Learn Spanish (Castilian) with The Pimsleur Method

Speak Spanish (Castilian) like a native!

It’s now possible to speak and understand a foreign language effortlessly. The world-famous Pimsleur Method™ combines well-established research, most-useful vocabulary and a completely intuitive process to get you speaking right from the first day. All Pimsleur® courses feature real-world context and flexible vocabulary enabling you to learn your new language in a fluid, natural way. It’s the simplest way to start speaking a new language today.

Spanish is the official language of Spain and 21 Latin American countries and an official language of the U.N. Pimsleur’s Castilian Spanish teaches the dialect that is the official language of Spain as spoken by the majority of Spanish-speakers in Spain. Learn Castilian Spanish today with Pimsleur. READ MORE »

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Customer Reviews

Here’s what other customers have had to say about Castilian Spanish Phase 1, Units 1-30. If you have anything to share about your experience with a Pimsleur title, please go to the page for that title and write a review.

Reviews for Castilian Spanish Phase 1, Units 1-30

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REVIEWS SUMMARY

by PowerReviews
PimsleurCastilian Spanish Phase 1, Units 1-30
 
4.1

(based on 12 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to use (10)
  • It works (10)
  • Portable (10)
  • Perfects accent (9)
  • Fun (8)

Cons

  • Pricey / poor value (3)

Best Uses

  • Travel (9)
  • Business/work (6)
  • Self-improvement (5)
  • Family background/heritage (3)
  • Fun (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Traveler (8), Business person (4), Student (3)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

The Best (and Worst) Castilian Method

This is, by far, the best language learning program I've come across (and I've tried lots). Not only does it work, it's also very enjoyable to use. I found myself looking...Read complete review

This is, by far, the best language learning program I've come across (and I've tried lots). Not only does it work, it's also very enjoyable to use. I found myself looking forward to the half hour I'd spend each day listening to my daily language lessons; and that's honestly all it takes, only 30 minutes per day. The Graduated Interval Recall system utilized by Pimsleur works. It absolutely, positively works. If you listen to these tapes everyday and use them as directed, you WILL learn your new language. But, unfortunately for me, I plan on moving to Spain eventually and hoped to learn Castilian Spanish, not the Latin American variation. Pimsleur's Castilian version stops after the first 30 lessons. I was unaware of this and would not have purchased the set if I had. I just assumed the the lessons would continue after stage 1, I didn't even consider the possibility that I wouldn't even have the option to continue my studies after the first 30 days (this is the only advantage other programs have over Pimsleur: the option to continue learning the language all the way to fluency). There is simply no point in stopping after lesson 30, you'll have barely scratched the surface of the language after 30 lessons. What I've learned so far has been incredible, like I said, the best, most effective method I've tried but there simply isn't enough content available to warrant a purchase. Pimsleur offers a full set for the Latin American Spanish variation but not for Castilian. If you'd like to learn Latin American Spanish, by all means, buy these tapes right now, do not hesitate, it will be well worth your money and you will not regret it. But the Castilian is worthless, it works great but falls drastically short. I truly feel this is a shame, I was so excited to finally come across a program that worked for me only to discover that, after one month of learning, my studies would come to a screeching halt. Great product but incomplete and, therefore, inadequate. There is absolutely no point in paying for a product that gets you started and then stops after 30 days. Would you pay full price for a car that stops working after the first year? Neither would I. No one would. Hence, the best (and worst) Castilian language learning product on the market.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

No plans to go past Phase 1.

The Pimsleur method is excellent. Graduated interval recall works very well. Pimsleur's strategy is to focus pretty much exclusively on listening and speaking skills, rather than reading and writing. I think that strategy...Read complete review

The Pimsleur method is excellent. Graduated interval recall works very well. Pimsleur's strategy is to focus pretty much exclusively on listening and speaking skills, rather than reading and writing. I think that strategy is good, as there are plenty of textbooks you can use to learn the reading and writing. Pimsleur also deliberately limits the vocabulary to a relatively few well-chosen words, with the expectation that you can work on vocabulary afterwards. I find this works well, particularly since you will be able to build your vocabulary exclusively using Spanish (asking someone to define a word using Spanish, instead of English) if you want to. It is wrong, though, that none of this is explained to you before you purchase.

The graduated interval method and related memory-related research is not exclusive to this product, but Pimsleur's implementation is very good. Pimsleur's method seems to be closely related to work done by Advance Memory Research, who also have implemented the method, with more vocabulary and less repetition. (Editors: Don't even think about removing my reference to AMR, or I'll come back and tell everyone you did that. If you don't remove the AMR reference, it is OK with me if you remove this parenthetical remark.) I find that using the two methods together is very effective. I also use other resources for reading and writing.

