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Pimsleur Russian Review - Impartial Review Of This Russian Language Program

Updated on October 22, 2012

A Review of the Pimsleur Russian Language Program

Back in December 2009 I started my first language program - Rosetta Stone. I hated it! Every aspect of the program annoyed me, from the photos that were difficult to understand, to the voice recognition software that had difficulty understanding my Russian friends when they came to visit me. I found the Rosetta method to be counter productive and irritating, The claims about learning the language the same way you learnt your native tongue are just laughable, does anybody recall spending their childhood in front of a computer looking at confusing pop up images? Or struggling to get a poor quality speech recognition tool to actually work?

Anyway, it didn't take long for me to realize that this product was not for me.

I then decided to buy the Michel Thomas Method Foundation Course and it was a godsend. The teacher on the CD was a native speaker and she explained the complex grammar rules in an easy to understand manner. I learnt all the basics about the Russian language from the three Michel Thomas courses. The only problem with the courses is they are very compact with limited vocabulary, they teach you about the grammar but you are not taught enough words to speak at a conversational level.

Enter Pimsleur

The Pimsleur courses are not cheap at approx £200 on Amazon and I was a little nervous about buying another large language course, the Rosetta Stone disaster was still fresh in my mind from six months earlier, how could I forget the several hundred pounds I had just wasted on a useless program?

Anyway I did my homework on Pimsleur and read about 50 different reviews, mostly on Amazon and also a a few others that I located in the depths of the internet.

Below you can find a set of photos, you can see the Pimsluer courses and my Michel Thomas sets.

I think it's important for you to know that I have actually purchased these products and I am not writing BS just to earn commission on the ads posted on this page. (As a writer here on hub pages I do earn money from the articles I create, more info and sign up page here)

Michel Thomas


The Pimsleur series is not for everyone and while I am a huge fan, I doubt that would be the case had I not learnt the grammar first in the Michel Thomas CDs.

Here the pros of the Pimsleur set:

  • It's huge - 16 CDs per set.
  • Graduated recall, you are reminded of words just when you need to be.
  • Saturation, you learn more words than any other program can offer.
  • Real life conversations, such as how to order tickets or food.
  • Each lesson is 30 minutes long - just enough for a days learning.

There are some negatives:

  • Very little explanation of the subject matter you are learning.
  • Almost no explanation of the grammar, you may be confused and banging your head against the wall as you try to grasp something that could have been explained in a few words.
  • The cost - it's a great program but if it's not for you then it's an expensive experiment.

If you already have an understanding of the grammar and know why/how certain prefixes and suffixes are used on nouns then this program will help you build your vocabulary in a manner which is easy to comprehend.

If you are just starting out and find yourself struggling with Russian grammar then I don't think the Pimsleur system is for you. Try the Michel Thomas method instead, it's also significantly cheaper so if you don't like it you have only spent a small sum of money.

I also wanted to let you know that the Pimsleur system has been updated several times and there are now three editions, the third edition is far more up to date that than the other two. However, they are all very similar, just some terms have been changed, instead of postal mail you learn about email as well etc.


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      Petey 3 years ago

      Interesting and informative article. I preferred the Pimsleur method for exactly the reasons you consider negative. Pimsleur teaches you to have simple conversations immediately - the way we learned English as toddlers- but leaves you only a vague feel for how the language works. I found this liberating; after spending years cramming my head with French and German grammar and vocab while being unable to hold a simple conversation, I was delighted to be able to understand and speak perfectly even a very small number of words. But I can see how, for those who learn better in a more academic, "outline-y" way, Pimsleur could be very frustrating.

      Since you're not a baby, the unfulfilled desire to understand

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 5 years ago from Central United States of America

      I have heard several advertisements on the radio for the Pimsleur method but your personal experience is excellent in rating it. Thanks for an informative hub.