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Best Spanish Language Software Review

Fluenz Spanish Review

Fluenz Spanish is one of the best programs I have used for learning Spanish. I really admire their way of thinking about language learning and their methods of applying that to their courses. I also think that the multi-media aspect suits the popularity of computers. The programs also come with mp3 files you can listen to on a computer or with any mp3 player.

Here’s a list of Fluenz Spanish programs currently at Amazon, though for some reason a few other things are on the list too. No matter, this will show you all the different levels and combinations of levels, along with their prices.

Fluenz Spanish is for both Windows and Mac. It guides you step-by-step through a relatively small vocabulary but one that you know well by the end and that you know how to combine.

Here are the product features of the package that includes the levels from 1 to 5:

  • 150 sessions of up to two and one-half hours each — the most comprehensive software application covering the first five levels of Spanish anywhere. Fluenz Spanish 1+2+3+4+5 will guide you in English through the challenges of Spanish with a proven system.
  • Language tutor Sonia Gil guides you on video every step of the way, recreating a one-on-one tutoring experience, utilizing explanations in English, placing you in real-world contexts, and immersing you in the culture.
  • Fluenz blends beautiful full-motion video with a range of engaging, interactive workouts to improve your reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills including a recording engine to perfect your accent.
  • Fluenz’s unique approach is currently being used by elite units of the US Navy, senior personnel at the UN and UNICEF, executives of Fortune 500 companies, and students at Harvard Business School and other leading universities.
  • Includes Fluenz Spanish 1, Fluenz Spanish 2, Fluenz Spanish 3, Fluenz Spanish 4, and Fluenz Spanish 5 DVD-ROMs, five audio CDs for additional learning, exclusive, downloadable podcasts for further practice, and the handy Fluenz Navigator for on-the-go referencing of important words and phrases.

Rocket Spanish: Review

Rocket Spanish is a “learn Spanish” audio course, well-known for giving you a good start in conversational Spanish. It comes with a variety of useful add-ons, but I’d say that the heart of the program is the 31 mp3 files which you can listen to, on your computer, on CDs, or on mp3 players.

I’ve taken the course and say more about my experiences further down this Rocket Spanish review page.

In short, it is a practical, easy-to-use method to learn Spanish fast — you can get a lot of the basics in just a few weeks. I like it.

I think it’s especially good for you if:

  • You are planning a vacation in a Spanish-speaking country and want to be able to talk some with people there.
  • You are “on the go” or have more time to learn from mp3 files on an ipod (or other mp3 player) than by sitting in front of a computer.
  • You aren’t a big fan of intricate computer software, or your computer is kind of an antique.
  • You want something you can start today.
  • You want something clear and straightforward, teaching you the words and phrases you are most likely to need in conversation.

So What Exactly IS Rocket Spanish?

Its core is the audio course of 31 Spanish lessons, each one about 20 minutes long. The discussions are between Mauricio Mauricio Evlampieff who is from Chile and Amy Waterman, whose first language is English but speaks a far better Spanish than I ever will!

At first I thought, “Gee, I’d rather hear two native speakers,” but as I worked with the course more, I realized that Amy became a kind of role model for me. This was useful in motivation, and she has a great accent.

An accompanying e-book gives you the actual transcript of the dialog, along with further comments and vocabulary.

There are several more e-books as well. The beginning and advanced grammar books are actually fun to read, as they are attractively laid out. A lot of care obviously went into making the  lessons enticing.

There are also some enjoyable ways to enhance your vocabulary, an online forum, email support, and a 60-day money back guarantee.

Consider These Points About Rocket Spanish

  1. Rocket Spanish is very easy to use. Basically, just listen to the audio files, practice out loud, and do a bit of reading in the e-books.
  2. Because it’s easy to use, I would guess that people are more likely to do the Rocket Spanish lessons than they are to do some of the more complex computer-based programs out there. It’s easy to fit into your life, with no computer hassles.
  3. The add-on vocabulary building is very useful, as is the online forum where you can get your questions answered.
  4. If you download Rocket Spanish, you can have the whole package just a few minutes from now… or from whenever you purchase.

