Reviews

Review of Learning Spanish Like Crazy Nivel 3

For fans of the Learning Spanish Like Crazy audio series, the arrival of new material, after years of waiting, is something to be excited about. I am a fan of the series and highly recommend LSLC level 1 and LSLC level 2 for supplementing your Spanish study. When level 3 was ready for sale, I bought my copy right away. I have started working with it, and have a review to share.

First off, there are 2 versions of Level 3. The first version was released earlier and contains 15 lessons averaging about 20 minutes each. The owners offered this original version for sale a while back announcing that it was partially complete, and the other lessons would be ready at a later time. Apparently the feedback to these lessons was such that the owners stopped the production of this version and started a new version from scratch. From reading some of the feedback, it seems that the biggest gripe had to do with content. The subject matter of the original 15 lessons is religion-based, so much of the vocabulary are words having to do with various religious faiths. (After having worked through this program, the religious theme is only in the first 4 or 5 lessons. After that, plenty of other topics are explored.)

The new and improved version 3 was released and that contains 20 lessons plus 4 bonus lessons, averaging over 25 minutes a lesson. The subject matter contains more secular, and perhaps more useful subject material. With the purchase of this version, you also receive, as a bonus, the original set of 15 lessons.

Level 3 continues the same technique of the first 2 levels with listen and repeat based drills that help with practicing grammar and building vocabulary. Each version uses a different set of native speakers. One is the narrator, and then there is a male and female voice.

Learning Spanish Like Crazy Nivel 3 allows you to practice some of those more “obscure” verb tenses that you’ve read about and maybe studied a bit, but never had an opportunity to practice. You get to practice the future perfect, the conditional perfect, the imperfect subjunctive, se le constructions (as in “I broke the glass”, or “the glass broke on me”), “deber haber” (to should have done something), and a few others. The original version only works with the future perfect, and conditional perfect (with and without past subjunctive in the if/then construction.)

I have been working with both the original and the new-and-improved version simultaneously. At first I started doing each lesson 5 times (on 5 different days) before moving on to the next one. But since I found the lessons rather easy, and the material often flows into the next lesson, I started alternating the lessons. When I alternate them, I follow the sequence a,ab,abc,abcd,abcde,bcdef, cdefg,,,,on onward. This way each lesson is listened to 5 times, and it breaks it up a bit. For me I feel the learning sinks in more deeply, taking longer breaks between lessons. Doing this pattern to BOTH the original and new version is allowing me to be able to review each. The grammar reviewed doesn’t exactly coincide between versions, but I am finding that this doesn’t bother me.

SO WHAT DO I THINK ABOUT LEARNING SPANISH LIKE CRAZY NIVEL 3

First off, although there are quite a few “negative” things I bring up below, for the most part, LSLC3 does what it is meant to do, provide hours of PRACTICE! Practice in developing listening skills, practice in grammar, practice in speaking. I feel that audio-based drills that allow you to repeat are incredibly helpful. And unfortunately there aren’t many available for more advanced Spanish students. So LSLC3 is definitely filling an important role by providing what it provides.

My criticisms of LSLC3 are definitely overridden by the positives, and these criticisms are just being mentioned for the sake of being honest and thorough, and in the hopes that future producers of audio-based Spanish learning content may take into consideration what I would consider to be improvements.

First off, the narrator of each version seems to be a native Spanish speaker who doesn’t speak perfect English. To me, I don’t want to be distracted by the funny sounding English or the grammar mistakes. The narrator should be a native English speaker who speaks Spanish. For example, at one point the woman narrator says “We fell asleep in the party”. A native Spanish speaker would naturally translate this as “in the party.” But in English we say “We fell asleep AT the party”. The male narrator (who was taught to speak British English, which sounds really bizarre when combined with his natural accent) at one point says “When ? arrives, the Muslims will have read…” but he pronounces “read” in the present tense, which sounds like “reed”. Or the funniest would, “What would you have done if the fish had finished”, when meaning to say, “What would have done if you ran out of fish (like in a restaurant). Sorry, I’m a Spanish geek and also an expert of English grammar, so these types of things jump out and distract me. Do they ruin my LSLC3 experience? Not in the least. I’m just suggesting that a native English speaker should be used for the narration.

