You may remember that I mentioned in my new years post that Craig and I are going to freshen up our Spanish language skills and we’ve decided to utilize a relatively new computer software program. So, what exactly is Fluenz? I’ll let their explanation speak for itself: “A simple fact guides our programs: we learn better when we understand how something works. We are not children and don’t learn like them; we thrive on explanations that show us how the parts fit together to form a larger whole. A language is not just an endless set of words and images, but rather the experience of a culture. The Fluenz tutor is front and center providing context, leading learners step-by-step as they advance, acknowledging the difficulties of the journey, and providing the motivation necessary to reach the final goal.”
Fluenz seeks to empower your language ability by expanding upon the knowledge base you currently utilize each day. The number one complaint/praise that I have heard in regards to Rosetta Stone is that they use complete language immersion with no English what-so-ever. This is obviously both a good and a bad thing. When people used this as a complaint it was because they needed better guidance and wanted an English speaker to come in once an a while to explain the context or to describe the picture so they could really understand what it is they were learning. They cited an example of a picture of a child and an older adult with the word “abuelo” being said over an over. Was “abuelo” to mean grandchild or grandfather? What exactly was the picture trying to convey. In addition, they felt that Rosetta Stone was teaching them things like “the boy is under the tree” where they were really wanting to learn better relevant conversation skills such as “where can I charge my cell phone?” I read several reviews of Rosetta Stone where they were excited about the whole language learning and the focus on vocabulary, however, that was not what Craig and I desired so we decided to do so more research into the alternative, Fluenz.
We’ve purchased Fluenz Spanish (Latin America) 1+2+3+4+5 which is “ideal for those who are dedicated to the long haul” and the Latin American version most suits our geographic region. This comprehensive package takes learners from the “basics of the language to a high level of sophistication.” They claim that by the end of this series you are able to “make plans with friends and colleagues, discuss needs, desires and opinions, arrange travel and outdoor activities, share stories, and handle business, financial, and legal matters.” I think that another benefit to Fluenz is that they treat their resource as you would a book. This means that we can sell the program when we are finished. The future owners will be able to utilize the program much like if they had purchased a used study book. So here we are. Proud owners of a complete language learning system. I think that Craig and I working together should be fine motivation for us to complete the entire series. I plan on updating y’all on our progress each week so please follow along. Have y’all used software to help you learn a new language or polish one previously learned? Did you learn the traditional way in a classroom setting? How often do you utilize your skills? What do you find that helps to sharpen your abilities? A good friend of mine is a part of a German Meet-Up group and they all speak the language together which really helps to keep up their fluency. I hope that Craig and I are able to fully utilize our new language skills. I believe that Florida is a good setting and hopefully we’ll be traveling more which will only serve to reinforce our skills. It’s make it or break it time folks. Wish us luck!