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Pimsleur Review

Sunday, April 14th

2024 French Lesson Reviews

Pimsleur Review 3.5 Star Rating


3.5 Star Rating
  • Daily audio lessons
  • Good for on-the-go learning
  • Learn French in 30 minutes a day
  • Created by a linguistics professor

Think about it: in real life, when you want to converse with a person in French, would you study flashcards first? Would you want to know the vocabulary list and memorize the words first? No, and a linguistics professor - Dr. Paul Pimsleur - knows that, creating the Pimsleur method where you listen to French right away in each lesson you take. After the lesson, you can practice speaking, reading, and writing to fortify your new knowledge. Learn French in 30 minutes each day.

Learn for long-term retention

How many times have you heard people say that they took four years of high school French and they don't remember a thing? Does it make you nervous that if you take French lessons now, you won't remember them long-term either? Well, the Pimsleur method is designed to help you retain French words and phrases for a long time. They use graduated interval recall so that with each lesson you'll learn new words and have them pop up again and again so you commit them to memory.

Listen and learn

What makes Pimsleur unique is that they don't start out by having you study random flashcards. Each lesson starts out with you hearing French. You'll hear the phrases they want you to learn and you'll hear them over and over so that you catch on and they become a part of what you know. Hearing French in context and then working with it is a nice change. It's actually how you learned as a child. Did your parents test you on flashcards first thing each day? Or, did they talk to you for a long time before they expected you to talk... or read... or write? Yes, they did, and Pimsleur does too, to a point. It's a good method.

Created by a linguistics professor

Dr. Paul Pimsleur, a researcher and linguistics professor at Ohio State University and UCLA, discovered that language acquisition occurs naturally when we hear the language over and over, in everyday context. Then you interact with what you're exposed to so you can speak it, then read it and write it.

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Here's what you can expect to pay for the different Pimsleur programs

  • Free 7-day trial period, but only when you purchase a subscription
  • Premium: $14.95 per month
  • All-access: $20.95 per month

The audio lessons go in order of difficulty

In order to make the Pimsleur method work, the lessons should go in order of difficulty, and they do. The downside to that, if you will, is that some people want to pick and choose their lessons in order of themes that interest them. Yes, you could stay more interested, but it's harder to build on and repeat those phrases for increased memory. Pimsleur's method works when you give it the chance. It might seem slow going at first due to repetition, but you should find out later that it's needed to have a good basis to build on.

It works easily with your schedule

Pimsleur's on-the-go method of listening to audio lessons is especially helpful if you want to learn French on the go, while cleaning the house, cooking dinner, commuting, or waiting in the doctor's office. If you're at home and moving about, try the speaking practice activities. If you're not driving and can sit for a bit, choose to do the writing or reading activities.

You get what you pay for, so we suggest going higher than the basic level

With the basic-level access, you can listen to lessons and definitely learn some French. There's more to learning a language, though. You might want to purchase a subscription package so you can use flashcards, get pronunciation practice, or test yourself with flashcards.

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So what do you get?

What you get with each subscription package:

  • Audio only. You can listen to any of the audio classes and aren't restricted from any.
  • Premium. You'll get audio and reading lessons, get some practice games, save vocabulary words so you can review them later if you want, and get access to extra vocabulary.
  • All-access. You get everything from the Premium level plus have access to all 51 languages. Maybe once you get started with French, you might want to brush up on a language you've already studied, or add another one to your repertoire.

You only get a free trial when you pay for a subscription

If you want to dabble and see if Pimsleur's right for you, you can't just get free access like you can with most rival French programs. You have to literally give your payment information in order to have a seven-day trial. For us that's a no-go. With so many programs out there that let you test drive before you commit, even with Pimsleur's seven days to change your mind, this policy doesn't sit well with us. Be sure to cancel before the 7 days if you don't want your card to be charged. This offer is only given to new customers; if you've tried Pimsleur before, even with a different language, you don't get this free trial. We even clicked on "see full terms" to make sure we were understanding properly, but we got caught in a loop and never got to the full terms.

Best for overview of the language and getting a handle on it

Pimsleur has an excellent teaching method of listening to input. Listen to the lessons and the French dialogs. Learn some good, applicable vocabulary, and practice it. If you already know a lot of French and want to get even more fluent, Pimsleur's probably not for you, and unfortunately there aren't too many competitor programs out there for you either. We do have some we can recommend, so check our list. However, if you want to get a good grasp of French and are patient with the repetition, you can try the Pimsleur method.

