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Language Leader PimsleurA® Finds 70 Percent Of Americans Think English Is Most Commonly Spoken Language In The World, Almost Half Say French Is The Sexiest But Few Are Bilingual, According To New Research

NEW YORK, Nov. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Pimsleur Language Programs today releases its first survey, Americans and Language: Perceptions and Realities, and celebrates 50 years in the language industry . According to the survey, less than 10 percent of Americans are aware that Mandarin Chinese is the most commonly spoken language in the world, and nearly three-quarters (70 percent) of those polled incorrectly maintain that English is the most commonly spoken language, followed by Spanish (14 percent). Yet, the number of people speaking Mandarin more than doubles the number of English and Spanish speakers.


"This anniversary is particularly special to us, as we've seen leaps and bounds with language learning since our inception in 1963. We're thrilled to release the book and Pimsleur Course Manager App, which make learning a foreign language more convenient and achievable," says Robert Riger, Vice President and Director of Pimsleur Language Programs. "The process of learning a language can be daunting to many people, but it doesn't have to be. Pimsleur's audio-based learning system is proven to work and is designed to truly take the learner directly to the heart of the language."

Additional topline survey findings show:

  • Despite the uptick in usage of language learning programs, almost three-quarters (73 percent) of Americans are unable to hold a conversation in more than one language.
  • Of those who say they are multi-lingual, just under half (49 percent) can have a conversation in Spanish, 15 percent can have a conversation in French, and six percent in German. Only four percent of Americans, respectively, can speak Hindi, Italian, Japanese and Vietnamese.
  • Americans have concerns with learning a new language: the biggest challenges cited are difficulty (32 percent) and not having enough time (29 percent). Nearly one-fifth (18 percent) of Americans felt they were "too old" to learn a language; 16 percent were intimidated because they had failed at learning a new language in the past.
  • French is the language of love. Nearly half (45 percent) of those polled agree that French is the sexiest language on Earth, compared to only 16 percent who said Italian, English (15 percent) and Spanish (10 percent). 

In honor of reaching the 50-year milestone, the company has launched the Pimsleur Course Manager App and published a hardcover edition of Dr. Paul Pimsleur's classic How to Learn a Foreign Language. The App, which facilitates the learning process and helps learners progress through Pimsleur's friendly 30-minute daily lessons, is iOS compatible, works for PCs and MACs and is available through iTunes and on Google Play. The Pimsleur Course Manager App makes language learning more portable than ever and even reminds users to complete their daily lessons.

How to Learn a Foreign Language targets all language learners and explains why everyone is capable of speaking a foreign language, walking them through the process of choosing a course of study. The book introduces the audio based Pimsleur Method,™ a completely natural way to learn a language that recalls how we first learned to speak as children. In addition to being released today as an e-book and hardcover, How to Learn a Foreign Language is also available as part of Pimsleur's Holiday Gift Set, paired with a 30-lesson course in any of the 50 languages available from Pimsleur.

This month, Pimsleur also launched a 50 th Anniversary Sweepstakes. Enter through Pimsleur's Facebook page for your chance to win a vacation package worth $11,500, including a $7,500 travel voucher, iPad, Tumi luggage and more at

For more information about Pimsleur and to try a language lesson for free, visit

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