June 16, 2010 | Greek

A Multi-Source Approach to Learning

In which I get spoiled having so many products to study with.

I took Pimsleur to Central Park with me tonight and enjoyed an educational walk. It also happened to be the first evening of the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge, a 3.5-mile race, so I took pictures. I think there were something like 15,000 participants. 

When I saw all the runners, I developed serious running envy. I mean really serious. I haven’t run in 11 days, and it is making me insane.

Gathering Before the Race

Gathering Before the Race

I Got Jealous Watching This

I Got Jealous Watching This

This Man Ended Up Winning

This Man Ended Up Winning

Post-Race Festivities

Post-Race Festivities

Back at home, I talked to a doorman in our building who happens to be Greek. I told him I was studying the language, and he asked what I had learned. I repeated some sentences from Pimsleur. As always happens when I repeat sentences from Pimsleur—for all of the languages I have studied so far—he seemed impressed. And happy to help, which is great.

Late at night I did some Rosetta Stone. I came across the sentence, Έχω κόκκινα μαλλιά, pronounced roughly Eho koKEEna malYA and meaning, “I have red hair.”

What I liked about this one is that I originally learned the words in it from three different sources. The first word, Έχω, meaning “I have,” I learned from Pimsleur. The second word, κόκκινα, I first saw on Rosetta Stone. The word μαλλιά I originally encountered in the book Your First 100 Words in Greek.

This multimedia assault is very effective, I find, though I realize it is impractically expensive and therefore isn’t reasonable to recommend, except to people with large language-learning budgets—and quite a bit of time to devote to the undertaking. I am benefiting from complimentary review copies at this point, which makes it affordable to hop around from one product to the next.

I find that learning with multiple products reduces my potential for frustration rather dramatically. Although I in fact have zero teachers, I feel as though I have several, because each product approaches the language training differently. If I find a concept confusing in one product, I get another chance to grasp it with a second product.

It’s also kind of exciting when I am presented with a new word or construction in one forum and I already know it from another source. You get to repeatedly play the role of annoying know-it-all kid who is always raising his or her hand to answer the teacher’s question.

At 1:16 a.m. I decided to log out of Rosetta Stone, because I couldn’t stay awake any more. It is fun, though.

Comments (4)

Diana Shepherd • Posted on Mon, June 21, 2010 - 12:10 pm EST

I totally agree that learning with multiple products is a great way to do it!  And you don’t have to have a huge budget, check you your local library system.  Mine doesn’t have expensive stuff like Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur, but they have lots of other quality materials. And the internet also offers all kinds of stuff for free, or very low cost.  A great way of getting some cheap lessons to complement one’s self-study is through  I all my questions for my once-a-week 30 minute class.

Katherine • Posted on Mon, June 21, 2010 - 3:29 pm EST

I definitely agree you, multi-source language study is the way to go.  I started Rosetta Stone and a few different books after doing only Pimsleur for a few months.  I find Pimsleur to be the best.  You could use only Pimsleur and nothing else, and come out being able to converse.  I have never found any book for any language that gives you that ability.  I also don’t think that Rosetta Stone should be your only source.  I was wondering if you had the same experience as me, I find that I can always recognize the words that are given to me by RS, but I don’t always remember them on my own, and I can rarely use them on my own in conversation.  When I learn a word or phrase through Pimsleur, it immediately enters into my working vocabulary and I could use it in my sleep.  With Rosetta Stone, it takes a while, and it is generally not until I hear the word a second time through another source that I am able to use it.  I wonder if I am the only one to have this experience?

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Mon, June 21, 2010 - 10:35 pm EST

Diana, I first discovered Pimsleur at the library. There is indeed a lot of great stuff there. Thank you for mentioning that, and thank you for bringing up Myngle, too!

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Mon, June 21, 2010 - 11:03 pm EST

Katherine, for oral communication, initially my experience is pretty similar to yours. My conversations in Greek, such as they are, are based on what I have learned from Pimsleur. But I am reserving judgment until I am further along with Rosetta Stone. I really appreciate the exposure Rosetta Stone gives me to reading and writing. I also think having more familiarity with the written language will ultimately give my oral skills more staying power in my brain. I am an extremely visual learner, so that may be even more true for me than for other people. I will definitely be writing more about these two programs, which are my favorite to date, as I become more familiar with Rosetta Stone.

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