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Showing 1-10 of 559 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 579 reviews
on July 23, 2014
I'm only half way through the first book, but so far it has been great. I've taken several beginning Spanish courses over my lifetime and none of it stuck, but I feel like the design of this course is a lot better because, contrary to what one "reviewer" said, they do NOT just give you a list of words to memorize. You are shown words which will be emphasized in a lesson, but they are presented in context in a variety of ways.

To get 9 CDs and 3+ books for $28 is just an unbelievable bargain especially compared to big-name systems which, ironically, consistently get poor reviews and cost much, much more.

Just after I started this course I stumbled across Duolingo.com which is a free online school for various languages, including Spanish. I've been working it the same time as this system because they each have their own advantages. The main advantage of the Duolingo course is that it is interactive -- you have to type in answers and if you get too many wrong, you have to repeat the lesson. With a non-interactive course, it is easy to lose focus/attention and not realize that you have missed something, which is the case with Living Language.

On the other hand, the speech in Living Language is much clearer and it is easier to back up a bit and repeat something. Also, you can read the LL books and/or listen to the CDs anywhere and any time, while you must be online to use Duolingo.

The Amazon page and other Living Language materials say that you can just listen to the CDs to learn Spanish without using the book. While that may be theoretically possible, it would be VERY much harder and time consuming. For one thing, the book has extra exercises to reinforce your learning which the CDs do not have. Another thing is that listening to spoken Spanish and reading it at the same doubles your learning capacity as aural and visual input are stored in different parts of the brain and subsequently reinforce each other. If you do not look at the book while listening to the CDs, you are simply missing out on that.

IMO, the best way to use this course is to read and listen to a chapter at the same time, then read the chapter again, working the extra exercises, then repeat both of these steps until you feel comfortable that you have learned the material. I would only listen to the CDs by themselves, such as in a car, as additional reinforcement. But I seriously doubt that anyone can learn Spanish by listening one time to these CDs while driving around (hopefully also focusing on traffic, etc.).
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on April 15, 2016
For me, this was exactly what I was looking for, Because I already know my alphabet, pronunciation, and have a SMALL vocabulary already, so this started right where I wanted it to. If your goal is to learn Spanish, with no prior knowledge, this wouldn't be where I would start....But for what I wanted it for, its perfect!!
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on November 21, 2016
THIS IS BETTER THAN ROSETTA STONE...Ordered the product because it offers audio CDs from Essentials to Advanced along with corresponding Physical in your hand workbooks and FREE online learning access from your computer or access device. Product is sold at Barnes and Nobel at $50.and sets right next to Rosetta Stone for $250. I had previously purchased Rosetta Stone which provides no workbooks and the online access costs $14 per month or $89 per year....this after you pay a premium price for something that is no better than this product. Rosetta Stones model is to charge you a lot of money for a product that does not provide audio CDs so you can learn while driving to work..just software to load on a computer as backup...Rosetta continues to ride on the coat tails of a so yesterday novel idea without really advancing the product beyond finding ways to continue charging you for something already paid for...limits you to two computers...no customer service beyond telling you to read the instructions...Rosetta stones computer presentation and online website is nothing special either...so save yourself a lot of grief because at the end of the day YOU do all the work with these lessons..question is how much do you want to spend because no self taught course will do it for you. Order this product and do the work...
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on October 3, 2011
I bought this set after seeing a friend's copy of the French edition. I really like the set up and I do feel that I am learning a lot (though the first book seemed mostly a refresher of items I learned in high school and college).

Positives:
-Division of chapters is clear and the companion cds read almost every word on the page. (Which makes it easy to read along with the chapter or use it as extra practice on your drive to work as I do.
-The book is written in a way that seems more organic to learning conversational Spanish. Instead of just learning a bunch of words and how to conjugate them or just a set of general vocabulary each chapter is topic based. This means the the number section isn't just "uno, dos, tres." It also includes "Tengo dos gatos" and "Ella tiene tres perros." (I have two cats. She has three dogs.) Slowly interspersing new vocabulary, sentence structure, gender-dominance of the terms, and of course conjugation.