What is VERY BAD about this product is that it is seriously incomplete. I knew when I purchased it that it only had Phase 1, so I simultaneously purchased Latin American Spanish so I could proceed past what was covered in Castillian Spanish. BUT it wasn't until afterwards, when I emailed Customer Service, that I learned that there is no intention of producing any more Phases. This is all you get. That is a big problem. We really need more material, both to continue practicing the Castillian accent and to learn vocabulary that is unique to Spain, such as the vosotros forms, which are not even mentioned in this course, and which you WILL NOT get in Latin American Spanish, because they are only used in Spain. And they are very common there. There are also many other vocabulary differences between Castillian and Latin American, due to influence from other languages, such as indigenous American native languages, not to mention American English. So Latin American Spanish has many English cognates that aren't in Castillian, and which you need to learn somehow, but for which Pimsleur is of no help.

Pimsleur is very good for developing a good accent. The voice actors present three distinct accents which you should try to imitate. After getting part way through this course, I was able to demonstrate to the teacher in my Spanish class the ability to switch between Castillian and Latin American pronunciation (and not just the "th" stuff, but the whole accent).

Finally, I want to point out that the software is completely brain-dead. It looks like it was set up to run on a mobile phone and then patched up to work, presenting the same interface, on a desktop computer. The app insists on using its own PDF reader and MP3 player, not giving you the opportunity to use your system reader and player, for example. For example, when reading PDFs, the only way to turn pages is to click on icons. You can't use the mouse wheel or keyboard keys. The MP3 player is not so bad, though I still think you should be able to use your own. (You probably can use your own reader and player if you navigate the file system instead of going through the app.)

You can easily pause the MP3 player if you need more time to respond than is provided. I did not need this until lesson 27, and I recommend you repeat any lesson until you no longer need to use the pause button. It also has buttons to quickly jog backwards or forwards by 10 seconds, which is useful if you didn't get something the first time. I also didn't need them until lesson 27.

I completed the entire course (just one Phase, in case you missed it) in 7 days, which is 4 times the recommended pace, easily and with apparently no adverse effects from going fast. I should point out that I am a "former native speaker" of Castillian Spanish. I learned it between ages 2 and 5 (no reading and writing), and then forgot everything when we moved back to the US.

Reviewed by 12 customers

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1.0

No plans to go past Phase 1.

By Thomas

from California

About Me Scientist

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Helps You Speak Fast
  • It Works
  • Perfects Accent

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Will Not Be More Phases

Best Uses

  • Speaking Understanding

Comments about Castilian Spanish Phase 1, Units 1-30:

The Pimsleur method is excellent. Graduated interval recall works very well. Pimsleur's strategy is to focus pretty much exclusively on listening and speaking skills, rather than reading and writing. I think that strategy is good, as there are plenty of textbooks you can use to learn the reading and writing. Pimsleur also deliberately limits the vocabulary to a relatively few well-chosen words, with the expectation that you can work on vocabulary afterwards. I find this works well, particularly since you will be able to build your vocabulary exclusively using Spanish (asking someone to define a word using Spanish, instead of English) if you want to. It is wrong, though, that none of this is explained to you before you purchase.

The graduated interval method and related memory-related research is not exclusive to this product, but Pimsleur's implementation is very good. Pimsleur's method seems to be closely related to work done by Advance Memory Research, who also have implemented the method, with more vocabulary and less repetition. (Editors: Don't even think about removing my reference to AMR, or I'll come back and tell everyone you did that. If you don't remove the AMR reference, it is OK with me if you remove this parenthetical remark.) I find that using the two methods together is very effective. I also use other resources for reading and writing.

What is VERY BAD about this product is that it is seriously incomplete. I knew when I purchased it that it only had Phase 1, so I simultaneously purchased Latin American Spanish so I could proceed past what was covered in Castillian Spanish. BUT it wasn't until afterwards, when I emailed Customer Service, that I learned that there is no intention of producing any more Phases. This is all you get. That is a big problem. We really need more material, both to continue practicing the Castillian accent and to learn vocabulary that is unique to Spain, such as the vosotros forms, which are not even mentioned in this course, and which you WILL NOT get in Latin American Spanish, because they are only used in Spain. And they are very common there. There are also many other vocabulary differences between Castillian and Latin American, due to influence from other languages, such as indigenous American native languages, not to mention American English. So Latin American Spanish has many English cognates that aren't in Castillian, and which you need to learn somehow, but for which Pimsleur is of no help.

Pimsleur is very good for developing a good accent. The voice actors present three distinct accents which you should try to imitate. After getting part way through this course, I was able to demonstrate to the teacher in my Spanish class the ability to switch between Castillian and Latin American pronunciation (and not just the "th" stuff, but the whole accent).

