The Pimsleur Method

The fine art of asking questions which will encourage the learner to induce the grammatical basis for answering the question, not only correctly, but also with the appropriate sounds of the new language as it delivers the meaning involved, is what enables the programmed Pimsleur course to make language acquisition happen whenever the audio is heard.
This is the highly significant difference between Pimsleur programs and all other sets of published language materials. It is the secret to why Pimsleur works and creates in the learner a significant and measurable set of communication skills, provided the scheduled learning activities are followed as prescribed by the Pimsleur methodology.

The programs are based on a few key principles:

1.  Graduated Interval Recall

Dr. Pimsleur’s research on memory was perhaps one of his most revolutionary achievements.  He discovered that if his students were reminded of new words and information at gradually increasing intervals within a set amount of time, each time they would remember the word or information longer than the time before.  Dr. Pimsleur documented that the word would actually move from short-term into long-term, or permanent, memory.  Through his research he was able to create a schedule of the exact points for maximum retention.

2.  Principle of Anticipation

In real-life communication you are required to understand what is being said to you and to “anticipate” a correct response.  It’s an intricate thought process that most of us take for granted when speaking our native language.  Dr. Pimsleur’s research demonstrated that by initiating this dynamic “input/output” system, that new connections are formed in the learner’s brain.  By systematically asking for understanding and response, the Principal of Anticipation is activated, accelerating learning and synergistically increasing understanding.

 3.  Core Vocabulary

Pimsleur courses are designed to teach you to understand and speak your new language in a relatively short time.  Extensive research has shown that effective communication in any language depends on mastery of a relatively limited number of words.  Trying to learn too many at first actually slows the process.   However, once these core words are mastered and used consistently, they provide a framework for accelerated language learning.

 4.  Organic Learning

The Pimsleur® Method centers on teaching functional mastery, understanding and speaking right from the beginning.  Your brain does all the work:  acquiring the sounds, feeling the rhythm, and integrating the intonation in much the same way that you learned your first language. When you need a word, it’s there – totally integrated and totally seamless.  And the best part is that the phrases you’re learning are the ones you’ll be most likely to need right from the start.  Language really comes alive as vocabulary, grammar, and beautiful, native-like pronunciation are at the tip of your tongue, ready whenever you are.

The Pimsleur Method
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