Throughout my life I have tried learning new languages with different methods. I took French class in 4th grade, 5th grade, and again in 10th grade. And even though I aced all of my tests and I happened to be really good at it, I still cannot have a normal conversation with a French person. I did retain the basics like: what is your name, how old are you, please, thank you, hello, goodbye, excuse me, counting, food names, etc… and I can understand a lot of it when I watch movies and especially when I read it. But I cannot speak it conversationally!
Two years ago, I took an Italian course at livemocha.com, and even though again, I was really good at it, and it was fun too, I think I forgot most of what I learned a few months later, especially since I did not keep practicing any of it. Oh well, I’ll just have to move to Italy to practice. (Any excuse will do, thank you.)
Like French, I can understand a lot of spoken and written Italian, but I can’t have a full conversation. I did once, though, have a conversation with an Italian where he was speaking to me in Italian and I was speaking back to him in Spanish, and we managed to have a conversation and understand each other. It was a pretty cool experience… the magic of the Romance languages.
Did you know that Romanian is a Romance language?
I just learned this. We all know that French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese are the most common Romance languages, and that there are many other Romance languages, but did you know Romanian is on the top 5 most spoken Romance languages? I didn’t, up until 5 minutes ago. It seems now how obvious it would be that Romanian is a Romance language; “Romance” and “Romanian” and “Romania” must have some historic etymologic relevance with each other. I just never made the connection until now. Anyway, I digressed big time.
About 5 months ago I decided that I wanted to learn Hindi because we were moving to India. Somehow I came across the Pimsleur Approach online. I watched their pretty long video, and it made complete sense to me, so I decided to try out the Special Offer of $9.95 for 4 audio CDs with lessons. Even though the video was very convincing, I was still skeptical of the whole thing because this website is not the official Pimsleur website, and I thought it might be a scam. But I figured it was just 10 bucks and why not?
A few days later, we got four charges that we had not made on our debit card, totaling to a couple hundred dollars. I felt completely guilty. After a dispute, we found out that the charges somehow came form Brazil and it was from a different card to the one I used.
Days later, I received my four Pimsleur CDs on the mail! Confirming that I had not been scammed.
A few weeks later something strange happened, I very unexpectedly received a package in the mail. I opened it and found the CD version of the complete course (30 lessons) of Hindi. I went to the official Pimsleur website and found that this course is $345 US dollars! (The MP3 only version is $119). I never ordered this, and we never got charged for it. Seriously or not, we took it as God telling us to learn Hindi.
How Pimsleur Works
Pimsleur is digested in easy 30-minute daily chunks and the method is conversational, no grammar drills, rote memorization, verb conjugation tables, etc. You learn intuitively by interacting with the language, similarly to how you learned your native tongue as a child, but at a faster pace. Several lessons later, the writing and reading components come into place.
Pimsleur is a portable method. You don’t need to sit at your computer after work if you don’t want to. You can study while commuting to work, at the gym, on your lunch break, or while cleaning the house.
Pimsleur teaches you how to speak with the right accent. Instead of reading the words and interpreting them with what we already know from our own language we just listen.
The way the lessons are structured are perfectly done so that the brain can store the information and memorize it. Since the very first 30min lesson I took, I was very happy and excited of the potential of Pimsleur. It is also the method used by the FBI, or so they say.
So there you go, this is my recommendation. If you feel like learning how to speak a new language, I highly recommend Pimsleur. It is available in 47 foreign languages and 14 languages for English learners.
You can find the products on Amazon.Have you tried Pimsleur before? Do you agree with me? Which other methods do you recommend?