Forget Benny, check this out!

You don’t have the three months it takes to learn a foreign language a la Benny? Well, you only need 10 (!!!) days according to the well known language learning company Pimsleur. At least that is what Pimsleur promises their customers There seem to be some industries, the language learing industry and the weight loss industry come to mind, where you basically can make any kind of ridiculous claim and get away with it. Why is that?

I really wonder what the true success rates of Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur and the likes are. (I’d also love to know what lingq’s success rates are but I guess that is hard to measure). Imagine any other product, say a smartphone where the producer makes unrealistic claims. Would people continue to buy the product? I’m sure they wouldn’t,


I guess it all depends on what is meant by “learn”. Or in Benny’s case what he means by conversational Hungarian. Three months in the country is actually a long enough time to make significant progress if you study full time.

I cannot use Pimsleur because there is too much English on the recordings, Other people love the series.

I think at some point you lose all your credibility, and the 10 days claim is way beyond that point. Learn and speak a language, to me that means being fully functional in that language. I find this claim so rediculous, that I would never consider buying that product.

Maybe it is 10 full days = 240 hours = 80 days at 3 hours a day = 480 days at 30 minutes a day - then I think it is not impossible

Friedemann, you ask: "

“There seem to be some industries, the language learing industry and the weight loss industry come to mind, where you basically can make any kind of ridiculous claim and get away with it. Why is that?”

I also asked myself the same question. May be, after some simplification, it is because:

  1. Human beings are intrinsically inclined to hope, believe and dream in things that would be good (in existence of a way to treat some illness, to learn a language in a month, life after death, etc).
  2. It is relatively hard to proove that certain would-be-good things, including learning a language in a month, are just not possible.
  3. There is a huge market of people who lack real experince in the attempts to reach the wood-be-good things.

Well said Ilya L.
However, I don’t think many people do believe “learn a language in a month” claims. If it were that simple, more people would do it. And few people do.
Re the weight loss industry, the very existence of such an “industry” is vile, in a world where many people lack basic food.

Thanks Daniel. Looks like we are going to ( temporarily) “forget Benny”. But the existense of the weight loss industry could only be considered “vile” if hypothetical elimination of such an industry would help provide basic food to those lacking it. I don’t think it is the case.

We may be able to forget Benny, but would we want to? In my search for country-specific blogs the other day I came across a member called ‘internaculio’ who seems to be a French Benny or perhaps Benny himself…

My daughter considers that she has learnt Japanese. She knows “moshi moshi” and “konnichiwa”, and she has no idea that Japanese consists of any other words. On the one occasion on which she met some Japanese people, she had no difficulty in communicating with them. (As it happens, they spoke beautiful English). She has even eaten some Japanese food (a bowl of miso soup). As far as she is concerned, therefore, job done, language and culture assimilated.

It’s funny in a nine year-old, but it’s a little sad when you think how many adults have the exact same mind set.

I found his Twitter site: .

I wonder how many Benny clones there are here? The French member Internaculio even uses Benny’s 'Fluentin3months" blog and looks suspiciously like our dear Benny. Talk about split nationalities…

Actually, rohr4842, the company you link to are just resellers of Pimsleur. They are not the Pimsleur company themselves. This is what the small print at the bottom of the page says:

“Internet Order, LLC sells Pimsleur products but is not an affiliate of Simon & Schuster, Inc. (the publisher of Pimsleur® products) or of Beverly Pimsleur (the owner of the Pimsleur® trademark, which is licensed exclusively to Simon & Schuster). Any use of the Pimsleur® name or associated marks is solely to identify the products sold by Internet Order, LLC. Internet Order is solely responsible for the contents of this website and sales from it.”

dgp, do you think that the Pimsleur company has no control over what their resellers say about their product, about how they represent their product? 99% of people will associate these claims with Pimsleur, I would think. If Pimsleur were bothered by these claims they would do something, I would think.