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Ultimate Spanish: Advanced: CD/Book Package (Living Language Series)

4.3 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0609602058
ISBN-10: 0609602055
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A really great package for those who do not have the time to sit in a classroom, or the money to spend on two years in a foreign country.”
–Juergen Kempff, Ph.D., Curriculum Director, University of California-Irvine

“Authentic…enlightening and useful…I like the fact that the business section was closely related to the dialogue…makes the learning process more fun and realistic.”
–Marisa Castro Cid, World Trade Institute Language Center --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English, Spanish --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Living Language Series
  • CD-ROM
  • Publisher: Living Language (May 19, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609602055
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609602058
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 9.7 x 2.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,401,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio Cassette
I have completed this course as well as Ultimate French and Italian Advanced. Ultimate Spanish is by far the poorest of the three.
Like all of these courses there is, in my opinion, a very major flaw. There is no transcript for the "Learn on the Go" tapes or CD's which comprise half of the audio material. The sentences spoken are often complex and are spoken at normal speed. No matter how many times I listened to some of them, I was unable to decipher them. I also found that for them to be of any value that I had to transcribe the "Learn on the Go" material myself--a very time consuming task. It took me at least a couple of hours per lesson--and I am a very advanced student of languages.
I was sometimes unable to make out the words even with repeated listening. (Of the three courses I was able to transcribe completely the Italian--a language in which I have near native fluency--and even that with difficulty. French stumped me once or twice. But Spanish...)
Another aggravating peculiarity of the course was the continual use of the future subjunctive--so beloved of examination writers of the 1950's but of little practical value. Also, dialectical froms such as "vos" received undue emphasis as did the second personal plural form "vosotros" which is absent in Latin American Spanish.
There were also a number of editing errors. The most egregious one appeared in the "Apuntes" section of chaper 13 wherein it states that the Basques are "direct descendants of the Celts." That is, of course, completely false. The Basques and their language are as far as ever has been determined are totally unrelated to any others.
I would also agree with other reviewers as to the limited value of the business information and the exercises.
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Format: Audio Cassette
I completed 4th year college Spanish 20 years ago. I can understand a lot of what I hear on the radio or see on TV but am slow and clumsy when I have to form sentences on my own. The content of this book is on the right level for me.
Before I started using the book I reviewed grammar with Dorothy Richmond's Practice Makes Perfect: Spanish Verb Tenses. I'm extremely glad I did. The Living Language book has oddly basic grammar information and very little practice. However, the notes to the dialog have good information that I put on flash cards.
The dialogs deal with content that's refreshingly far from the stuff I remember having to read in college. The dialogs take place at a book fair in Argentina, a job interview in Venezuela, a political rally in Guatemala City, and so on. I own my own business & like to follow international news, so I'm interested in the business & political info.
The recorded dialogs expose you to different accents and go at a realistic pace. However, the repetition exercises go too quickly for me. They'll read a line of the dialog that I'm supposed to repeat, but the line is often so long that I forget the end while I'm repeating the beginning.
The book claims it's equivalent to two full years of college-level study. I highly doubt that. There isn't enough practice, unless you make up your own exercises. And it takes me only about an hour to do a lesson, including making my own flashcards, repeating the dialogs twice, and listening to the supplementary info.
Since they're charging a lot, I would have expected the publishers to do a better job at laying out and editing the book. For example, there are no running heads. You can't flip through the book easily and know what lesson you're in. There are also a surprising number of typos.
Even with these complaints, the content is much more varied & interesting than other courses I've seen. So I'm happy.
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Format: CD-ROM
This is a wonderful textbook for advanced students of Spanish. The twenty lessons have dialog, notes to the dialog, grammatical explanations and culture or business notes. A short test is included in each lesson. There are also readings for each five lessons. The level of the dialog, when read in the textbook, is somewhere between intermediate and advanced. The conversations are placed in setting of different Spanish speaking countries, including Spain. They cover various, mostly contemporary themes, which greatly reduces boredom. The grammar reviews are somewhat basic and the advanced learners usually only have to look through them quickly. The beauty of this course is accompanying CDs or cassettes. The eight CDs are divided into two parts, dialogs and exercises. In the dialogs, the conversations in each lesson are recorded, with and without pauses to repeat. In the exercises, part of the conversation is used for translation and other exercises. It is true that they do not include comprehensive grammar exercises, such as substitution, transformation and so on, I do not think it is a big deficiency, because at this level, you are supposed to have acquired the basic practical knowledge of Spanish grammar (for example, you should be able to express yourself with correct conjugation of verbs). And becoming familiar with and able to speak fluently various sentences like those in this book is a better approach. In this regard, the CDs are really remarkable: the dialogs are recorded at natural speed and there seems to be no compromise for less advanced learners. Just imitate them and try to speak them as they are spoken, at the same speed, and you will be amazed how much you have advanced. In sum, I found this course very useful and at this price, it is a real bargain.
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