The Parable of the " Building–Block–of–a–Language Theory"

There ar those who believe that languages are composed of what they call the "building–blocks"– of a language. These consist of neat rows of verb conjugation tables, grammatical rules, vocabulary lists with translations, and other bricks, sand and cement, nails and associated building materials such as men piled together when they plan to mass–produce houses.

Obviously, when a house is being built, the clever logistics of the supplies makes it efficient and effective in reducing the time required to produce a number of houses.

Language builders overlooked the fact that the building blocks of language cannot be arranged and taught as spoken communication skills because the missing ingredient is the way human beings string together language in the form of meaningful speech acts, over the axis of time, which accounts for the way the human brain evolved to both create and understand language.

The critical point is that unless a learner has learned instances of language–in–use, he has not learned them as language.

If learning to understand and to speak a language were simply a matter of memorizing and storing words and sentences, an infinite number of sentences would have to be over learned (memorized), which is obviously an impossible and useless task since an infinite variety of sentence patterns is used in ordinary speech.

The complexity of an internalized grammar is such that no linguist has yet succeeded in making it explicit, or in solving the problem of how a learner can consciously apply the academic rules of grammar during actual conversation.

The Pimsleur I program will take a learner from zero spoken proficiency to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Intermediate–Low level in thirty lessons; Pimsleur II will take a learner who has completed the I and II (sixty lessons) to the Intermediate–Mid level; and the Pimsleur III will take a learner who has completed Pimsleur I, II and III (ninety lessons) to the Intermediate–High level of spoken proficiency on the ACTFL Scale.

Dr. Pimsleur selected the one universal feature of human language and, using it with great skill and art, reduced the problem of spoken–language acquisition through making it possible for adult learners to recapitulate the learning of additional languages within 15 to 45 hours of programmed instruction.

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