My second criticism is that LCLS3, like the earlier levels, wastes too much time repeating little words and phrases. Maybe for level 1 this is necessary. But advanced students don’t have to say certain things so many times. I would guess that 10% of the audio, maybe more, is wasted with repeating little words more than needed.

Criticism 3 has to do with vocabulary. Unlike others who criticized the heavy religious vocabulary of the original version, I find this vocabulary to be rather useful. I mean, I am not religious in any way, but most people are, and most Latinos are. So it’s going to come in really useful to know this stuff because it is likely to be encountered when talking to people. I personally feel that all new vocabulary is worth learning after you learn the basics. And for most people at the advanced level, they don’t need to practice the word for sleep. That is why I was surprised when the narrator asks if I remember how to say “to sleep”. Of course I know how to say dormir! That I remember from the one year of high school Spanish I had! Again, this isn’t that big of a deal because there is plenty of good and new vocabulary. PLUS there is lots of review of other words that I already know, but not as well as I know dormir.

4th criticism is the packaging. Wow, I wasn’t expecting a full on box set of full color compact discs! It’s pretty fancy. But I don’t understand who listens to CD’s anymore? I put all 10 or 12 CD’s (I forget how many) directly into my laptop and imported them into my iTunes. The entire material could have been burned onto 1 data DVD as a zip file. Or sold as digital downloads like levels 1 and 2. OK, I know the owners are trying to insure they maximize sales, and this is part of their marketing strategy, that at a later time it will be available as a digital download, after all the eager fans have bought their copy. But I also know how expensive it is to produce a 12 CD box set (I used to own a company that brokered CD projects back in the day when people actually used CD’s). Hence the hefty $197 price tag of LSLC3. Not to mention the environmentally unfriendly impact of using petroleum-based products when a simple digital file will do the trick. But the package looks hot and super professional if that matters to anybody.

5th and final criticism. LSLC3 is not challenging enough! Well, this is very personal and impossible to satisfy every student’s needs. Perhaps since level 2 was released, instead of waiting around for LSLC3 to improve my Spanish, I did other things to improve. And now, well, LSLC3 is not that challenging. HOWEVER, it is still great practice for reinforcing the Spanish I have already learned. And that is why I use LSLC3, why I enjoy it, and why I recommend it.

TO BUY LEARNING SPANISH LIKE CRAZY NIVEL 3 CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE TO READ MY REVIEW OF LEARNING SPANISH LIKE CRAZY LEVEL 1 AND 2

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Posted by Rachel Shell in Reviews, 0 comments

Rosetta Stone Review – Best Use Of Rosetta Stone

You may already have an opinion about Rosetta Stone. But in case you are considering purchasing it, you will probably want to read some objective reviews before making the investment. If you already have made the investment, and you aren’t sure how best to use Rosetta Stone, this video will probably help you out.

In case you would rather read the transcript of the video than watch the video, the text is below. This video is taken from my course Teach Yourself A Foreign Language.

When I tell people I am a language learner or that I produce Spanish learning products, I am amazed at how often I am asked “What do you think of Rosetta Stone?” It really is remarkable how the marketing of Rosetta Stone has made it practically a household name. I remember even seeing a Rosetta Stone kiosk in one of the terminals at the Atlanta airport!

Most people know that Rosetta Stone is an impressively, slick packaged, and pricier software. But is it an effective resource for language learning? Is it worth the investment? How far does it take you? What are its best uses? What can you expect from it?

It is really easy for me to just write Rosetta Stone off as a bunch of hype with little substance. A couple of years ago, I actually published a blog post that was a review of Rosetta Stone that wasn’t very complimentary, and their legal team sent me an email telling me to pull it off my site! I guess they aren’t much for learning a language well enough to use free speech!

But because so many people have invested in Rosetta Stone with good intentions, perhaps some of you who are watching this video, and because I want to be really accurate in my assessment of Rosetta Stone, I decided to look further into the program and find some redeeming qualities, and how best to use the program.

Fortunately, I have a friend who bought all 5 levels of Spanish. She has had it for a while, but has barely spent any time with it. She was able to give me a tour of the program. She started out by showing me the first part of level 1. As you probably know, the program uses pictures and audios to teach basic vocabulary. It doesn’t teach any grammar or syntax, and it doesn’t provide English translations.

