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Mastering Spanish - Level Two

Book Review

 

Title:

Mastering Spanish  Level Two

Author:

Robert P. Stockwell  et al

Publisher:

Barron's Educational Series, Hauppauge, NY

ISBN:

0-8120-7919-1

Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

May, 2003

Rating:

Barron's Mastering Spanish Level Two is a complete course for those seeking to improve their fluency in the Spanish  language. It is a twelve cassette tape course with each tape holding about 70 minutes of audio dialogs and includes an instructional manual. The course is  packaged in an attractive bookcase cover that neatly holds all of the cassette  tapes and the manual.

Get more information about Mastering Spanish Level Two at amazon.comThe  lessons in this series of courses are presented in units. Each unit begins with a series of basic sentences, then these sentences and their structures are built upon to form the basis for the lesson. A variety of drills are used to reinforce  what has been learned in each chapter, including pattern, word substitution,  response, translation, variation and conversation drills. The dialog for each  unit is laid out in a side-by-side format in the book along with the English translations and a pronunciation key. Finally, the dialog is repeated one last  time for fluency.

This course is designed for training the intermediate to advanced level Spanish  student. The program concentrates on improving the ability of the listener to  properly conjugate verbs in all of their tenses, improving listening by presentation of dialogs at normal conversational speed, and on recall by reviewing previously presented subject material.

All of the units use a distinctive training technique to improve retention of  the lesson. Basic sentences are demonstrated to the listener, then the 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 and understanding of grammatical concepts. There are also some short audio portions that cover cultural highlights  in Spain and Latin America.

This course has a number of features that intermediate and advanced students will find highly attractive. Contrasting vowel and consonant patterns are presented to improve pronunciation of the language. All of the dialogs are presented at  normal conversational speed, preparing the listener for Spanish as it is naturally  spoken. The accent is relatively neutral, with an emphasis on Latin-American  style pronunciations. The greatest strength of the program is the wide variety of material that is covered in great detail and repetition.

Some of the lessons in the manual only have the Spanish portion with no English  translation. While I personally found this a little less convenient, it is one  of only a few reservations I had about this program. Everything about this course  and its production is first class. This is one of the few home-study courses available that allows the student to improve their listening and conversational  skills beyond an intermediate level.



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