The Pimsleur® Method: the easiest, fastest way to learn a new language. Completely portable, easily downloadable, and lots of fun. You'll be speaking and understanding in no time flat! German Level 1 includes 15 hours of spoken language practice and one hour of reading instruction in thirty 30-minute lessons. In the first 10 lessons, you'll cover the basics: saying hello, asking for or giving information, scheduling a meal or a meeting, asking for or giving basic directions, and much more. You'll be able to handle minimum courtesy requirements, understand much of what you hear, and be understood at a beginning level but with near-native pronunciation skills.
In the next 10 lessons, you'll build on what you've learned. Expand your menu, increase your scheduling abilities from general to specific, start to deal with currency and exchanging money, refine your conversations, and add over a hundred new vocabulary items. You'll understand more of what you hear and be able to participate with speech that is smoother and more confident.
In the final 10 lessons of phase one, you'll be speaking and understanding at an intermediate level. In this phase more directions are given in the target language, which moves your learning to a whole new plane. Lessons include shopping, visiting friends, going to a restaurant, plans for the evening, car trips, and talking about family. You'll be able to speak comfortably about things that happened in the past and make plans for the future.
Reading lessons are included at the end of unit 30 to provide you with an introduction to reading the German alphabet. These lessons, which total about one hour, are designed to teach you to sound out words with correct pronunciation and accent. A reading booklet to be used with the audio lessons is also included in PDF format.
"Pimsleur programs provide plenty of positive reinforcement that will keep learners on track, and we found that Pimsleur gave us more proficiency and confidence in speaking the new language than any of the other language programs we reviewed." (AudioFile magazine)
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Great brush-up / pronunciation workout
I took German starting 7 years ago, but only took about 1 1/3 semesters (during the second semester I dropped due to large courseload, couldn't spend so much time memorizing). In the interim I've had 6 years of very little contact with the language so it's been stagnating and detiorating in my head. Still, starting here at the beginning was the right decision, though it requires patience because this course moves pretty slowly and I'm often tempted to break the program and do multiple in a day. I'm through 11 now and haven't fallen to that temptation yet, and I really appreciate this experience.
Talking feels very natural, and the words feel more deeply ingrained in my mind. Allocating about 28 minutes each morning to this isn't very disruptive, and even though I don't have a chance to reflect back much on the morning's lesson it's well developed so that I can carry along where I left off the next day. Of course, this is coming from someone who isn't encountering the language for the first time, so keep that in mind.
There are two speakers which is really helpful. That way if you don't feel like you sound exactly like one of them, but when you hear the other one speak you can figure out in what ways they are the same and different, figuring whatever is the same is probably important to sounding fluent, or even understandable.
Compared to my brief experience with Rosetta Stone, which I had tried out but only stayed with about 10% of the way through the full program (for another language besides German) which is comparable to where I'm at with Pimsleur now, I much prefere Pimsleur in terms of price and method. It's especially helpful that Pimsleur is designed for a certain amount of material each day and there is no question. With Rosetta Stone it wasn't clear where to stop and it's easy to overwhelm yourself, or not do enough, or even skip days. This program really helps to keep a discipline.
Typical fine Pimsleur training, PDF text included
The German Phase 1 lessons provide the language center of your brain a good beginner's introduction to German. It's one of four languages I've used in the Pimsleur series, some for initial training and some to review past training. I occasionally come back to these for a refresh. Not only is there audio. Pimsleur produces texts to accompany these lessons and Audible makes those available as PDF files, but it makes them difficult to find, leading me to ding this Audible product offering by one star. See directions below, under additional comments.
The "story line" mirrors other Pimsleur languages at the same stage: "excuse me, where is the hotel...", "good morning", "how are you, sir", "a beer please". Since you encounter authorities before you reach friends, it starts by getting you comfortable with formal pronouns, later introducing familiar forms. Most importantly, you get an intuitive sense of the grammar, in addition to learning by explanations, a real strength of the audio approach. The PDF text, provided, but hidden by Audible, helps clarify spelling and reading subtleties.
I'm amazed at the words and knack for the word order you can quickly pick up in the first few lessons, culminating with meeting people and exchanging essential pleasantries. From this base, the fluency grows.
Audible has done a surprisingly poor job alerting purchasers where to find the Pimsleur accompanying texts, used to introduce spelling and reading pronunciation of each Pimsleur written language. They do not show up at all on the Audible app shop nor in the web view of your library. For now, it's much too easy for an Audible customer to erroneously assume the essential, included tools are excluded from the Audible purchase. This inexplicable Audible gaffe is repeated across the entire Pimsleur product line.
HOW TO FIND THE TEXTS*: Go to the Audible web site. Go to the page describing the product. Look for the copyright notice at the bottom of the publisher's summary. Look just above that notice for a link "Download the accompanying reference guide", a link to an oddly named zip file, which you can download. Open the downloaded zip file to find oddly named PDF files containing the Pimsleur accompanying texts. Whether you need to be logged in is unclear, since I'm able to download texts for a language I have yet to purchase. Happy studies and travels!
* Audible should soon make this note obsolete and contact me to update this review.
- Amazon Customer