product review

Product review: Pimsleur French 1

(Disclosure: I received the product mentioned in this post for review purposes; however I was not compensated for writing a review and as always all opinions are my own.)

Pimsleur French

One last Pimsleur review for the weekend! My final language choice for the year is French. I’m not French and it’s not that I’ve ever had a particular inclination to travel to France, but I do think it would be a lovely language to learn. It might be useful and it certainly sounds nice.

Like the other Pimsleur gold CD sets, this course consists of sixteen discs and thirty-two lessons, each roughly thirty minutes in length. You start out with basic phrases such as, “Excuse me, do you speak English?” which of course would be very helpful if you were a tourist overseas and struggling to get about! The lessons use rote learning to help you memorize words and phrases, and are geared toward travelers or those who want a conversational grasp of the language rather than vocabulary lists and grammar drills.

Overall I think that out of the four languages I’ve been playing with, French is proving the hardest for me to absorb. I don’t know if it’s the accent, or if it’s simply because I have zero prior exposure to the language (unlike Spanish, which is fairly common in my home area, and German, which I’ve already been studying a bit). Honestly, I feel like I’m struggling to grasp this language in an audio-only format. I don’t think this is Pimsleur’s fault, I think it’s just my own personal speedbump. I’m still determined to peck away at it, but it’s good to be aware that if you find a language intimidating from the outset, the audio only approach might not be the best for you. (I do really love my other Pimsleur discs, for Spanish, German and Italian.)

You can find this set on Amazon here. Now tell me: what other languages (if any) do you speak?

(I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.)


  • Amanda P

    I remember getting a Pimsleur for Japanese back in the day. I think it’s a useful component, especially for listening comprehension, but it would definitely not work for me as the only approach to learning a language.

    I don’t really say that I “speak” anything other than English since I’m not even really conversational in anything else, but at various points in my life and to various degrees I have studied German, Japanese, and Spanish and dabbled with French. I can get by if I need to with German, don’t really remember much of the Japanese, understand some written and spoken Spanish, and know a few basic words and phrases to get me by in France.

    • writergirlm

      I tried Spanish in high school and lost most of it, so I’m hoping this time around I will retain my studies a little better. It’d be nice to at least be conversational for traveling purposes!

      • Amanda P

        Yeah it’s hard to retain stuff from that long ago, but you might find that as you study you start remembering things you thought you forgot.

        I started picking up some Spanish while I was living in Florida when coworkers spoke Spanish and everything at the store was labeled in both languages. I have done some Podcast learning and I watched every movie I had that had a Spanish language track option with the English subtitles and picked up a lot that way. I am definitely not even conversational though. A friend spoke Spanish one night as part of a game and I was able to get the gist of almost everything she tried to say. I wouldn’t have been able to say it myself though….

  • Katrin

    I learned French in school so I know a little bit but I have to say that I forgot a lot. I can understand people in most cases but I can’t really speak it very well myself.

    • writergirlm

      I dabbled in Spanish in high school and lost most of it, so don’t feel bad! :P I think it’s hard to retain something if you don’t use it often.

  • Rachel G

    In all of my languages studies, Pimsleur is one that I’ve never tried, although I’ve seen that they also have a set for Mandarin. I speak Mandarin and Spanish fairly well–although I do feel language learning is a constantly ongoing process–I’m going to be learning a whole lot of Mandarin very soon, I’m sure!

    • writergirlm

      I’m sure you’ll get a crash course in Mandarin! I think you’re right, it’s something you continually learn over time. I mean, I learn new English words all the time, so I’m sure in another language that’s amplified by 100. :)

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