My friend said she would prefer having the English translations as this would help her. For example, one of the first phrases is “El niño bebe.” Based on her interpretation of the pictures, she thought this meant, “The boy drinking” which is wrong. She didn’t know that it can actually mean 2 things: the boy drinks, or the boy is drinking. It could also mean the boy will drink in a particular context. So there is some potential confusion there. I understand though that Rosetta Stone can more easily market the exact same product to non-English speakers if it doesn’t include the English translations, or grammar explanations in English.

I was interested in skipping ahead because I was curious how complicated the grammar got. I did a quick survey of the audios and found that level 4 was still using the simple present tense verbs. Not until level 5 did the course introduce the two past tenses in Spanish, known as the preterite and the imperfect. These are incredibly important tenses to learn, and these are introduced in any Spanish first year course in high school or university.

Also, I was very surprised that most of the verbs used were the simplest type of verbs. Spanish has a few different types of verbs; regular, irregular, and stem-changing, all of which are very important to learn and know about. Aside from some of the most popular verbs (to want, to have, to go, and to be), I only heard simple regular verbs used. Just by comparison, these irregular verbs are learned in any 1st year Spanish course.

So what it seems to me is that if you work your way through all 5 levels of Rosetta Stone Spanish, you won’t even cover half of what you would learn in a first year Spanish course. In my opinion, the greatest failing of Rosetta Stone is its lack of grammar explanation. Maybe this is because of the philosophy that they are working off the premise that adults best learn a new language like children, and we don’t have the cognitive development to understand advanced conceptual ideas like grammar.

So are there any redeeming qualities of Rosetta Stone. Yes, definitely. I think the best use of Rosetta Stone is for learning and practicing micro-pronunciation and basic, but important, vocabulary. You also get to practice some simple macro-pronunciation as well. The audio recordings sound great, and they are spoken at a fairly decent speed for developing early listening comprehension skills.

Also, Rosetta Stone provides structure for your learning as you progress through the lessons. If you’re a busy person, and you don’t want to fuss with figuring out how to study, or what to study, then Rosetta Stone eliminates that decision making process. This can be pretty convenient.

It is also fun. At least, for me it seemed like fun. But I would think it might get boring after a while, since the lessons are all the same.

Another benefit, is if you already know Spanish, in my case, and you decide to learn Portuguese or Italian, the lack of grammar explanations aren’t an issue because the grammar, especially at this beginner level, is essentially the same. I am considering the Portuguese version because I want to learn the basic Portuguese words and micro-pronunciation, and this would be a fun way for me to do it.

A couple of other considerations:

–Spanish comes with 5 levels, because it’s a popular language to learn. But Portuguese, and many of the other languages they offer only have 3 levels. If 5 levels of Spanish don’t even get you half of the material of a first year Spanish course, 3 levels of these other languages would be even less.

–The other potential pitfall of Rosetta Stone is that once you learn the vocabulary of a unit, you don’t re-use it in later units. So if you don’t use it, you lose it. Well, you will retain some of it of course, but if you go back to a lesson you completed after 6 weeks, and don’t use any other resource besides Rosetta Stone, I guarantee you won’t remember most of what you memorized earlier.

–Considering what you get, Rosetta Stone is expensive! I don’t know how much a Spanish one course at your community college runs for, but I imagine it is a better value than Rosetta Stone.

–Rosetta Stone uses a cookie cutter method of teaching a language. They assume the teaching of every language is the same. The method teaches you the same words and phrases, using the same pictures, across all languages.

So essentially, Rosetta Stone, in my opinion, is an over-priced, beautifully designed, high quality vocabulary builder that will help you get started with basic pronunciation and vocabulary. It will teach you a large amount of vocabulary in simple tense verbs. But as I have said earlier, you don’t want to waste much time building vocabulary at a beginner level. It just doesn’t help you to memorize a bunch of words if you don’t know how to use them correctly in sentences.

I can say, regrettably so, that Rosetta Stone will by no means get you even close to being fluent or to being able to converse very well. If your goal is to learn a little bit of a language for a trip, it will teach you way more vocabulary than you would need, and not enough practical conversation.

