The Pimsleur Language Programs- Main


Are you looking for a more straightforward approach to learn a foreign language? Have you ever thought if there was a specific method of learning a language? Well, there is something called the Pimsleur method, or the Pimsleur language programs.

If you’re looking for a language software program such as Pimsleur, I encourage you to read further along.

The Pimsleur language programs: What is Pimsleur?

Pimsleur is a language learning company (a division of Simon & Schuster) that was initially founded by Dr. Paul Pimsleur. Dr. Pimsleur was a former professor who came up with a simple learning method for foreign languages. Learning a language shouldn’t be hard, and Pimsleur made a method designed to make learning one easier.

Can Pimsleur make you fluent?

The purpose of the Pimsleur method is to make learning simpler. As the learning materials are more equipped for beginners, Pimsleur covers basic concepts and terms for most languages offered. This idea is one of the best parts of the program because it makes the lessons easier to understand.

So can Pimsleur make you fluent in any language? It all depends. Some people have said you can become fluent within a month, but others have mentioned not. 

But if you commit to a course, in the long run, you most likely will become fluent in a matter of time.

In this review, I’m going to lay out some of the main points of this program. I’ll give my overall recommendation that can help you decide whether Pimsleur is for you or not. The following points include:

1.) Core components of the Pimsleur method

2.) Features & Highlights

3.) Pricing

4.) Pros & Cons

5.) Overall Rating & Review

The Pimsleur language programs

Parts of the Pimsleur method

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The Pimsleur method is a scientifically-proven approach when it comes to learning and memory retention. This method is used for every language course offered, and a great way to learn a language quickly. The Pimsleur process is made up of a few components, including:

  • Graduated interval recall

Based on research, Dr. Pimsleur discovered, memory is a vital part of learning a foreign language. If learners were reminded of new words at gradually increasing intervals (each time), they’re more likely to remember longer than the time before.

Pimsleur documented “optimal spacing for information to move from short-term to long-term, or permanent memory.” The theory that Pimsleur came up with is applied to all the language programs that are offered.

  • Principle of Anticipation 

The human brain is hard-wired to process speech and “anticipate” the right response automatically. It’s a thought process that most people take for granted.

By asking for understanding, pausing for a response, then reinforcing the correct answer, Pimsleur courses do the following: accelerate learning, increase knowledge, and bring new neural pathways in the brain.

  • Core vocabulary

For most people, learning too many things at once isn’t an option. It can slow down the process and discourage learners from moving forward. But with Pimsleur, the courses are deliberately designed to limit how much you learn for each lesson.

For each Pimsleur lesson, the brain is given a chance to process one item or subject at a time. Once the foundation is built, adding new vocabulary (words and phrases) becomes more comfortable and more natural to go through.

  • Organic learning

Each new item introduced in a course is given with the context of a conversation or exchange. It helps with learning and retention of vocabulary reviewed from previous lessons. If you need a word to go over, it’ll be there for you.

 Top Features

Some of Pimsleur’s features are noteworthy to take from. These top features include the following:

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  • Up to 45 languages offered

Pimsleur offers courses in a variety of languages. Some of them include Spanish, Japanese, Arabic, Armenian, and Chinese. Also, they offer ESL (English-Second Language) courses. 

  • Core lessons

These are half-hour lessons designed for you to learn at home, on the go, or anywhere. The lessons are compatible with an Amazon Alexa/Echo device.

  • Speak-Easy challenge

This part is a great role play when reviewing your conversations’ written transcripts.

  • Digital flashcards

With smooth, simple to use flashcards, you can practice vocabulary and have the ability to dive deeper into learning a written language.

  • Speech round game

Through fun, fast-paced games, you can test your conversational knowledge through language learning.

  • Uninterrupted learning

Through the language app, you can stream live, download, or listen offline through each course provided.


In regards to pricing, it can vary by individual courses or lessons offered in the languages. A language course can offer up to five levels at a time (with 30 lessons on average per level). 

The individual levels are offered at smaller costs; however, for a full-blown course for one language, the price can add up. But if you’re willing to make the investment and get a lot of value, then the full package may be worth it for you.

