programs and materials.

    Good luck with Czech, Simon. Though as a Slovak and a linguist I must say Slovak would have been a more logical choice as an introduction to Slavic languages. But anyway, zlom vaz 🙂

  4. Patrick Hall says:

    I agree, I really like the Pimsleur approach. I used to think that it had that “LEARN XHOSA IN 5 DAYS OMG!” kind of scammy language-learning vibe about it, but when for whatever reason I broke down and bought the Russian edition, I found it very sensible. The key is the carefully gauged repetition, something that’s sorely lacking in a lot of audio courses.

  5. IDK says:


  6. Moab says:


    I’m about to undertake learning Hindi and am looking at the Pimsleur offerings. I would like to ask you and your readers where I might find quality workbooks and other materials that would make good supplimental learning tools.


  7. Robert says:

    I’m also about to start with Hindi…

    I’ve got Beginner’s Hindi, and Teachyouself Hindi and also some software that I bought and never used because, well, most software looks good but isn’t so practical. You have to learn the content, not just be able to cruise around some screen and hear a few bits of spoken language.

    Pimsleur is good to some extent, though I did find the transcripts to Mandarin Pimsleur which is 90 lessons… and the total amount of vocab taught is less than 500 items! But mabye it gives a good feel for the language.

    I’d prefer if they gave transcripts. I usually get to some stage where I can’t quite make out what the consonant sound of some new bit of vocab is, then I give up.

  8. You can also try Pimsleur on audiobook chips, which can be cheaper than CDs and it remembers your place in the lessons, instead of losing it every time you have to turn the CD player off.

  9. IDK says:

    Do I have to buy CD to accompany with Colloquial Czech textbook?
    Cuz I only have a book right now
    and CD is quite expensive…
    (I’m study in Czech nearly 3 months now, only know very basic words..)

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