If your goal is to speak a language fluently, Rosetta Stone will give you a solid foundation of pronunciation and basic vocabulary, most of which you will end up relearning due to lack of use. However, if you use Rosetta Stone to supplement your studies with a good textbook that explains the grammar of your target language, I think that’s the best use of the program, especially for early beginner level.

For this purpose, and used in this way, I think Rosetta Stone is an excellent alternative to Byki. Byki is much more affordable, and you can use it to create your own flashcards which comes in handy later on in your studies. But if you have already invested in Rosetta Stone, use it and get your money’s worth. Just be ready to supplement it with a good textbook (or website) that can help you understand the grammar and syntax. And then continue using it to build and practice your vocabulary as you work with more advanced level audio drills like Pimsleur or FSI.

And finally, if you really want to use Rosetta Stone, but you are strapped for cash, and you happen to be in Perú, you can find bootleg copies selling for super cheap. Software piracy runs rampant in many third world countries. I’m not advocating supporting it in any way, but in Perú, if you know where to go, you can buy the full versions of any language for about $20!

If you’re interested in learning a language, but you’re not sure where to begin, be sure to check out my video course Teach Yourself A Foreign Language. This course will help you save time and money, and it comes with incredibly useful tips and strategies for learning a foreign language. To find out more about my course, click on this pretty banner:

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Posted by Rachel Shell in Reviews, 0 comments

FSI (Foreign Service Institute) Spanish Language Programs

The United States Government financed and created language-learning programs for training of government employees, diplomats and various branches of the military. These programs, in many different languages, are in the public domain and they have been made available to the taxpayers and descendants of taxpayers who financed their creation. There is one obscure website that exists for the sole purpose of collecting and cataloging these programs and the different languages they come in. Here they are available for free as downloads.

Apparently quite a few companies have used this material, spiffed it up, and repackaged it for sale. Some of these companies may have an added value to the original program that is worth the price. But for the most part, the free versions are going to get you the same results.

There are a few different varieties of FSI Spanish programs to know about. Each program consists of a textbook that has been digitally converted to a PDF file, and audios to accompany the textbook that are in mp3 format. Some have a workbook, also as a PDF file. The earliest version is called “Basics Spanish”. The Basic Spanish program consists of 4 levels and was created way back in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. The textbooks for levels 1, 2 and 3 are around 700 pages (for each level) and there are 15 audios (divided in two) that amount to around 15 hours (also for each level). The level 4 textbook is 464 pages and there are 10 hour-long audios.

In 1967, FSI rolled out a new program and it is known as “Programmatic Spanish”. The Level 1 textbook has 478 pages and audios for 25 units (about 50 hours). The Level 2 program, from 1970, has a textbook that is 625 pages and 25 more units of audios. Unlike the Basic Program, each of these Levels comes with a 200+ page workbook. Of course you have to print it out. Remember these are all PDF files. To my knowledge hard copies are not available.

Let’s fast-forward to 1983 and the release of the Spanish Fast program, known more officially as the Spanish Familiarization and Short-Term Training program. This comes with one textbook that is 588 pages long and 38 audios.

FSI also has a program called Head start to Latin America, and Head start to Puerto Rico, which are shorter and geared toward military service people being stationed there who want to learn some basics to get by.

So the three main programs, Basic, Programmatic, and Fast, are similar but with some differences. Obviously, these were created long before personal computers were in every American home. The best they could do as far as achieving interactivity with the student was to have cassette tapes with audio that corresponded to the textbook. These programs, except for the Fast, also expect that the student will be concurrently taking a class and learning from a professor.

As mentioned above, the textbooks for these programs have been transferred to PDF files, and the audios to mp3 files. Unfortunately, the process of using the audios with the textbook is rather clumsy by today’s standards of userability. In the Programmatic series, there are lots of lessons in the textbooks that aren’t on the audio, so you have to stop and start the audio as you go. Since the textbooks are in a PDF file, it is difficult to edit them, or condense them into a smaller file, which would be nice in case you wanted to print them out. Other downsides to the programs are that the subject matter, especially for the Basic and Programmatic program, revolves around things that a government employee may need to know. Like embassy or military stuff, and golf. And the English speaker’s accent can best be described as “50’s retro square.” The other odd thing about the Basics program is the textbooks are split into 3 columns. You get the Spanish on the left and the English translation on the right, but for some reason they have a middle column that is a phonetic representation of the Spanish sounds that looks like another language altogether. It just clutters up the whole document and makes it quite user unfriendly.

