Pimsleur is an excellent course, not only for beginners but advanced learners too. The reason is that you dont just learn to speak the language but you learn with an authentic native accent. You dont even realise it at the time, but because you're learning the words from native speakers your pronounciation (if done correctly) sounds authentic too. I know this from personal experience. I have been told by native speakers of the languages that I speak German with a Munich accent, Polish with a Krakow accent and Swedish like i was born in Stockholm.
The lessons are structured to a specific timing method. You're reminded of a word every couple of minutes, then every 5mins, 10mins, 30mins and so on. All the while learning more and more words. This method, developed by Dr Paul Pimsleur, is proven to ensure you retain what you are learning. You first listen to an entire conversation in the target language then you are given your first word (usually "excuse me") and it builds from there. By the end of the 30min lesson you understand the entire conversation and you dont forget what you've learned.
This works because our brains come pre-programmed with the ability to store limitless amounts of information, provided that the information is presented effectively. The WRONG way of learning a language is by rote - trying to somehow force a language into your brain. The RIGHT way (or should i say, the more effective way) is to study for 20 mins, take a break and do something fun/creative for 5-10 mins then go back and study for another 20 mins and so on. If you do that with any subject, not just languages, you'll retain over 85% of what you've been studying. Couple that with revision after a day, then a week, then a month, then 6 months and you'll have almost perfect recall of the subject. And THAT is what Dr Pimsleur used in his language teaching method. And it works.
Pimsleur courses come in 30 half hour lessons per unit. Some languages have only one unit at the moment but many have at least 3. Thats 45 hours of language instruction!! They also offer shorter condensed courses of 10 lessons lasting half an hour each.
The downside to Pimsleur is that at the end of all the units your vocabulary, although good, is not as good as Linguaphone. But it makes up for all that in the confidance you gain from the very start. I havent come accross any course thats as failure-proof as this.
Speak instantly. You’re presented with a conversation at the start of each lesson. You don’t understand a word of it. But don’t worry, you will in about 20mins. The dialogue is broken down and you’re presented with a word or phrase at a time.
Speak correctly.You’re encouraged to try and sound exactly like the speaker. The speaker is a native, so if you do as you’re told you’ll sound like a native when you speak the language. I’ve been told by natives in Poland that I sound like I was born in Warsaw, in Germany they say I sound like im from Munich and in Sweden like im from Stockholm. Speaking with an authentic accent is a massive bonus. You wont learn that in a class room!
Easy to remember. The lessons are structured so that you don’t forget. It’s brought back to you in intervals and you find that you no longer have to translate words in your head. They’re so ingrained into your mind that it might as well be your native language.
Choice.Pimsleur has a fantastic choice of languages to choose from. So far about 20.
Easy to use. You can revisit lessons if you didn’t quite get it last time. There are 30 lessons per level and each lesson lasts about 30mins. It’s like having a private tutor.
Price.Pimsleur courses can cost up to £260 online. But you can get them here for just £12.99!!