Tools for Learning Spanish

From: Keith K.
Sent on: Saturday, August 27, 2011 9:05 AM

Below I describe several tools I recently found for learning Spanish, but first I want to remind you that our regular Tuesday night Spanish conversation group will begin meeting this coming Tuesday night, August 30th, at 6:30 PM at the Jon & Karen Huntsman Education Center, which is right beside the entrance to LDS Hospital in The Avenues.  The Education Center does not have a separate address that I could find, but the approximate address is 420 C Street, Salt Lake City.  Here is a link to the location on Google Maps, which also includes the street view of the building:

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=420+C+Street,+Salt+Lake+City&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=420+C+St,+Salt+Lake+City,+Utah+84143&gl=us&z=16&vpsrc=0

Now, on to the learning tools:

www.lomastv.com – This site appears to be a pretty cool way to learn Spanish, although I have not subscribed to it … and I have only watched a few of the demos.  On the home page it states, “Learn Spanish by watching Spanish TV in an online video player designed for language learners.”  You can watch videos, see subtitles in both English and Spanish, and you even have the option to slow down or speed up the audio.  And, it is only $9.95 a month, so it seems like a pretty good deal.  Based on my initial observation, my only issue with this site is that the majority of the videos are in castellano “Spain” Spanish versus my preferred “Latin American” Spanish, but it is all Spanish just the same, and we have to get used to understanding castellano as well.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

www.verbling.com – I heard about this site from Ben of the “Notes in Spanish” program, Verbling appears to be an easy way to find intercambio partners to practice conversation.  I assume that all you need is a webcam to get started, and I think the site is free for now.  I have also heard that Verbling has many more native Spanish speakers than English speakers, so all of us Gringos would have no problem finding partners.  I currently have 4 intercambio partners that I found through LinkedIn and that I talk with via Skype, but this Verbling product might be an easy way to get started on doing intercambios.  Once again, if you check it out let me know how you like it.

www.hello-hello.com – This is another site that I have not done much with at all with – I have so many Spanish language learning options that I cannot keep up with them all! – but Hello Hello was developed in collaboration with The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), so it has some credibility.  Otra vez, if you review this site please let me know so that I can tell others about it.

www.lacasarojas.com – This dude is a private instructor in Peru, and seems to have put together an extensive profile of resources for Spanish language learners.  The only thing I know about this program is that I downloaded for free through iTunes 15 of this guy’s podcasts, and they seem pretty good.  However, on his web site you get the “premium” content for a fee.  I’m sounding like a broken record … I have not used this guy’s program, so any feedback you can provide would be most helpful.

Tengo buenas noticas … I HAVE USED THE FOLLOWING PROGRAM!!!!!!!

www.fluenz.com – This little company is unabashedly taking on Rosetta Stone, saying that they are BETTER than Rosetta Stone, and trying to take market share away.  The Fluenz product is pretty pricey, like Rosetta Stone, but an interesting alternative.  Rosetta Stone has been around a long time, and I would say that their complete suite as a whole is much more evolved than Fluenz.  But I will say this about Fluenz, it has the best Spanish writing drills that I have ever found.  Fluenz forces you to write and write and write, and I have found that it has greatly enhanced my ability to write in Spanish (including getting the correct accents on letters of the alphabet).  I do not like the writing component of Rosetta Stone, and so I was thrilled to find the Fluenz program, and to get some very effective help with my Spanish writing.  Another selling point for the Fluenz product is that there is an English speaking instructor that clarifies grammar, vocabulary, etc., in contrast to the Rosetta Stone total immersion system where nothing is explained in English.  NOTE - I bought a single DVD, Fluenz level 4 Spanish, on eBay for about $40, however Fluenz does not currently sell their upper levels 3, 4, and 5 individually … if you buy direct from Fluenz, you have to buy levels 3,4, and 5 together for $400, and all five levels will set you back $500 – ouch!  Nonetheless, I have heard that they will be migrating to a new product version early next year (current version is called F2), and I have heard that they will be migrating to a subscription system (similar to what Rosetta Stone is doing with their “TOTALe” product), which is kind of like software in the cloud that you can use for a certain fee for a certain amount of time (as opposed to buying and having the DVDs).  So we will see.  Okay, I have used the Fluenz program, but I STILL want to know if anyone else out there has used it as well, so send me your comments por favor.

Que tenga buen día.

 

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