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What a year I have had! A determination to learn to speak Spanish became almost an obsession I bought Spanish courses consisting of CD's and a workbook, only to find that I listened to the CD in my car and very rarely had time for the book so I searched the internet looking for a better way, given that I had no time for 'proper study'.
Michel Thomas' eight hour Spanish course seemed the ideal solution but the price was higher than I wanted to pay, after all this could have been a waste of time too!!
A lucky find on ebay showed the full course with two minutes to go for only £24 - well, it just had to be done, after all that was half the price of the course in some shops!
When the set arrived it seemed a little daunting, there were ten CD's in the box! But when I checked them all I realised that the course I had bought had the added 'Foundation Review Course on the extra two discs. What a bonus!!
I loaded the first CD into my player in the car and waited - Michel's approach to learning a language is to teach how to construct sentences - so that you say exactly what you want to say - none of the boring phrasebook stuff here, no books, and no writing. The course is an edited class room study with two real students who are being taught by Michel. This does give ample time for repetition when you are a real beginner but I did get a little frustrated with one of the students who got it wrong quite a lot. Michel, though, has more patience than I and he handled it all with ease, teaching verbs and phrases in the present, past and future tenses - it was a completely painless addition to my quest! I did find out much later that my 'Foundation Review' discs actually review much of the course again without the long breaks for repetition - this is very valuable when learning how to pick up speed when speaking.
The course is in reality a little over 8 hours long but is split into tracks which cover many valid points in sentence construction,though I had to head for my dictionary to find more nouns!!!!
He even managed to get my head around to two ways of saying 'I am' - very important in this language, and the beauty of it all is if you don't quite understand the way the verb conjugates you just go back to the beginning of that track and listen again, with no hefty night class course fees. Michels use of humour to help the student remember the correct way is an added bonus with his n.o.s.e rule and 'go-go verbs.
The Spanish language is beautiful and I always thought it would be difficult but Michel has taught me that it is not so different to English in many ways - for instance he teaches that there are over 1000 words ending in 'tion' in English and the vast majority of these end in 'cion' in Spanish and have the same meaning!! The similarities between the languages do not end there - many many words are the same but pronounced differently.
After listening to this course I went on holiday to Gran Canaria as usual and absolutely astounded my Spanish friends (and my family) not only with my knowledge of the language but my confidence in the use of it. I recommend this course to anyone who wants to immediately speak the language without laborious study - Michel teaches, and for some unknown reason you remember. That is the mark of a brilliant teacher.
Since taking the Michel Thomas course I gained a free place on an intensive business Spanish course - where the knowledge that I already had made the written and exam work almost easy! The final exam was at the beginning of this month so I am still awaiting my result!!!
If you are thinking of learning Spanish remember to pick up magazines and books or get relatives to bring them back from holiday - I spent a lot of time with 'Hola' magazine and a dictionary - it makes it more interesting when you are reading about people you know - rather than a dull text book!
Thanks for reading! Hasta pronto! Peace and love Kate