Looking for a Spanish learning program

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by John_Berger, Jun 12, 2003.

  1. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

    Nov 1, 2001
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    A very good friend of mine who now lives in Madrid will be getting married next year and I'll never forgive myself (nor will he) if I don't go over for the wedding. But before I do, I want to do the proper thing and learn the language of the country that I'm going to instead of expect them to conform to my language. {/DRIPPING WITH SARCASM}

    I'm looking for a respectable PC tutoring program that will help me to learn Spanish; however, I need one that helps me to learn it the right way.

    What do I mean by that?

    Based on what I've seen and experienced with other PC-based courses, too many of these "instant immersion" style courses start throwing phrases at you as soon as you start. "If you're talking to a man, you say {phrase}. If you're talking to a woman, you say {phrase}." These types of courses are intolerable to me and are complete garbage.

    What I'm looking for is good-quality program that covers the core elements of Spanish FIRST -- grammar, syntax, conjugation, sentence structure, individual words, etc -- before finally getting into putting complete sentences together. I don't want yet another program that throws sentences at me like I'm supposed to know the underlying fundamentals of those sentences.

    Obviously, an actual course at a local college or university would be the best thing to do, but that's not a possibility right now for numerous reasons.

    Ideas? Suggestions?
  2. Jay Heyl

    Jay Heyl Stunt Coordinator

    Apr 19, 1999
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    It isn't a PC-based course, but I can highly recommend the Pimsleur Spanish courses (available on tape or CD). They are geared toward conversational Spanish that a visitor to a Spanish speaking country might need.

    They do start throwing phrases at you right away, but it's done in a very deliberate manner and the phrases are all repeated by native speakers at precise intervals to maximize retention. What you're looking for in learning grammar, syntax, conjugation, etc. is an older style of rote learning that is not all that effective for most people. "Great, I know 16 conjugations of the verb "to eat", but how do I say "I'm hungry?"" ("Tengo hambre", just in case you wanted to know.)

    The lessons are all about 30 minutes in length. They're designed to be done one per day, with the option to review the previous day's lesson if you feel the need. In a month you'll be able to have a simple conversation, ask for directions -- and possibly even understand the response, order food, etc. There are three full courses of 30 lessons each. (I've made it most of the way through the second one.) I must warn you, these courses are not cheap, but if you really want to learn conversational Spanish they are well worth every penny. All three courses are available on CD from Amazon.

    You might want to see if your local library has a copy.

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