Friday, July 27, 2007

Review: Pimsleur Italian

I checked this out from the library, and used it to try to learn Italian. It's terrible, compared to the competition, for instance the Berlitz series or even the Fodor's French For Travelers that I used 2 years ago to learn French. It goes at a slow pace, which isn't bad for retention, but as far as I'm concerned, it's focussed on entirely the wrong kind of things a traveler would be interested in.

For instance, the initial 3 CDs spend all their time talking about "How are you?" "I'm well." The next 3 are spent asking, "Would you like to eat?" "Would you like to have dinner with me?" "When would you like to eat?" Mike Samueltried to learn German using the German equivalent, and we made jokes about how Pimsleur should really be renamed "Pimpsleur". It's all very useful if your primary focus is picking up members of the opposite sex or trying to be very polite, but for a bicycle tour of Europe, it is absolutely worthless. For survival in the country-side or in the city, it's is also worthless.

When Lisa and I went to Europe 4 years ago, we used Berlitz German, which was much more practical, taught you how to count, etc. The tapes were dense, so we had to listen multiple times, but that's the point of having it on tape, so you can replay the lessons over and over until you get it.

All in all, the Pimsleur language lessons are not good value for money, and not useful for serious travelers. Disrecommended.
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