May 28, 2014 - My father is Puerto Rican, so I'm expected to speak Spanish. Unfortunately, even though my parents are fluent, I am not. I had Spanish classes throughout high school but comparing it to what I've heard at home and at family functions it just didn't sound the same. I understand it OK, but I never had the confidence to actually speak it in front of people who speak it well, family or not! I have not completed the whole course, I'm still in the beginning, so I will have to update this review once I'm done, but for now I wanted to mention some of the benefits I see so far:
It starts with us speaking with a native Spanish speaker and we're learning how to approach her with a conversation. I love that! What better way to learn, then to speak and be taught how to pronounce the words without sounding like an American trying to speak Spanish? We're told not to take notes, because the way we'd look at it on paper (as an American) is not the way it should be pronounced. That's probably why my class in HS was a joke and we laughed through each class. I found myself repeating the conversation in my head throughout the day, so I think this will work well to help me remember. I cannot wait to get to point "z"!
Rules before beginning: One lesson per day and you cannot move onto the next lesson until you've successfully answered at least 80% of your current lesson correctly. There's a quiz at the end of each to see if you've remembered what you've learned. My mistake was mixing up the "entiende" with the "entiendo" a few times. I just have to remember "e" for you, "o" for me, lol.
So with my little pedal exerciser, a comfy seat and my bedroom lights off, I was ready to relax, press play on the Pimsleur audio CD and learn Spanish.
June 7, 2014 - I finished a week and could you believe I remember everything I've learned? I appreciate the approach of this program, but I can't wait until I feel as if I can have a real conversation. Meanwhile, I need to work on my "r's", my pronunciation of "restaurante" is off. Stay tuned for the update in a few weeks.
June 22, 2014 (Thoughts after completing) - Aside from expanding my Spanish vocabulary, what I've learned using the Pimsleur approach is how to correctly pronounce Spanish words and hold basic conversations. This is a great tool when it comes to traveling and needing to know common terms for speaking with natives if you're looking for a restaurant, hotel, need to rent a service, etc. It's a far step above walking around a foreign country with an English to Spanish dictionary.
Should I expect to be fluent in Spanish after using this program? Absolutely not! Although the approach makes it easy to retain what you've learned and hold a conversation, it is limited. This is Pimsleur Spanish 1 Language Learning Course, so there is only so much this course can cover.
One thing I've noticed is that Puerto Rican Spanish (for the lack of a better term) differs a bit in the pronunciation and phrases than other Spanish. In this program, the word "Espanol" is replaced with "Castellano", we're learning what is considered "proper" or standard Spanish. In the program the narrators speak slightly slower than I am used to hearing, so I googled Castilian Spanish to see if the CD was a bit slow so those of us learning the language can understand easily and follow, or if that was the way it is generally spoken. I found out that Puerto Ricans tend to speak faster. That's why I can pin point the different words in the program, but have a hard time following my dad or grandparents when they speak.
Explaining this in another way: My mom is from Trinidad. Although English is the official language spoken in Trinidad, it's spoken differently than an American speaking English, and some words or spelling of words will differ.
Would I recommend this program to friends? Yes I would. It's a great starting point and my ability to pronounce words has greatly improved. Whether you're learning for the first time, or are accustomed to hearing Spanish but want to learn the language yourself, this is a good program for beginners in various stages. Although you won't learn every word or term you'd want to know, this approach takes you through conversations you're likely to have when traveling or meeting someone...or have a question. Be patient! It can be slow and a bit repetitive, but you will remember what you've been taught. You have to walk before you can run, so it's necessary to start with a program that takes its time to teach you how to approach a native Spanish speaker. Incorporate Spanish speaking television shows and hang out with people who speak Spanish. This is what I will be doing to continue my journey to speaking Spanish fluently!
Pimsleur Spanish 1 Language Learning Course Review
June 22, 2014 by
Disclaimer: The above review is my honest opinion of the Pimsleur Spanish 1 Language Learning Course. I would NEVER recommend a product I did not try.