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June 12, 2005

Finished: Pimsleur Japanese

Whew! It's been a long road, but today I "finished" lesson 90 of Pimsleur Japanese.

In July 2004 I decided (for various reasons) to start learning Japanese. I'd never had any interest in learning an Asian language, and hadn't learned a new language in years. In order to get a feel for pronunciation I got the 10-lesson Pimsleur Japanese course from the library. I'd never used a Pimsleur course before, but figured that it was as good as any other for coming to terms with pronunciation.

After 4 lessons I was itching for a chance to go out and speak the few phrases I'd learned to a native speaker. After 6 I had a dream about speaking Japanese to a receptionist at a local business. After the 10 lessons, I went back and did them all again to be sure that I really knew the material. Then I started borrowing the 30-lesson courses from the library, using them in conjunction with textbooks and (since March) private lessons.

Now that I've done the 90 lessons, I'm half-tempted to go back and do them again, this time generating a vocabulary list. I know that I've forgotten a fair number of the words and expressions in the course, due to the Pimsleur emphasis on not writing them down (that's why I put "finished" in quote marks--is it really finished when I've forgotten 30% of it?). However, I'm also half-tempted to get started on another course.

When I started I believed, as Mr. Speaker said in another thread, that "these silly things never really work". I've long since changed my mind. The Pimsleur method certainly isn't perfect, and the Japanese program has its own limitations, but overall it's been a very positive experience. The course has provided some good intellectual stimulation, it's been a good way to spend time which would have otherwise been wasted, and has provided quite a few "Farber moments" when I've seen the faces of native speakers light up (or at least not laugh) at the sound of their language. Nowadays I can't stand to listen to the radio when I'm driving the car; I have to have a language tape or CD (Pimsleur or otherwise) playing instead.

And thanks (at least in part) to this course, I've rediscovered the fun of learning languages. I plan to keep working at Japanese--I still have a lot to learn--but Pimsleur has helped me come a long way already.

Permalink | Posted by Joe at June 12, 2005 09:56 PM


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