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Pimsleur Spanish Conversational Course - Level 1 Lessons 1-16 CD: Learn to Speak and Understand Latin American Spanish with Pimsleur Language Programs (English and Spanish Edition) Audio CD – Audiobook, CD
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About the Author
Dr. Paul Pimsleur devoted his life to language teaching and testing and was one of the world’s leading experts in applied linguistics. After years of experience and research, Dr. Pimsleur developed The Pimsleur Method based on two key principles: the Principle of Anticipation and a scientific principle of memory training that he called “Graduated Interval Recall.” This Method has been applied to the many levels and languages of the Pimsleur Programs.
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Vocabulary Building: I'd say that the Power Spanish Accelerated program gives you a lot more vocabulary bang for your language learning buck, enough there to get you through just about any basic conversational situation. The program uses a lot of sentence building exercises. You can pretty quickly learn to build your own sentences. Power Spanish teaches you to be conversationally flexible.
Structure: The Pimsleur lessons are highly structured with no real variation from the same conversational format, to the point of being rigid. The conversations are then dissected and the listener is guided through everything that was said. There is nothing wrong with that, but personally I prefer to have the target words and phrases presented to me at the start of each lesson, minus the conversation. I'd rather learn one word or phrase at a time, not one conversation at a time. I especially don't like hearing the conversations ahead of time and having to guess at the meanings before they are translated for me.
Power Spanish Accelerated, like Pimsleur, makes use of an interval memory or repetition technique. The narrator regularly returns to already-learned words and phrase. About halfway though the Power Spanish Accelerated discs it occurred to me that the Power Spanish method somehow gets you to memorize without your being fully aware that you are doing so. There is nothing mysterious about it. It is simply a matter of constantly presenting new material while at the same time reviewing previous material. You are moving forward even during those times that you are looking back. Sometimes you look backwards but you never move backwards. Power Spanish keeps you charging ahead.
I feel like I have to listen to an entire thirty minute session to accomplish what Pimsleur has predetermined that I should accomplish. I think that Power Spanish Accelerated better allows you to determine the length of your lessons.
Mood/Tone: The tone of the Power Spanish program is very positive and upbeat. It keeps my attention. Behind the Wheel is steady, but for me the low-keyed monotony of the program makes it tedious.
Variety: The Pimsleur lessons are very structured, all following the same format. Power Spanish Accelerated is sprinkled with what the narrator calls `Audio Snapshots,' where you just listen without repeating as new words are introduced. They sort of focus you on what is to come before getting you engaged. The pace is a little quicker that the usual `listen and repeat' sections. They're also a nice break from the standard `listen and repeat' approach which is inherent to all language audio programs. I especially like the Power Spanish Accelerated sections where the learner has to try to say the word or sentence before and then again after the native speaker.
The same native speakers (two, I think) accompany you throughout your Pimsleur audio experience. The Spanish on Behind the Wheel is spoken by the same male native speaker from start to finish, as far as I can tell. Only occasionally is the voice of a Spanish speaking female inserted. In contrast, Power Spanish Accelerated uses at least a half a dozen native speakers throughout its presentation, both male and female and from different Spanish-speaking countries. The back-and-forth use of several male and female native speakers makes the program more interesting, keeps my attention, and makes the learning happen faster.
My Conclusion: If there is a secret to learning a foreign language that secret has to be staying with it. No language audio program will be effective if you don't use it. Pimsleur and Behind the Wheel are both okay. But if you're serious about using an audio program to learn to speak conversational Spanish, my thumbs go up the highest for Power Spanish Accelerated. I think that its variety of words and phrases and its upbeat tone make Power Spanish Accelerated the easiest of the three programs to stay with.
My boyfriend says about the course "I really enjoy it. It got to me and it's very enjoyable. Thank you SO much for getting for me!" He did have some trouble with the CD player and had to rip it to an MP3 player. That may not be the CD's fault, though.