Monday, August 27, 2012

Spanish learning product reviews

There are many products making claims that they can teach you a new language. Some are better than others. These are my thoughts on the pros and cons of several of the products I've had experience with:

Michel Thomas CD’s:

Pros: All audio, very natural teaching/learning style, learn very rapidly, learn grammar in a way that does not seem like learning grammar, courses go from beginner through to very advanced, focuses on correct structure, interactive, uses many mnemonics

Cons: Leaves out certain things like days of the week, numbers, and other vocabulary in favor of correct structure, you only hear one person speaking Spanish so you will not hear a variety of accents or regional differences


Pros: All audio, drills material meticulously, teaches structure without grammar terms, interactive, learn basic and useful phrases fast, uses principle of ‘graduated interval recall’ to help brain remember more effectively

Cons: Very robotic speech that sometimes doesn’t follow the way people actually speak (ex. the Spanish course uses “Castellano” instead of “Espa├▒ol”), even the more advanced levels are not very advanced, focuses on most common vocabulary with lots of drilling so vocabulary building takes a long time. 

Mango Languages

Pros: Audio/Visual, mobile app, voice comparison, focus on core vocabulary, repetitive drills

Cons: Must be used with a device, progress is relatively slow, advanced levels are not very advanced.

Pros: Very entertaining and knowledgeable hosts, covers every level from beginner to very advanced, multimedia content (mp3s, videos, and more), cultural content is covered very well, hosts and guests from all over the Spanish speaking world.

Cons: Not making new content, while the grammar explanations are good there is no real sense of progression.

Note: I have not checked out any other Spanish podcasts but do intend to give them a shot in the near future.

These are just my thoughts, and other folks may have different findings than me.  Please feel free to share any reviews or any products I should look into! 

Please feel free to share your thoughts on these products or any Spanish learning products you have used. I definitely plan on reviewing more products!

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