Complementary Methods

I am happy that I am using Pimsleur, Livemocha, and a grammar book (How to Speak, Read, and Write Persian).  They complement each other well.

Pimsleur Language Programs (company)
Image via Wikipedia

1. Pimsleur
Pro: You have to learn words really well, you have to say them aloud, the words are nice and basic, can listen to anywhere
Con: Boring method, boring vocabulary

2. Livemocha

Image representing Livemocha as depicted in Cr...
Image via CrunchBase

Pro: You have a great community of help and support, the writing and reading exercises are helpful, the point system makes it good for tracking progress
Con: The exercises don’t always work (typos on exercises, flashcards missing responses–at least in Farsi), I still can’t get my Gold Key from the library, exercises don’t review and reinforce well

3. Grammar book
Pro: Good grammar explanations and tables, good basic vocabulary with phonetic guide
Con: Vocabulary repeats from one list to the next making flashcards harder, one table doesn’t have phonetic guide so I had to look them up, boring

I’ve seen a few reviews on these methods, but the methods tend to be taken in isolation.  I think that every method has pros and cons, and my job as the learner is to navigate different methods to find a mix that works.  “Works,” in my opinion, means 1) teaches me the language and 2) keeps me engaged in learning.


4 thoughts on “Complementary Methods

  1. Pingback: Effects of Livemocha « Loving Language

  2. Hey!

    I tried Pimsleur once, exactly 10 years ago and although I was determined to get through the exercises, I quickly died of boredom and abandoned my dream to Japanese fluency. Anyway, I think if one does not abuse of the lessons (15 minutes instead of 60 minutes sessions), it is a great programme. As for Livemocha, I used to correct French and English exercises. How come they don’t have a corrected version of the exercises ready and then of course extra help from the community? Are there many farsi speaking livemocha peeps? I think I’ll give it another shot once I’ve reached my 3 months of Chinese learning. Thanks xx Layinka


    1. Thanks for the comment. There are tons of Farsi-speakers on Livemocha. I finish an exercise and have responses in 15 min. In 24 hours I have more than I can handle. Livemocha’s exercises are a bit wonky, at least in Farsi. I like the open-ended writing assignments. The reading exercises, though, go beyond the vocabulary offered, so I have to ask the community how to pronounce them. (Part of this problem arises from the Farsi writing system, however.)


  3. Pingback: Flashcard systems « Polyglot Posturings

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