Thursday, August 16, 2007

Pimsleur's Audio Books: Müßten Sie etwas Lernen? (Wanna Learn Something?)....

















...If you've ever thought about picking up another language but don't have the time for all the classes; schlepping around town, let me pull your coat on something that I think will be right up your alley...I've been studying German for the last couple of months and after exploring several different means of study and looking around at the stuff available at the iTunes store, I've found the language learning system that has yielded the best results...
















..."Man, those schnitzen grübens will wipe you out every time"...You can kick those audiobooks that begin with "Learn In-Flight" to the curb, if you're just beginning and plug into the titles that will hook you up with the Pimsleur System which was developed by the language professor and Fulbright lecturer Paul Pimsleur who, while researching the psychology of language learning, developed a means to speed up the language acquisition process-- he started with children who would learn languages without worrying about the mechanics and formalities of structure, the result: Pimsleur's Language Learning System...





...while I learned English and later Spanish the "old fashioned way", I've found that using audiobooks that utilize Pimsleur's method along with reading wörterbuchs and cross referencing those with Henry Strutz' "501 German Verbs, 3rd Edition, which holds lists of fully conjugated Deutsch, is helping me pick up aspects of the language at a much quicker pace than I ever did when I began the five years of Spanish classes back in High School/ University (I took two years of French in the 9th and 10th grades before that and didn't learn it nearly as quick as I'm picking up this Scheiße...



...the Pimsleur Methodology goes as follows:

* The student listens to a recording on which a native speaker speaks culturally rich phrases in both the foreign language and the language used for teaching (usually English, but the method is not tied to a specific language).

* At precise intervals (graduated intervals), the student is prompted to repeat a phrase after the speaker finishes it.

* The student is then introduced to a new phrase and the meaning is explained.

* After repeating a couple of times, the student is asked to repeat the previous phrase but borrowing from the words and meaning of the new one (recall and construction).

* More new phrases are introduced, while old phrases are prompted at random. The random recall prompts the learner's mind to associate words with meanings.

"Studies have shown that a relatively small core vocabulary accounts for the majority of words spoken in a particular language. In English, for example, approximately 80 percent of any written text are members of the 2000 most common word families."



























...Corpus linguistics compiled for various languages show what number of words is required to cover a certain percentage of the corpus. Data for Indian languages in the CIIL corpus show the number of words required for 50% coverage varies from 199 words in Hindi to 7,699 in Malayalam, while 80% coverage for those languages is 2,874 and 126,344 respectively.

The Pimsleur method works by teaching core vocabulary that tend to be most often used in everyday activities (i.e. to do, to say, to be, numbers, buying, eating and drinking). Pimsleur rarely teaches grammar, rather letting the student infer the grammar through common patterns in phrases."...read more on the benefits of the method...

...I marvel at the learning tools out there today, I can only imagine how much more I could have absorbed back in the day...there's a grip of audiobooks on cassette teaching practically every language under the sun...there's just one cock-up with the means I'm using...


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..the only real beef that I have right now is that after the first 10 lessons, the price jumps to $106.95 for the next ten (21 to 30)...after that, the German II, Lessons 31 to 60 bounces up to $249.00...but to get the whole ball of wax, Lessons I, II and III, all you've got to do is drop half a grand and you're set...that's a bit rich for my blood at the moment but if I had the means, I'd do it...I've found a couple of learn language sites online with content that has been middling at best and all hard to download...(click the header for the link to a "price beater" site with a grip of these Pimsleur books, both audio and paginated, for cheap)...
















...I don't like to cut corners on stuff like this because you only end up cheating yourself out of a richer learning experience, so, more than likely I will pony up the dough for more of the lessons after I finish the ones I have in iTunes right now (that is if I don't find CD's of them in the big Library downtown or the one in Glendale or the Pasadena Central Branch)...it'll be well worth the effort if I can score these for the nice price...I'd imagine that these lessons would work well with someone brushing up after years of not speaking a language as well...as one who often has to twist his verbiage around in print, it's clear that I've got a long way to go mit mien Deutsch aber I must admit I've never had more fun picking up a new tongue...I'll be slurring my "r's" like Blazing Saddles' Lili von Schtupp in no time...it's like linguistic crack..."die Sprache ruft zu mir" it be calling me, I tells ya...

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