(This is an audio book)

"Spanish with Michel Thomas" is a beginner-level audio course, about 8-9 hours long (8 CDs - conveniently lumped into a single disk of MP3). Since I'm quite above the beginner level, my main aim in picking it up was to learn and practice pronounciation. It's difficult to learn a language entirely from printed books - you also need to hear people speaking.

This audio course has a curious structure. The narrator speaks with two students (the listener is the third) - presenting new words and concepts to them and asking them to construct sentences. The listener is encouraged to construct his sentences while the students think them over, and then compare the results with the students and the narrator.

All in all, the experience of hearing this audio book is very nice. Here are some specific points I noticed:

  • As the narrator says in the beginning, one really doesn't need any memorizing or homework to study with this course. Somehow, it gets into your head.
  • The pace is not linear. The lectures start steeply, introducing many new words and concepts. Somewhere towards the middle it literally dies and I found myself just scrolling through whole lessons where Michel Thomas was repeating the same material (probably for beginners...). Towards the end the pace accelerates again. In the last 15 lessons, more material is taught than in the preceding 50.
  • The lessons only marginally touch the past tenses in the last lessons. It's pity that words like fue (was) were not taught.
  • Adjectives also got almost no attention during the course.
  • The concept of two other students is nice, but with a catch - the girl student is quite good, but the guy is awful. You'll be biting your elbows waiting for him to pronounce basic stuff, even after it's been repeated lots of times. Sometimes it's just too annoying ! The only use for this, as I see it, is make the listener confident that he's good - at least better than the poor chap who can't even pronounce the "ar" ending correctly.
This audio book is really a very nice way to learn Spanish, although as I noticed it's quite basic. However, it does teach pronounciation - just what I wanted. I can't say I didn't pick a few useful words / rules from it - so overall I'm quite happy. For beginners, I think it's an excellent choice.

Entonces, si quieres estudiar espanol, compre este libro pronto !


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