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on 16 January 2012
Michel Thomas was recommended to me by my Open University Spanish tutor as a useful audio course to accompany my OU Beginner's Spanish. The reviews here are so overwhelmingly positive that I was tempted to jump in feet first and purchase one of the big £60 courses, but I took the cautious route and purchased this smaller course first, and I was glad that I did! In brief, the method that Michel Thomas uses seems to be a useful and interesting way to learn Spanish, but the tutor is very annoying. In more detail, the good aspects of the course are:

1. He uses a modular approach to the language that enables you to construct fairly complex sentences quite quickly
2. In this first disc, he teaches you how to adapt the many latin-derived words that exist in English into their Spanish equivalents (eg revolution to revolución, important to importante)
3. His explanations are simple
4. There are plenty of examples to practice

The annoying aspects of the course (in order in which they annoyed me) are:

1. Michel Thomas instructs you to pronounce words in ways that are completely bizarre. For example, in the Spanish word "aceptable", the second "a" is emphasised. In, the emphasis is made by saying that second "a" a bit more loudly. However, Michel Thomas, instructs you to elongate the second "a" so that it sounds like "aceptaaaaaaaable." I've been to Spain a lot, and I have *never* heard this type of pronunciation. This would only be a minor annoyance, but MT places *huge* importance on this erroneous pronunciation. In fact I would say that he spends at least a third of the total time on this disc "correcting" his students' pronunciation so that "tengo" becomes "teeeeeeeengo", "revolución" becomes "revolucioooooooon", "verle" becomes "veeeeeeeeeeeeeerle" and so on. I have no doubt whatsoever that if I were to go to Madrid and follow MT's pronunciation instructions I would be laughed out of town. Thus, a minor annoyance becomes a very irritating waste of time.

2. MT teaches what he calls "Standard Spanish," by which he means Latin American Spanish. This is weird because the course seems targeted at the UK market, and both his students are British. In any event, as a UK resident, I foresee myself spending a lot more time in Spain than in Latin America, and I don't want to get into bad habits. The Latin American/Spanish difference is most evident in the pronunciation of "c" in words like "revolución" and the z in all words: in Spain, these are pronounced like the "th" in "think" wheras in Latin America they are pronounced like "s" in "situation." The thing is that Spanish people find it crude if you follow the Latin American pronunciation and will correct you for it, so I want to avoid it as much as possible.

3. MT seems to prefer very formal language. In this first disc he completely ignores the "familiar you" form "tú" and only uses the "familiar you" form "usted." Since this is more or less a taster disc, this can be forgiven, and I'm sure he addresses the "tú" form in his bigger courses. However, he also teaches sentence structures which are unnecessarily complex in their formality. For example, he teaches "Para qué restaurante tiene una preferencia?", litereally, "For which restaurant do you have a preference?"; whereas he could teach "qué restaurante prefieres?", literally "which restaurant do you prefer."

Overall, I am disappointed that the utility of Michel Thomas' method is (for me) nullified by these weak points. I actually got angry listening to him in the car, so I'll be looking for another Spanish audio course to play while I'm on the road.
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on 4 July 2014
IGNORE THE PEOPLE BEING FUNNY ABOUT HIS EXTENDED VOWELS; they clearly were not listening closely to the CD as he evidently does this only to illustrate the stress in Spanish words (only one stress per word) and to exaggerate the vowel sounds which are different to English - no different to how we speak to babies when we teach them to talk.

Excellent start to feel confident to go on a learn more. You'll need to to get around on holiday. I would recommend this course plus a travel/holiday CD and a phrase book. I am sooooo getting the next CD in the series which goes Start Spanish, Total Spanish and Perfect Spanish in case you wondered.
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on 15 July 2013
This is a perfect introduction to Spanish for a genuine absolute beginner. He concentrates on the similarities between our languages rather than the diferences, easing you into it with his friendly gentle voice. I definitely recommend this course.
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on 17 December 2014
I have found this useful so far as it suits my learning style. I am a slow learner but find if I start at the beginning each time I am gradually getting further through the course each time. Also, as I play the media at home on my own I don't feel self-conscious about speaking the words out loud.
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on 18 November 2012
I bought this so I can say more than "a beer please" when on holiday. I was surprised how ease it is to pick up the simple phrases. The CD is ideal to play in the car to and from work so you can say it back without being too embarassed.
I've not tried any other language method so Ican't say how it compares but this seems great to me.
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on 4 July 2014
Dont buy this is if you are buying total spanish by Michel Thomas as it is included. I wish I had known.
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on 20 August 2016
So disappointed. It is only an hour of limited learning. Pricey for the contents. Not what I expected it to be. I find the tutors voice scolding & lecturing. I definitely wont be buying the total course or recommending it.
The cover of the CD states : amazing value!, speak Spanish instantly, guaranteed success etc which was not my experience.
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on 15 August 2014
I find his method very irritating and didn't learn much. I did try but I don't like the fact that the students we are listening to keep making mistakes and are so hesitant. That doesn't help me at all.
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on 24 October 2011
This is the third language I have been able to grasp quickly with the aid of the Michel Thomas Method. Previously learning French and Italian in a very short time I was not disappointed with the Spanish. I find that when I play it in my car I seem to absorb the language much quicker. I feel part of a class with Michel using students to partake in the course.

I am taking my mum to Spain next year and hopefully I will be able to impress her with my conversational Spanish!

Amazon prices are so low, the products excellent and delivery times second to none!
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on 15 October 2014
I found the teacher difficult to understand because he has a heavy accent other than Spanish so when he was pronouncing some of the words it was difficult to understand him. There was too much going on, hard to repeat the lesson, lots of sentences, far too complicated for a first timer such as myself.
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