The other thing to keep in mind is that the way of speaking is probably pretty square by Spanish standards. You will not sound hip if you speak just like this, and you won’t know any slang or current phrases that have been in use since 1970.

Yes, it’s a clumsy out-dated presentation, but the methodology is probably the most thorough and useful of anything out there. With these programs you get solid training in many of the aspects of Spanish learning (grammar, listening comprehension, pronunciation, etc.). The Fast program is geared towards more practical concerns that the learner is going to have in a new country, and it spends less time on the nuances of the language. The Basic and Programmatic programs are in-depth and more geared towards people wanting to be experts in all facets of the language, even though they were designed for people who didn’t need such fluency, except for the undercover CIA operatives of course.

The upsides to the Basic and Programmatic FSI programs, besides being available for free, is that they are, without question, over-the-top in their thoroughness. Despite the dorky tone of the English speakers, and the regimented nature of the methodology, it is so exhaustive and goes into some of the finer nuances of the language, with detailed explanations and plenty of practice exercises. I would say the Basics is mostly audio-based, with more emphasis on repeating what you hear, while the Programmatic program goes more into dissecting the language. However, for the early beginner Spanish student, I wouldn’t recommend either of these. They are a bit too overwhelming and will most likely turn people off or bore them away. The beginner would best be served using the Fast program. It’s more up-to-date, fun (it has pictures!) and more relevant. The Basics program I recommend to Intermediate level to build syntax and fluid macro-pronunciation. The Programmatic program is for the hard-core serious Spanish learner who really wants to get into some of the lesser-known nuances of the language. Levels 3 and 4 of the Basics program will be of use for intermediate and advanced students.

I should mention that the audios include native Spanish speakers from Latin America, as opposed to Spain, and the vosotros form is not used in the programs. Also, the Basic Level 1 is available as a CD set (also downloadable) called Camino de Éxito, which is much easier to use than the free FSI downloads. The Basic Level 2 is available for streaming for paid members of the website StudySpanish.com. Apparently the Langocity company also repackages Basics 1 and 2. And a company called Platiquemos repacked the whole enchilada and cleaned up the text and updated the audio (I just recently learned of Platiquemos) If you aren’t on a tight budget, I would recommend getting the Platiquemos version because the text is just so much more user friendly than the original.

Basics 3 complete with audios is available for free here. The audios are in good shape. Basics 4 text only is available for free on this site. The only place to get the audios, that I know of, for Basics Level 4 or the Fast program are as part of a group of bonuses if you purchase a program called Learning Like Crazy 1. (The bonuses include the Programmatic Levels 1 and 2, and the Basics level 3 and 4 as well as some other great stuff.)

(I actually bought Learning Like Crazy 1 just for the bonuses as I had already done Learning Like Crazy 2)

If you are willing to put up with the peculiarities of the FSI Spanish programs, they are incredibly useful for learning Spanish and reinforcing what you already know.

USING FSI PROGRAMS

The best way to use the program is to print out the textbooks. It’s a lot of paper and ink, so that may not be practical for most people. I use the PDF files and then open up the audios with a QuickTime player. As you read the text, you have to stop and start the audio when necessary. (More for the Programmatic course than the Basics course). This can be a little challenging to go back and forth between programs, and frustrating if you lose your place in the text. But you get used to it, or you put up with it because it’s a good Spanish workout.

Posted by Rachel Shell in Reviews, 0 comments

Review of Bueno Entonces

Bueno Entonces is a video program intended for beginner Spanish students. It comes in 30 “episodes” of about 40 minutes each lesson. The lessons are based upon a new Spanish student named David who is from Britain. He has moved to Argentina so that he could learn Spanish in the hopes that this will help him get laid by as many Latinas as possible. His teacher is a supposedly “hot” Argentinian girl who has a boyfriend and is not at all interested in David’s immature attempts to flirt with her.

There are also various narrators that jump in and help explain the grammar rules as you go along. They cover 2 years worth of Spanish in all 30 episodes.

I “worked” my way through Bueno Entonces and to date have made it through 14 of the 30 episodes. I feel I am qualified to offer an objective assessment of Bueno Entonces for my readers.

