Learning Language with Pimsleur: Spanish 1 16 Audio CD set Review

I received this item for review via Tomoson.

My mother is from Mexico City. I remember as a child every few years I’d get to go with my mom and little brother to spend the summers with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins in Mexico. It was a great experience to learn to navigate the public transportation system, the layout of a foreign city, it’s history and best of all it’s language by immersion. My brother had a much harder time learning because by the time he came along and was talking I was already in school speaking English full time. When we would visit family I would switch back to Spanish and pay close attention until I was back in the swing of things. My brother would see this as an easy out – an opportunity to use me as his interpreter so he wouldn’t have to do any “work”. Until one day my mother prohibited me from translating for him. My aunts would look to me in frustration when they had no idea what he said to them. I just had to tell them what my mom had told me, “If he wants something he’s going to have to tell you in a way you can understand. I’m not allowed to translate anymore.” For the first two weeks of our trip that year he was mostly silent. Then one day the floodgates opened and you couldn’t shut him up, lol. Just kidding, he’s always been a bit shy and quiet but he was finally able to speak for himself in Spanish. Complete immersion helped him to focus, connect, learn and communicate on his own.

My kids have it that much harder. We don’t have the opportunity to visit relatives in Mexico anymore. We live pretty isolated from any Spanish speaking communities. I find it difficult to force myself to speak Spanish in the house. My husband doesn’t speak Spanish and to my knowledge has never had a desire to learn it. I applied for this review because I want my children and husband to finally learn Spanish and since I speak Spanish it would be easy for me to tell if the program is effective. Both my 44 year old husband and my 8 and 5 year old daughters have been using the lessons.

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The little one found the program frustrating but this is partly because of her personality :). Being asked to repeat and repeat made her feel self conscious. My husband and older daughter devoured the first lesson and started practicing the conversation with me and each other. I appreciate how the phrases are broken down into words and the words into syllables to facilitate repetition. Also, the lessons are not merely mindless repetition. They keep you on your toes forcing you to conjugate verbs and remember the genders of words you’ve just learned to reinforce the language skills just taught. It’s done at a steady, but not too fast pace. It’s recommended to move on from one lesson to the next when you are able to respond correctly 80% of the time.

It’s nice that in CD format my husband could carry the discs in the car and I could also download the files to my iPad, iTunes and Android phones in order for the girls to have it available any time. I’m hopeful that they will have a better grasp of the Spanish language and more of a willingness to converse in it when they are done with all 16 lessons. Now I just have to force myself to practice with them more regularly so the lessons stick.

Immersion to learn a language may not be possible living in rural Ohio, but with the right program and consistently sticking with the lessons definite progress can be made.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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