Finally, I want to point out that the software is completely brain-dead. It looks like it was set up to run on a mobile phone and then patched up to work, presenting the same interface, on a desktop computer. The app insists on using its own PDF reader and MP3 player, not giving you the opportunity to use your system reader and player, for example. For example, when reading PDFs, the only way to turn pages is to click on icons. You can't use the mouse wheel or keyboard keys. The MP3 player is not so bad, though I still think you should be able to use your own. (You probably can use your own reader and player if you navigate the file system instead of going through the app.)

You can easily pause the MP3 player if you need more time to respond than is provided. I did not need this until lesson 27, and I recommend you repeat any lesson until you no longer need to use the pause button. It also has buttons to quickly jog backwards or forwards by 10 seconds, which is useful if you didn't get something the first time. I also didn't need them until lesson 27.

I completed the entire course (just one Phase, in case you missed it) in 7 days, which is 4 times the recommended pace, easily and with apparently no adverse effects from going fast. I should point out that I am a "former native speaker" of Castillian Spanish. I learned it between ages 2 and 5 (no reading and writing), and then forgot everything when we moved back to the US.

 
4.0

"He has very good pronunciation!"

By wahwahnyc

from NYC

About Me Business person, Traveler

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to use
  • Fun
  • It Works
  • Perfects Accent
  • Portable

Cons

  • Can't Record Myself

Best Uses

  • Business/Work
  • Self-improvement
  • Travel

Comments about Castilian Spanish Phase 1, Units 1-30:

I've found Pimsleur to be perfect when I have at least a month before traveling. By the time I arrive, I have a basic command of the language and, most important, a sense of the "music" - the phrasing and intonation etc. So far I've used Pimsleur for trips to Germany, Turkey, and Italy. Now I'm studying for a trip to Spain.

The best thing I can say is, at a Black Sea town in Turkey, where very few people spoke English, I had a fender-bender which made me have to go to a "trial" at the local police station. Of course, I accepted the offer of a translator, but also spoke a bit in Turkish when the stakes weren't high. After the trial, which had a fair outcome, the police came around and clapped me on the shoulder. One said, in Turkish, "His pronunciation is very good." So there you go.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Very helpful, but a bit tedious

By Traveler

from New York City

About Me Traveler

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • It Works
  • Portable

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Travel

    Comments about Castilian Spanish Phase 1, Units 1-30:

    I used the Pimsleur Castilian Spanish Lessons 1 - 30 to prepare for a trip to Spain. Each lesson is ca 25 minutes, and I did one a day for 20 days -- in other words,I didn't make it all the way through.

    Vocabulary was everyday and applicable, covering things like meeting people, checking into a hotel, and ordering a meal. Grammar wasn't taught explicitly, but I found that it made sense because I'd taken French in school. I don't know if the grammar would have "taken" if I hadn't previously taken a romance language.

    On the minus side: the lessons aren't particularly lively; there isn't much attempt at humor, and the voices are kind of monotonous. So taking my daily dose of Pimsleur was sometimes a tad grim.

    Despite that, I persisted, and I am glad that I did -- when I arrived in Spain, I had a handle on some basic langague.

    Finally: the price was fair, given the amount of material that was offered.

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    so far so good

    By la senora

    from NY

    About Me Business person, Traveler

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Learn While You Commute
    • Portable

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Travel

      Comments about Castilian Spanish Phase 1, Units 1-30:

      I'm only up to lesson 17 but I can communicate with shop owners and have simple conversations.

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Very useful

      By Vince

      from Florida

      About Me Business person, Traveler

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy to use
      • Fun
      • It Works
      • Perfects Accent
      • Portable

      Cons

      • Expensive

      Best Uses

      • Family background/Heritage
      • Self-improvement
      • Travel

      Comments about Castilian Spanish Phase 1, Units 1-30:

      I bought this product a few weeks before a trip to Spain. I had to rush it and only got to lesson 20 before the trip. But it proved really useful during everyday communication at the hotel, at restaurants, and all over. It really made a big difference.
      I had no prior knowledge of Spanish, apart from a few very common words. But I was able to make small conversations with people in Spain.
      I listen to the lessons in my car while commuting. That's the perfect place for me. The lessons are fun and generally easy to follow. Though I needed to repeat a few lessons a couple of times. But that's no problem.
      The themes/situations are quite useful in real life.
      About Castilian Spanish, the pronunciation is really quite different from American Spanish, it is worth purchasing this version just for the pronunciation. Although I'm sure they would have equally understood me with a Mexican accent.

      Service and delivery comments:

      The Spanish lessons were a little bit too fast for me. The Spanish can speak very fast, and it shows in these lessons, as well. Maybe a little bit more repetition of new words/phrases would be good. But then there would be less new information. I understand there has to be a compromise. One can just listen to the same lesson a couple of times and then the problem is solved.

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