First off, the production is really slick. It is really well produced, bringing all sorts of technological advancements to the field of language learning. Unfortunately, consistent with so many other slick programs with all sorts of fancy bells and whistles, they all seem to be rather ineffectual as learning tools. The designers of these programs must be assuming that the entire world suffers from ADD (attention deficiency disorder) without realizing those that do are very unlikely to ever get very far learning a language with the patience required to do so.

Secondly, the main character, for the most part, is a whiny arrogant twit who tries really hard to be funny. Thankfully he succeeds once in a while and I laughed out loud quite a few times. Maybe 5% of his attempts to be funny succeeded for me. But his humor doesn’t help anyone learn Spanish. It is just a distraction for the ADD set to keep them watching.

Thirdly, I’m not sure what teaching methodology this is, but trying to learn a language by observing another beginner fumble his way through it, hardly seems like an effectual method. Bueno Entonces does not provide any opportunity for the user to participate. It is just a bunch of information crammed into a small amount of time. There is no way somebody new to Spanish could possibly absorb it all, practice with it, put it into use, or not feel overwhelmed by it all. It’s 2 years of Spanish stuffed into such a short amount of time with no natural pacing that needs to happen when learning a language.

Fourthly, the native Spanish narrators tend to speak super fast. I can barely understand them sometimes. I can’t imagine a beginner student being able to understand them at all!

There is another language learning program which succeeds in all the areas where Bueno Entonces fails. It is called Destinos. It is a 52 part video series of 30 minutes each, with a textbook and workbook to supplement it. The pacing is natural and there are built in reviews. It is an incredibly effective tool, although it is rather pricey. You can view streams for free by clicking here. And you can find the textbooks and workbooks on Amazon.

With all this being said, there are some beneficial uses of Bueno Entonces, which probably were unintentional.

Of these, I would say if you have already had 2 years of Spanish, and you maybe took a long break and are getting back into Spanish, Bueno Entonces can serve as a really good review. The above-mentioned Destinos would also serve you well here. You may be able to work your way through Destinos without the accompanying textbooks as I did.

Also, another interesting thing about Bueno Entonces is that it was produced in Argentina and all the Spanish speakers have an Argentinian accent. They also cover the voseo as well as common Argentinian slang. If you have any desire to visit Argentina, or move there, Bueno Entonces will help you get familiar with the nuances of the accent.

Another benefit of Bueno Entonces would be if you are planning to teach Spanish. The Spanish tutor in the program, Jimena, is a very good teacher and may provide you with ideas on how to go about teaching beginner level Spanish students. I don’t know if she is a teacher in real life, but if she is, and you are looking for a Spanish tutor in Buenos Aires, track her down.

Bueno Entonces also comes with mp3 audios, so you can listen to the entire program. This may be something you would do after watching the video version several times. There is also a pdf that is included which is a pretty unsubstantial workbook / review of each episode.

I really don’t enjoy writing bad reviews. I know how much effort went into creating this product. But I am trying to be objective. If you have used Bueno Entonces and found it useful, please submit a comment and let me know how you benefited from it.

Posted by Rachel Shell in Reviews, 0 comments

Learning Spanish Like Crazy Review

Learning Spanish Like Crazy is an audio-based learning program, available in 3 levels (beginner and intermediate). Each level has 30 audio lessons that range between 20 – 35 minutes in duration. The audios come with a complete transcript, but there are no explanations about the grammar or other supplemental material.

Learning Spanish Like Crazy emphasizes Spanish from Latin America instead of Spain. The native Spanish speakers in the recordings are from Latin America. The audios are a series of Listen and Repeat exercises based around a scripted dialogue. The user is asked to remember a word, or is challenged to come up with a way to express something in Spanish. After a pause, the correct answer is given with another pause allowing the listener to repeat the answer and mimic the pronunciation of the native Spanish speaker. This helps build pronunciation skills, and early conversation skills (by practicing recall).

Since Learning Spanish Like Crazy is an audio-only program, they are great for developing aural skills. They serve as an excellent supplement to other text-based comprehensive programs the learner may be using, as basic concepts are reinforced within a new and different context. So which level is right for you?