Negatives: (why I did not give it 5 stars)
-You have to come in with a basic knowledge of the Spanish alphabet and sometimes the pronunciation doesn't seem as clear in writing.
-Sometimes some of the most important/interesting vocabulary is thrown into the summary paragraph at the end of the chapter giving the reader only one chance to familiarize with that set of vocabulary before it is either not referenced again or thrown into another part of the following chapter. (The cd does read this chapter to you but does not give you the option to repeat those words.)
-The cd can really only be used after reading the chapter for extra study. I tried to use some of the lessons ahead of where I was in the book. (Only the next lesson, not far in advance.) And I found myself tongue tied. The cd gives you a chance to repeat the Spanish out loud after they have given a definition in English and it has been read quite rapidly in Spanish. It did not give enough time for the me, as the reader, to repeat the more complex sentences and spoke so rapidly that it was hard to hear. So I will now only use the cd after reading the chapter. (It was very frustrating because I knew some of the vocabulary but not one or two words that I felt like the reader flew over.)
-The online learning content though useful seems a little slow or gimmicky at times.

Overall I think it is a great purchase and since I am a librarian with access to many self study guides at my local library I would still recommend this to a person wishing to get serious on relearning what they vaguely remembered from high school over some of the other sets available. Also at the library since I have many Spanish speaking patrons it makes it easier to converse, granted it is still for the both of us Broken English and Broken Spanish. I do find that I am understanding more structure and the in between words that I was previously missing.
[End note: It would be excellent if Living Language decided to make something like this for ESL, since I have many patrons in the library who wish to have a firmer grasp on English and have been asking me what I have been doing in order to converse better with them in Spanish.]
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on March 22, 2016
It is currently March 22, 2016. I formally dedicated to learning Spanish (from scratch) at our clinic staff meeting in May of 2015, at which point I purchased this material. In contrast to my high school German, I was clearly at my own pace with this study, and I proceeded at one lesson each week, regardless of how easy some seemed (with the exception of numbers, which went more quickly). I finished the material last night, and I am very pleased with my handle on the language in the clinical setting. I do appreciate sentence structure and generally things grammatical. That being said, if you are not keen on the subjunctive mood, indirect object pronouns and similar grammatical elements as such, the books provide brief descriptions of each as they are encountered. The authors did not presume grammatical prowess.

In the process of this study, I often found myself wanting to apply certain phrases or constructs in other contexts, and I discovered spanishdict.com to be exceedingly helpful. Here I could posit a potential sentence and see how it translated through three different translators. I also used the site for more clarity on certain grammatical points. This allowed me to bridge the gap between the study content and things clinical (or whatever your setting might be).

Let me strongly suggest this highly-cost-effective material for anyone who has no certain knowledge of the Spanish language.
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on January 5, 2015
The best of six different courses I've tried. What is useful is the audio disks where I can listen to spoken Spanish. I put the audio on my .mp3 player to listen to while walking and the thing I like is that the grammar builders and conversations are about 2 minutes long, so I can hear them multiple times just by going back a track. No delay is involved.
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on January 14, 2015
Great deal for a lot of information. After only going through the first couple of lessons we could already converse a bit when we visited Mexico and we know a lot more than our friends that fell for rosetta stone. This is a great bargain
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on October 4, 2016
It's good, I come from a Spanish speaking background but I wanted to learn more of the educated terms rather than the conversational Spanish I grew up speaking. It's nice to learn words that your country doesn't typically use that way when you're speaking to someone from another place you can actually understand them easier. "habitaciones" vs "cuartos" there's multiple word differences between countries in the Spanish language but this CD guide is a great way to learn how to speak Spanish in a formal and educated tone.
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on May 25, 2017
I used Behind the Wheel to work on my French, which I had in high school and college. I found it incredibly efficient at getting one up to "conversation" speed--you learn the stuff you are most likely to use on a trip right away: days of the week, months, times, and lots and lots of infinitives to use with a couple of verb construction so you can figure out yourself how to say: "I want to go to the train station."
I've had a little Spanish, and this might be a good way to start if you want to learn the language in the large sense, but if you want to learn enough to ask directions to the bathroom or where the nearest post office is, I would not start here. I don't need to know the vocabulary for family members at this point.
For me, there's not enough oral drilling, and the program is constantly throwing in vocabulary you haven't had when you obviously haven't had a chance to master what you been presented with so far.
So I'm regretting having to go back and order Behind the Wheel for another chunk of change instead of ordering it in the first place.
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on December 11, 2014
This really is the audio Spanish course I'd been searching for. I've had it for weeks now and I'm able to listen as I drive and learn and pick things up from the most basic to advanced. I looked through the book, which matches the audio CDs, and that looks good to, but my basic purpose in getting this was to use the time I spend driving better than music or talk on the radio.
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