Pimsleur Language Programs

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Pimsleur Language Programs
FounderDr. Paul Pimsleur, Charles A.S. Heinle, Beverly Heinle
United States
Area served
Key people
Mary Green (Executive Editor) Tom McLean (Vice President)
ProductsPimsleur Language Programs
OwnerSimon & Schuster Audio / CBS Corporation

Pimsleur Language Programs (/ˈpɪmzlər/) is an American language learning company that develops and publishes courses based on the Pimsleur method.


Dr. Paul Pimsleur, a professor and expert in applied linguistics and a founding member of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL),[1] wrote the original 5 courses: Speak & Read Essential Greek (1963), Speak & Read Essential French (1964), Speak & Read Essential Spanish (1966), German Compact (1967), and Twi developed for the Peace Corps (1971). The programs were originally called "A Tapeway Program"[2].

Starting in 1969-70, having tried unsuccessfully to market the programs, Pimsleur gave them to Charles A.S. and Beverly Heinle at The Center for Curriculum Development in Philadelphia. The courses were repackaged and marketed as "CCD/Tapeway Programs". In 1974, Charles Heinle bought the rights to Pimsleur and set up Heinle & Heinle Enterprises. In the 1980s, Heinle opened the Cassette Learning Centers, a stand in the Harvard Coop, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Prospective users were invited to sit down and experience "The Pimsleur Tape". "The Pimsleur Tapes" were published by Heinle & Heinle Enterprises based in Concord, MA.

In 1983 Charles Heinle introduced SyberVision Systems founder Steven DeVore to the Pimsleur Russian program. DeVore, who had used a similar method to learn Finnish, exclusively licensed the Pimsleur programs. DeVore sold the programs in SyberVision's catalogs that were placed in the backseat pockets of major international air carriers and also mailed to 3 million SyberVision customers every month. SyberVision also produced and successfully sold Pimsleur programs via an infomercial that featured Beverly Pimsleur. SyberVision marketed the Pimsleur programs until 1997 before the license was sold to Simon & Schuster.

In 1995, Simon & Schuster took on distribution to bookstores. Before Heinle & Heinle Enterprises sold Pimsleur to Simon & Schuster in 1997, they added 27 new languages to the Pimsleur catalog. Since the acquisition, Simon & Schuster Audio has added another 27 languages. Pimsleur's catalog currently stands at 59 languages and over 200 courses. The courses are still produced in Concord, MA and are available as digital audio downloads, CDs, and select languages are now available in interactive software format.

In 2005, digital editions of some languages were made available through various resellers.

In 2008, Pimsleur's first children's line, Speak Spanish with Dora & Diego, was released in coordination with Nickelodeon's Nick Jr.

In 2008, Playaway was licensed to distribute the entire Pimsleur line to the military on pre-loaded players.

In 2010, Pimsleur donated its Haitian Creole course for free to relief and charity workers after the devastating earthquake in Haiti[3].

In 2010, Pimsleur partnered with the USO, The Boston Foundation and Playaway to produce Pashto and Dari courses for U.S. troops serving in and being deployed to Afghanistan. This course is available for free to all military personnel. Operation Speak Easy[4] was funded by a Boston-area philanthropist and Pimsleur-enthusiast.[5]

In 2010, Pimsleur Digital line was relaunched in DRM-free format and at a new low price.

In 2011, Pimsleur donated 8 hours of its Japanese course to support aid agencies and volunteers in the wake of the tsunami disaster.[6]

In 2012, Pimsleur released a new interactive software version of their Spanish, German, French, and Italian courses called Pimsleur Unlimited.[7]

In 2013, Pimsleur celebrated its 50th anniversary with the launch of a new blog Pimsleur Speaks: On Language, Learning, and Culture.[8]

In 2013, Pimsleur donated 15 lessons of its Tagalog course to support aid agencies and volunteers in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.[9]

In 2015, Pimsleur released 3 additional Unlimited languages (Mandarin, Portuguese, and Russian) in its interactive software format.

In 2016, Pimsleur made its Unlimited product line available as digital downloads worldwide.

In 2018, Pimsleur released its new Pimsleur app for iOS and Android devices and compatible with Amazon Echo devices. Pimsleur replaced the Unlimited product line with Pimsleur Premium available via in-app purchases or through their website.

Corporate structure[edit]

Pimsleur Language Programs is owned by Simon & Schuster Audio, a division of Simon & Schuster, which is part of CBS Corporation.


Available languages[edit]

Pimsleur Language Programs' courses are available in the following languages:[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages "American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages"
  2. ^ Pimsleur, Paul (2013). How to Learn a Foreign Language. ISBN 978-1442369023.
  3. ^ Lynn, Andriani. "Publisher's weekly". Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins Contribute to Haitian Relief Efforts.
  4. ^ "Operation Speak Easy".
  5. ^ Press Release September 13, 2010
  6. ^ Press Release March 24, 2011
  7. ^ "Pimsleur Unlimited". www.pimsleurunlimited.com.
  8. ^ "Pimsleur Speaks Blog - On language, learning, and global pursuits". blog.pimsleur.com.
  9. ^ "Pimsleur® Language Programs Offers Free Tagalog Language Course To Aid Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) Relief And Recovery Efforts". www.prnewswire.com.
  10. ^ "Online Language Courses & Programs to Learn Languages - Pimsleur ®". www.pimsleur.com.

External links[edit]