With Pimsleur Language Programs you don't just study a language, you
learn it -- the same way you mastered English! And because the technique
relies on interactive spoken language training, the Pimsleur Language
Programs are totally audio -- no book is needed!
The Pimsleur programs provide a method of self-practice with an expert
teacher and native speakers in lessons specially designed to work with the
way the mind naturally acquires language information. The various components
of language -- vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar -- are all learned
together without rote memorization and drills. Using a unique method of
memory recall developed by renowned linguist, Dr. Paul Pimsleur, the
programs teach listeners to combine words and phrases to express themselves
the way native speakers do. By listening and responding to thirty minute
recorded lessons, students easily and effectively achieve spoken
No other language program or school is as quick, convenient, and
effective as the Pimsleur Language Programs.
The Comprehensive Program is the ultimate in spoken language learning.
For those who want to become proficient in the language of their choice, the
Comprehensive programs go beyond the Basic Programs to offer spoken-language
fluency. Using the same simple method of interactive self-practice with
native speakers, these comprehensive programs provide a complete language
learning course. The Comprehensive Program is available in a wide variety of
languages and runs through three levels (thirty lessons each) in French,
German, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Spanish. At the end of a full
Comprehensive Program listeners will be conducting complete conversations
and be well on their way to mastering the language. The Comprehensive
Programs are all available on cassettes and are also on CD in the six
languages in which we offer the Basic Program on CD.
- Audio CD
- Publisher: Pimsleur (January 1, 1999)
- ISBN: 0671315528
- Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 11.6 x 2.0 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds.
- Average Customer Review:
based on 9 reviews.
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful:
stress injury, July 14, 2002
Having just completed listening to Italian Level Three in the
Pimsleur learning system (following completion of Levels 1 and 2), I
feel compelled to complain. For [money] (for the CD edition), I
think we're all entitled to a few concessions from the publisher.
Accordingly, while I have no doubt that I continue to learn the
Italian language and improve my grammar, vocabulary, and accent
using this approach, here are my issues:
The CD version has just two tracks on each disc. In the frequent
event that you don't quite catch something the first time through,
you have no choice but to listen to the whole 30 minute track over
again (at least on my car's CD player.) Advice: get tapes instead so
you can rewind as necessary.
Take my word for it, it's boring. The Pimsleur teaching method of
graduated repetition with frequent questions in English is a
terrific system for learning a foreign language. But in Levels 2 and
3 there is no foreplay whatsoever. You just dive into repetition
with nothing other than your own motivation to sustain you. Yes,
there is much satisfaction to be gained when you correctly nail a
sentence in Italian that the moderator asks you to come up with in
English. But I found myself screaming imprecations in my car on
those occasions when I got totally bored, especially during repeat
listening. At least they could teach you to swear in Italian to
relieve the frustration.
Why are they asking me to say, "Yes, thank you" in Lesson 26? Of
all the things you could be learning in what should be considered at
minimum an advanced beginner course, how can they waste my time by
asking me to remember how to say "yes, thank you " and repeat it at
this late point in the program? Is it poor quality control? Do they
think I forgot? Sometimes it seems the editors went out for a
cappuccino in the middle of producing this series and lost track of
where they were.
Besides past and future tenses, this Level introduces a lot of
language targeted at business, including an inexplicable 50-100
required repetitions of the phrase "corso di formazione professionel"
(a course in professional development-don't pay any attention to my
spelling, they only make a token attempt to teach reading or
spelling in Pimsleur).
The explanations in English of grammatical fine points are almost
random and not frequent enough. There is no rhyme or reason as to
when the instructor will suddenly interject a helpful English
language explanation of a grammatical concept or construct. These
tools are used sparingly and as such confusion frequently results
until you listen multiple times and puzzle it through. This leads to
my biggest problem:
Despite what they say, there is no way you can complete Level 3
without supplementing it with non-Pimsleur reading materials. Maybe
everyone else who listens to this program is a more cunning linguist
than I, but I'm telling you, there is stuff in here you will never
fully grasp without looking it up elsewhere. The most glaring
examples could be possessive pronouns, rules for gender agreement,
and the appropriate use of prepositions. It wouldn't kill them to
explain some of this in English to avoid the confusion that will
I think my gripes are legitimate, and you should weigh them
against the staggering cost of [money] for a new set of Pimsleur
Level 3. But when I measure my progress, I have to admit I can speak
and understand an amazing amount of Italian for someone who spends
almost all of his practice time deep in conversation with his car.
