Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pimsleur Turkish: repetition finished

Yesterday I finished a revision of the Pimsleur Turkish course. It may not be the best language course I know but it helps to engrave basic phrases into your mind. As its an audio course, its perfect to use in a car or bus or whileironing. Yesterday on the way to and from work I reviewed lessons from 27 through 30, finishing the course. It consists of 30 audio lessons, about 30 minutes each. Altogether they provide approx. 15 hours, its a large amount of material. It allows a real solid practice of simple constructions and the most commonly used words and sentences needed in everyday situations.
The advantage of the course lies in the lack of a tutor. You just repeat the words and sentences after the instructor. You learn the correct pronunciation and intonation. One remark: the course has been designed in English.

Its worth noting that the material contains a limited amount of vocabulary so it can hardly be regarded as a full course. On one of the pages about language learning I read that going through this material gives a knowledge at the A1 level, defined as a beginner in the European matrix. Maybe
The first 10 lessons include basic phrases teaching: greetings, asking for information, arranging a meeting or dinner, giving directions.
The next 10 lessons give a solid revision of the first part, plus new words as well as numbers and vocabulary to deal with money and prices.
Next part, consisting of 10 lessons, contains commands like “repeat after the speaker” and “answer the question” in Turkish, which helps in mastering the language. This section contains scenes on buying, visiting friends, moving around the country, doing plans for the evening or presenting members of the family. It introduces the past and future tenses.
The course also includes material designed to teach reading. This part is not very difficult, as Turkish generally doesnt contain many unknown sounds to Polish or English, however fluent reading required a bit of practice. This part consists of a small booklet in PDF format and the accompanying audio material.

The course was developed by Paul Pimsleur, hence its name. Pimsleur Language Programs, there are already a large number of them, are produced and published by Simon & Schuster publishing house. The system is based on four principles: anticipation, graduated interval recall, core vocabulary and organic learning.
Anticipation requires an engagement from a student; he hears a sentence (in this case in English) and is prompted to translate it into a target language. Then the correct translation is given. This approach allows for more active learning. According to Pimsleur, this method resembles real-life conversations when we must recall quickly a sentence or a word.
Graduated interval recall is a variant of a spaced repetition, familiar to many foreign language learners. First we repeat new words and sentences with short intervals. In time these intervals become longer. This allows to remember them better and to shift from short- to long-term memory.
Pimsleur is focused on teaching core vocabulary, according to statistical studies which show that about 80 per cent of printed material includes about 2000 most frequently used words. However the Pimsleur courses fall well short of this. Each level contains 500 words on average. That means that the most popular ones, which have three levels, teach approx. 1500 words. Turkish course has as yet only one level, so as you may guess, it contains only 500 words. Its very little. However, after completing the course you know them well.
Finally, organic learning consists in taking as a model a way we learn our mother tongue. First we just listen and repeat, gradually acquiring the ability to produce and understand an increasingly complex sentence structures.

Other Pimsleur courses, which I did as a revision of what Id already learned, were: Spanish, Italian, Russian and Portuguese; I also went through: German, French, Hindi and Swahili (so far it covers only 10 lessons). Now Im doing Egyptian Arabic.

Official website of the Pimsleur Language Programs made by Simon & Schuster:


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