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on July 10, 2015
Fluenz is the best Spanish program we have used. We are homeschoolers, and over the years I tried several different programs with our children, including Rosetta stone, Berlitz, and Learnables. All of them fell short of our expectations. Fluenz is absolutely amazing compared to those other programs.

(Rosetta Stone was very confusing to my daughter, because they never explained anything, and expected her to learn through "immersion." I did the Rosetta Stone program myself up to level/year 4, and I think I only gained about 1-2 years of high school level Spanish )

The Fluenz program is highly superior to all the other programs. It provides a teacher who speaks in English, and who teaches the lesson and explains anything that is confusing. The practices are very thorough, and my daughter's accent is extremely good. Many people have commented that she sounds like a native speaker.

You can repeat or skip any sections that you want to. You learn through pictures and video, conversations, and also through extensive writing/grammar exercises. The entire program can be done on the computer.

As a mom who homeschools 5 children, and who has only a basic knowledge of Spanish, I really appreciated the fact that my daughter could do her entire Spanish program on her own. That freed up my time to help her with some of her other classwork. With Fluenz, I know my children could learn any language, regardless of my own person knowledge.

The only negative to this program is that there is a lot of repetition. So if you have a child who highly dislikes repetition, they may not like it. But honestly, without the repetition, you probably will not retain much of what you learned.

Soon, when my daughter is done with this program, she is going to test out of college Spanish through the CLEP program. You can get up to 14 college credits that way.

I tend to be very picky about curriculum, but I have to say that I cannot be more pleased with Fluenz.
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on May 10, 2017
I really enjoy this program. I jumped right in and felt like I was learning a lot in no time. My first issue, though, was that I received it without a registration code, and it was a hassle to resolve that issue. Amazon was great, though, and I wound up with a huge discount off the cost of the entire series, which was so generous. I feel like I'm progressing and looking forward to easily conversing in Spanish soon. I like the way the sessions are set up - you get a brief overview of the lesson followed by an audio conversation and the opportunity to display Spanish/English subtitles. After this, the narrator is back to break down and explain what you just learned. Next up is practice and more practice on the elements you just learned and reinforcing what you've already learned in previous sessions. My only problem with the software is that it does tend to hang up quite frequently. It's manageable, but annoying. Overall, I give this extremely high marks for being a thoughtful and simple way to learn a new language.
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on January 30, 2010
I went on a vacation to Costa Rica, and resolved to learn Spanish. I studied French in high school and college, and I enjoyed it for the most part. I've NEVER had an opportunity to actually use my French, as I've found that everyone who speaks French usually speaks English. So, I thought I would try to learn Spanish, and maybe I could actually use it.

I found a website which reviewed many Spanish Learning Software packages, and many of them are only PC compatible. The two highest rated Mac compatibles were Fluenz and Rosetta Stone, #2 & #3, respectively. I had seen the Rosetta Stone commercials ad nauseum, so I thought it would be a good starting point. The "no drills" and "no memorization" aspects sounded great, so RS was my starting point.

I started out with Rosetta Stone 1, 2, & 3. RS is a beautiful program, with lovely pictures, and an intuitive interface. There were many, many times when I was clueless as to what to do, so I would just click until I got it right. RS would sense this, and would present the material again until I scored 90% or better. However, there WERE times when I would figure out the answer through the process off elimination, without truly understanding what I was saying/doing. For example, "comprar": did it mean "to shop" or "to buy"? I couldn't tell. Also, the speech recognition on Rosetta Stone could prove to be very temperamental. There were some words, some ONE-SYLLABLE words, that RS simply couldn't accept. I would record them with my iPhone, and play it back into the microphone, and it STILL wouldn't work. These occasions were rare, but troublesome. There were multi-syllable words or phrases that I had to use the iPhone trick for. I could repeat it one hundred times into the microphone, and it would NEVER NEVER accept what I said. After a while, I felt like I was getting great practice on how to record phrases with my iPhone, but for learning Spanish, my progress was slow. Also, I wasn't learning anything practical for use as a tourist. I want to learn how to bargain a little bit: "I will give you fifty, OK?" I wasn't getting that with Rosetta Stone. I think I completed Disc 2 of RS. Again, it was good, but there were many things that I wasn't sure about.

