Pimsleur Chinese (Mandarin)
March 10, 2013
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Publication Date 2000
Price $335.00 for all 90 lessons; $119.95 for 30 lessons
Skill Level Beginner, Intermediate
Pimsleur is my favorite language-learning product to date across multiple languages. Over the past four years, if I count repeat lessons, I have done literally thousands of Pimsleur lessons.
A Pimsleur lesson is a highly interactive oral and auditory odyssey through a new language’s idiosyncrasies. Over a period of roughly 30 minutes, you are constantly cajoled into speaking in response to prompts. I end up talking way more during a Pimsleur lesson than I ever got to talk even in tiny conversation classes in school.
I like to get through a certain number of Pimsleur lessons before I start working in grammar books, because there are few books for foreign-language study that one can use without having some knowledge of the language. That’s true for all languages, not just Mandarin, though it is especially true for difficult languages with unfamiliar writing systems.
So, that is a key reason I love Pimsleur. It is one of the only products set up for total neophytes. It holds your hand through those difficult early moments in a way very few products do.
Don’t think I mean it’s easy. It’s hard as hell. Sometimes I think it’s too hard. I don’t want to tell you how many times I’ve repeated each Pimsleur Chinese lesson. But I will: at least twice generally, though I’ve done some as many as four times. The early lessons may be the hardest of all, because at that point nothing is familiar and there is no hook to hang your language hat on.
If you’re not sure Pimsleur Mandarin Chinese is for you, check your compatibility by trying a free lesson off their website.
P.S. I have just heard that another 30 lessons will be released for Mandarin sometime in 2013! Exciting! That will bring the total number of Pimsleur Mandarin lessons to 120. Too bad they aren’t available now, because I am about to run out.