Web Ben's Questions and Answers

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Learning Languages, i.e. Spanish and French

I spent many years learning various languages in school, as I'm sure almost everyone else has. My success rate was relatively good, however, I had little motivation to really apply myself. Now that I am living in the US I am far more immersed in alternate cultures, which speak alternate langauges other than English, namely Spanish and French.

I am currently receiving at least three Spanish language TV stations, and consequently, I now find that I have much more motivation to expand my Spanish vocabulary and general Spanish comprehension. Once I have reached the conversational Spanish point I intend to do the same with my French vocabulary and comprehension, which should be an easier task than is the case with Spanish since my French abilities are already above the level of my Spanish.

With this new found motivation I have been wondering: "How can I improve my Spanish language vocabulary and comprehension?". I tried simply watching Spanish language TV, however, the total immersion technique was flawed due mainly to the fact that I was not totally immersing myself. Simply watching Spanish language TV does not constitute total immersion in a language or culture and, although I was able to comprehend a little of what was transpiring in the various TV programmes, the vast majority of the TV content was going completely over my head.

Luckilly I mentioned my language plans to someone who recommended that I try Michel Thomas' Spanish 8 audio CD Spanish course. Having listened to the majority of the first CD at their house I was sold. Michel Thomas has a revolutionary teaching style which centers around the student not trying to learn, rather the student cannot help but learn through following the instructions that Michel provides. There is no homework, there is no memorising, rather than trying to concentrate you are instructed to relax. I ordered the 8 CD set from Amazon and listened to the first CD in its entireity this morning and can confirm that the brief few minutes which I listened to previously is reflective of the CD as a whole. The various rules that he highlights mean that as an English speaker you already have a Spanish vocabulary of several thousand words simply by changing the endings from the English version to the Spanish.

If you're interested in learning Spanish I would feel very comfortable recomending "Spanish with Michel Thomas - Deluxe Edition" and will certainly be considering his French course when my Spanish reaches a reasonable conversational level.

What do you think? Please leave a comment or email your question, which you'd like me to answer for free, to Ben Dash at


Blogger The Cunning Linguist said...

I found your blog while googling for Michel Thomas. Glad you have the same thoughts as I do! Makes me feel less weird.

12:02 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home