Learning Spanish has been one of our main goals since walking the Camino de Santiago in 2008. When we decided to visit South America in 2010, we really wanted to get a move on. During 2009 Linda and I tried lots of ways to learn Spanish: Spanish tutors, Spanish classes, Spanish-speaking friends and dozens of sites for learning Spanish online.
Because I’m really an auditory learner, I started off listening to lots of podcasts from iTunes but I found it really difficult to find any that caught my attention. I’m so busy and learning Spanish is so tough for me, that I really need to be entertained or I pass it off and work on other, more enjoyable, projects. The same is true for many of the systems to help you learn Spanish online: I just struggled to find time for them because I didn’t enjoy them — and learning Spanish was something I did on my downtime.
OK, so … I was offered the chance to try a new language learning programme based in Buenos Aires. Because the course was developed in Latin America it more closely suited the type of Spanish I wanted to learn and since it was custom-built for iPods and media devices, I could do it while waiting for the bus or whenever I had some downtime while out and about.
The thirty lessons are video files, which you can download in five .zip files or have delivered on DVD. You can also buy some lessons individually from the iTunes app store. The cheapest way is to get the video downloads in one shot for US$147 while the DVDs come in at $199. Each lesson is around 35 minutes long and is hosted by Jemina — a hot Spanish teacher, and David — her flirtatious British student. The interplay between them gets quite heated at times and, in fact, one episode was banned from the Apple store for their discussion of the Kama Sutra! Let’s just say this is a language programme with adult themes.
David and Jemina are joined by a few other characters, like the Professor who explains grammar points and a man and woman who take turns at expanding vocabulary points or talking around a topic. The change of voice and pace come at regular intervals and give good structure to the show, breaking up the story with various expansions.
At times the conversation goes over my head, at other times David’s jokes seem a bit too adolescent, but the shows always make me laugh and because of that, I come back to it time and time again. Because you’re both hearing and seeing the conversations (thanks to the colour-coded magic whiteboard) there’s a high retention factor and there’s a great motivation to re-watch sections.
Is it good for you?
My impression is that Bueno, Entonces… is good for:
- Spanish learners at beginner to intermediate level. More advanced learners who have had little immersion will probably benefit from the native-style language use.
- Visual and auditory learners.
- People who don’t have a puritanical streak. If you find South Park hideously offensive, then it might not be for you.
- People who wish to focus on learning Argentinian or Latin American Spanish.
As someone who teaches English to speakers of other languages for about half the year, I wish I had material like Bueno, Entonces for my class. It’s an excellent learning programme and the research that I’ve read on language acquisition has been put to good use throughout the script and delivery.
Win a trip to Buenos Aires
Bueno Entonces is giving away a trip to Buenos Aires for one lucky person! To enter, visit the blog and follow the instructions there.
A copy of Bueno, Entonces… was made available for review. If you buy it through the links on this page, we receive a commission. Which we like.