I heard about Fluenz from that website, and decided to give it a try. I ordered 1+2+3+4+5. A bit ambitious, but, like anything, the unit price goes down when you buy in bulk. I just finished up the first disc, so I'm not at any kind of expert level, but I liked what I've seen so far. I feel like I've really nailed the present tense conjugations of the following words: To Be (both Estar and Ser), To Go (very useful for meatball future tense), To Want, To Need, To Eat, To Drink. These words will get a tourist through a great many situations.

Fluenz's approach is different than Rosetta Stone. They start with Sonia Gil giving an intro, then a simple conversation between two or more people. You can listen to it without subtitles, with Spanish subtitles, or with English and Spanish subtitles. You should listen to it three times, once with each subtitle option. Sonia comes back, and breaks down the dialog, explaining what each word means, and how they relate to each other. There are then various drills, many of which involve typing down what you hear. These are challenging, and fun for me. I pride myself on my spelling, and these can be hard but satisfying to complete.

Fluenz does NOT use voice-recognition, which simply and effectively eliminates the frustrations I had with RS. My accent may not be as polished as it might be with RS, but at least I'm not fretting about getting stuck on a certain passage, wondering if it is me or the computer that is at fault. However, Fluenz DOES make use of the microphone. The aforementioned conversations are repeated, with you taking the role of one of the characters. You say the line that is shown, and click 'stop', and the conversation continues. You then play back the conversation, so you can hear your own voice. At that point in the lesson, you can tell if your accent is crap or not. And this works for me. I want to be a tourist, not a Telemundo newscaster. If I can crack a joke in Spanish, and make a senorita laugh, then this whole language thing will have paid off.

One thing I've found to be kind of humorous: Sonia Gil is very attractive. Sometimes my mind goes blank, as I'm just staring at her face, and I miss what she said completely. Doh!

MacBook users: Both Rosetta Stone and Fluenz work beautifully with my 2009 MacBook. No external microphones needed. RS adjusts the sensitivity of the microphone automatically, Fluenz does not. You will have to go System Preferences/Sound to adjust it. Once you do, it is done. No problem.

I recommend Fluenz over Rosetta Stone, especially if you are an adult who wants to 'speak tourist'. Rosetta Stone is good, but the little snags proved to be frustrating for me. Fluenz is more real world oriented, with expressions like: "We are going to the store together, would you like to come?", whereas Rosetta Stone had expressions like: "The car is in front of the house" or "the dog wants meat"

The people at Fluenz are great as well. I ordered 1+2+3+4+5, but I only received 1+2+3. I contacted Amazon, who said "Because Fluenz's inventory is constantly changing, we can't replace items sold by them that are Fulfilled by Amazon." I could either return the whole thing, or they could refund part of the money. I let Fluenz know about this, and they promptly sent me the missing discs 4+5. So Fluenz's customer service is great. Over educated young college grads.

Follow Up: 5/17/10: I've been using Fluenz, off and on, (it's hard to remain focused), but to address my previous statement: "For example, "comprar": did it mean "to shop" or "to buy"? I couldn't tell. " Comprar means both "to shop for" and "to buy". Doh!

I trade comments with Sonia on Facebook, she's the best! Nothing wrong with Rosetta Stone, but Fluenz is the real deal, in my opinion.
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on June 23, 2017
I purchased this course back in 2011, and started it then got busy and went on to other things. I recently went back to it, and it is new and improved! It is now available as an on-line experience, and can also be used on devices such as IPAD.

I wrote them to see if I was eligible for the on-line version, and they immediately set me up at no extra charge over my original purchase price.

I am really enjoying the course. The Ipad format is most convenient for me as I can use it during commercials, or other times when I'm not at my computer. I even use it when I'm having insomnia!

The audio is perfect and clear with a crisp accent. That is so helpful for people learning a language. The workouts really help you retain what you just learned.

