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244 of 247 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Language Learning Tool
I'm a college student taking Spanish as a requirement, and I picked this software up hoping that it could help me get through level 2 Spanish. After playing the game today, I'm certain it will be beneficial to my quest to graduate :)

The game first tests you on a range of Spanish vocabulary to see at about what level you are currently testing at, which was...
Published on November 8, 2007 by James C. Rieth

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308 of 327 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Some Serious Flaws: MISTRANSLATIONS, mispronunciations, and lack of grammar instruction
(If you don't have the time to read this whole review, please at least read #1 in the list below.)

I bought this game feeling confident of its quality due to the positive reviews here, but after putting in many hours of play time, I've concluded that it has some serious flaws. I would not recommend it to Spanish students of any level. Unfortunately, my...
Published on February 17, 2008 by goldbug


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244 of 247 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Language Learning Tool, November 8, 2007
By 
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: My Spanish Coach - Nintendo DS (Video Game)
I'm a college student taking Spanish as a requirement, and I picked this software up hoping that it could help me get through level 2 Spanish. After playing the game today, I'm certain it will be beneficial to my quest to graduate :)

The game first tests you on a range of Spanish vocabulary to see at about what level you are currently testing at, which was excellent since I have some basic Spanish behind me already - no starting from the beginning all over again.

Another great feature in my opinion is the fact that the game forces you to continually re-play the current level you are on, and you earn 'mastery points' as you go - this prevents you from thinking you are 'close enough' to getting it and moving ahead before you might be ready. If you haven't mastered the current level you will not be allowed to move to the next.

The mini-games are enjoyable and the overall presentation of this product is very sharp. The extras almost make it worth the price of the game alone - a searchable phrasebook complete with spoken pronunciations, a English-Spanish dictionary, etc.

I definitely recommend this product and look forward to continuing to use it.
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308 of 327 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Some Serious Flaws: MISTRANSLATIONS, mispronunciations, and lack of grammar instruction, February 17, 2008
This review is from: My Spanish Coach - Nintendo DS (Video Game)
(If you don't have the time to read this whole review, please at least read #1 in the list below.)

I bought this game feeling confident of its quality due to the positive reviews here, but after putting in many hours of play time, I've concluded that it has some serious flaws. I would not recommend it to Spanish students of any level. Unfortunately, my negative review may be ignored in the midst of all the 5-star reviews, but I feel obligated to take the time to let people know about this game's serious flaws.

First, a bit about my background to assure you that I know what I'm talking about. I took 4 years of Spanish as a public high school student in the United States, and then enough university Spanish to complete a minor in Spanish. I stopped taking formal Spanish courses about 10 years ago and haven't had much chance to practice since. So, while I still know basic and advanced Spanish grammar, I've forgotten a lot of vocabulary.

My Spanish Coach seemed like the perfect game for me: I could spend a few minutes a day learning (or re-learning) vocabulary and reviewing grammar, and I'd get to do it by playing fun games on a portable game system, instead of boring flashcard drills or reading a heavy textbook.

I purchased the game and spent several weeks working through the first 60 lessons. Gradually, the errors I noticed and the misgivings I felt about the game's instruction built up to a point where I had to stop playing. Here are the concerns I have, from most to least serious:

1. Mistranslation of vocabulary:
This is the most serious error, which cropped up over and over again in the first 600 words of the game. In total I found 15 mistranslated words out of 600--and those were just the ones that I noticed! I'm sure that there were many more mistranslations I didn't notice since I was learning many of the words for the first time. This problem, more than any other, is why I stopped using the game: I don't want to be learning the wrong words! This problem is the fundamental reason why I cannot recommend the game. Even ignoring the game's other errors, it is simply not excusable to teach someone the wrong words, period.

2. Mispronunciation of words:
My Spanish Coach pronounces each Spanish word for you. You can also record yourself saying the words to compare what you say to the correct pronunciation. Well, you could do that if the words were pronounced correctly--but not all of them are. I'm not talking about dialects, accents, or syllable emphasis. I'm talking about words that are pronounced incorrectly, where whole syllables are added or dropped.

