Pimsleur Approach to Language Learning.

Review of the Methodology for Learning Spanish, French, German, Italian

Dr Paul Pimsleur was a language teacher who is well known for the his method of language instruction, which is marketed around the world and has a good number of followers.

Followers will find great benefit in using the 200 Words a Day techniques in association with their language courses.

Approach to Language Learning - purely audio

The Pimsleur approach is purely audio so there is no writing content or reading content to it.

While listening and speaking a hugely important parts of language learning, and make it attractive to the learner who can just sit in his car and listen to an audio programme, by neglecting the written word and the read word, the student is missing out on a very large part of the whole human learning process.

Unfortunately if you want to really learn a language you are going to have to do more than listen to audio tapes in your car!

Language Learning should use as many Senses and Learning Modes as possible

Such a heavy emphasis on one learning mode (auditory) means that the student is missing out on the hugely important learning modes of the multimedia approach to language learning. One misses out on the visual modes that reading and writing adds, with very little extra effort.

Of course when we are young we learn a language predominantly through hearing. But of course the parent who reads to his or her child, pointing at the pictures and showing him the words, is adding more neural pathways in the brain that assist and consolidate the learning process.

Each time we learn something new new neural pathways are laid from one brain cell or neuron, to another.

More Learning Modes means more Neural Pathways laid in the Brain

If you incorporate more than one learning mode, like the visual element of reading and writing (which adds the further element of the kinesthetic sense), then the learning process lays many more neural pathways per learning experience.

You can combine the different modes, and the more learning styles that you add to the language learning process the better.

So you can use your Pimsleur language learning course audio in the car, but then you should be able to go back to the text book and read it. You should also be able to write it. Or type it.

Reading assists the recognition of patterns. It shows the language the student the different origins and families of groups of words. It allows the student to see the the differences between words or phrases that sound the same but mean different things. Why would anyone neglect a major part of the learning process?

The 200 Words a Day! approach to language learning is very much interested in bringing in as many senses and learning styles into the language learning process. So there is the audio side - with native speakers, there is the visual side with cartoon Memory Triggers, and there is the kinesthetic side with typing as you learn. If you wish!

There is also the ability for the student to test herself/himself and the automatic scheduling that the program incorporates, as well as its ability to automatically rank all the words on which you do not score well! You get lessons on your Worst Words for example.

The Pimsleur Approach leans on How Children Learn a Language

The methodology's language learning philosophy leans heavily on his view that babies and small children learn through listening and speaking.

However children do spend some years learning their language skills, and recent research shows that, on an hour for hour basis, adults actually learn quicker than children when it comes to language learning. This is because adults have already learned how to learn.

However children are often more effective with their language learning (and in acquiring a local accent if learning before puberty) when introduced to a new country because they try to fit in with their peers.

They usually spend more time in the learning process when in a new country, for instance while at school. They try and copy their peers to 'fit in' and be part of the gang.

The other problem with the Pimsleur language learning method is that while he concentrates on the most common 1,000 to 1,500words of a language he then does not give one the tools to bulk out the vocabulary.

A course like the 200 Words a Day! Turbobooster course can of course assist with this process, and the turbobooster technique gives the language student the ability to convert thousands of words from various families into words in say French, German, Italian or Spanish.

The Pimsleur Language Teaching Methodology

Dr Pimsleur's method assumes that every language has within it the natural keys that unlock the method and structure of that language. So the emphasis is on giving the student conversation as would actually be heard in that language.

The approach is to expose the student to the language and his brain will innately unravel the structure and use of the language.

Each lesson is a thirty minute language lesson, and they recommend taking one lesson a day. There are three levels to the Pimsleur Self Instructional language courses, Levels 1, 2 and 3, and each level comprises 30 lessons of 30 minutes each.

This represents a total of about 45 hours of self paced language learning, and would give the language learner an elementary level of proficiency in the target language whether it be Pimsleur French, German, Pimsleur Spanish or Italian.

The good professor died in 1976.

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