Over the years, I've tried a number of courses, and made headway in all of them, but this is by far the best I've experienced,
Mike
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on June 24, 2013
I bought 1-5, and I'm now on #3. Each tier has 30 lessons which focus on everything from ordering dinner to renting a car. Each lesson is presented in the same way with a hypothetical interaction followed by the "teacher" explaining in English. Then there are a series of "workouts" in each lesson, including hearing/typing words and phrases, matching English and Spanish phrases, speaking the words in sentences and hearing your recorded voice next to the correct pronounciation, hearing phrases and being able to type/spell them out, and recognizing pictures and proper responses to a question. I'm 66, and I'm doing well. I'm able to create lots of sentences, even with limited vocab so far. The reason I bought this rather than Rosetta is that I need to understand how the language works, verb declentions, how adjectives are structured, why sentences are the way they are, etc. My understanding was that Rosetta didn't use English at all, and I'm too analytical for that. I think I can speak reasonably, although I still have to think about it. I do well at reading or writing sentences. My greatest difficulty is in understanding Spanish speakers. It's so fast that it will be awhile until I get that. They suggest watching soaps on TV, but I can only catch words or phrases here or there...best on their ads. When I'm through with Fluenz 1-5 I may go to Rosetta 1-5 for reinforcement.
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on August 7, 2013
I've taken Spanish since 8th grade. Now, I'm in a field of work that has me moving to Costa Rica and Bolivia for 2.5 years. I need more Spanish! I was reluctant to purchase the software after knowing some Spanish already, but needing some help. But I have to say, I love this!!

The way the lessons are set up make it so easy to follow along. Everything is practical (which is what I need)! Basics are thrown in to every lesson, but the meat of the material are the things adults need to know and use.
For example, rather than spending a lesson on animals, colors, foods, and other nouns Fluenz teaches taxi services, hotels, business, phone conversations, dining. And by learning those things you learns colors, foods, and animals but in a more practical way with scenarios.

It's not cheap, but there's nothing else like it on the market!
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on May 19, 2017
Fluenz is excellent. I have tried several different programs but if you are interested in learning a foreign language, I think this is the way to go (other than living abroad where you would be fully immersed in the language). I have learned a lot more Spanish and have used what I have learned in everyday life and work. The Fluenz program is well thought out where if you put the effort in, you will learn more of a new language. Highly recommend it.
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on January 23, 2014
I took Spanish in High School and a bit in College, but started to loose it. I figured I would get this and brush up on it, but after the first chapter, I realized how much I forgot. I am only on Chapter 4, but am moving along nicely. The interactive sessions are nice and very helpful. There are a few things that can be confusing, but since I had Spanish before, I remembered certain things taught to me which would have been helpful in creating this. The installation went well, and I did have a very minor question, so contacted Customer Service and they were extremely polite and helpful. I am looking forward to working with this program to further my Spanish.
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on September 21, 2014
Have some experience with spanish from high school (a looooong time ago). bought this program to prepare for a trip to south America. Am now through level two and working my way through level 3. I usually sit down once a day and it takes me twenty to thirty minutes to get through a lesson. Has been a great refresher and in some cases has really helped me with issues I struggled with the first time around. Yes, it may not be the most comprehensive study of the language, but I love that it focuses on practical and common usages that I can and do use to communicate. Those are the things I most want and need to remember since I likely won't be writing philosophical masterpieces in spanish anytime soon... Only word of caution is that there is a lot of typing involved. Great for me because it helps cement the concepts and it goes pretty quick, but for some I can see how it may become very tedious. Overall though great program and so far I'm having a high retention level which is usually what I struggle with.
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on March 4, 2014
Living and working in Southern California frequently requires a working knowledge of Spanish. I've been sheltered up to this point since I've always had a contact who was bilingual. The companies I've worked for purchased other popular language programs for my use but unfortunately without success. I was recently promoted to a position that made it absolutely necessary for me to learn Spanish. After reading numerous reviews on various programs I purchased Fluenz (Latin America) 1 - 5. The Fluenz method of teaching is tremendous and the flashcards and podcasts are very helpful. The lessons all have an opening and conclusion by Sonia. After a while it seems as if you are learning with a friend. After the opening, there is a dialogue that you listen to 3 times (once with Spanish sub-titles, the next with both English and Spanish and the list time with no sub-titles). The next portion is the part that I find to be extremely beneficial. As the conversation is broken down verbally the words are also appear on the screen. Apparently, this is how I learn best. This portion is followed by other "drills" that reinforce the lesson. I think the claims made are realistic. An honest effort is needed to learn the language but in my opinion this is the best program out there. The only con that I see is that you can't ask a question as you can in a classroom. Customer service has been great when asking questions but I have had no technical problems with the software. Lastly, the price seems to be in-line with all other programs. I am very glad I found and purchased Fluenz.
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