Until recently, English was the only language I could speak. However, last year I had to take a trip to Italy to negotiate an extensive business deal for my company. My initial reaction to taking the trip was excitement, as I have never visited any country along the Mediterranean Sea. But suddenly I became overwhelmed with the thought that I was going to a very remote area of the country and was not sure I could communicate with many people in my native tongue once I arrived.
I quickly went on the Internet and looked at the different language audio programs sold online, with the hope that I could grasp learning a second language in just the few short months I had before I left. I looked at the various programs available, including Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur Italian language learning systems. I narrowed my search down to the two top brands and studied each one to see which one best suited my needs.
The Advantages of Choosing Pimsleur
Of the two, I finally chose Pimsleur Italian language learning because of its methodology for teaching a second language. It required me to listen to a sample recording of native speakers that spoke all types of phrases in English and then in Italian. Listening to it repeatedly, I was then prompted to speak the phrase after the Italian speaker finished it. This simple method allowed me to easily pick up many of the key phrases I would need to use on my trip.
Once I mastered that phrase, the audio lesson would then introduce the next phrase, explain its meaning and begin the process over again. By integrating the vocabulary I had previously learned, I built multiple phrases on what I already understood to put together complete sentences. This method had me speaking very complex statements, questions and answers much quicker than I thought it would take.
“Pimsleur is the real deal for learning languages by listening to CDs or tapes. The cheaper alternatives just don’t do the job like Pimsleur does.” – J. Dyer, Amazon.com
What makes the Pimsleur Italian language system superior to the others is its advanced learning principles used to form memory associations and instant access to language recall. The four basic learning principles in the system include:
The Pimsleur Italian method uses an aggressive style of learning. While typical language courses require individuals to simply repeat after the instructor, Pimsleur Language Learning uses a “challenge and response” approach. This technique calls on the individual, when prompted, to translate phrasing directly to the targeted language, which is then confirmed by the audio lesson. This tactic was developed to be a more active style of learning, and requires thinking before responding. For me, it was very easy to learn the language, without getting confused or frustrated.
Graduated Interval Recall
This tactic uses learned vocabulary and then incrementally increases the length of the intervals, producing better language retention in a shorter amount of time. By spacing out recall of phrases, repeated at varying increments, such as every few seconds, then every few minutes, then hours, and every few days, it stores learned information in the individual’s long-term memory.
This audio lesson uses a straightforward approach to learning the core vocabulary of the Italian language. Studies have shown that the most common phrases and sentence structures in most languages are based heavily on words in its core vocabulary. The logic behind the Pimsleur Italian language system is to use the inference of common patterns and phrases in the language through constant repetition.
This audio lesson uses the method of teaching the language by listening and speaking, instead of reading and writing. I quickly learned enough of the language to communicate with native Italians.
“Took these cassettes to Italy with me when I was about a third of the way through them. I had no problem getting around and communicating, even in towns where little or no English was spoken.” – Louis B., Amazon.com
I spent nearly 3 weeks in Italy working on the business project for my company. I easily communicated with all the townspeople in their own language. I am thrilled that I chose the Pimsleur Italian learning system method over the competition because it quickly taught me to speak a second language.