LEARNING SPANISH LIKE CRAZY LEVEL 1

Level 1 is designed for beginners. There is no time spent on micro-pronunciation (vowels and consonants), so coming into level 1 already having studied basic pronunciation will be a great benefit. The grammar isn’t really explained either, so knowing some grammar in advance, at least beginning level grammar basics, is also recommended, so you don’t get overwhelmed. Learning Like Crazy Level 1 is great for getting used to the syntax of Spanish as well as seeing how the grammar you’ve learned is put into actual use. It is also beneficial for developing basic aural skills, building basic vocabulary, practicing simple verb conjugations, and macro-pronunciation (longer sentence structures). This is not a stand-alone program. Rather it is designed specifically to be used in conjunction with a more comprehensive program.

LEARNING SPANISH LIKE CRAZY LEVEL 2

Level 2 is designed for the advanced beginner or early intermediate student and they should find it challenging. You get practice with more advanced grammar, like the present subjunctive tense. Advanced students may pick up a few things but they will probably not be that challenged.

Both levels come with a variety of extra bonus programs. And you may be able to buy the two together for a discounted price.

I purchased level 2 first and was challenged (in a good way) by it. I later bought level 1 because I wanted some of the bonuses that came with level 1. I worked my way through level 1, and though I wasn’t that challenged by it, I did learn some valuable vocabulary and phrases. It was still a worthwhile workout.

HOW TO USE THE LEARNING LIKE CRAZY PROGRAMS

Many of the lessons end with the narrator saying, “If you were able to get 80% of the responses correct, you are ready to move on to the next lesson.” I would say 95% would be a better gauge, but monitoring the actual percentage of correct answers just isn’t practical, or for most, even possible. Since I feel repetition is so important, even if you are getting most of the answers right, I recommend making 2 passes through the set of audio lessons. On the first pass, listen to each lesson 5 times before moving on, never more than once on the same day. After you complete this, go back to the beginning and listen to each 5 times again, but never to the same lesson consecutively. Here is a sample order that considers level 2 which begins on Lesson 31:
Day 1 = Lesson 31
Day 2 = Lesson 32
Day 3 = Lesson 33
Day 4 = Lesson 31
Day 5 = Lesson 32
Day 6 = Lesson 33
Day 7 = Lesson 34 etc.

Another way to chart it would be 31, (repeat) 31, 32, 31, 32, 33, 31, 32, 33, 34, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, etc.

With this approach you are spreading each lesson out in time, coming back to it fresh after a break. It’s also not so important to do only one per day, so if you have time and feel like doing more than one per day, that is also a great way to do it.

Some of the lessons may be too simple for you to want to do them so many times. Beginner students my not need to do LSLC1 5 times on a second pass, but 3 times each lesson may make more sense. If you are an intermediate level student, you may not find the LSLC1 lessons challenging enough, until towards the end of the series. So gauge how you are challenged and start from there. Remember that repetition is the most important thing. As children, learning our own language, we had to repeat things endlessly, so that we would absolutely never forget. These drills have the same effect when learning Spanish.

After the 2nd pass, especially for LSLC2, I recommend going through the lessons consecutively, just one at a time. And then after that, randomly shuffling through them with your iPod or media player. You really do get a lot of mileage out of the Learning Spanish Like Crazy programs, especially level 2 with all the bonus audio lessons that come with it.

Click here for my review of Learning Spanish Like Crazy Nivel 3.

CLICK HERE TO BUY LEARNING SPANISH LIKE CRAZY LEVEL 1

CLICK HERE TO BUY LEARNING SPANISH LIKE CRAZY LEVEL 2

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Posted by Rachel Shell in Reviews, 0 comments

Best Spanish Learning Websites

What are the best websites for learning Spanish? The answer is going to be very particular to what level you are at as a Spanish student, and what it is you desire to learn or practice. So really, what I think are the best websites, or most useful, is based on what my needs are at this point in time.

If you are at a beginner level trying to learn Spanish online, or looking for useful online Spanish resources, you won’t have difficulty finding any. However, if you are an intermediate or advanced level Spanish learner, the pickings are rather slim.

In this video, I share with you my current favorite online Spanish language sites. It includes 4 websites that offer completely FREE content that I find incredibly useful.

If you have any suggestions for your favorite website for learning Spanish, even if beginner level, please leave a comment below.

Posted by Rachel Shell in Reviews, 0 comments