Most helpful positive review
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Perfect method, poor publishing
on 8 July 2013
What is it?
7 audio disks at around 1 hour of a recorded lesson between Michel Thomas and two students. You are the third student, and will need to pause the disk to give you answers (consequently each lesson takes about 1hr 30, although can easily be broken down into whatever legnth you want.
2 additional vocabulary disks, with on of Michel's teachers that focuses purely on extra verbs, nouns etc. but no new sentence structures
1 CD-ROM progress checker. This is essentially the audio disks chopped up into short sentences that test your recall, and reinforce learning.
What do I think of it?
I'd recommend this product (and have) to anyone wanting to learn Spanish. The method of easily building up sentences is both effective and relatively pain free. Michel advises you not to try and remember or study beyond the disks, which naturally limits the overall amount you can learn, but really takes the stress off. Furthermore you really don't need to. As he constantly builds on what you have learnt, it reinforces learning as you go - although it always helps to re-do a disk! Still re-doing a disk is easier than re-reading a chapter. The review checker the publishers have added is also actually very useful, and for the most part so are the extra vocab disks, which just add in extra content to give you a bit more to play with.
So why only 4 stars?
So, it really should get five stars, but it's just not been produced well enough to merit it. Why? or rather, por que? For a start 5 of the disks cover exclusively the present tense. A sixth covers the future tense. Only half of the final disk is afforded to the past tense, and a major section of this is consequently omitted, which left me constantly unable to construct simple sentences when trying it out. To clarify the disk covers 'I was speaking' (Michel's 'wing' tense), I had spoken (Michel's the diving board tense), but not I spoke (Michel's simple past tense)! This is picked up on Perfect Spanish. The final disk also just cuts off in mid sentence... although that's fairly unimportant in the grand scheme of things. The other major frustration is that the 2nd vocabulary disk is apparently unaware of the scant coverage of the past tense, and starts building on assumed knowledge of this tense, that you couldn't have if you've only used the disks. These are simple publishing and testing oversights which really let down what could be an almost perfect product. The vocabulary disk itself also substitutes Michel for a stereotypically ultra positive American woman, who is guaranteed to get on the nerves of many European listeners.
Thankfully Perfect Spanish picks up again with Michel and consequently flows perfectly on from Total Spanish, which is an untold strength of this disk, and despite it's flaws I still think it's a great product, and went on to buy Perfect Spanish also.
Other things people commonly complain about
The other two things that people often highlight as downsides are the over-the-top annunciation and 'the slow guy'. Personally, I think the annunciation is justified - even if you'd never speak it that way, it helps you learn how to pronounce properly. This is particularly apparent when you later discover that words like 'hablo' means both I speak, and he spoke - the difference is in pronunciation. The slow guy can get a bit tiresome, especially in the later disks, but at least you know no matter how bad you are, there'll always be someone slower! It also helps keep the pace moderate, as the other girl in the class was normally a step ahead of me.