Thursday, September 3rd, 2009 at
Pimsleur Spanish and Rosetta Stone Spanish are probably the two best-known Spanish language programs. They have both been around for decades, and they both have good reputations. I know that Rosetta Stone is updated at times, and I am not sure about Pimsleur.
What Are They?
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Thursday, August 20th, 2009 at
I’ve just been looking around My Happy Planet and it seems like a potentially useful tool for learning to write Spanish via language exchange. I wouldn’t recommend such an approach for a total beginner, but for anyone who already knows some Spanish, this could be a nice add-on to a course or other more organized way of learning Spanish.
Here is how they describe their site: Click to read more >>>
Thursday, August 6th, 2009 at
I was just listening to one of the Rocket Spanish lessons, and I thought I’d better mention something that is different about it compared to, say, Pimsleur Spanish and a lot of other audio-based programs.
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Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 at
Pimsleur Spanish is just one of a series of language programs that use the Pimsleur Method. You can learn Thai, Czech, and many other languages this way as well.
So what is the basis of this Pimsleur Method? If it’s available in so many languages, it must have proven itself. Why is it effective?
Dr. Paul Pimsleur described four essential principles for language learning. They are:
- Graduated-interval recall
- Core vocabulary
- Organic Learning
I’ll explain each one a little. Click to read more >>>
Thursday, July 9th, 2009 at
Over 50 years ago, the Unites States Department of State Foreign Service Institute (FSI) created a program for teaching Spanish. It was used mainly with government employees, including diplomats, CIA agents, and others. By all accounts, the program was very effective. There was no effort to make it fun.
That program was in the public domain, which means that anyone can repackage it and resell it. A number of companies have done this with the old FSI Spanish program, sometimes selling their version on its own, and more recently including it as an add-on to newer products. Click to read more >>>
Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 at
Kelly and I are taking a vacation to the US soon, leaving a friend as a housesitter with our dogs and cats here in our home near Lake Chapala, outside of Guadalajara, Mexico. I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like to speak English with everyone! Yes, I used to do that when I lived there, but I’ve been in Mexico most of the time for several years now.
Actually, last fall in California, I found chances to speak Spanish: here’s a story I tell about chatting in Spanish in a department store in San Francisco — the story is down the page a ways. So I expect I will speak some Spanish this time too.
Thanks to the software I use for this blog (WordPress), I’ve got articles written that will appear on this site through our September return.
I am cutting back to every two weeks, though, instead of weekly. For those of you who get weekly emails telling you what’s new in the blog, I *think* those will automatically not go out if there is nothing new. We’ll see; I will tweak it later if necessary. (If you don’t get those emails and would like to, just sign up for my ebook on how to learn Spanish, and you’ll get an email where you have to approve of it being sent to you, and then you’ll not only be on the list, you will also have the ebook!)
Someone emailed me this morning asking me to write more about my experiences in Mexico. I’m not sure if he knew that I have a huge website, over 500 pages, at Mexico-with-heart.com — so if you are interested in that topic, take a look! I just overhauled the site and there is a lot there.
Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 at
Rocket Spanish is one of the most popular of the Spanish language programs that I review on this site. (If you haven’t seen it, here’s my comparison chart for different programs..)
Anyway, I thought it might be helpful to spell out what the two different ways are that you can get Rocket Spanish.
Click to read more >>>
Wednesday, June 10th, 2009 at
I read someone’s opinion someplace online that the website Livemocha was like Rosetta Stone, only better. So I decided to check out Livemocha, specially since it has a large free part.
Now Rosetta Stone doesn’t suit my learning style, plus theoretically I think it’s not the best approach to learning languages… here’s my Rosetta Stone review. So with a bias against the program, off I went to poke around Livemocha.
It was evident right away that this was far more than just a bunch of lessons. It’s a very social, interactive place. I believe that there are quite a few of these interactive language places around the net, but this is the only one I have tried so far.
I went to Livemocha just before I got a nice new desktop computer with great sound capabilities, and unfortunately my old laptop wasn’t up to all the multimedia aspects of Livemocha. Its sound card didn’t work well enough for me to use the pronunciation feature, but still I did do one of the lessons. It was rather like Rosetta Stone, in using images and words. So if you are considering Rosetta Stone, you might try this first.
Here is what Livemocha says you can do there:
- Enroll in Courses: With our fun and holistic online language courses you’ll develop all the skills and confidence to begin conversing with native speakers.
- Make Friends: The Livemocha community is full of friendly, like-minded, and motivated language learners looking to practice their skills. Don’t be shy – introduce yourself and start practicing!
- Receive Tips from Native Speakers: Have your speaking and writing submissions reviewed and scored by native speakers. They will rate their proficiency, give you tips for improvement, and help you meet your language-learning goals.
- Stay Motivated: Learning a new language is tough! Track your weekly goals, earn points for completing exercises, and compare your progress with that of your friends for some friendly competition.
If an online language-learning community, for Spanish and many other languages, sounds like fun, take a look at Livemocha.
Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 at
Pimsleur Spanish has a lot of fans as a method for learning Spanish, but like everything in this world, it has its pros and cons. Here I summarize the views of a variety of people who have actually used this program. My resources for this article include two good friends of mine who used it all the way through the 90 lessons, along with what I read all over the internet.
Five Good Things about Pimsleur Spanish
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Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at
Recently my main work online has been a massive makeover of Mexico-with-Heart.com, which began about five years ago and now has something like 600 pages. Both the main website and the blog have hundreds of pages. It’s been annoying me for quite a while now so I finally began combining everything into one site. Everything will be much easier to find, for sure. For any of you who are into such things, the entire site will now be run on WordPress. That link to the homepage shows the original site — for another week or two, anyway — and here is a link to the new site:
That link will take you to a list of the various articles I’ve written on that site about learning Spanish. Here’s one tidbit from there: One night, Kelly and I had dinner in Colorado with our friends Bill and Chinle, who are rock climbers.
Chinle told the story of climbing in Mexico a few years ago. Chinle speaks very little Spanish. They were climbing there when she noticed some Mexican boys climbing in an area where they should have had ropes on.
So she called out to them, “No ropa! No ropa!”
In Spanish, ropa does not mean rope, as she thought. It means clothing. The mother of one of the boys thought this was hilarious, and laughed and laughed.