Who Offers the Best French Lessons?

When we think of someone speaking French, we think soothing and seductive, as it's simply dreamy to hear. We think of the romance of Paris with the Eiffel Tower, of Southern France with the rolling lavender fields, of the Alps with the snow-capped mountains, of the coast with the warm sandy beaches. And of course there's the decadent French food and wine.

Learning French allows you to more fully enjoy French culture. When you learn French, it opens the door to learning phrases that the French speakers use in conversation, manners and mannerisms, how the French live and interact in everyday situations, and perhaps gaining an appreciation and insight into their art and history. There are so many doors to be unlocked once you take the first step.

The Best French Lessons Compare French Lessons Compare French Lesson Reviews What are the best French Lessons Best French Lesson Reviews

French Lesson FAQ

That can be a tricky question! It's estimated that there are about 76 million people who speak French fluently as their first language. But, there are another 235 million individuals that use French daily and fluently without it being their native tongue, plus up to 110 million who use it as a second language with varying levels of proficiency. Beyond France itself, you'll find speakers throughout Africa, India, the Caribbean, and Canada.
There are many different French dialects, depending on where it's spoken, but for the most part they're all mutually understandable. If you learned French from a Parisian and then traveled to Montreal, you would still be able to use the language without much of a problem - though you might need to pick up new vocabulary and train your ear to hear it a little differently. It's similar to the regional accents you'll find within the US - think of how English is spoken in New York vs. Texas, for example - or how English differs depending on whether you're in Canada, England, or Australia.
According to the US State Department, French is a Category I language. That means that French is closely related to English, making it easy to learn! (Spanish, Italian, Swedish, and Romanian are some of the other languages in that category.) Most students of French find the language to be somewhat familiar, which makes it more comfortable to study and to retain the vocabulary.
Start by learning some basic vocabulary. If you've got plans to use French in a specific context, like an upcoming vacation or a business meeting, choose some words and phrases that you'll need there. And, as with any language, the more you can expose yourself to the way it's used by native speakers, the more you'll pick up without even trying. Many students swear by watching TV shows and movies in French (with or without subtitles)!
You won't find a way to learn French that's more convenient or affordable, that's why! While French is one of the most commonly-taught languages in American schools, it can still be hard to find a class that fits your busy schedule. Even if you can find one that works, you may pay a lot of money for a semester of coursework; for that same investment, you could access years of online French lessons.
One reason French is easier to learn than some languages is because it uses the same alphabet is English - mostly. There are a few different characters that you'll need to know how to produce. Fortunately, they're not hard to make: on a smartphone, you can usually hold down the base letter (like c, e, or a) and accented options will pop up. On a desktop pc, there are shortcuts you can use when typing.
Not at all. You could pay under $300 for three levels of French coursework, or study as long as you like on a subscription plan that ranges from $4 to $23 per month. That's much more affordable than in-person lessons!
Each language platform has different policies regarding satisfaction guarantees and refunds. For subscription-based French lessons, you can probably cancel future payments but might not get your money back for what you've already spent. If you've paid a one-time fee for a language program, there may be a 30- to 60-day refund period. We recommend utilizing any trial options offered by a French lessons program before committing to it: you can usually find sample lessons or a one-week all-access pass, and that will help you get a feel for how the platform teaches French.
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Continued from above...

Naturally, when we think French we think of France. Yet French is actually a global language and the official language of 29 countries, so you can practice your French language skills in more than one place. French is also a heritage language in all or part of Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, and even the US - like Louisiana.

Picking up the French language may be easier than you might think. Some of us are intimidated by the unusual sounds and the silent letters, but did you know that there are many words that look like English? We'll bet you know these French words: table, responsable, ambiance, brilliance. There are about 1,700 words in French that look like the English word, so there's a good start.

When choosing among the several options for online French lessons, here are some things to consider:

