Jump to content
Learn Chinese in China

Pimsleur Cantonese


Recommended Posts


wrote a blog post about it last year. Its a definite "bad". Don't expect much

It's going to be difficult to learn Cantonese then as Pimsleur is one of the most extensive courses there is, unless there are some that I don't know about.

You are very wrong. Its not extensive, it doesn't teach anything. I used it at the very start and after the 30 days was super broken, couldn't say more than a few words and simply wasted 1 month of my study. If you get a chance, read my blog from the first post and you'll see how I'm learning Cantonese.

Don't fall for Pimsleur's marketing gimmicks, its quite a pathetic course.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

  • 1 month later...

I started Pimsleur Cantonese two weeks ago, and I think it is good for my situation. I wouldn't recommend it, though, as the sole means of learning the language, and I think it is overpriced if you have to buy it new.

I have read enough to know about its shortcomings, and to know about the pronunciation differences to expect later on. For me, there is no problem with the slowness or lack of vocabulary, because my own learning is much much slower than the Pimsleur people could imagine. I find it tough to learn half a dozen new words in a week, and a thrill if I can ever manage that much. That's OK, I'm still learning and still enjoying it a lot.

Because I'm learning on my own, without any Cantonese speakers around either, it's important for me to start speaking early and often. Pimsleur does that for me, without having to stare at the wall and wonder what to say next, or what I've forgotten that I've forgotten.

I expect I'll mainly use a book-with-audio set to learn Cantonese. I have several, and will use a few of them simultaneously in order to compensate for differences in advice, and for lack of chance to ask questions, and to get used to different voices and linguistic opinions.

Pimsleur, at least part of the set, is providing an introductory course that makes me speak from the outset, and most importantly gives me confidence that I can do some known amount of stuff. As small as that may be it helps a lot, and even after half a dozen lessons my books are much less scary to approach on my own now. But that's not enough benefit to want to buy the whole course new, when there's so much else that could be bought for the same money. I happen to have it, and in my situation, I've found it the best prequel to more serious Cantonese study coming up.

Of course, if I were the type of person who could sit down with a ten-line lesson dialogue containing twenty new words, consume all that and leap on to the next lesson, or if I had a class to attend or a Cantonese speaker to talk to, well sure, I wouldn't even need to ask about Pimsleur. But that's not the case.

It's certainly not the best choice as the only means of learning Cantonese, but it is exactly the right tool for some jobs.

By the way, since I already know how to write a tiny bit of Mandarin, I'm doing a character/Yale transcript of the Cantonese as I go, for the first few lessons. That helps a lot because I need to have the words written down somehow, and each lesson alternates with a period of interesting research and comparison with what I already knew (Mandarin) with what I've just learned (Cantonese). It is also motivating to have something, anything, to share with others, instead of only talking to the wall.

So my advice is use Pimsleur by all means, if and only if you already have it and it takes a well defined role within broader study plans, and if it happens to work for you. Don't use Pimsleur, or any other course that costs a lot of money or time, without first knowing that it fits your well defined personal need. But hey, if your brain could crunch through a list of 20 new words a couple of times a week without falling to pieces, yeah, forget about Pimsleur, but I think you already knew that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...