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on 9 April 2015
This course made learning Spanish very easy. I listened to it in the car on my daily commute for a few weeks prior to my trip to Spain, and on the holiday was able to speak to the locals (at a basic level) very easily and confidently. I had never spoken a word of Spanish beforehand.
Paul explains things very clearly and in a logical manner. For me, some of the explanations were a little long winded, but clearly the course needs to be able to cater to all levels of ability.
The native Spanish speakers on the CD speak slowly at first, but at more normal speeds as the course progresses. This means that by the end of the course you'll be able to understand Spanish spoken by natives at normal speed, without really having to try.
The course often goes back to repeat things that were learned earlier in the course. Again, this is hugely useful, as it means no hard work or revision is required. By the end of the course you may find yourself groaning occasionally as some of the early stuff crops up again, but I see this as a positive. It drove home the fact that I really had learned it, and was comfortable with it.
All in all, it was a fun and effortless course, didn't make my brain hurt and left me speaking Spanish in a confident (albeit limited) manner, and easily making myself understood.
My only problem now is - what next? I would really like to see a follow-on course, so that I can build on what I've learned and improve further. Bring on "Learn Spanish 2" please Paul. I'm itching for more.
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on 22 September 2012
I've been trying to learn Spanish off and on for the last 5 years and have tried quite a few options, but this is by far the most effective yet. I've always considered myself to be very poor at languages, and really struggled at school, spending 9 years learning French and hardly being able to speak a word! To learn Spanish, first I tried with the Pimsleur Course, which I failed to finish: it's very good, but doesn't get you into the language nearly as quickly, and the words and phrases aren't as immediately useful. Ultimately it seems like it would be more comprehensive, but it's also entirely South American Spanish rather than Spanish Spanish, which left my Spanish wife giggling at some of the words I came out with. Next I tried Michel Thomas: quite different to Pimsleur and a much more effective approach. However I did find it a bit tedious after a while, and somewhere along the way I seemed to get lost. I got about half way through and then my enthusiasm fizzled out. Finally I discovered Paul Noble's course - it caught my eye as I'd seen him on TV sometime speaking in about a dozen different languages so I figured it's worth a go. I'm really happy that I did. The approach takes some cues from the Michel Thomas one, but a lot more effective and way, way more logical. I was very quickly more confident and on my trip to Spain this month was finally able to hold a reasonable conversation. I think that with the other courses I always felt like I was trying to remember phrases, but after this one I was able to just make things up. I'm really happy with the purchase - I've found other language courses I've tried have been very expensive and ultimately I've questioned the value as I've never finished them. With this one I really feel that I've found a great course for a reasonable price and am very happy. Muchas gracias Paul! Eres un buen profesor!
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on 12 August 2011
After reading the great reviews of PN, I am disappointed by the coverage. This could have been so much better.

I am a big fan of Michel Thomas, having used it to kick-start my learning of Italian, and bought the French course for my daughter. But I am well aware of the annoyances of MT - his tendency to mumble sometimes; the infuriating students; the lack of native speakers.

So I was hopeful that PN would be MT but better (as some reviewers have suggested).
The good points about PN are -
- His voice is clearer than MT's
- He uses native speakers (from Spain & S America) instead of stumbling students
- He chooses topics that are a bit more practical (Hotels, Taxis, Eating etc) whereas MT sometimes seems a bit abstract ("I would like to do it for you that way but unfortunately it is impossible for me today")

The problem is he covers so much less of the language. With MT you have to listen to the students making the same mistakes over and over again. With PN, you have to listen to Paul explaining the same points again and again and again. So by the end of the last disc you are still practicing basics from the beginning of the course. By the end of MT's foundation and advanced courses, you have covered past, present, imperfect, conditional, future, subjunctive, imperative verb tenses. Plus all sorts of other important aspects of the language. Whereas with PN you barely scratch the surface.

I had to listen to some of the MT discs several times before it all sank in. But that's ok - it covers a lot of material. Repetition helps you learn. But the PN course has all the repetition built in. So I have steamed through the whole course in a few days, and have mastered 99% of the content - not because it is a great system; simply because it covers so much less. EG. verb-wise it focuses almost exclusively on the past tense, and barely touches future or even present tense. Personally I think it is better value for money if you do have to listen more than once. (Or if he offered more advanced courses to follow on). By contrast MT Italian kept me busy for about 8 weeks.

The other annoying thing is Paul's dumbed-down attitude to grammar. Some of his explanations are very clear. But he labours the point by repeating them again and again. And he assumes that his listeners are too ignorant or nervous of grammar to know what a verb or pronoun is. So he gives long, painful patronising explanations - rather than chuck out a definition and then get on with it.

So 3 stars from me for being a very clear gentle introduction to Spanish, but extremely limited in scope.
I would recommend this if you are really nervous about tackling a foriegn language for the first time. Otherwise use Michel Thomas to get a thorough grounding in grammar, then some other system with native speakers to improve your vocabulary and accent.
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on 12 December 2013
I find this Spanish learning guide very good. After living in Spain for 4 years and trying so many different ways of learning Spanish i.e. CD's, books, phrase books, dictionaries etc I find Paul Noble's presentation and pronunciation the best so far.
I have already recommended it to friends visiting Spain.
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on 31 July 2013
Unlike most language courses this isn't just a 'brain dump' of vocabulary that you'll memorise then forget in six months time. This course teaches you HOW to construct sentences and does so at a pace that is easy to manage. Many courses start off slowly then quickly evolve into a hurried mess - not so with this course. The pace is reasonable throughout and never changes. The course constantly visits old vocabulary to make sure you haven't forgotten it; which is in keeping with the course ethos of leaning, not memorising.
I've really enjoyed following this course - I just wish there was a follow-up course which would build on the knowledge already gained.
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on 21 March 2011
I've been studying Spanish for just over a year in classes and self study with a plethora of books and CDs. I struggled with the classes as, although I was getting vocabulary, things such as words used and their order just seemed to change for no reason leaving me very frustrated.

