Bay Area Pilot
I've been through all of the Phase 1 and found them quite useful. The only problem I've had in buying these courses (I buy the 5 units at a time) is that Audible doesn't provide the PDF reading exercises that are part of the lessons. I tried calling Pimsleur and they said that it was Audible's responsibility to provide the PDFs that are part of the course. In contacting Audible, all the customer service staff will do is give me links to the reference guide (a general description of how the 'Pimsleur Method' works) which are NOT the reading exercises that are supposed to be included with the lessons.
So Pimsleur won't help me because they say Audible (the one I bought all the courses from) *should* have the PDF reading and vocabulary exercises - between a 'rock and a hard place' on this one. My only suggestion is maybe one has to order directly from Pimsleur to actually get everything that is *supposed* to be included with these lessons.
Of course, most of Audible's questions apply to a more traditional fiction or nonfiction work, but I hope I can provide some comments that are helpful. The lessons will provide some basic vocabulary and grammar that someone who wishes to learn Spanish will find helpful. The first third of each new lesson reviews what has been learned previously. However, after a while, words learned early on are almost completely dropped, so some people are going to forget them, and they need to be re-introduced from time to time. There are two speakers, a man and a woman, and their diction is generally clear and easy to follow. They break down long or difficult-to-pronounce words into parts. They could have done this with a few more words. The weakest part of Pimsleur is that it is a cookie-cutter model. They use the same words and grammar for each language. The choices of words can seem odd. For instance,the first drink one learns is "beer." Hm. Also, one has to wonder about the politics of the people who developed a system that teaches people the words for "man" and "woman." "People" comes last, and the words for "boy" and "girl" are not included in Phase 1 at all. Adults only, please! I am studying Spanish because I plan to visit Latin America, and later on, I hope to visit Spain. In the long run, I have found this system unsatisfactory for someone like myself, who is primarily a traveler. In the 1990s, after having taken one semester of Italian over twenty years earlier, I picked up a cassette about an hour long that was on conversational Italian for business and pleasure travel. I learned more from that one cassette than I did from 30 Pimsleur lessons, in part because that cassette had a practical sense of organization: at the airport, at the hotel, in the restaurant. At the end of these Spanish 1 lessons, you will be able to count, understand simple directions, and know how to ask for a doctor. But the other words I already knew from films like "Dirty Harry." The only food items you will know are coffee, tea, and beer! You won't know the words for a bus, plane or train. You won't know the names of any types of stores, like supermarkets, pharmacies, or department stores (though you'll know the word for "buy"--you just can't get to the store). I wouldn't recommend this system, and I know a lot about teaching languages. I have taught French, English, and English as a Second Language at the university level. I have edited ESL textbooks. I have traveled widely. I speak several languages, and I have lived abroad. I know what it takes to get around in another country. Pimsleur isn't your ticket to fluency.