Michel Thomas Method

Hello everyone, this is my first post here since joining in December. I don’t know if this has been talked about before, but I feel I have to put in a good word for the Michel Thomas Method. It is really a great program to work through when you are first starting to learn a language. I finished with the CDs right before I started learning German with Lingq. I was amazed at how much I understood the structure of the language, and it has made going through the lessons really productive and now I feel it is more a matter of vocabulary and exposure.
Anyways, thank you Steve and everyone who contributes for Lingq, this is truly a special website and it has gotten me so excited about language learning.

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I would also say that it was a big help in my early stages of learning Italian.

It’s not in the least for me, but there’s no doubting it’s a popular series.

I really like the Romance language editions. The ones for other language families stress me out.

I agree with David - the Romance language courses from the original series with Michel Thomas definitely had something interesting going on. Maybe it was the fact that these languages are relatively easy for English speakers? Or maybe it was Michel’s personality and charisma which added something special? Either way, the later courses with new teachers don’t quite cut it, IMO.

ad Chris: (…) …It’s not in the least for me, …(…)

Same here.

I listened to some of his German CDs and I thought he said some “weird” things about how to pronounce certain German words. I don’t recall exactly what he said but I do remember that I was convinced that I would not recommend his German course to my foreign friends. The phrases sounded a bit awkward too.

Besides, personally I don’t like the setting with the students making mistakes and him correcting them etc. But obviously there are lots of people who enjoy this study design (especially in English speaking countries - I have never seen any of his courses in Germany or Austria).

Can’t stand the way he speaks. Tried first the French one and then the German one. Got bored or even irritated very quickly.

I bet he sounded better when he was a lot younger.

Well you’ve picked the right language to learn on this site; the German library is massive!

I think Michel Thomas is brilliant. There are few methods that are as inspiring as his method. If you can just disregard the fact of his quite hideous voice you can learn a lot and get a good basic grip on grammar right of the bat.

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The method surely works for some, but my main gripe (and there are a few), having tried it out quite earnestly for Spanish, is that virtually everything you learn is only stored in short-term memory, because there is so little meaningful context to which to attach all the increasingly new conjugations and vocabulary. Such things have always required time for me, and one of the selling points in Mr. Thomas’ method appears to be the insistence on reduction in this very thing - time - which is so crucial to having a language truly take root.

It should be said that I do very much respect and admire him for promoting language learning, as well as his equal insistence on alleviating anxiety and pressure for students. That’s not always an easy thing to achieve.

I’ve done the Foundation ones for Japanese, Dutch, French and Mandarin Chinese. I thought they were really great, and gave me more active ability in the language than semester/s at university. I also found them easier to cope with beginning to learn a language from scratch for Dutch and French, than say Pimsleur or TY (though Pimsleur was perfect for afterwards).

I read in several online reviews eg. Amazon, people saying they couldn’t stand the sound of Michel’s voice, and also the voice of his later teachers. The rudest people appeared to be generally the youngest with an: “Old people are grose” mentality.

Harold Goodeman teaches the Mandarin Chinese one, and has a similar voice to Michel Thomas. Yes, they both sound elderly and yeh, have a lisp and spittle etc, but I like ‘em anyhow. I deliberately overlooked it and imagined those MT teachers as being my own grandparents or elderly friends. What they taught me outweighed any aesthetics. Just my two cents’ worth.

Absolutely. After a while I found his voice comforting and familiar, making me want to come back to his tapes.

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“gave me more active ability in the language than semester/s at university”

Are his courses that good or were your classes that bad.?

To answer that question for myself I would say that this is definitely true. I took two semesters of French with an excellent professor at a great school. After 12 hours of German with Michel Thomas I felt that I had much more of a grasp with German than with French.

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