Let’s take the Spanish courses, for example. For each level you buy ($119.95/level), you get up to 30 lessons at a time. Or, you can order all of the levels at once for a higher cost ($550 for all levels 1-5).

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If those options don’t appeal to you, Pimsleur has a subscription-based program if you prefer to make smaller monthly payments. Some of the courses they provide in Spanish come in the following formats:

  • Pimsleur Premium ($19.95/month)

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  • Pimsleur Audio Only ($14.95/month)The Pimsleur Language Programs- 5

With the subscription-based programs, there also is a 7-day free trial option to try out the courses.

Keep in mind- Pimsleur does NOT offer a free trial for all languages.

So if you’re not ready to commit, you have a week to see if the course may be for you or not.

Pimsleur Trial

Pros & Cons


  • Lessons self-paced and easy to comprehend
  • Vocabulary is a significant component learned in each language course
  • 7-Day free trial to test waters in the courses
  • Great for beginners wanting to learn the basics of a language


  • Not all language courses have a 7-day free trial
  • Lessons can be tedious and too repetitive
  • Not the best for intermediate or advanced users
  • Cost of language packages are too high (i.e., Spanish Levels 1-5 costs up to $550; CD package costs up to $1190.00)

Overall Rating & Review

Rating: 6.5/10

There’s no doubt that Pimsleur is an active learning program for foreign languages. The idea behind it with the learning process makes sense and designed for anyone to go at their own pace. It comes with plenty of great features and suits well for beginners.

Their courses may not be the most exciting to sit through, but are simple to understand. I think the big downside is the costs of some of the classes. Some of the full packages end up being between $550-1200 (for five-level courses). So the prices will turn some people away from Pimsleur.

Luckily, the subscription-based plans started up not too long ago. Recurring monthly plans may be a better option for people who aren’t willing to make a considerable investment. So there is an upside to the costs of the courses.


Overall, I wouldn’t recommend Pimsleur at this time. It’s not suited for all learners, as the lessons are limited to basic terms and concepts.

But if you think it might be worth giving it a try, sign up for a 7-day free trial. As I mentioned earlier, not all language courses are offered a free trial.

Pimsleur Trial

If you’re looking for another option for learning a foreign language, check out my recommendation here.

What do you think of the Pimsleur method? Do you find it worthwhile learning about it? Do you think it’s practical to learn a foreign language?

Leave a comment below and please share this post with others.



  1. Having once attempted to become a flight attendant with a certain airline, knowing basic french was a prerequisite. I enrolled with a local French School for a 10 day course. By the end of the course (I really don’t remember whether I even made it to the end) I was close to tears. It was hard to keep up with the french speaking teacher and to date I only remember about 5 words from the entire course, which was costly too.

    I wish I had learnt about a program like Pimsleur ages ago, with its more user friendly approach because learning a language especially past childhood is not an easy task at all. I like that you are able to go at your own pace until you perfect your language skills. Having a tutor who moves at the speed of lightning isn’t helpful either so it offers another bonus in that respect. Kudos to them.

    • Thank you, Nozipho. I’m glad to know you enjoyed reading this post.

      I enjoyed reading your storyline. It can be helpful to learn the basics as part of a prerequisite. But yeah, Pimsleur has approaches to make learning languages easier to do. The self-paced aspect is nice as well, so that’s always a plus. So you make great points following up, and well worth discussing.

      Thank you again for sharing your insights- much appreciated!

  2. This one looks very good. Honestly, I think it is very nice to be able to learn a new language using what you have described as the Pimsleur method. Looks good to me, I see that it might be tedious but I guess I have everything very well planned then all can still work out really fine.

    • Thank you, Payton. I’m glad to know you enjoyed reading this post.

      Yes, the Pimsleur method is a unique way to learning a foreign language. It has its flaws, but some good parts as well. There’s plenty to take away from using this method to learn a new language. That’s for sure.

      If you’re interested in checking it out, I’d love to hear back from you down the road.

      But thank you again for sharing your thoughts- much appreciated!


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