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Showing 1-10 of 231 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 319 reviews
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 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 March 6, 2013
This program has elevated my knowledge of Spanish significantly. I'm able to form sentences, understand the news and even think in Spanish. It definitely helped me out in my college Spanish class. While other students are telling the professor how they feel or what the commute is like, I'm discussing Fidel Castro with her and the state of Cuba, albeit in not that sophisticated terms, with her.

This program should be at the core of your Spanish language studies along with any of the Practice Makes Perfect work books and watching Spanish language TV. Fluenz is a small and young company but you can see the dedication in each program. Let's put it this way: I bought this exact program and a year later upgraded to a Windows 8 laptop. The CD-Roms are compatible with XP/Windows 7. I received a link to download all of the discs for Windows 8.

This program took me from memorizing grammatical rules and vocabulary words to actually being able to understand Spanish and maneuver my way around the language. At this point, having finished disc three, I can understand Spanish as it's being spoken to me without translating it in my mind. I can think of no better way to learn a language. This even beats classroom instruction as you have an example and then Sonya explains the material covered followed by practice exercises.
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on October 18, 2014
In 2002, I finished 35 credits of Spanish in a university program , which is equivalent to a major. Most of the students in the classes were Latinos who already spoke Spanish so the focus was never on teaching oral communication. When I finished, I took the Praxis Exam for Spanish teachers and I passed the exam with very good scores. I hired a tutor to teach me how to speak because I had a lot of vocabulary and could read and write well but I was very uncomfortable speaking. I continued with her for a few years and I started a program in my public school teaching Spanish to primary grade students. I also attended a language program in Mexico for several weeks in the summer.

My personal library consists of almost every Spanish language program available. I have numerous grammar workbooks, audio programs and books. The one that I absolutely could not use was Rosetta Stone, probably because it was not teaching me relevant things and just seemed to confuse me.

For the past three years, I basically did not review any Spanish. Then I realized it would be a shame to lose the skills I had acquired because I love to travel to Spanish speaking countries and to try to communicate with the local people.

I bought Fluenz Levels 1+2+3+4+5 and began right at the beginning. I did not repeat the lessons on the first three levels because they were easy for me. I did however learn something new in every lesson even if it was an accent mark, pronunciation tip or word placement reminder. I realized early on how carefully this program was designed to help adult, English speaking people master concepts that most Spanish teachers cannot explain. An example is the use of indirect object pronouns, Te lo digo- I say it to you, which is very hard to grasp for English speakers. Every concept that caused problems for me before, was addressed in the program.

The audio CDs are excellent and I always listed to them for review while I am driving. I have audio programs that I listen to while I am walking my dogs. I take every opportunity to listen to Spanish TV or songs on the radio. I also force myself to read several Spanish news articles a day and to do some workbook activities for review.

Now that I have completed the entire program, I will review it again quickly and keep it for future reference. I wish they had a more advanced level because I would buy it immediately. I am now reviewing the tenses that were not taught in the program and I am trying again to master the subjunctive. I know I would get it perfectly if Sonia was teaching it.

Since using Fluenz, I am speaking with confidence and I am actually amazing Latino friends with my level of mastery. The strong emphasis on sentence order and construction, and pronunciation has given me the confidence I needed. This is the best program to buy if you are serious about learning Spanish correctly from the beginning.
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on December 29, 2011
I'm a new student so am still on the first CD of Fluenz, but I absolutely love how they developed this program.

I've tried to learn Spanish countless times in my life, but always gave up after awhile because it was difficult to maintain what I'd learned due to not having anyone to practice with, or having difficulties picking it up out of a book or through strictly audible CDs. I'd taken Spanish in high school, and much later in community colleges, and have always gotten good grades but never really learned how to confidently have a conversation with a native Spanish speaker. When trying to learn in a classroom setting, I often would miss much of what the instructor would be saying, and of course after the class is over the only things I had left to study were my notes and a book. But with this CD-based learning system I can repeat the lessons as many times as I want, to really fully understand what's being said. This is a huge advantage for someone like me, who is not as quick at absorbing new material as some are.

