The Pimsleur® Method is the foundation upon which every Pimsleur course is built. It’s a scientifically proven set of principles designed to take a learner directly to the heart of the language, eliminating noise, confusion, and information overload.
People all over the world are using Pimsleur programs to start speaking and understanding new languages quickly and easily. If you haven’t experienced it for yourself, you may find it hard to believe that something so simple could work so well. The Pimsleur Method is made up of a few key principles:
1. Graduated Interval Recall
Dr. Pimsleur’s research on memory was perhaps one of his most revolutionary achievements. He discovered that if learners were reminded of new words at gradually increasing intervals, each time they would remember longer than the time before. He documented the optimal spacing for information to move from short-term into long-term, or permanent, memory. This theory is at the base of all the Pimsleur programs.
2. Principle of Anticipation
Our brains are hard-wired to automatically process speech and “anticipate” a correct response. It’s an intricate thought process that most of us take for granted. Dr. Pimsleur’s research demonstrated that new connections are activated whenever this dynamic system is triggered. By systematically asking for understanding, pausing for a response, and then reinforcing the correct response, Pimsleur courses accelerate learning, increase understanding, and activate new neural pathways in the learner’s brain.
3. Core Vocabulary
Effective communication in any language depends on mastery of a relatively limited number of words and structures. Trying to learn too much at once substantially slows the process, and many people quickly become discouraged. Pimsleur courses deliberately limit the amount you learn at any one time, giving your brain a chance to internalize each new item before moving on. Once this foundation is built, adding new words and phrases becomes easy and natural because there’s a clear framework to attach them to.
4. Organic Learning
Every new item introduced in a Pimsleur course is given within the context of a conversation or exchange. This helps learning and retention in a multitude of ways, from allowing your brain to automatically integrate intonation, rhythm, melody, and pronunciation, to embedding prompts for your memory. When you need a word, it’s there – seamlessly on the tip of your tongue. Because you learn the phrases and words you’ll be most likely to need, language comes alive, and the vocabulary, grammar, and native-like pronunciation are ready whenever you are.