When comparing Lang-8 vs Pimsleur, the Slant community recommends Lang-8 for most people. In the question“What are the best sites for learning foreign languages?” Lang-8 is ranked 5th while Pimsleur is ranked 14th. The most important reason people chose Lang-8 is:
Where many programs will have you writing single sentences at most, Lang-8 encourages you to write short stories or diary entries. Having to actually write in the language rather than simply remember vocabulary is a really beneficial feature for improving real-world use of the language.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Gain experience writing in your target language
Where many programs will have you writing single sentences at most, Lang-8 encourages you to write short stories or diary entries.
Having to actually write in the language rather than simply remember vocabulary is a really beneficial feature for improving real-world use of the language.
Pro Get feedback from native speakers
Native speakers of the language you are learning will give you pointers on your writing, such as grammar corrections and advice on word choice/sentence structure.
Pro Self-directed learning
Write as much or little as you like, about the subject of your choice, at the level of difficulty of your choice, taking as much time as you wish. Intermediate and advanced learners can benefit the most from this, but beginners can still use the site to practice what they've learned elsewhere.
Pro Principle of anticipation
Rather than simple listen-and-repeat, you also have to translate phrases and answer questions in the target language during the lessons.
Pro Learn while you commute
Pimsleur uses daily 30-minute audio lessons. You can probably fit this in while you're driving to work.
Pro Very effective for beginners
Pimsleur is based on proven memory science, it's not perfect, but it is very effective. Intermediate learners may not get as much out of it.
Pro Graduated interval recall
Spaced repetition in and between lessons are timed for maximum recall. This also means you can't skip days between lessons, or work ahead. Each level takes one month.
Pro Teaches pronunciation well
Uses the backchaining technique with native speakers.
Con New sign ups are currently put on hold
They are not accepting new registrations now, and it is not clear when will they accept them again.
Con Not a good starting place for beginners
The site doesn't teach you your language, instead it allows you to get advice on your writing in your target language. It's better if you have a basic understanding of the language at first.
Con No writing practice
Pimsleur is an audio-only course. This can be easier for beginners learning languages that don't use the Latin alphabet, but for serious language learners, it's a gap they'll have to fill using something else.
Con Limited vocabulary
It teaches hundreds of words. A great start, but not enough to achieve the thousands required for fluency, even with all three levels. Pimsleur deliberately focuses on the most common words of the target language for maximum recall.
All the CDs for one language cost nearly a thousand dollars. The .mp3's are about half that. Your local library may carry the CDs, those that don't may be able to get them via inter-library loan (ask your librarian). You can also find them used and re-sell them for nearly as much (depending on how long you want to wait), after you finish. Be certain to get the same edition for all levels.
Con Too slow-paced and repetitive for some learners
If you learn quickly, you may find that the 30 minute lessons covering only a small handful of vocabulary move too slowly for you.