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Barron's Mastering Spanish

Book Review

 

Title:

Barron's Mastering Spanish Level 1 - CD

Publisher:

Barron's Educational Series

ISBN:

0-8120-7871-3

Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

March, 2000

Rating:

1/2

Barron's Mastering Spanish is a complete course for those seeking to learn or improve their fluency in the Spanish language. The course is packaged in an attractive bookcase cover  that neatly holds all of the CD disks and the dialog booklet. The manual is well indexed and includes additional descriptive notes about the subject material.

The lessons are presented in units. Each unit begins with a basic step by step dialog, then the dialog is repeated again at normal conversational speed. Finally, a variety of drills is used to reinforce what has been learned, including pronunciation, word substitution, translation and conversation drills. Most of the dialog for each unit is laid out in a side by side format in the book along with the English translations.

All of the units use a distinctive training technique to improve retention of the lesson. A basic phrase is demonstrated to the listener, then that phrase is changed one word at a time to show how it can be applied in various situations. The variety and type of drills provide substantial reinforcement of what has been learned and rapid expansion of vocabulary. Contrasting vowel and consonant patterns are presented to improve pronunciation of the language.

One of the few distractions with this course is the layout of the accompanying manual. It includes a hieroglyphic-like pronunciation key that seems to serve no useful purpose to the uninitiated. Some of the lessons in the manual only have the Spanish portion with no English translation. Other than the student manual, everything else about this course and its production is first class. This course is a good value.

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