Pimsleur is one of the most popular and longest-standing resources out there for learning a foreign language. Its courses place a strong emphasis on aural and verbal communication skills, paying less attention to grammar explanations and reading or writing skills. The bulk of the material for Pimsleur Spanish is taught with audio lessons.
The platform is extremely well designed and easy to use. The content seems to be of high quality at all levels.
Timely repetition and active practice work well, and lessons build on each other nicely, but the “intermediate fluency in 30 days” claim may be a stretch.
The subscription option is a good value, or you may be better off purchasing the program if you want to go at a slower pace.
- The lessons are structured well and are an appropriate length.
- There are both male and female native speakers.
- Lessons build on each other nicely.
- The platform is easy to navigate and visually appealing.
I Don’t Like
- There’s very little visual content.
- Lesson speed isn’t customizable.
Subscriptions of either $14.95/month or $19.95/month are available for courses with at least 60 lessons. Prices otherwise range from around $20 to over $500. All purchases come with a 7-day free trial.
Did you know that over 40 million people speak Spanish in the United States, while more than 550 million speak Spanish worldwide? This makes Spanish an incredibly useful language! If you want to learn Spanish, you may find yourself considering a venerable language-learning program like Pimsleur’s Spanish app.
The Pimsleur Spanish course uses a spaced repetition system that helps you store new concepts in your permanent memory. It offers 150 audio lessons with accompanying activities.
Older versions of the Pimsleur course cost a lot and did not have the streamlined approach of the app. The app version costs less and offers great features like speaking software.
Can Pimsleur’s spaced repetition system help you learn Spanish? Read this review of the Pimsleur Spanish app to find out!
Pros and Cons of Pimsleur Spanish
Pros of Pimsleur Spanish App:
- Effective recall system
- Voice coach for direct speaking practice
- Active listening lessons
- Option for Castilian or Latin American Spanish
Cons of Pimsleur Spanish App:
Somewhat formal practice dialogue
- Works best for audio learners
Things to Consider Before Subscribing to Pimsleur Spanish App
English speakers often find Spanish easier to learn than other languages because Spanish and English share so many features.
But Spanish does have unique characteristics that make it challenging to learn. These include different dialects of Spanish spoken around the world and difficult sounds Spanish uses that English does not.
Spanish sounds different in different parts of the world. The most prominent Spanish dialects are Castilian and Latin American Spanish.
This means that a good Spanish language learning program will offer a focus on several different dialects so you can choose which one works for you.
Secondly, Spanish uses several linguistic sounds that English does not. This includes the infamous rolled R or double R sound that English tongues often trip over, in words like el perro or la torre.
The best way to master these new sounds is to pick a program that features both listening comprehension activities and speaking practice, so you learn to recognize and pronounce the tricky sounds.
Features and Benefits of Pimsleur Spanish App
Does the Pimsleur Spanish app provide the features you need to overcome challenges like rolled R sounds and multiple dialects? Keep reading to find out!
Option of Dialects
Pimsleur allows you to choose from either Castilian or Latin American Spanish, to narrow your focus to the dialect you need to learn. This great feature helps your ear pick up accurate accents and vocabulary through the audio lessons and voice coach speaking practice.
Pimsleur’s Spanish app uses active listening throughout the 30-minute audio lessons to keep you engaged. This key feature keeps you from tuning out as you jog around the neighborhood with your earbuds in.
The audio lessons also include grammar explanations in English to give you a strong understanding of how Spanish works.
While the active listening component does a great job of building your listening comprehension, the lessons do not include a lot of visual cues or components. You may find this a struggle if you are a visual learner. If you’re looking for a visual based course than Rosetta Stone Spanish might be worth considering.
Spaced Repetition System
All Pimsleur language courses use a spaced repetition system to help you store new words and ideas in your permanent memory.
It works like this: you learn a word in an audio lesson and practice it during active listening. The next day, the word will pop up in one of the activities. A week later, you may face a speed drill or quiz that uses the word.
This consistent, spaced-out repetition helps you truly master a set of core vocabulary, instead of just stashing the word in your short-term memory.
Unlike older Pimsleur courses, the new app-based version of Pimsleur Spanish includes a voice coach feature to help you perfect your accent. This great feature really benefits you as you learn new sounds like rolled R’s!
But some of the practice dialogue Pimsleur uses may seem overly formal. The app offers practical conversation topics, but they do not sound free-flowing like a true conversation.
You can subscribe to the basic Pimsleur Spanish app for $14.95/month, the premium version for $19.95/month, or gain access to all Pimsleur language courses for $20.95/month. This second option also gives you the option to study both popular dialects of Spanish if you choose.
On top of this, you can try out the Pimsleur method during a seven-day free trial here!
Alternatives to Pimsleur Spanish App
StoryLearning’s Spanish Uncovered takes you through a story one chapter at a time, with multiple lessons accompanying each chapter.
- Focus on culture and context
- No speaking software
- $297 one-time payment
If you don’t like textbook-style learning, check out the engaging approach of StoryLearning here!
SpanishPod101 also uses a unique structure, with podcast-style lessons. The podcasts cover many topics like basic vocabulary or travel tips.
- Informal approach works well to teach authentic Spanish
- No direct speaking practice
- Pricing ranges from $4 to $24/month depending on subscription level
If you consider yourself a self-directed learner, you may enjoy SpanishPod101!
If you want a language learning program with a strong focus on speaking practice, you may want to try Rocket Spanish. The app offers gamified activities as well as in-depth audio lessons.
- Lessons including grammar, culture, vocabulary, and more
- Uses Google Speach Recognition for speaking practice
- Level 1 course costs $150
If you like the idea of a streamlined app that uses high-end Google speech recognition software, give Rocket Spanish a try!
Final Verdict on Pimsleur Spanish
Pimsleur Spanish offers all the tools you need to master the complexities of Spanish, including grammar explanations in English, speaking practice via the voice coach feature, and tons of active listening. Pimsleur also provides a focus on either Castilian or Latin American Spanish to allow you to focus on the accent and vocabulary you need.
With a newly lowered monthly subscription fee to the app, there is no reason you shouldn’t try out Pimsleur Spanish today!