Before moving to Mexico City, I arrogantly overestimated my ability to learn Spanish fast. No problem, I thought. After living there for a few months, I should pick it up quickly and be fluent in no time! Unfortunately, the reality was quite different. After moving to Mexico, my Spanish was terrible. I really struggled to communicate with the locals. So, I did not feel comfortable at first. I was using the Duolingo app at the time. But, I found that although Duolingo was OK for building basic vocabulary, it was not very useful for building practical conversational Spanish-language skills.
I knew there had to be a better way to learn Spanish effectively. After doing some research online I came across Pimsleur. This audio course was developed by Dr. Paul Pimsleur, a highly-regarded foreign language professor. His course utilizes the Pimsleur Method to teach conversational Latin American Spanish. According to their website, the Pimsleur Method is:
A scientifically proven set of principles designed to take a learner directly to the heart of the language, eliminating noise, confusion, and information overload.
I was intrigued. Since Pimsleur was so highly reviewed, I decided to give it a try. I bought the Pimsleur Latin American Spanish course and downloaded the files onto my computer. You can also use their phone app or Amazon Alexa to study the course (anything with a speaker output will work).
Here’s What I Learned After Using Pimsleur
Pimsleur is really fun to study. Each lesson lasts just thirty minutes. For maximum benefits, it’s best to study just one lesson a day. Don’t skip any days, and don’t do more than one lesson per day. That way, your brain assimilates the information properly.
The course includes some reading supplements and flash cards. But there’s no rote memorization of tenses or vocabulary. Instead, Pimsleur naturally teaches conversational Spanish. This is accomplished by “speaking” or interacting with the audio course. Specifically, the course “speaks” out loud to you through your device speakers and you talk back. In this way you quickly develop conversational language skills.
With Pimsleur it’s easy to form a daily habit of studying Spanish. Overall, the product works as advertised. My Spanish improved almost immediately after I started using it. And it only got better as I continued to study for half an hour per day, for one year. By the end of that year I was fluent in Spanish.
I also found that Pimsleur teaches “clean” and unaccented Spanish, without slang. So, you’ll be universally understood in any Spanish-speaking nation (including Mexico and Spain). Of course, it helps to be living in a Spanish-speaking country while studying Spanish. Nothing beats full immersion! But that’s not practical for everyone. And it’s not necessary. Luckily, Pimsleur is enough by itself.
Using Pimsleur before your visit to Mexico will greatly enhance your trip, because you’ll be able to communicate with the locals when you arrive. This will make your time in Mexico City (or any Spanish-speaking destination) much more fun and less stressful. By speaking Spanish (or at least trying) you’ll earn respect from Mexicans and you’re more likely to make local friends.
Are there any cons to using Pimsleur? Yes. It is fairly expensive. However, given the high quality of the content and the end result it’s well-worth the cost. Also, although each course is just thirty minutes, the entire program lasts for one year. For some folks, that’s a big time investment. However, that’s the minimum time needed to learn conversational Spanish thoroughly.
Pimsleur is an excellent method for learning to speak Spanish or any foreign language. It’s engaging, fun, and easy. Would you like to learn Spanish, too? Buy your copy of Pimsleur Latin American Spanish. I used this specific product: Pimsleur Spanish Levels 1-5 Premium. It includes one hundred and fifty thirty-minute Daily Lessons, along with Reading Lessons. However, the company has different packages to fit your needs, as well as a free trial. Try it today!
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