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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pimsleur Vietnamese

I just got a copy of Pimsleur's Vietnamese audio program & I'm thrilled! Now I can finally learn this silly language.

I've been using Pimsleur to study Mandarin Chinese for a few years now, & I love it. It's the only self-study language program that I have found that actually teaches you the language. Most other programs give you vocabulary & phrases, sure, but they don't teach them to you. With those other programs, you still have to teach yourself. Not so with Pimsleur. You just listen & learn. It's awesome.

The program is narrated by an English speaker, with native speakers presenting the target language. The method is unique in that it teaches you to form your own sentences that are not on the CD, & forces you to think in the target language.

For a simple example, you will hear the word for "I" & the word for "understand". Then they put it together in a sentence for you: "I understand". Next, they will teach you how to say "you". Then they ask you to form your own sentence: "You understand". You have to decide on your own how to put the words together, & only after that will you hear the correct sentence. In this way, you start thinking in the target language from the very beginning, which is so important when learning a new language.

I'm so excited to finally be learning Vietnamese!


Hyp0xia said...

The only problem with that is there are over two dozen ways to say "I" in Vietnamese, depending on the age and gender of the individual to whom you are speaking in relation to your own age and gender, as well as your relationship and familiarity with the listener(s). Due to the complexity of the pronouns, learning to say something as simple as "I understand" can take a very, very long time. The same applies to saying "you."

That's not to discourage you. I think it's noble when someone actually takes an interest in learning the language of their host country. It's unfortunate that people like you are so few and far between. Just don't get depressed about not getting quick results and keep in mind that pronunciation is always the key.

There's a really informative article by a former Vietnam sojourner from New York who clearly learnt a significant amount of Vietnamese while here. Check it out at: I wish I had read that article when I was just beginning to learn Vietnamese. It would have made things a lot clearer a lot faster.

scott said...

Ha! *Now* she's excited. Doh! I'm doing my v-8 impression. Pimsleur gets you excited, i should have known! :)

Glad you found the course! It sounds great. A dictionary alone was definitely not going to do it. Good luck! :)

Chris said...

Nice! I used the Pimsleur Mandarin course at first. It's really easy to pick up, but no replacement for practice speaking to real people. Luckily you'll do lots of that, and leave your CDs in the dust in just a few weeks. Don't be afraid to learn to read! Yes, it is a little overwhelming, but wow, what a greet contextually relevant vocabulary-booster!

Nancy Lewis said...

Welcome Hyp0xia! Yes, the language is definitely daunting, but I'm up for the challenge. I've got plenty of free time here. Thanks for the link to the article. I really appreciate any advice you can give me.

Nancy Lewis said...

@Scott & Chris: At least now I have some direction :)

Sunny said...

I wish I would have thought to tell you about Pimsleur! I have Pimsleur Italian and I absolutely LOVE it. Of course I was listening to Italian in the car on the ride to the Spanish school, thus the reason I always got my languages confused by the time I got to class, LOL. I'm sure you remember that! But yes, Pimsleur is the best for learning tools when you don't have a wonderful teacher like Miss Nancy to teach you in person. I miss the school and everyone there, mostly you my dear friend!

Nancy Lewis said...

@Sunny: Thanks, you're so sweet :)