3. Nouns--gender not specified:
In Spanish, nouns are either masculine or feminine. It's important to know the gender of a noun, because it affects the words that go along with it. Adjectives take different forms depending on the gender of the noun that they modify. One rule of thumb in Spanish is that nouns that end in "o" are (usually) masculine, and nouns that end in "a" are generally feminine. However, there are exceptions to this rule, as well as many, many Spanish nouns that do not end in "o" or "a." For these nouns, students need to memorize the gender. My Spanish Coach does not specify the gender of any of the nouns it teaches. Any Spanish dictionary or textbook would give the gender of nouns--it's an essential thing to know, but My Spanish Coach neglects this crucial information about the nouns it teaches.

4. Verbs--irregularities not specified:
Some Spanish verbs are "regular," meaning that they can be conjugated by following a basic formula. Others are "irregular," which means that you have to memorize the verb conjugations, because they don't follow a formula. Still others are somewhat irregular, called "stem-changing," which change slightly when conjugated, but otherwise follow the formula. So when learning a new verb, it's important to know which kind it is. Again, here is a situation where any Spanish dictionary or textbook would give this information, because you can't conjugate irregular or stem-changing verbs correctly without it. My Spanish Coach doesn't bother to give this crucial information about the verbs it teaches.

5. Inappropriate vocabulary:
In the first 40 lessons of the game, players are taken through lessons that have vocabulary grouped into categories: for example, there's a lesson in which the vocabulary is all about clothing. After the first 40 lessons, the vocabulary words in each lesson have nothing to do with each other. This wouldn't be so bad if the words were at least appropriate for the level of play, but they aren't. In lesson 40, for example, after students have mastered only about 400 Spanish words, the word for "oriole" is introduced. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't think that "oriole" even makes it into the 1000 most important words to know, much less the top 400. What's even more ludicrous is that the word for "bird" hasn't even been covered at that point in the game. A few lessons later, the word for "foothills" is introduced, before students have learned the more basic geography words for "mountain" or "hill."

6. General lack of grammar instruction:
While players of My Spanish Coach can learn all 10,000 words in the game's dictionary, knowing vocabulary is not all there is to learning a language. The game has 1000 lessons, but what it doesn't tell you on the box is that only the first 40 lessons have any grammar instruction. The rest of the lessons are just groups of unrelated vocabulary words to master. Even in the 40 lessons that contain grammar instruction, very little is taught. Some basic phrases are taught, and a few verbs are conjugated in the present tense. No instruction is given on the basic types of verbs (-ar, -er, -ir) and how to conjugate them. Essentially, the present tense of verbs is talked about, but not taught, and no other verb tenses are even mentioned. Adjective/noun agreement is not mentioned. Word order in sentences is not mentioned. If someone made it through all or many of the lessons in My Spanish Coach, s/he might know a lot of Spanish words, but would be unable to string them together into any kind of meaningful conversation or written communication.

Overall, I'm very disappointed in this game. The idea of learning 10,000 Spanish words was appealing, and I'd hoped to later buy the French game from the same company. However, I can't convince myself to proceed with the game after finding out how much of the vocabulary it teaches is simply wrong.
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95 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very impressed with this game, December 2, 2007
By 
Amazon Customer (New Jersey United States) - See all my reviews
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: My Spanish Coach - Nintendo DS (Video Game)
I expected this game to mimic your typical book where it is all about repetition. Instead I found a very interactive and quite engrossing game based upon teaching you spanish. One fear I had was that as someone who knows a little about spanish I would have to sit through beginner stuff for hours before getting to the content that really suits me. The game handles this potential issue brilliantly by having you take a 50 question placement test. I got up to question 35 before missing twice in a row which automatically ends the test. For this performance I was moved straight to lesson 8. Amazingly there are around 1000 lessons. I played lesson 8 and immediately learned what I missed on the test and more importantly learned new words and the context in which they they are used in sentences. At the end of each lesson you take a timed multiple choice test where you accumulate Mastering points which enable you to unlock future areas. It really does give you a sense of accomplishment and also makes this really seem like a game.

