Product: Learning Spanish Like Crazy
Overall Ranking: 80/100
Price: $197 per Level for Levels 1 & 2
Owners: Learning Like Crazy, Inc (Founded by Patrick Jackson)
Learning Spanish Like Crazy is a popular program available on CDs. Founder Patrick Jackson was a New York attorney who learned Spanish by another more formal method and found himself sounding laughable in a conversation with a Latina woman (like Shakespearean English). His purpose was to develop a method for learning Latin American Spanish as it is spoken informally today. It lends itself well for someone who would like to pop it into their iPod or car CD player and learn during their daily commute.
Learning Like Crazy produces a
similar program for learning Italian.
- As the course begins, you are listening and repeating words and phrases – an approach which leads to excellent pronunciation.
- The speakers all speak Latin American Spanish as their native language. (Occasionally, their English pronunciation is a bit funny.)
- As the course proceeds, they incorporate more questions to which the listener is to respond out loud.
- After answering the questions, you immediately hear the proper response from a native speaker. So, there is immediate reinforcement or correction of your response.
- There is some English explanation of grammar, but it’s kept to a minimum. The focus is on speaking, not learning rules. You learn by listening and speaking.
- The focus is entirely on spoken conversation. It’s much more natural to learn a language by listening and speaking first, then learning to read and write.
- Learning Spanish Like Crazy also endeavors to focus on common social situations.
- You certainly save money over taking University level classes to learn.
- It’s all on CD or downloaded files; there’s no live tutoring.
- Vocabulary flashcards would be helpful. (I made mine on Before You Know It.)
- Since it’s all on CD, the program cannot adapt to drill you more on vocabulary you forget or areas of grammar that trip you up.
- While the focus is on common social situations, limited vocabulary leads to some funny situations early on. (E.g., I only drive white cars, but the dealer only sells red cars.)
- After each lesson you are to advance if you got 80% or more correct – a bit subjective, but hopefully you know if you are getting it or need to repeat.
- Online reviewers frequently note that around lessons 13-15 the pace picks up and new material is introduced more quickly. I noted that myself; further on in the course, I often needed several repeats to feel confident with the material.
WHO IS IT FOR?
I would say the course is most helpful for beginners through early intermediate students, especially those comfortable with an auditory approach or perhaps wanting a method they can use while in the car.
- As mentioned earlier, the course is entirely presented via CDs (or audio files).
- There is, however, a CD of transcriptions included should you desire to see how it looks in written form.
- There is no mobile platform; nor are there supplemental apps or games.
- There is no mechanism for direct question and answer when you don’t understand something (not even a threaded discussion forum).
Level 1, thirty audio lessons and transcripts on 16 CDs, is available at a retail price of $197. Level 2, lessons 31-60, is the same. Level 3, lessons 61-80, is currently unavailable.
Learning Like Crazy, Inc, offers a 60 day money back guarantee on its products.
Learning Spanish Like Crazy was the first Spanish program I purchased, and I thought it was “the best thing since sliced bread.” Now, I realize it doesn’t do everything, and really needs to be supplemented with other resources. Still I think it’s a great course and encourage you to learn more or pick up your own copy today.