Spanish 24

Book Review

 

Title:

Spanish 24

Author:

Henry N. Raymond et  al

Publisher:

Penton Overseas, Inc., Carlsbad, CA

ISBN:

1-59125-214-8

Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

April, 2003

Rating:

1/2

Spanish 24 is an audio-based home study  course for learning the Spanish language. It consists of 24 audio CDs and seven  listening guides, and comes packaged in a full-color notebook sized case.

Spanish 24 combines the full versions of three of the most popular Penton Overseas Spanish courses, Learn in Your Car, VocabuLearn, and ImmersionPlus. Packaged  in this manner, the trio is offered at a substantial discount from the cost of the individual courses.

Get more information about Spanish 24 at amazon.comLearn  in Your Car is a conversational course meant to take the listener from beginner to advanced-intermediate level Spanish in just nine CDs. The course begins with words and short phrases, then moves on to more complex sentence structures.  As the listener progresses, new verb tenses are introduced. After just a few hours the student becomes familiar with various past and future tenses, reflexive  verbs, adjectives, and the uses of ser and estar. Although each chapter generally focuses on a particular subject, material from previous chapters is included as building blocks for the current lesson. Each word or phrase is read first in English, then twice in Spanish. Where applicable, the vosotros form of verbs is included as used in Spain.

The audio is crystal clear, and the reader for the Spanish portions reads the  text at a fairly quick pace, yet not so fast as to make it difficult for the  beginner to hear subtle pronunciation differences. This part of the course is  written so that the listener will learn the language much the way a child learns; by building on basic concepts. There is nothing in the way of explanation of grammatical concepts as the lessons progress, yet after hearing a wealth of  examples, selecting the proper word or tense seems natural and automatic.

VocabuLearn is an entirely audio program that covers nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and expressions in a 12 CD set. The program builds vocabulary by reading lists of words in both English and Spanish. Some sections read the Spanish portion  first, while English leads in others. In portions of each chapter, classical music is overlaid on the soundtrack, so that one hears both the vocabulary and the music at the same time. All of the words and phrases are listed in the study guide in the same order as on the tapes. The listings are in both English and  Spanish, and the listening guide also includes instructions in both languages,  so that these lessons can be used as a vocabulary builder for students of either  language.

The vocabulary order for each section is completely random. The listening guide  states this is to make the course more challenging and to improve retention.  By changing the order from English-Spanish to Spanish-English the user becomes proficient in translating both ways. Verbs are introduced in their infinitive forms in the chapters that cover only verbs, then they are demonstrated using  the appropriate tense in the phrase sections of the course. At the end of VocabuLearn, the student should master over 4500 words and phrases.

ImmersionPlus is a listening exercise for advanced-intermediate to advanced  listeners on 3 CDs. It consists of a number of dialogs reflecting real-life situations spoken at a normal pace (fairly quick!). The speakers slow down and repeat everything at a slower pace so that the listener can more readily understand the conversation, then the conversation is repeated a third time at its original normal speed.

This part of the course follows several story lines including dining out, going  on a fishing trip, going shopping, buying a house, and taking an ocean cruise.  The stories start with the actors at home, then in later chapters return to pick up where the story left off. Each conversation includes a short introduction  in English to give the listener an idea of the subject matter, and short periods of light music help to keep one's attention focused and fresh.

Packaged together, these three courses are a powerful tool for learning Spanish  in the privacy of your home or car. Compared to most other courses in this price  range, Spanish 24 has almost twice as much audio material, and covers a range of abilities from beginner to advanced. It succeeds in bringing the listener from rudimentary vocabulary to a functional use of the Spanish language. The price is very reasonable for a course this size, making this set of lessons  an outstanding value. Another advantage of this series is that using the listening  guides is optional, making every CD perfect for learning in the car or other  places that reading is impractical. Students of the Spanish language at every level of masterly will benefit from the extensive audio resources in this package.



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