  • Free trial. Look to see if there's a chance to try out the lessons before you buy them to see if this is how you want to learn and to see if you'll stay motivated. Most options include at least a free trial, and some have free access to a limited amount of lessons so you might be able to get all of what you want for free.
  • How they teach. Today there is such a variety of teaching methods in the various online French lesson companies. You can learn individual words with flashcards first and then build to speaking or reading. Some teach by where you hear conversational phrases and build on those. Some build their lessons around grammar and vocabulary while others don't teach grammar specifically - you'll innately catch on the more you practice. Some cut to the chase like textbooks and some use AR and VR to keep you hooked and motivated.
  • How much French you may already know. If you're a beginner, the French lesson world is your oyster - there's so much for you to choose from. If you are at the advanced level and want to polish your skills, most online programs don't teach to your level; though there are a few that could work for you.
  • Your budget. There are some programs where you should be able to get quite a bit of practice for free. Others have a reasonable cost. Some have options for you to have a one-on-one instructor, and those will cost a bit more.
  • One-time purchase or monthly subscription. There's the good, old fashioned way of purchasing a course, and that's where you keep the lessons, learning at your own pace, guilt-free if you need to take a long break. The subscription method is where you pay per month or year to use the product and it automatically renews at the end of that subscription time. You'll be motivated to not take a long hiatus from lessons if you know that your subscription auto renews whether you use it or not.
  • Satisfaction guarantee. Most have a period of time where you can try out the courses to know if you really like them and want to continue. If you're not happy within that time, simply ask for a full refund

Top Consumer Reviews has researched and ranked the most popular French courses available today, to make it easy for you to choose how you'll want to learn French. Whether you're thinking of learning French for the first time or brushing up on what you may have taken in high school, now is a great time to learn French online as there are such a variety of French lesson programs out there. We're sure you'll find at least one that you'd like to try.

Compare French Lessons

Select any 2 French Lessons to compare them head to head

  • Busuu
  • Rosetta Stone
  • Babbel
  • Italki
  • Memrise
  • Mondly
  • Rocket Languages
  • French Pod 101
  • Pimsleur
  • Ouino
  • Fluenz
  • Unforgettable Languages
  • LingQ
  • Strokes International
Busuu vs Rosetta Stone Busuu vs Babbel Busuu vs Italki Busuu vs Memrise Busuu vs Mondly Busuu vs Rocket Languages Busuu vs French Pod 101 Busuu vs Pimsleur Busuu vs Ouino Busuu vs Fluenz Busuu vs Unforgettable Languages Busuu vs LingQ Busuu vs Strokes International Rosetta Stone vs Babbel Rosetta Stone vs Italki Rosetta Stone vs Memrise Rosetta Stone vs Mondly Rosetta Stone vs Rocket Languages Rosetta Stone vs French Pod 101 Rosetta Stone vs Pimsleur Rosetta Stone vs Ouino Rosetta Stone vs Fluenz Rosetta Stone vs Unforgettable Languages Rosetta Stone vs LingQ Rosetta Stone vs Strokes International Babbel vs Italki Babbel vs Memrise Babbel vs Mondly Babbel vs Rocket Languages Babbel vs French Pod 101 Babbel vs Pimsleur Babbel vs Ouino Babbel vs Fluenz Babbel vs Unforgettable Languages Babbel vs LingQ Babbel vs Strokes International Italki vs Memrise Italki vs Mondly Italki vs Rocket Languages Italki vs French Pod 101 Italki vs Pimsleur Italki vs Ouino Italki vs Fluenz Italki vs Unforgettable Languages Italki vs LingQ Italki vs Strokes International Memrise vs Mondly Memrise vs Rocket Languages Memrise vs French Pod 101 Memrise vs Pimsleur Memrise vs Ouino Memrise vs Fluenz Memrise vs Unforgettable Languages Memrise vs LingQ Memrise vs Strokes International Mondly vs Rocket Languages Mondly vs French Pod 101 Mondly vs Pimsleur Mondly vs Ouino Mondly vs Fluenz Mondly vs Unforgettable Languages Mondly vs LingQ Mondly vs Strokes International Rocket Languages vs French Pod 101 Rocket Languages vs Pimsleur Rocket Languages vs Ouino Rocket Languages vs Fluenz Rocket Languages vs Unforgettable Languages Rocket Languages vs LingQ Rocket Languages vs Strokes International French Pod 101 vs Pimsleur French Pod 101 vs Ouino French Pod 101 vs Fluenz French Pod 101 vs Unforgettable Languages French Pod 101 vs LingQ French Pod 101 vs Strokes International Pimsleur vs Ouino Pimsleur vs Fluenz Pimsleur vs Unforgettable Languages Pimsleur vs LingQ Pimsleur vs Strokes International Ouino vs Fluenz Ouino vs Unforgettable Languages Ouino vs LingQ Ouino vs Strokes International Fluenz vs Unforgettable Languages Fluenz vs LingQ Fluenz vs Strokes International Unforgettable Languages vs LingQ Unforgettable Languages vs Strokes International LingQ vs Strokes International
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