For anyone looking to either learn a new language, or test their current knowledge, this series of games is awesome.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for beginners but lacks any depth., January 8, 2008
By 
C. Greening (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: My Spanish Coach - Nintendo DS (Video Game)
The game is great as an introduction to Spanish and for learning new vocabulary. However, I was very disappointed with the amount of grammar that the product teaches.

It was annoying to reach lesson 40 and then be told that from now on I would just be learning vocabulary - the game does teaches a few regular verbs and irregular verbs in the present tense, but not really enough.

Probably a good product as an addition if you are taking some beginner Spanish lessons.

Also being able to listen to the pronunciation and compare it against your voice is a nice feature.

If anyone is interested in purchasing My Spanish Coach Level 2 then be warned - it is only about learning new vocabulary.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected Gem, November 19, 2007
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: My Spanish Coach - Nintendo DS (Video Game)
I wasn't expecting much when I bought the game but to my surprise it turned out to be fun and educational. I have some rudimentary knowledge of Spanish so I trully appreciated the evaluation at the beginning of the game. I didn't have to go through stuff I alrady had a grasp on. The mini games include a whack a mole type game, that I enjoyed. I'm actually contemplating on getting the French coach next. This is great for people who want to brush up on their high school Spanish or would like to find a fun way of learning a new language without much pressure. Vaya con Dios mi amigos!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good if you need a refresher, but only until lesson 38!, July 19, 2008
By 
K. Bright (United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: My Spanish Coach - Nintendo DS (Video Game)
If you do not know Spanish, do not get this game! It is useful as a supplement to a beginning Spanish course, but by itself it will not help you learn the language correctly.

I was very impressed by the first lessons - I tested into lesson 22 and I was pleased by the structure of the lessons...until I got to lesson 38. There it goes from lovely structure to random choices of 10 words. These words come from all over the dictionary, and the fact that they are not even remotely related makes them harder to remember. Also, at this point, the game stops introducing new sentences.

PROS:
- The first 38 lessons (of 1000) are nice!
- The games are very useful for memorization.
- The ability to record your own voice and compare to the Spanish pronunciation is fabulous for working on your accent.

CONS:
- The "random word" lessons are tiresome.
- The definitions are not 100% accurate.
- Sentence-making stops after lesson 38.

If you are using this to expand your vocabulary, this can be a useful tool. This game will not magically teach you Spanish, but it can help.
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44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unacceptable mispronunciations! Ridiculous vocabulary!, February 28, 2008
By 
KLEV (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: My Spanish Coach - Nintendo DS (Video Game)
Although this game is fun at first, after a while I started to realize that even though the pronunciations sounded as though done by a native speaker, some of them are so off as to be laughable! For example the word "ratio" is pronounced "ratito" by the speaker! "Utensilios" is pronounced "UNtensilios", and so on. And why would one wish to learn the word for "sliver" ("astillo") without having first learned the word for "little" ("poco") or other size-oriented words first? Not recommended! The mispronunciations are totally unacceptable for a language program.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent vocabulary builder, but requires self-discipline, July 18, 2008
By 
p-51 "p-51" (CO United States) - See all my reviews
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: My Spanish Coach - Nintendo DS (Video Game)
I started the Pimsleur Essential Spanish audio series in June of 2007, and began using My Spanish Coach in tandem with it in March 2008. While My Spanish Coach can't hold a candle to a professional language learning program, it is good for teaching you new words and expanding your vocabulary, not to mention being a whole heck of a lot cheaper than "real" courses. But it's pretty easy to cheat, and you have to have a lot of self-discipline to get the most benefit out of it.

Presented in the form of lessons, games, and reference material, My Spanish Coach tries hard to teach you the language. It starts you off with a quiz to see how much Spanish you know. I initially tested pretty highly, so it threw me into slightly more advanced lessons that assumed I already knew a bunch of words from easier lessons. I didn't, so I erased my data and started again. This time, I deliberately bricked the test so I could start from the beginning.

