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How To Evaluate Foreign Language Courses - Articles Surfing
The internet is full of a wide variety of Spanish language courses and the decision of which one to purchase can be overwhelming. Do you follow the traditional paths and go with Pimsleur, Berlitz or Rosetta Stone? Stone">All are great products, but they carry a pretty hefty price tag. What's more, the "big guys" teach a very formal style of Spanish...not the more traditional conversational style that sounds and feels much more natural to a native speaker. Coversational Spanish is much easier to learn with less repetition and far better results. How about the Spanish language courses with crazy promises that you'll be able to learn Spanish in just a few days? Sound to good to be true? That's because it is too good to be true. Oh, we shouldn't overlook the "subconscious" language learning methods. They claim to teach you to learn Spanish subliminally or while you sleep. Yeah, right. The bottom line is...learning a new language takes time, practice and commitment and the language program you choose must be learner-compatible, portable and have multiple ability levels. When comparing language programs, consider the following elements:
Interactive Conversations: Does the program you are considering allow you to learn Spanish by interaction with fluent Spanish speakers in a variety of scenarios?
Supplementary Resources: Really great language programs will provide resources for vocabulary, common phrases, grammar and practice exercises so you can learn Spanish quickly and effectively.
Spoken-Word Pacing: It is vitally important that your Spanish course contains elements that teach you to comprehend conversational Spanish, which is often spoken very rapidly. Without learning to "hear" Spanish properly, you'll never be able to speak Spanish properly, and your favorite Spanish phrase is destined to be "Mas despacio, por favor." (More slowly, please.)
Conversational Guides: If your goal is to learn Spanish to enjoy your vacation without struggling with awkward translations, your Spanish course must provide you with basic conversational guides that cover widely used words and phrases. Short, simple phrases are easy to learn and will make a huge difference in how you are received by your Spanish-speaking counterparts.
Modern versus Traditional: Traditional Spanish is not conversational Spanish. It is imperative that your language course teach you to speak spanish as it's currently being spoken, not how it was written 50 years ago. Go to the streets of Cancun with formal Spanish, and you'll look like a fool. Traditional Spanish and Modern Spanish are almost two different languages. Don't undermine your efforts learning to speak Spanish in a form you can't effectively use.
Enjoyable Learning: Make sure the Spanish program you choose is fun to use. If your program is boring and repetitive, it will sit on the shelf (or on the hard drive) gathering dust. If you are purchasing a program for children, make sure it has games and great audio so the kids will be captivated while they learn Spanish.
Pronunciation: When you learn Spanish, it's easy to get tongue-tied with pronunciation problems. Spanish has a few distinctive sounds that are easy to learn if they are introduced properly and early-on in the training. Make sure your course focuses on pronunciation from the very first lesson.
Satisfaction Guarantee: Never buy a Spanish course that doesn't offer a money-back guarantee. Language courses are expensive, and you'll do yourself a favor if you only buy from companies that offer a money-back satisfaction guarantee.
(Pimsleur, Berlitz and Rosetta Stone are trademarks of their respective companies.)
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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