The Pimsleur Method
Pimsleur Italian is an excellent tool for learning how to communicate verbally using the Italian language. The program is simple, straightforward and effective. It uses a learning method developed by a man named Dr. Paul Pimsleur. Dr. Pimsleur’s research showed that people learn and retain new information best if it is presented to them at certain intervals.
For example, say you want to learn the Italian word for goodbye, which is “arrivederci.” If you repeat the word 5 times in 10 seconds, you will remember it in the short-term, but you will lose it in the medium and long-term. Likewise, if you say it once, and then not again for a few more hours, you will forget it over time.
The ideal learning intervals, the research showed, is as follows: 5 seconds, 25 seconds, 2 minutes, 10 minutes, 1 hour, 5 hours, 1 day, 5 days, 25 days, 4 months, 2 years. This groundbreaking discovery, of course, was very applicable to language learning, and the Pimsleur language courses came to life. The theory, if you’re interested, is called graduated interval recall, and it is rooted in an earlier theory called spaced repetition.
The Pimsleur Italian course is 100% audio based. There are no flashy flash cards, no interactive learning games, and no fill in the blank workbooks. It doesn’t teach reading or writing, and there are no formal grammar lessons (if these features are important to you, check out Rocket Italian). The Pimsleur course is pure listening and speaking, and it works something like this.
An English-speaking narrator will come on and say, for example, “This is how you say goodbye in Italian.” Then a native Italian speaker say, “arrivederci.” The narrator will return and say, “now listen and repeat,” at which point the native Italian speaker will say, “derci,” (you repeat), “arrive” (you repeat), “arrivederci” (you repeat). Then the narrator will say, “How do you say goodbye in Italian?,” and you will say “arrivederci.” This process continues on for both individual words and entire phrases. After you finish learning a word or phrase, you move onto a new one. You’re not done with them, though. After specific amounts of time studying new sayings, you will revisit those words and phrases again and again.
Who should buy this program?
If learning to communicate verbally is your top priority, you should buy Pimsleur Italian. The program is grounded in proven research. It is easy and fun to use, and, most importantly, it is a very effective tool for learning how to speak the Italian language.
Who should not buy this program?
If you want a complete program, one that teaches Italian reading, writing, listening and speaking, this program is not for you. In addition, if you really love pictures, games, quizzes, and the like, you may be better off with a more comprehensive program. If that’s the case, I recommend that you check out our editor’s Top Pick, Rocket Italian.
However you choose to learn the Italian language, we here at SpeakOut! Italian wish you the best of luck!
The SpeakOut! Italian Software Review Team
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