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful:
III- the Finale!, August 12, 2001
Pimsleur III is the last of the Pimsleur comprehensive levels.
This level stretches your Italian well beyond that of Level II.
Although you will not be speaking fluent Italian after having spent
up to $1000 on the three levels, you will be well on your way to
mastery of Italian- certainly you will have achieved an Intermediate
level which is more than most "advanced" programs will provide you
As with all the Pimsleur comprehensive levels, this one contains
30 lessons, approximately 30 minutes in length, plus a reading
exercise CD. The lessons are both entertaining and substantitive.
You will not memorize but AQUIRE Italian- just as you aquired
English, or your own mother tongue. This program is truly fantastic!
Your learning will seem almost magical as you assimilate Italian
into your THINKING! This is the key that other programs don't offer!
I found that repeating these lessons, sometimes up to 3-4 times
each, helped me really grasp the information and aquire the language
well. I also discovered throughout the 3 levels that listening to a
lesson, and repeating it the NEXT day often helped my comprehension
greatly. There are times when you will want to repeat the lessons
immediately- the key to this, I found, is to do the lessons, and
repeat them, when you are relaxed.
Here is an example of what you might expect to be able to say
(English equivalent) after having completed Pimsler's level 3 - keep
in mind this is a sample 2 minute conversation and you can expect to
say (and understand) quite a bit more than this:
"Good morning, John! We would like to invite you and your wife to
come to our hotel tonight for some coffee. Our colleauge from the
United States is arriving tonight. He also speaks Italian- you can
talk with him. He's arriving at about 10 after 6 this evening. He's
staying here in Rome for about 3 days. Then he and his wife are
going to Paris for a vacation with their 3 kids, who are already in
Paris. His oldest daughter is studying medicine at the University
there, and his other two children are in high-school. We don't know
them well, but they seem very nice. He told me that most people in
Paris are on vacation at this time of year and that it is easier to
drive in the city than it usually is! So tell me, John, what have
you been doing in Rome? Have you seen the beautiful gardens, or gone
to the Vatican? My wife and I went to Via Veneto last week and
bought some beautiful art for the house! The weather was very nice
all week and we saw most people walking outside throughout the days.
The restauraunts were great-the best wine lists in the world! I
think we'll be back in Rome next year! We are thinking of buying a
house near San Prato street, next to the old church near the city
center. Anyway.. we'll see you and your wife tonight!"
Pimsleur levels I - III are the best way to aquire and master an
advanced Intermediate level of the language! Just as you learned
your native language first by hearing, and then MUCH later by
practicing grammer, so Pimsleur operates on this principle. If
you're serious about Italian- don't waste your money on cheap $50
imitations, go for the Pimsleur! If you'd like more information
about levels I and II, please read my reviews on them. Good
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
March 5, 2004
Reviewer: A reader
Well, I give Pimsleur Italian (I, II, III) five stars because, for
what it does, there is nothing else out there even close. The major
pluses of the Pimsleur system: you can rather painlessly learn to
speak and understand basic Italian with an absolute minimum of
grammatical explanation and without ever so much as opening a book.
Furthermore, you'll learn to speak with a good accent. (I actually
had a native speaker compliment me on my accent; in fact, he
expressed amazement at how good my accent and intonation were.
Certainly gratifying to me, but Pimsleur deserves all the credit.)