So I'm determined to do it this time. And I think Fluenz will make it possible to really learn this language, mainly because it is so thorough, and teaches in so many different ways at once (visually, audibly, and in written form). It's almost impossible NOT to learn it if you actually do all of the exercises.

Fluenz typically starts a session with a short talk describing the session by Sonia Gil, one of the program's developers. That is followed by a conversation between a couple of Spanish speakers. The situations used are ones that you would typically find yourself in, such as ordering food and drinks in a restaurant. The first person speaks at a normal rate, but the next person doesn't reply until you press the "Next" button, so you control the tempo of the conversation. Each time you listen to the conversation you can choose whether you want subtitles in Spanish, English and Spanish, or no subtitles at all. And you can repeat it as many times as you want with whatever subtitles you choose. They recommend you hear each conversation a minimum of 3 times.

After the conversation is over, Sonia comes back on and (in English) explains each word of the conversation and how they are used together. Then there are lots of different types of quizzes to reinforce what you've learned. The student has to repeat the sentences and words verbally, has to match them up with English translations (in writing), has to type them out when they are played back audibly, and you have to use proper grammar with all the accents, upside-down question marks and exclamation points, etc. The program creates hotkeys on the keyboard to make this possible on an English keyboard without using the dreaded Alt/keypad method of creating Spanish letters.

The result of all of this is the learning of a new language without nearly so much pain as you would otherwise expect. Yes, you still have to stick to it, and you still have to practice. But if you go through the exercises you can't help but learn.

There are a few shortcomings, but I think they are minor. For example, when I first encountered the part where I had to match Spanish sentences with their correct English counterparts, there were no instructions I could find on the page to explain exactly how to do that. Through trial and error I finally realized I was supposed to drag the Spanish sentence over to the correct English one and drop it there. Maybe it is explained somewhere, and I just missed it, but if that's the case it wasn't obvious. Also, some of the hotkeys for typing Spanish letters are rather cumbersome, like the upside-down punctuation (question mark and exclamation point). But again, I think these shortcomings are minor.

If you are on the fence as to which language program to buy, definitely take a close look at Fluenz. There is a reason why Fluenz Spanish has so many 5-star ratings. They have almost no marketing budget, which is why you probably hadn't heard of them until now. If you're like me, you probably checked out Rosetta Stone since you'd heard of them (they spend lots of money on advertising), but thought you'd check into other programs as well. Good idea. From what I've read about Rosetta Stone, I'm very glad I chose Fluenz instead.
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on April 22, 2010
CONS:

#1 DOWNGRADE YOUR RESOLUTION
Yes that's right! If you have any sort of eyesight problems this product may not be for you! I have a 1080p monitor and have to downgrade my system to 1024x768 each time I use fluenz just to see what I'm doing. Granted most people do not have a 1080p monitor yet, but why pay $600 for software that doesn't even have a maximize button? Not to mention every 5 uses requires the use of the program CD, SO DON'T LOSE IT. Yes, I already contacted fluenz about this and they already know and have done nothing.This product can be band-aid by downloading application resolution changer programs that are mostly free of charge by third party sites. But they are complicated and slow.

#2 MICROPHONE SETUP
There is another glitch for those of you running on Win 7. You will get "Index out of range. Script Error. Continue?" when you try to use your microphone for the first time. Here is the solution for this bug as well:

1) Right-click on the Fluenz shortcut on your desktop and choose
"Properties" from the menu that appears
2) In the new window that appears, you'll see the word "Target:" with
a text box next to it. Inside the text box, you'll most likely find
the following:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Fluenz\Spanish 1\launch.exe"

3) Change the "launch.exe" part at the end to "fluenz.exe", so that
the full line reads:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Fluenz\Spanish 1\fluenz.exe" (make
sure you include the quotes!)

4) You'll see a "Compatibility" tab on top. Click on that tab.
5) Once on the Compatibility tab, place a check in the box next to
"Run this program in compatibility mode for".
6) In the drop-down menu, select "Windows 98 / ME"
7) Click the OK button.

