I only review language programs that are easy, fast, effective, portable, inexpensive & teach you to really speak and understand languages.
Power Italian 1 Accelerated – Listen, Repeat, Recall, and Don’t Worry About It.
I am so impressed with myself (and, oh yeah, with the Power Italian Accelerated audio program, too) that I feel compelled to write a review. I like stuff that works and this Power Italian Accelerated audio program really works. The material may seem a little overwhelming at first because there are a whole lot of words and phrases that are thrown at you right off the bat. But there’s a reason for that.
The narrator uses what he calls ‘audio snapshots’ to introduce new material. These are sections where the listener is instructed to simply listen without repeating. The first audio snapshot comes right after the program begins and lasts for several minutes. My first reaction was that this is way too much material and I’m never going to remember all of it. And that’s true. I didn’t remember hardly any of it at first. But I kept listening. It wasn’t until I was a couple of hours into the program that I realized that remembering all of it is not the point; at least not in the beginning. I, and probably most people, have always assumed that learning a new language was about memorizing words and sentences. And it is. But what I have come to realize, my own personal epiphany, is that listening is just as important and I think even more important than intentionally memorizing. I’m not saying that you don’t have to remember anything; of course you do. But one of the keys to remembering is just simply listening. You have to ‘tune in’ to a language, that is, to the peculiar sounds of a language, in order to be able to speak it and to understand it.
The relatively short time that I have spent listening to Power Italian has given me a new perspective on learning languages and I have some advice that I’d like to pass along: Just do what the program narrator says to do and just keep listening and repeating. The words and phrases get easier and easier to remember as you go along and the correct pronunciation gets easier and easier the more you repeat the words and phrases. If you just follow along and don’t worry about what you know and what you don’t know you’ll soon be surprised at what you know - and equally surprised that you came to know it without a lot of mental or emotional sweating. Power Italian really works for me. No worries!
Wonderful female native French speaker with great accent. Knowledgeable English-speaking American instructor. Fast-paced and challenging yet highly supportive of the learner. Same great memory technique as with the “Power Spanish Accelerated” and “Power Italian Accelerated” programs, which I’ve also tried. (Romance languages are my casual interest.)
As in the two ‘Power Accelerated’ audio programs from Language Audiobooks I just mentioned, the Power French lessons are concise and to the point. No long explanations, no fluff, only what you need to know to communicate effectively. Excellent choice of vocabulary words and phrases. Practical. Can be used in most situations the visitor might find him/herself in while touring France, or Quebec, for that matter. Very complete program that I believe takes the learner from novice to high-intermediate level French with sufficient practice. Listen to this program again and again and again and you’ll learn to speak and understand a bunch of useful French in very short order.
Bite-Sized Mandarin Chinese takes a very difficult tonal language and totally demystifies the learning of it. Makes learning to speak Mandarin Chinese surprisingly simple. Extremely engaging native Mandarin speaker and a knowledgeable American instructor put me at ease and talked me through a very difficult language and made it simple. “Bite-Sized” is an appropriate title. A language so ‘foreign’ to Westerners has to be ingested a bite at a time. The learner won’t choke on the bites in “Bite-Sized Mandarin Chinese.”
This audio program is about learning simple phrases and using them to ask and answer common questions. The material is not extremely complicated, just the stuff that’s necessary for basic communication. The pronunciation of some of the words was so difficult in the beginning that I was frankly surprised that by about the third lesson my pronunciation was getting more precise. Distinguishing sounds and tones got easier with each lesson.
I don’t have the time or the inclination to become a super fluent speaker of Chinese. But I got a kick out of learning some basic Mandarin Chinese and a sort of ego boost from the confidence this course gave me that if I wanted to, really wanted to, I could eventually learn to speak this language pretty well. It’s just a matter of practice. Listen and Repeat. Listen and Repeat. I now feel confident enough to approach my next Chinese waitress with a few greetings and even order some hot tea, not at all bad for a few days of practice with a very entertaining program.