I have been slowly working my way through the Michel Thomas Italian Basic course, and I find that I really like his way of teaching. Granted, you have to go through each CD multiple times, if you were not familiar with the information in the first place; but it gives a pretty thorough examination of basic grammar and gets you relatively comfortable speaking the language. It’s nice to be able to put phrases together to create lengthy sentences.
I am finding MT’s accent a little bit odd. I started out listening to Pimsleur, which gave me a good idea of how the language sounds; but I quickly got bored with it. Since I already know quite a bit of Spanish, the grammar concepts – and much of the vocabulary – are relatively familiar, which is why I am enjoying the MT course. But his French accent bothers me a little bit. How is one supposed to START learning a language with hearing French ‘r’s in Italian? I also find it interesting that he’s teaching an American with (at least some) Spanish background, and a British with (at least some) French background. I don’t know why I find it so interesting. Maybe I just have too much time on my hands, if I’m noticing these things. Maybe I need to get a life. =)
Anyways, I am plowing my way through the first 8 CDs of his program, working on 5 & 6 right now. I’m going through each one until I’m relatively comfortabl (read: bored) with the lessons. I don’t have alot of time to devote to my language learning, at least not as much as I’d like, but I always have MT on in the car. It amazes me that within the last two weeks, since I’ve started listening to his program, that I can understand and form 5 or 6 verb tenses. The vocabulary is still somewhat limited, but I will begin to supplement with those when I feel I have a decent grasp on the grammar.
Once I get through the MT Italian course (the first 8CDs), I will continue on to the Language Builder; but I am also thinking that MT Spanish would be a good review of an old language for me. I can flip through Spanish books, look at the papers online, or listen to the radio or the news, and understand most of the vocabulary – except the verb tenses, which I somehow always get lost on. So perhaps MT will bring those back into my head. I know that they are in there somewhere, but I must not have done enough drills on those in high school!
On another note, I’m anxiously awaiting some language programs I purchased on eBay from Teach Me Visually. They have home-made DVD programs, made by language teachers, which use songs and cartoons as a memory aid. I ordered products in Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, and Russian. They should be here in a day or two, and I will be giving them a full review as time permits.
Hey, if anyone is actually reading this, say “hi” and intrduce yourself – I’d love to meet you!