October 25, 2010 | German

German Pimsleur: Done!

In which I finish Pimsleur and am foiled at a German beer garden.

My running situation is improving again, and my mileage is up. Unfortunately, I am out of Pimsleur to keep me company while I stretch. I hate being out of Pimsleur.

I need to find myself some podcasts!

Anyway, I just did a quick calculation and found that in the past 16 months, I have completed about 567 Pimsleur lessons. Some of those I did as many as four or five times each. That is a lot of Pimsleur. Sixteen months ago I had never even heard of Pimsleur. Who knew it would take over my life like this?

Tonight I went to a German beer garden in Brooklyn: Loreley. Although I was meeting a friend, the plan was to arrive early and chat in German with German speakers. I need more practice.

Unfortunately, I got the bar’s hours off a secondary review site rather than Loreley’s own website, and the hours that that site listed were wrong. When I arrived in Williamsburg, Loreley was padlocked shut.

When it opened (at 5 p.m.), this is what it looked like. 

Lorely at 5 p.m.

Lorely at 5 p.m.

At the Bar

At the Bar

Cute, right? But not the kind of environment in which you are going to make massive advances in your German skills. For conversation practice, a second person is helpful.

So that effort was foiled. But in any case, I have come to a decision: rather than switching to Japanese on November 1, I am going to give German another month. I am getting better, and I can’t stop now.

Comments (7)

Clara • Posted on Sat, February 11, 2012 - 2:37 pm EST

Did you continue with the Pimsleur?

I am just starting it—on day 9 of the first batch, and was looking for someone else who’s doing this. The only other blog I found stopped at unit 13!

I’m struggling a little, because I need to see the words, but I’m determined to stick with it.

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Sat, February 11, 2012 - 8:45 pm EST

Hello, Clara. Yes, by this entry I had finished all the German Pimsleur lessons. But for Pimsleur to be most effective for me, I like to supplement with grammar books, which I go off and find separately. I have to see things in writing, too, and I also need to know the grammar rules or I get kind of cranky.

Good luck with the Pimsleur!

I am at this moment doing a Dutch Pimsleur lesson, by the way.

Margaret • Posted on Fri, August 10, 2012 - 11:21 am EST

Hello!  I am about to purchase Pimsleur German IV (the Plus course).  Short of moving to Munich, what would you recommend for life after Pimsleur?

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Mon, August 13, 2012 - 8:35 pm EST

There are so many things! Depends on your tastes. Online newspapers (, grammar exercises, German movies, German novels, German radio for free online (, German language/conversation groups (, and more!

Margaret • Posted on Mon, August 13, 2012 - 10:11 pm EST

Thanks, Ellen!  I just joined a Meetup group, and I now have two language partners on Skype.  Things are looking good for fluency one of these days :)

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Mon, August 13, 2012 - 10:20 pm EST

That’s great! I wish you luck!

It’s funny how often people have said to me, when I explain this project to them, “Why don’t you just go live in the country/ies?” The impracticality of relocating spontaneously based on one’s language interests seems to elude them.

JAMAIS SANS MON MINOU • Posted on Fri, May 17, 2013 - 12:56 pm EST

For those of you who want to “go beyond Pimsleur” and who are not bothered by mind-numbing drills, I recommend that you consider the relevant FSI BASIC COURSES.  The FSI (Foreign Service Institute, U.S. State Department) courses were developed in the 1960’s and 1970’s and are now available either FREE or at extremely low prices from resellers.  Since the courses were designed to be delivered by an instructor, the available texts often lack a clear explanation of the underlying grammar.  Also, the audio files were recorded many years ago and the magnetic tapes that were used to support the newly available mp3 files did not age very well.  Nonetheless, the courses are an absolute TREASURE of audio drills (60 to 100 hours).

You can access the FREE files on the “FSI” website.  Or, if you want to purchase the material as printed, bound books with mp3 files, you can communicate with Audio-Forum, but there are other resellers as well.

I have completed the Pimsleur Comprehensive series (I, II, III, III+ or IV) for German, Italian, Spanish and have also covered the initial material for Dutch, Portuguese, Polish, French.  I found that the Pimsleur Method works extremely well for the Latin and Germanic languages, owing to the (somewhat) similarity of grammar, verb conjugations as well as the numerous cognates.  However, I don’t believe that the method is well-adapted to the Slavic languages, owing to the numerous cases and their noun and adjectival endings, the difference in verb conjugations, and the flexibility in word order.

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