Instant Immersion Spanish Author:TOPICS Entertainment Amazon.com Review — While it's true that no better vocabulary-acquisition method exists than tried-and-true flash cards, they need not be of the paper variety. Instant Immersion Spanish is one solution: a set of four CD-ROMs that will take some of the pain out of learning new Spanish words simply by being quite a bit more fun than flash cards. In... more » addition, the package includes the "Who Is Oscar Lake?" CD-ROM, a kind of interactive story game where different people give you clues to a mystery you must solve--all in Spanish. This will be entertaining for anyone who has had about a year of Spanish already, kids and adults alike.
The software package includes two other skill-level-dependent CD-ROMs. For absolute beginners, you'll start with the "Talk Now!" CD-ROM and learn basic words contextually for colors, food, numbers, and basic phrases. You hear the Spanish pronounced while an image of the concept is shown. Most teachers actually prefer this, so that students associate the Spanish sounds and words directly with a concept rather than the English translation. Intermediate students will start with the "Word Talk Spanish" CD-ROM, which has a variety of games to practice vocabulary and a few more dialogues; you can also take dictation exercises or use your computer's microphone to repeat after the audio and compare your pronunciation to the recording. (It's painful, we know, but it helps.) The fourth CD-ROM is "Webster's New World Five Language Talking Dictionary"--a nice perk for pronunciation practice but not a real replacement for your handy Collins Gem.
Caveats: First, the various CD-ROMs are not truly sequential, so do not necessarily expect to graduate from the beginning and intermediate CD-ROMs to the Oscar Lake game. Second, the software is no ersatz for a competent Spanish teacher and loads of homework, so do not expect similar results. The pedagogical approach here does not emphasize student production of Spanish, either in speech or writing, so you will learn more to recognize spoken and written words and phrases than to speak or write them yourself. Overall, however, Instant Immersion Spanish is a strong and, above all, affordable vocabulary-building resource--and it will take the doldrums out of memorizing new words. --Erik Macki« less