Pimsleur support group

Content seems current. The audio is standard native with male and female speakers and a native English speaker explaining grammar and details as needed. Pimsleur seems to refresh and/or re-release the series every 10 years or so.

The app version seems to fill in a lot of missing pieces around reading and vocabulary reinforcement that the CDs alone missed (booklets w/accompanying audio always felt clunky in the CD/mp3 versions)


Just curious, how is your Spanish? I am completely new to Japanese, and am finding that as I near the end of the first course (first 30 lessons), I still don’t have an “ear” for the language. I generally only get about 30-50% of the meaning of the dialogue at the beginning of every lesson. Will that get significantly better after course 3? I’m trying to cling to some hope here.

My Spanish proficiency has dropped significantly since I haven’t been speaking it for over six years now. At the time, it was enough to get by while visiting non-English speaking parts of Costa Rica and Mexico. As far as the Pimsleur Japanese lessons, it took me awhile to get an ear for it. One thing that helped was reviewing the phrases by reading them in the app. I know the CDs come with a written supplemental booklet too, so you could try that. Essentially, it helped me work out the nuance between Japanese words that sound almost slurred together. Also, you might try pausing in between prompts to take your time repeating. It will get easier if you stick with it.

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I’ve never heard of this but it sounds interesting. It looks like there’s a sale right now for all 1-5 Japanese courses for $575 (80 hours of content), but I’m looking at the monthly rate for the iOS app and it seems like $15 a month is a lot cheaper. I think I might give it a shot.


In level 3 they teach you “トラベラズチェク” for traveler’s checks… which haven’t really been a thing for a decade or two. :roll_eyes:


Unexpected benefit: learning what traveler’s checks are. Just to clarify: is this with the app version? Or is this part of a previous content wave? I’m looking more into it, and it seems like a good method. But it’s hard to find reviews written by people who “completed” it. It’s funny actually, I found a competitor, language101.com and I’m also having trouble finding reviews for that. But now that I think about it, that’s pretty much been my experience with any sort of learning resource, ever. :open_mouth:

I think the “app version” uses the same content as the “previous content wave”.

I’ve gone through levels 1, 2, and 3 (so 90 lessons total). I’m working on 4 now, but not with so much diligence. I’ve already purchased 5 as well, so my intent is to get through it all eventually.

As a self-learner, it’s been a valuable resource. It gets me speaking, and helps me internalize some grammar points and pronunciation. It is designed with SRS principles in mind so new vocab is re-introduced less and less frequently.

Levels 4 & 5 seem to have been released more recently than 1, 2, & 3. At level 4, they finally start to introduce casual speech, which I think was sorely missing from the earlier levels. The course seems obviously geared toward business professionals, so a lot of the scenarios are business-oriented and may not be relevant to what you care about.

Overall, if you want high-quality, polished lessons that get you speaking some Japanese, I’d recommend Pimsleur. But prepare to be frustrated by overly-polite constructions and vocab you might not find useful.


Thanks for the details. I decided to throw down some dough for Level 1. So I guess I’m part of the crew now!


Hey! Welcome to the crew! Let us know how your first few lessons go. For me, I was pretty happy that 上手 showed up early on. It was a hard one for me to remember on WaniKani due to the unusual reading for 手, and then Pimsleur uses it pretty early. And then there are others like that as the lessons go on.

I finished the third lesson today. This is a lot of fun. I like how it keeps you on your feet by occasionally leading you to attempt to construct something new before it actually teaches it to you. And the spaced repetition is really good too. Also I’m actually speaking. That in itself is pretty great.

I can see now how people could end up wanting to redo lessons though. Maybe for a more similar language to your own you could do all the lessons on your first try. So far I don’t think I’ve hit that point, but I’m not going to feel bad if I do have to repeat a lesson.

Yay! So glad you’re speaking Japanese. It is really satisifying. It starts to get harder at some point, but if you’ve got a good routine down where you have 30 minutes a day where you can do the lessons routinely, I think it’d be easier than me, who’s getting through approximately a lesson a week at this stage.

I finished lesson nine today. I’m pretty impressed by the presentation. It’s just so cool how you start off speaking and listening from the very beginning of the program. And I really like that there’s a bunch of different approaches they do when teaching you a new thing. My favorite I’ve seen so far is when you get a new word with a new particle jammed together and then they sort of teach you to recognize it, then they make you guess what the individual parts are. And then you learn the details. And then they ask you to try using some random thing from a while back you nearly forgot to make a sentence using this new thing. It’s great.