The lessons present a series of words - about 10 per lesson - that are related to each other in some way. Things like colors, months, seasons, emotions, words a tourist needs to know, directions, etc. The game walks you through a few screens that introduce these words and use them in simple sentences. Then, it's off to the games. Activities like flash cards, word search, sentence builder, fill-in-the-blank, and many others are presented to help reinforce the words in your mind.

As you play these educational games, the program keeps track of your progress. Finish enough games successfully, and you're moved on to the next level.

The presentation of the game is about as lighthearted and fun as you're likely to find in a program that teaches something as complicated as a new language. Your progress is graphically measured by a trail that starts at the United States / Mexico border, and slowly meanders down through Mexico and on into South America. I'm not entirely sure where it goes after that, as I'm only about halfway through Brazil.

The games themselves are fun and creative, but there's a problem - the way they're set up, you can pretty easily guess and bluff your way through the lessons. For example, if you're multiple choice and the word is "winter," your 4 choices may be Junio, tio, anaranjado, and invierno. Now, if you can't remember that invierno is winter, but you know for a fact that Junio is June and tio is uncle and anaranjado is some sort of color (orange), then you can choose the right word by the process of elimination.

Then too, in order to keep the pace up and hold your attention, the game doesn't make you labor over each lesson very long. Once you've earned the requisite number of points to move on, then by golly, you're moving on, and you'll probably not see much more of the words you just learned in the previous lesson, ever again.

I'm not exactly the world's quickest learner, but still, I wonder how much a person can really retain when the words and phrases are presented so quickly. Oftentimes I find myself spending a session simply playing the games over and over again using words from previous lessons, rather than opting to move on to the next lesson. I find this to be a little tedious, but it's really the best way for me to keep the words I've already learned fixed in my mind.

The game also includes a reference dictionary that helps you translate between English and Spanish, either way. It has a feature that allows you to record your own pronunciation of a Spanish word, then compare that to the way the word is supposed to be pronounced. I think I used this once. Hey, I'm tall and white - I doubt a native Spanish speaker will expect me to pronounce everything like I was born and raised in Zihuatanejo. Besides, Pimsleur helps my pronunciation much more effectively.

Overall, this would be a good purchase if you're looking to make like those old Highlights For Children magazines - fun with a purpose. It's doubtful this game alone will make you a great Spanish speaker, no more than eating only Lucky Charms for breakfast every day will keep you healthy. Rather, just like Lucky Charms needs toast, juice, milk, and a multi-vitamin to make it a well-rounded meal, so too does My Spanish Coach need other teaching programs to help you learn to better communicate with our hispanic and latino neighbors.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great overall...but has mistakes..., January 17, 2008
By 
Carlos E. Figueroa (Memphis, TN United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: My Spanish Coach - Nintendo DS (Video Game)
I bought this game for my wife to help her learn Spanish, however, I have found some mistakes in translation. For example, knee is translated as rodillo, which means rolling pin instead of rodilla; so if one has any doubts have a good dictionary handy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My Spanish Coach, December 18, 2007
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: My Spanish Coach - Nintendo DS (Video Game)
I've always loved languages so I naturally picked this game up. I just got this game and so far it seems like fun and I can see how in the future it can be helpful. I only have two complaints. The first is about the placement test at the beginning. They show you 50 words (really really simple words) such as months, days, and numbers then ask you to match them. Easy enough. But, a little too easy. I got all 50 right and they put me on the preschool level which is good for review but I'm much more advanced than learning greetings! So I wish the placement test was more comprehensive and challenging so I could find my true level at the moment. The next complaint would be Word Searches! I don't see how you learn anything from finding vocabulary words in a word search and how finding all of them somehow means you "mastered" those vocab words..but oh well.

This is a good game overall and I am looking forward to the more challenging things to come. After a few minutes of playing this I was already hoping they would come out with more in other languages!
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My Spanish Coach - Nintendo DS
My Spanish Coach - Nintendo DS by UBI Soft (Nintendo DS)
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