I will start off with a disclaimer that I don’t know Spanish, but living in Southern California this is a really valuable second language to pick up and is something I have been wanting to try and learn over the past few years. LanguageZen happened to reach out to me and ask if I would be interested in reviewing their Spanish learning program and I knew this would be a major time commitment and not like a typical review. So I decided to take it on, they offered me a one-year subscription in exchange for talking about my experience with the program over a period of time and let readers know what I thought of it.
So after you sign up for an account with LanguageZen you can set what you consider your proficiency and learning level, then start learning or dive directly into special courses. You also have the option to Learn from Music.
I first of course started out with “Start Learning” and was taken into the early beginning courses of learning the words commonly used in sentences. The program has a great mix of “reading” and listening to Spanish words to help you both remember visually as well as audibly what you are being shown and taught.
You can click on 2 different buttons the main volume button will repeat the word, the turtle button will actually slow the audio down so you can hear it more clearly and is good for words where you can’t discern the subtle pronunciation differences.
After you are read a word aloud, it then asks you what the meaning is and you have the option to type or speak into your PC microphone the answer. If you don’t know it you simply can be shown the list of answers, and you get a variation of all possible answers and you can click on any word to get more information about proper usage of each word.
You can adjust your learning level and if you feel like it is too difficult as I did early on, I lowered my level and it had more repetition of the same words in various sentences to help with memory retention.
I found even with my NY accent, and I know I don’t annunciate Spanish very well it was able to properly detect what I was trying to say. It also suggests and explains when you choose the wrong word what it meant and where it would have been appropriate to use that word instead.
You also get progress reports after each chapter and session which helps you feel like you are on your path to learning and making progress, the scoring and summaries I found to be very helpful in keeping me motivated and keep coming back. When you come back or between chapters you can be given Listen and Select sections where you hear a phrase, and are tested to remember what it means by selecting the right answer from a series of multiple choice. I can clearly say I didn’t know what Tengo meant and will not forget it.
The other thing is it will also show you when common speech wouldn’t use certain words, like not including Yo in front of certain phrases that would assume “I” this is good for showing you what is technically correct but may not sound natural to a native speaker.
I have been using the LanguageZen program for a little over a week and put about two hours into the course so far, and I can tell you that I really like how the program is created and the method it employs to teach you. It even will show some pictures of certain words, and if you go to special courses it shows you the progress you made toward various categories of conversation like Greetings, At a Restaurant, General Shopping and more.
I can’t honestly compare LanguageZen to other online learning programs because I haven’t used any, the only other methods to learn language I have ever tried was when I took some French classes in high school, and I had a learn Spanish audio book that I listened to prior to doing a Mexican cruise several years ago, which I had almost no retention of words from. I am not really an audible learner, I require visual and hands on learning methods and this LanguageZen program engaged me to keep at it.
If you go stagnant or between sessions, you also get email reminders to keep your progress and learning going. This I found was not annoying and appreciated, rather than being email spam it is reminders and letting you see how much you remember from your last session.
Again, this review is preliminary and only a few weeks in and really that is like 5 15 minute sessions, but I can tell you that I like the program. I can’t say in the end if I have the time to take it all the way, as this would be months and I can’t review something like this with all the other product reviews I do. I can tell you I will keep to at least 15-30 minutes per week until I get enough basic Spanish that I feel like I can successfully fumble my way through shops and cruise port destinations on my next trips to Mexico.
I did some video showing the LanguageZen learning program live, the first video I didn’t have audio enabled (my mistake) but still shows the format, the other video includes audio from the program.
The thing about LanguageZen is you can try it and learn a little each day for free, there is a paid subscription if you are ready to take learning Spanish seriously to the next level and unlock unlimited learning per day. It is very decent and I encourage everyone to give it a free try, seriously you have nothing to lose just to try it for free. If you want to learn even just a few phrases in Spanish, give LanguageZen a try and let me know what you think.
If you speak Spanish natively, please let me know what you think about the pronunciations and Spanish audio, I am curious to know how accurate the language is.