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Spanish [Audio Cassette]

4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great product family, poor individual product Sept. 15 2002
Format:Audio CD
The Pimsleur family of language courses is probably the best available in the English-speaking world. Unlike most other audio programs, the emphasis is not on mindlessly repeating phrases... but rather on natural conversation. Spanish words and phrases are slowly introduced by the English narrator throughout the conversation, and you then incorporate them into conversation with the Spanish speakers (followed by the "right" response to compare yourself to). This more natural approach makes a huge difference in absorbing and retaining the knowledge.
However, the tried-and-true Pimsleur courses today are owned by the Simon & Schuster corporation... which has made some very corporate-like decisions in marketing them. The classic courses are 16 CD's/cassettes each, three course levels available per language, with all being quite in-depth and quite expensive. Unfortunately, "in-depth and expensive" is not in as high demand as "cheap with just a few phrases to impress your friends". Most people who pick up tapes and CD's at the bookstore are just trying to learn a few phrases so they can have fun with it on some upcoming vacation... they're not trying to gain actual proficiency with a language (and if they are, they're crazy for thinking that's possible with just a handful of lessons!).
Therefore, Simon & Schuster has extended the Pimsleur product line... creating 4-CD and 8-CD sets (in addition to the original 16-CD sets), to market head-to-head against other companies' products in lower price ranges. This 4-CD set is basically just the first four CD's of the original "Spanish I" 16-CD set, and the 8-CD product is just the first eight CD's of that set.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent crash course Aug. 21 2001
Format:Audio Cassette
First a word of caution: because the Pimsleur method is 100% audio, you won't learn any spelling of words. If your goal is to learn to WRITE Spanish, this program won't be very much help to you on its own. Similarly, you won't learn (or have to memorize) any rules of grammar or verb conjugation tables. With the Pimsleur method, you learn simply by listening and speaking. You don't really learn WHY you say things this way in this case and that way in that case. You will learn the grammar more by osmosis than by memorizing rules. Memorizing rules really hampers your fluency because you're constantly thinking about the rule, how it applies to the sentence or phrase at hand, and performing a translation in your head. When you're listening to someone talking at a normal rate, you'll never be able to keep up and you'll need to ask the person to talk slowly and one sentence at a time.
One of the main points of the Pimsleur method is that this step in the learning process (memorizing rules) is unnecessary. It is not how you learned your native language and, when you become orally fluent in any language, you no longer think about these rules you may or may not have learned along the way.
Obviously, it is a great choice for travelers and commuters who want to put that wasted time in traffic or sitting in your hotel to good use. Listening to the tapes/CDs in the car (especially in heavy stop & go traffic) is not quite the best environment because you should be giving your full attention to the recordings, but it still works even in that situation and this is how I used it. However, I did find myself rewinding to parts I missed because I was concentrating on not getting in an accident and I occasionally missed my highway exits while I was engrossed in the tapes.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Be careful what you ask for July 7 2002
Format:Audio CD
I like the Pimsleur system, it works well, is easy to use. This particular "Quick & Simple" version consists of only 4 tapes, just enough to let you decide you want to learn more Spanish, so you can buy the more complete Spanish I.
If you are going on a trip and want to learn travel Spanish, get the Conversation version by Pimsleur, which has 16 lessons and will do much better.
Some of the reviews for this Quick & Simple version were originally reviews for a longer version that is now discontinued, and they were transfered to this less than filling version. The version that was discontinured was replaced later by the Converstional version.
The Pimsleur system works well, this version is just a light sampling of the language to see if you want to go further.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent way to learn Spanish! Oct. 30 2001
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I tried both this and Berlitz Rush Hour (the music course). I am having great success with this Pimsleur and plan to purchase the full Spanish 1 course next. The courses are clearly organized and re-inforce learning. The speaker is clear and emphasizes pronunciation giving you ample opportunity to practice. There are two speakers, male and female, so you hear two different intonations of everything.
If I must be critical (and I feel I must :) it would be that you should understand that you are learning the 'Spain' dialect of Spanish so your language will be the 'formal' Spanish rather than the 'street' Spanish. However, I would prefer to learn with CORRECT accents and pronunciations first, and I can incorporate 'slang' and local dialects later. Contrast this to the Thomas course, where reviewers state that the accent is Swiss (?I believe, NOT Spanish anyway).
Overall, this course meets my objective of allowing me to learn Spanish during my daily commute with zero book time. Very effective.
Update: Since I wrote this I bought the full Pimsleur and am about to begin Spanish III. I'm very happy with it. Read my List and Guide for more info.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for beginners
These CDs are good for people who don't speak any Spanish. I think the purpose of the Quick & Simple program is to get you interested in buying the ... full version. Read more
Published on June 2 2002 by Thomas A. Carlson
5.0 out of 5 stars increase your speed
Being that I have taken 2 year of spanish in high school, I pretty much already knew all these basic words and phrases presented in this intro course. Read more
Published on Dec 18 2001
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but.....
This was a good CD but not what I was looking for. The lessons on the CD fall more along a traditional line of Spanish (Castillian). Read more
Published on Dec 9 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars a few tips
I'm currently using Pimsleur to learn Japanese and Cantonese, and I'm thrilled with my progress. Pimsleur has a truly effective system for learning language painlessly and... Read more
Published on Nov. 26 2001 by Jennifer Kerns
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy and effective
An all audio learning method, this system turns your driving commute into enjoyable learning lessons. Read more
Published on Sept. 29 2001 by Stephen McHenry
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite Effective and Fun
I was astonished at how well this method worked for me. During my dreadful Seattle commute, I thoroughly enjoyed progressing through these lessons. Read more
Published on July 25 2001 by Rod Doe
5.0 out of 5 stars Speaking not Repeating
I've made several attempts to pick up Spanish on my own, including some travels in Mexico. After finishing the 8 lessons in this series, I felt more confident using the words I... Read more
Published on May 17 2001
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