THE RAIN IN SPAIN

Hola! This is the best approach to learning Spanish we’ve ever found, short of spending time in another country. Joy spent a lot of time with the new BerlitzĀ Berlitz SpanishSpanish Premier program for Windows and Macintosh because, after all, it was her duty. Then she spent a lot more time because it was so much fun.

The program immerses you in the language, just as Maximilian Berlitz would have done were he still around. Berlitz became famous for teaching people other languages in a matter of days rather than months, by using total immersion. He came upon the method when a French teacher at the school he managed failed to show up. As an emergency measure he hired an elevator operator who knew only two words of English: “up” and “down.” To his surprise, the students, faced with a teacher who knew only French, learned faster than they ever had under other systems.

You can think of Berlitz Premier Spanish as your own private elevator operator. In addition to hearing the language and speaking it in return, you can watch videos, play word games, and solve crossword puzzles. You can record your voice and then compare your pronunciation with that of a native speaker. Wav files let you see how close your sounds are to those of the teacher.

Berlitz Spanish comes as an eight-CD set and lists for $40 fromĀ www.novadevelopment.com. You must supply your own headset and microphone. The programs are also available in Italian, German or French.

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