That is remarkable enough in itself, considering you're dealing with
a set of tapes (or CD's), where you don't get to see the Italian
speaker's lips move, ask questions about pronunciation (or anything
else), or get coaching if you mispronounce. Of course, the series
has its faults. Other reviewers have mentioned many of them. I would
add the following. The pace can sometimes be erratic; some lessons
tediously grind away with incessant repetition on the same topic,
same words, same phrases, while others bombard you with a bunch of
new words and expressions without a lot of practice. Overall,
introduction of new grammar is too slow, especially for verbs. And
then, of course, the essential contradiction of the entire method:
you are always being given a phrase or sentence in English and asked
to render it into Italian. What you really want to strive for is to
be thinking (as well as speaking) in Italian, not translating
English. You need to get the English out of your head and just have
Italian in there. The part of each tape I enjoyed the most was all
too brief: the introductory conversation in Italian at a brisk pace.
These should be longer and more frequent in each lesson. I wanted to
hear more Italian! Should the tapes be supplemented with books? It
is not at all necessary in my view (here I disagree with other
reviewers) but it can be helpful. I myself used Berlitz's "Essential
Italian" which is packed with good stuff. Finally, don't think that
you will be happily chattering away in Italian when you first set
foot in Italy after having gone through the Pimsleur tapes. It will
take you a while to get to that level. However, the Italians I
encountered were remarkably polite and helpful with my rather
tentative Italian (once I got them to stop trying to practice their
English on me). And if you get outside the big cities and into the
countryside and hamlets (as my wife and I did), you'll find in many
cases your Italian is essential for getting along. (You'll be
thanking Paul Pimsleur heartily after being in situations where non
si parla affatto inglese). Secondly, although you won't be fluent,
you WILL be able to make your way well enough, especially if you're
trying to sign up for un corso di formazione professionale or need
to ask what your Italian friend's nephew wants to do with his life
now that he's finished his studies in Art History at the university.
Seriously, though, the tapes do a very fine job in equipping you
with the basics and indeed with a firm foundation. It's up to you to
advance from there. Five stars.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
March 3, 2004
Reviewer: A reader
I have tried lots of other resources including other audio programs,
and nothing comes close. The program is virtually effortless and
amazingly effective. I wish there were more programs in the series.
As for the cost, here is my timeshare salesman pitch: calculate the
difference in the cost per hour between this program and some
cheaper alternative and compare it to the hidden cost of wasting an
hour of your time on a less effective program.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Ma Fantastico! (Expensive But Great!), November 1, 2003
Reviewer: A reader
First, let's talk money. These are the most expensive home-learning
language courses on the planet. But you can find them at greatly
reduced prices if you shop around on the internet or buy them used.
And even at full price, they're worth it. The lessons are
ingeniously designed. There's no reading, no writing. You learn by
listening and speaking. It's not so much a rote process as an
installation. The language slowly but surely gets installed into
you, so you start thinking in it, and listening to it without having
to translate it into English to understand. I recently started Level
III and am greatly satisfied. But I did find that I felt a need for
some extra help with verbs, so I bought Italian Verb Drills, which
is superb. Rather than blowing a lot of money and time traveling
back and forth to an Italian language school to get to an
intermediate level, I strongly recommend Pimsleur Levels I to III,
Italian Verb Drills, a dictionary, and either 500 Italian Verbs or
Teach Yourself Italian Verbs. I don't what I'll do after finishing
Pimsleur III, but spero la fare en Italia.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
is a great system., October 9, 2003
Reviewer: A reader
My fianc?and I started using this system a few months ago and are
just getting to the last CD. We have both thoroughly enjoyed the
process. The set could be gone through more quickly I suppose, but
we enjoyed going at our own pace. Typically we both liked to listen
to each session at least twice before moving on to the next CD. The
method of learing is very intuitive, and really does help you
memorize without feeling overly repetative. When we started the
system, we had taken about 15 weeks of Italian class -- once a week.
We had gotten to the point of learning multiple verb tenses and were
building a fairly good vocabulary. The Pimsleur set has really taken
us to a new level. We just started a new class with the same teacher
and many of the same students. Many of them have not studied since
the previous class. Meanwhile we have learned so much, and can
converse much more than when we ended our last class. The CDs are so
easy to listen to. We have both listened to them in our cars. It's
so much easier to fit in than reading or studying a book. And the
sessions are just under 30 minutes -- the perfect length for
challenging you while still holding your attention. I would
recommend this set to anyone who has a basic understanding of the
Italian language and is really looking to boost their conversation
skills to a useful level.