Pimsleur French Course-Opinions?

Old Aug 15th, 2002, 02:37 PM
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Pimsleur French Course-Opinions?

I'm trying to learn to speak French. I already know quite a bit of grammar, and can read it reasonably well (the easy stuff). I've recently taken some courses at Alliance Francaise, and have Berlitz courses on tape (which are pretty good). However, I need alot more practice speaking, and I hear that the Pimsleur tapes are great. Are they worth the expense (quite expensive)? If so, where to buy - direct from Sybervision, who makes them, or from E-Bay (where I can get the 3 sets of Levels I, II, and III for about $100 less, but without any guarantees for defective tapes, etc. Any opinions from anyone out there who has bought the tapes?
Old Aug 15th, 2002, 03:29 PM
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Obviously the best way is to find a native speaker, but this is hardly a helpful suggestion to those who do not have this opportunity. I have used all three levels and also have taken college credit courses at same time. The level III is about at the end of 1st year college French.

It does not cover grammatical intricacies well, but you seemed to have studied this elsewhere. While it is possible that you might have grown out of this course, the good part is that, in absence of native speaker to correct you, it will help you improve your pronounciations and ability to construct expressions using only the structures you know how to use.

Is it worthwhile? Hard to say. They are expensive. There are other places you can get them new, such as Amazon. Obviously the best way is to try out before buying. Libraries in large cities have these tapes for checkout. At sybervision web site, you can listen to first lesson from each level.

I have a mixed bag experience from Alliance. It totally depends on how each Alliance is run and the instructor. I had a grammar challenged native speaker who could tell me what to say but not not why you say it that way.
Old Aug 15th, 2002, 06:24 PM
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Greg, thanks for your reply. I did listen to the first lessons on the Sybervision site, which was helpful. I think I will go ahead and buy them, as I probably need the constant repetition that you can get with tapes. Alliance has been a good review for me, but we don't get much speaking time. When I took French in college (many years ago!)there was no conversation. Anyway, I think this "learning French" will keep me busy the rest of my life!
Old Aug 15th, 2002, 07:35 PM
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I used the pimsleur tapes for Polish and Romanian last year. It did help immensely with pronunciation (at least according to people there).
Old Aug 16th, 2002, 07:12 AM
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San Jose Public Library has the Pimsleur language tapes. I know they have level I and II in French and German but don't know about III.

I have bought some Pimsleur sets from e-bay. Usually no problem but one set I purchased was defective. The seller promptly refunded my money. They were quite a bit cheaper.
Old Aug 16th, 2002, 12:41 PM
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I love the teaching technique they use. I did the French set but I wasn't too happy with the content. I learned the basics, but most of the phrases they taught were mostly geared to single men on the prowl:
Would you like to have dinner with me?
At my place?
Would you like a beer?
Would you like some wine?

Not very useful for a married middle-aged woman, but I did learn French with the tapes. I got mine used from Amazon.com.
Old Aug 16th, 2002, 12:50 PM
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Sue, for whatever it's worth, I took the French tape and in Nice in October 2001 went to the public market and bought something using my French and after it had been bagged I was told in English: "eight francs please"!
Old Aug 16th, 2002, 02:05 PM
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I liked them. Actually have a French minor because of taking tons of French literature courses (just ask me questions about Sartre--but not in French); however, I have never had an instinctive ability to speak languages.

Pimsleur operates on a good theory--all languages use basic subject/verb patterns. They don't emphasize vocab--they emphasize those patterns in different situations. They feel it's easy to learn new nouns; the hard part is knowing what to do with them in a sentence.

I felt my pronunciation improved immensely, and I also felt I could "rattle off" more phrases/requests this time around without having to think so much about them.

I think one of their best advantages is that there is no written grammar. You have to train ear and tongue, not eye. As an over-academic, visual person, that was a huge positive.
Old Aug 16th, 2002, 06:25 PM
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Appreciated all the replies. I ordered the tapes today from Pimsleur Direct. By buying all three sets at once, got a good discount (about the same as the ones on E-bay.) In about 8 months - after I go back to France - I'll let you all know!
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