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Learning Spanish on Your Computer

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Learn Spanish Your Way

LYW includes 5 CDs and a small workbook. The first CD has Unit 1 and the supporting software. The second CD has Unit 2, the third games and 'trips'. There are two 'audio' discs, one with Spanish music (with no lyrics, unfortunately), and the other a variation of the usual listen and repeat discs.

This was the first of the software to arrive -- usually a good sign because it shows the distributors have a lot of faith (and organisation). As I mentioned in my story, the moment I started trying to speak the language, things went rapidly downhill.

The introductory grammar was a bit dry to start on, but it did give a good grounding and I had more confidence than perhaps I should have once I had completed the opening exercises.

See also: Feature on Learning Languages

Installation: Poor (damaged Media)
Ease of Use:
Functional Expectations:
Continuing Interest:
Value for Money:

Target Audience:
Cost: US$
Cost: A$

LYW uses a combination of techniques to teach, and provides male and female native speakers as guides. There are games, videos to watch or participate in (on a very simplistic level), as well as the kind of exercises you would expect.

I found that my pronunciation was more likely to be accepted if the sample speaker was female. I also found that I had to be fairly forceful in my speech. As the training progressed and those damned annoying, unchangeable 'bink' and 'bonk', especially the 'bonk' raised my tension levels incredibly.

The original CD was slightly deformed and caused a lot of noise, I used a disc copier to see if a fresh disc would work, and it did. I regret I didn't try to kill off the bink and bonk wav files at the same time.

Screen capture, Knowledge Adventure's Learn Spanish Your Way
Essentials (Grammar)

As I mentioned previously, it took five help calls to get the system working, particularly working around the QuickTime installer problems. Tip: if you get into trouble, don't just de-install Quicktime. Go to the website and get the names of all the Quicktime files and delete all the ones that don't get removed.

Product: Learn Your Way
Publisher: Knowledge Adventure
Language: Spanish/English (emphasis on Mexican)
Operating System: Win
Rec. Retail Price:
Release Media: 5 CDs
Accessories: Workbook, Headset
System Requirements: Sound card,

I liked having the audio CDs so that I could listen to the Spanish anytime. I think it would have been better to have Spanish lyrics on the music CD. I also liked the way that I could print out the grammar lessons. Even with a notebook (which has much more problems with speech recognition because of internal sounds and sometimes resources), it is inconvenient to only use CALL because you are desk-bound.

Screen capture, Learn Spanish Your Way, software review
Listen and repeat
Following advice, I moved onto another program and then returned to LYW, and yes, I did do better on the vocabulary speech recognition.

Learn Spanish Your Way (LYW) uses the following other programs which come on the CD: Acrobat Reader for the user manual, IBM's ViaVoice Spanish Runtime for the speech evaluation, and Quicktime 4.0 to play the video files.

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ISSN 1328-8008
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Filed: 1-Jul-2001 : Last updated: : Last tested: : Last compiled: 31-Mar-2010
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