Michel Thomas' CDs helped a lot and were easily ahead of any other material I'd used. However, after getting half way through the Foundation course I found his explanations getting unclear and myself too irritated with his 'not so bright' student and Michel's accent to listen any more. This said, I still recommend these CDs to others.

Paul Noble's course is in a very similar vain to Thomas' with none of the problems. The 2 native speakers are much better and Noble's explanations are much clearer. Each new concept was assimilated effortlessly (as with any good teacher he just seemed to guide me into it) and as a result I've found myself at the end of the course in only a week; taking a look at my materials from my class that were so confusing they now make complete sense.

I can't recommend this product enough and do hope he releases an advanced course.
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on 27 March 2013
I've been trying to learn Spanish for donkeys years. I have friends and family that are fluent and I travel a lot to Spanish speaking countries. But as much as a tried, the courses remained a mystery to me. I'd get so far with the trite, unhelpful 'starter sentences' and then get lost when the jargon appeared. This course concentrates on your actually THINKING rather than repeating like a parrot. It's all about How do YOU formulate this sentence. Past, present and future tenses are covered and recovered. Individuals, groups, formal and informal are covered and recovered. SO instead of learning how to parrot stuff (Impossible if like me you have a terrible memory) - you are actually thinking in Spanish. From where this course leaves you - you have an arsenal of words, a method and the ability to THINK in the language. Can't recommend it enough. Excellent.
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on 25 August 2014
Excellent so far, I'm up to CD 4 out of 12, and already understand more of the Spanish language than I have ever achieved before. Paul Noble is clearly spoken, as are the native Spanish speakers who pronounce each word at a steady rate and only increase their speed as words and sentences become more familiar.
Learning any language isn't easy but this course really does help.
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on 27 October 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I feel miserly giving this product three stars because for the purchase price I feel it is far better value and far more user-friendly than the Tell-Me-More series of packages which retail at £400. The thing is, though, I think that anyone who is more a visual learner will struggle with this and feel rather uncomfortably out of their depth. I've never been talented at languages, especially not the listening/speaking aspect of them, which is obviously their core! The only small bit I've ever felt comfortable with is reading and writing. When I can see words on a page and have a chance to dissect them and get a feel for them, then I'm a lot happier. I don't know how many people are like this, but I'm very much a visual learner - I really need to have the words in front of me for them to have any chance of sticking in my rusty brain at all.

To be fair to this programme, there is an accompanying reference booklet, but it is very thin and just includes the bare bones of each of the one hour lessons. So far I've worked my way through two lessons, and I am trying very hard to psych myself up to attempt another one, but I keep finding ways to avoid it. Yes, I'm a coward who doesn't enjoy pain. I started the first lesson after watching the introduction dvd from Paul Noble himself - he seems a very nice, natural bloke, he's very calm, very zen, he explains his approach and his own history with languages which he says he initially found difficult until he read an inspiring quote: 'Grammar exists to lift the difficulties out of a language; the lever should never be heavier than the burden.' This was music to my ears, because it's always been the old nuts and bolts grammar that has frightened the pants off me. So I sat down with the first lesson, determined to absorb, sponge-like, as much as I possibly could. Paul started off reassuringly and laid down some basic rules, including the warning not to worry about trying to remember, to basically entrust your learning to him and just sit back and listen. This meant no note-taking, no comfort blanket spiral notebook and pen, and presumably no peeking at the reference booklet when you're supposed to be concentrating on just listening.

It's no reflection on Paul Noble or his approach, but I found this very hard going. I'd be constantly trying to picture the words I heard in my mind, guess their spelling (Paul only occasionally clarifies spelling) and after half an hour of fiercely concentrating and trying to process what I was hearing without visualising it, I was wrung out. After 45 minutes I couldn't really concentrate anymore and I limped over the 60 minute finish line more out of sheer bloodymindedness than anything else. I was getting every sentence I tried to form wrong and starting to confuse words that had seemed easily grasped in the first part of the lesson. I just don't seem to remember things well at all if I don't know how their spelling and can't summon up a mental picture of their shape. If you tend to visualise words in your head, too, you may find Paul's approach similarly exhausting. It took me another 3 weeks to muster the resolve to take on the second lesson, which is self-defeating in itself because the Noble method demands repetition and reinforcement, so if you leave it too long between lessons, there's no real foundation left to build another layer on, if that makes sense.

There's no doubt that this is an effective way to learn - if you can cope with it. For aural learners, it must be fantastic. For more visual types, you may find it very hard work indeed. It's a pity that the lessons weren't all on dvd rather than cd, because just having Paul to watch, or some kind of visual reference at all, would have really helped people like me, I think.
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on 9 August 2011
I have always wanted to learn to speak Spanish and like many others have tried different methods. None were as effective as the Paul noble cd's. He makes it really easy by starting off with only a few words, then builds on that to make sentences, before you know it you are able to make conversations with confidence. I am only part way through the cd's and already I am surprised with the amount I remember. Fantastic box set, highly recommended.
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