My Experiences Testing Rocket Spanish

My husband and I were both pleasantly surprised by how nicely Rocket Spanish is put together. We listened to a number of the lessons on a long road trip from  central Mexico to the US. We picked up quite a few phrases and grammatical points, rather to our surprise. (The Rocket Spanish team was kind enough to provide me with a review copy of the program. My Spanish would not be called anything like perfect, but I am at a pretty advanced level, and I wanted to do a Rocket Spanish review here on the site.)


Pimsleur Spanish

Pimsleur Spanish is a tried-and-true method for learning conversational Spanish. It’s essentially an audio course of half-hour lessons, developed by Dr. Paul Pimsleur based on his research into how people learn languages. The Pimsleur Method is available for many languages, and millions of people have used it successfully.

You can learn Spanish — at least basic conversational Spanish and likely even more — with Pimsleur. Recently a friend came to visit us in Mexico. He had never before spoken Spanish, and I was amazed at how well he was doing immediately in conversation with Mexicans. His secret? Pimsleur Spanish, repeated many many times.

(He had taken high school Spanish several decades ago, and he thought that helped some too.)

I used Pimsleur myself to review my rusty Spanish before coming to Mexico over five years ago, and found it particularly good for pronunciation.

Pimsleur Spanish Pros and Cons

Some Pros:

  • It’s audio, so you can take it with you on an ipod or whatever, and listen to it anywhere.
  • It repeats the same vocabulary a lot, so you really learn the words.

Some Cons:

  • The Spanish it uses is too formal in some cases. For example, “Encantado” instead of the more popular “Mucho gusto” for Good to meet you.
  • It’s relatively expensive.
  • The vocabulary is not really large.

What is the Pimsleur Method?

The Pimsleur Method is based on four ideas about learning language:

  1. Anticipation — instead of just repeating what an instructor says, you have to think of what to say, just like in real conversations.
  2. Graduated interval recall — Review the words you know at increasingly longer intervals.
  3. Core vocabulary — learn the most commonly used words, and learn them well.
  4. Organic learning — learn by listening.

These four concepts are worked into the programs.

Rosetta Stone Spanish Review

Rosetta Stone Spanish has been around a long time and it’s  worth considering when you choose a program for learning to speak Spanish. It may well be the best-known Spanish language program.

Rosetta Stone is based on the idea that we adults can learn languages in the same way that we learned our first language as very young children. But current research shows that once past puberty, we don’t learn in the same way.

What this means in practical terms is that their software uses NO English to help you learn Spanish. In fact, everyone in the world who is learning Spanish via Rosetta is using the same program, no matter what their native tongue. The program uses images and Spanish.

Rosetta Stone uses the word immersion about their method, but the word is more commonly used to mean living in a foreign country at a school where you only speak the language you are learning.

Some Rosetta Stone Pros:

  • Many people really like this program and learn well from it.
  • It is easy to use.
  • It is well known.
  • It is said to have good voice recognition software that can correct your pronunciation.
  • It has a Latin American version, all the way through its 3 levels.
  • Clearly a lot of work went into designing it.

Rosetta Stone Cons:

  • Many people find its method to be boring and frustrating.
  • It is expensive.
  • People say that it did not really prepare them for conversational Spanish, that the words and phrases they learned first were not that important.
  • No English exists to explain things.
  • It is mainly meant to be used sitting at your computer.
  • Users of the program at Amazon have posted reviews detailing problems they have had in dealing with the company.

How Does Rosetta Stone Spanish Compare with Other Programs?

I personally would choose Fluenz over Rosetta in the category of multi-media programs, but we are all different of course, and you have to go with your own sense of what will work best for you. I used to prefer Rosetta over Tell Me More, but I have been told by the Tell Me More people that the latest version is much improved.


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About Sally Morgan

My name is Sally Morgan, I'm American and currently a Language Teacher in New York State Schools for French and Spanish. I have studied Foreign Languages, translation and teaching at the Columbia University in New York. I lived for 3 years in Europe including France, UK and Italy.

I am a passionate linguist and love how speaking another language opens the doors of communication and therefore a whole world.

Please ask me any questions below

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