I’ve just recently finished the fourth level, but it took me about 3 years. ( I’m old, so my brain doesn’t pick up new info as quickly as it did). I thought a lot of it was hilarious, and had to share some of the conversation threads on it as I went along.

Section 4 brings in the casual conversation, and I now find there is a section 5!!!

Now I’m doing some spoken language classes, with some Aussies and a Japanese native speaker, and I find my pronunciation and choice of word seems to be good compared with those who haven’t learned aurally.

I’ve only started WK and am finding Pimsleur a great help with doing the first three levels.

I thought Pimsleur was a great way to start speaking the language, and has made learning the grammar from wherever I can makes much more sense.

Good luck to you. You’ll blitz my time, I’m sure, but it’s all good.


Like some of the others here, I started on Pimsleur …18 years ago, then I got suckered into the “michel thomas method”, duolingo, japanese pod 101 … and now I’ve ditched all of them and I’m onto Rocketlanguages Japanese (its very uptodate and they just now released a 2019 overhaul). I mainly like it because the japanese presenter is very enthusiastic and the website is work based as well as audio like pimsleur. Anyway, just my experience!


I finally finished the first level! Yay!

I think my favorite part of the last 2 or 3 lessons was how the presenter kept asking “Are you alone?” in the middle of perfectly normal conversations about going to Tokyo or whatever. Now Pimsleur just needs to teach “What are you wearing?”. Is that in the second course?

But, whatever, it’s memorable. I’m learning the Japanese and I’ll be fully prepared if I run into a Japanese creeper. Alternatively, I can be creepy in Japanese.


I just started using Pimsleur. My listening & speaking are pretty bad and after listening to the first 2 lessons, I know this is perfect for that.

For all of you considering buying Pimsleur, audible is $15 a month and has a free book a month. Unfortunately, that’s only 5 lessons free per month, but you could at least give it a go and see what you think.

Also, they give the first lesson for free here (you don’t have to subscribe)

I bought an mp3 player just for this.


Yeah, the particle thing is pretty good. Sometimes there is an explicit explanation about them, but mostly they just get you used to them. I like how a lot of times, they feel as attached to the beginning of the verb as they are to the end of the noun. The whole sentence feels like a thing, rather than a collection of individual words.

I don’t get that connection or flow when I’m reading, but it’s there on the Pimsleur.

Well, after a burst of energy when I first started, I’ve been averaging right around 5 lessons a month as is. Scrolling up, I see that I was on lesson 18 in December, and here in March I finally finished lesson 30.

So the Audible thing might not be too crazy after all.

Although, honestly, I wish I were going a little faster. 5 a month wouldn’t be terrible if I were just doing every lesson 3 or 4 times, but I’m skipping a lot of days, which messes up the recall intervals that SRS is based on. When I do Pimsleur 3 or 4 days in a row, I start “thinking” in Japanese once in awhile. Like, I get the phrases stuck in my head, which is actually pretty awesome. When I skip days, that doesn’t happen.


Finished lesson 12. I missed Sunday, but I did fine the next day. I’m not sure if having several 1-day gaps over the long term will cause any issue with spacing, though.

I think its fun though. Basically up until now I’ve been studying random pieces of Japanese only in written form. But now I have a time block to actually speak. It’s also cool just seeing this stuff presented through a new lens.

But the pressure is real! Even though you get reminded of the answer after you’re given a chance to say it, half the time I’m cutting it close saying it myself before they give the answer. There is some specific stuff I have trouble with, like the “want” and “don’t want” stuff. But it’s almost like they expected those to be troubling for me, because they gave double-reminders even a couple lessons after they were first introduced!


Heh, you’re so much better than I am at doing this nearly daily.

Good news: Just like with wanikani, it’s really just the first few SRS intervals that really matter. I took about 2 weeks off and only had to go back about 4 lessons. And frankly almost everyone I know who does Pimsleur re-does lessons to help with recall. SRS isn’t pure magic. Sometimes old-fashioned repetition works.

Oh, and yeah, one day gaps just don’t really hurt. I only listen to the CDs Monday to Friday, and that hasn’t caused any long term problems.

Keep it up! You’re doing great.

Warning: for me the lessons started getting harder to do daily right around level 22. I listened to level 22 about 4 times. I’m glad I did, because then I breezed through the next few, before I got bogged down again.

Did anyone else have this problem? The problem wasn’t recalling the “old” stuff, it was that the new words and phrases just weren’t clicking well at all.