Now try running the program. If that doesn't fix the issue, go back
through the above steps, but in step 6 choose "Windows XP (Service
Pack 2)" for the compatibility mode. Let me know how it goes.

PROS:

IF you don't or have already had these problems fixed, fluenz is much better than rosetta stone for undergraduate and higher students. Full immersion doesn't work on adults, just children. Not to mention that what RS offers isn't even close to full immersion and should be called partial immersion, since there is absolutely no interaction with the native speakers. (I also own Rosetta Stone level 1-3)

Fluenz (FZ) on the other hand explains everything you need, and gives you exercises to practice what is taught. No more banging you head against the wall or constantly whipping out your dictionary trying to decipher what RS is trying to teach you.That is if you can get the program to work correctly.

UPDATED 06/27/10 Final thoughts:

There is an excellent quote that I'm stealing from my tutor on fluenz. "It's not how much you can learn, but how much you can retain." If you have a young child or perfecting your fluency with an already strong foundation of Spanish, give them Rosetta Stone. If you are like most people I know, know your limitations and go with Fluenz. My recommendation is buy all the levels of fluenz first, then spend the extra money in the future on Rosetta Stone to perfect your Spanish. After using this program for three months now, I have grown to appreciate this software even more. It almost makes the stupid bugs irrelevant in fluenz's commitment to language RETENTION. Any software can give you thousands of words to memorize. But fluenz is in check with reality, and focuses on repetition and perfection of the select language skills you REALLY NEED TO KNOW/CAN RETAIN. Thank you fluenz for making language learning software useful.
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on January 9, 2014
I rarely write reviews but I had to for Fluenz Spanish. They have hit language instruction for adults dead on. I have been struggling with Spanish on and off since high school. I learn a little, lose interest in the learning method, and never get past the basics. As a police officer I feel I should have functional Spanish conversational skills and the "should" is turning into "need" every year, both to serve others and also to protect myself. I had tried Rosetta in the past and it was OK, but after several weeks I felt I had not learned anything useful. Honestly, I got good at understanding a little and guessing the rest. After a renewed commitment to learn Spanish for good, I researched my options and decided to try Fluenz. GOOD CHOICE!! The style of teaching is easy, builds upon itself, and drills down on both learning and retention. I committed to treat this like a college class and do one session, plus review the last session, 4-6 times a week. I have learned and retained more than through any other self instruction method. If you have tried others and have given up - TRY THIS!!
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on November 3, 2014
The lessons are thoughtfully planned out, keeping the pace manageable. You're not forced to memorize tons of verb conjugations up front. Instead, they're woven-in gradually. Learning a language is all about repetition, so there's plenty of time to introduce tougher material in small bites, without ever having to torture the student.

I took Spanish I & II in college. And when I purchased Fluenz, I also bought Rosetta Stone. Between these three methods, I find Fluenz to be by far the best. I do a lesson each morning when I arrive at the office. I actually look forward to it. I'm almost done with the second disc.

The effort that when into preparing these lessons is obvious, and it really makes life easier for the student. Muy bien!
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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 October 28, 2016
I ordered the product several years ago and have been very impressed. Not only with the program itself, but with excellent customer service. With any issues I have gotten a response in hours or minutes... not days. Also when they recently upgraded their product they sent me an e-mail and allowed me to upgrade, even though I bought the product 6-7 years ago. They didn't have to do this, but they did. Which demonstrated to me great customer service. What also impresses me is that you can tell they've also put a lot of time and thought into their program. Blows away Rosetta Stone or any other similar product currently out there. Books and basic CD's can only get you so far. This is a comprehensive programs with tons of materials. Another thing I like about Fluenz's approach is that they say it's not easy, it will take time and effort to master a 2nd language. Frankly, I find this a bit refreshing over other programs that say you can master a language quickly and easily. Let's be realistic, if learning a 2nd language was that easy, everyone would be bilingual. But the good news is that if you are willing to put in the time and effort to learn a 2nd language, Fluenz is the way to go. Now, I just wish they'd release a Japanese program!
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