Now that I’ve described the basic outline of the lessons in Fluenz Spanish, I can review several lessons at a time.
Lesson Five gives you a variety of useful words: the Spanish versions of where, this, that, here, there, and which. The whole present tense of estar is worked seamlessly into the lesson — you had already learned most of it before. Sonia Gil gives you her personal trick for memorizing vocabulary, with a couple of examples. This is something I also do and it really helps. (I’m curious to see if she will later touch on one of my tricks for memorizing genders of nouns — picturing myself or my husband holding or touching the item in question, depending on its gender.)
She also explains that word order in Spanish sentences is not always the same as in English. They have designed the course to mainly use sentences that have the proper Spanish sentence structure and are understandable to an English speaker. She’s giving you a heads up that out there in real life you may have to figure some sentences out.
In Lesson Six, Fluenz Spanish tackles what Sonia calls "one of the most challenging and feared forms of communication in a new language — the phone conversation." I was impressed that they were dumping you right into that so early in the course! When my husband and I traveled around many parts of Mexico before settling down by Lake Chapala, I had to use public phones on sidewalks a few times, and I was always scared. Sometimes I communicated okay, but not always!
Naturally the dialogue that Fluenz Spanish starts you out with is pretty basic, but it’s a good start. The ever-important "No entiendo" (I don’t understand) is taught, and you learn some words related to location.
Sonia Gil had explained in an earlier lesson that the Spanish you learn with their program avoids using local slang or expressions, and I noticed this in the phone. Here in Mexico where I live, people answer the telephone by saying "Bueno," which means good. I’ve heard that this goes back to the early days of telephones here, when the lines were not always good. So if you heard "Bueno," you could continue the conversation. This localism is NOT taught in Fluenz Spanish, and that’s as it should be.
Lesson Seven is a conversation in a taxi, with the cabdriver. Spanish has two verbs that mean "to be" — estar had already been used in previous lessons and now ser is introduced, with some discussion of the two verbs. It doesn’t get theoretical, though. This program is designed so that by learning specific phrases well through the repetition and drill, you automatically will use them in the ways you have internalized.
Several other useful words are introduced here, including a word I have always loved ever since I first learned it as a child on vacation in Mexico: ahora, which means "now." Many words in Spanish have a beauty to their sounds or otherwise have something special about them, and for me the sound of ahora is lovely. That’s one of the benefits of learning another language — the unexpected delights.
To see my review of the entire Fluenz Spanish program or to see how I rate it compared to other software for learning Spanish, click the links.