Pros / The Pimsleur method trains you to anticipate phrases and core vocabulary during conversations.
Cons / The visual learning content is lacking.
Verdict / The Pimsleur method relies heavily on audio content, which is something to keep in mind if you prefer to learn with visual aids.
Pimsleur Spanish Unlimited is Spanish learning software designed according to the system developed by linguistics scholar Paul Pimsleur. This audio-focused teaching approach trains you to listen and speak Spanish fast by immersing you in conversation about everyday topics. This is a useful method for a lot of learners, but it can quickly become monotonous for people with short attention spans.
Other programs, like Fluenz, present lists of vocabulary words or grammar exercises first, then have you incorporate the information into conversations. However, Pimsleur focuses heavily on auditory learning and may lose the attention of visual learners and young students who want games and stimulation when learning.
Each lesson focuses on a sample conversation. Once you hear the initial dialogue, the audio instructor walks you through each word, phrase and variation. Listening to the sample familiarizes you with casual dialogue and conversations you hear every day in your native language but in Spanish. This method teaches you to anticipate and actively recall correct responses in conversations. The software refreshes your memory of previous lessons in graduated intervals by including words and phrases you’ve already learned in future lessons.
When you buy the Unlimited version, you get access to resources like Speak Easy, which follows the audio lessons and helps you practice newly learned vocabulary and sentence structure in conversations. Other teaching resources include flashcards and quick matching games. The program includes access to audio-based chat rooms where you can practice with other students. Pimsleur also hosts live events where you can meet native speakers and explore Spanish culture and customs.
Pimsleur reinforces its audio lessons with reading lessons. As you progress, it tracks the lessons you complete. When you open the application each day, it knows where you left off, which makes it easy to stay on track.
The Pimsleur mobile app is available for Android and iOS devices and allows you to download one lesson at a time or the entire course so you can learn without using Wi-Fi or cellular data. During our testing, we noticed the app ran better when we had fewer lessons downloaded.
The Pimsleur method is critically acclaimed, but you have to take the time to practice the lessons consistently to get the most from it. The learning content is audio-heavy, so if you prefer game-style learning or supplementary visual aids, you may have trouble staying motivated.