Learn Spanish in Style with Fluenz Latin America

Many of us have dreams of visiting foreign places and speaking with those of other nationalities and languages. This is a far off goal for many people, especially those who do not have the funds to pay for college classes or time to spend abroad immersing themselves in the language and culture. As a result of these circumstances, many have resorted to computer programs to learn the language of their choosing. The problem is that many of these programs did not work on the Mac and if they did, they were poorly designed and were, quite frankly, an embarrassment. Fluenz saw this as a problem and created a program it hoped would solve it.

Fluenz Latin America Levels 1-5 is a revolutionary computer program that was expertly designed to work on our beloved Macs and also happens to teach Spanish as it is spoken throughout many Latin American countries. The Fluenz team decided to send me a review copy of its Latin America program for Mac for me to try. I have taken the last thirty days and used the program for this review. Lets get right to it and see what I thought!

Getting Started

Although this review is for the Latin American Spanish version, Fluenz comes in an array of different languages. You can demo the Fluenz program in your desired language on their website. Once you are ready to order, you can purchase Fluenz based on levels or level combinations. If you want all 5 levels, you can purchase it right now for $498 and it comes with a 100% money back guarantee. The price of Fluenz is comparable to other popular language learning programs.

After purchase, set up is easy! Just use the serial number provided to activate and install the program. The program is about 4gb a level and can either be run directly off the DVD or installed onto your Mac and run off your hard drive. For speed and efficiency, the preferred method would be to install Fluenz directly to your hard drive.

The Program

What separates Fluenz from its competitors is its method of teaching. Many programs use pictures and allow the users to click pictures with words in Spanish under them. The problem with this, of course, is the lack of explanation of the Spanish words. Fluenz strays away from that flawed concept. Fluenz Latin America uses a personal course guide, Sonia Gil, to explain the language and its quirks to you. Instead of clicking, you feel like your own private tutor is teaching you. Each lesson starts with a personalized introduction and ends with a summary of everything learned in the lesson including any tips and tricks mentioned in the episode. The approach Fluenz uses will lend itself more to those who would like a more personalized approach to learning a new language.

Sonia Gil - Fluenz Spanish Personal Guide

Sonia Gil – Fluenz Spanish Personal Guide

The exercises are the strength of Fluenz and are the bulk of the program; I even think they are exactly what make the program so successful. These excercises allows the user to work on their grammar, spelling, writing, and conversation skills. Some of my personal favorites are match the words, write the phrase you read, and basic conversation.

Write The Phrase

Write The Phrase

Basic Conversation

Basic Conversation

Match the Words

Match the Words

The exercises are mixed up and contain words from the current lesson along with previous lessons. Along with the introduction and ending videos, performing all of the exercises may take close to an hour. I found the excersises fun and addictive!

My Experience

I, like many, have wanted to learn another language. Spanish was my desired language and it was the language I chose to take on in High School. However, after high school, I found that I still could not speak Spanish. So I began to look for another way to learn Spanish. I tried books, tapes, government programs, and other computer programs and I had no luck. Worst of all, most of the available computer programs were Windows only and had no Mac alternatives. That is when I found Fluenz. Fluenz works natively on the Mac and was the answer to my search.

After working with many programs and other methods, I was very skeptical that Fluenz would work. So I took the last month and used the program every single day to see if it worked in such a small window of time. If it did, then I knew it would work over the long run. Thirty days is not a long enough time to learn a language; learning a language is a long-term commitment because there is always material to learn, it is never over! During my experience for this review, I found I did not even complete level 1, and there are 5!

One of the things I liked most during my experience was how each lesson was linked to the next. What you learned in one lesson was used as the basis for what you are learning in the next lesson. This repetition is what I found really helped drill Spanish into my head. Another big help were the exercises. The exercises coincide with the lessons and use a variety of techniques to increase active memory. It helped with writing, spelling, and listening. Many other programs I have tried only dealt with either writing or speaking only, this meant I needed multiple programs to meet the requirements of writing, speaking, and reading Spanish.

Fluenz Exercise

Fluenz Exercise

Fluenz has a unique way of teaching; the instructor, Sonia, is actually there on video. She explains the sentences word by word and her explanations, along with the exercises, really reinforces the material inside your head. The instructor also tells you similar words that you would use in English to express these words in Spanish and also tells you whether it’s is a female or male word, and that’s very helpful. Sonia, the instructor, will also give you helpful hints to help you remember the words in Spanish, such as if they are similarly spelled or pronounced, these tips really helped me commit more Spanish words to memory.

Sonia Gil Teaching

Sonia Gil Teaching

At the conclusion of this month long review of Fluenz, I really found all new respect for the program. It really goes to the foundation and explains the art of speaking Spanish and uses a very friendly instructor to give me helpful tips and tricks on learning the language. Fluenz also uses exercises that are repetitive, friendly, and fun to do. Fluenz also reinforces material in previous lessons in the next lesson so you start to build a very meaningful foundation for the language you are learning. Fluenz focuses on Spanish that you would actually use in conversation with Latin American Spanish speakers and does not focus on the words that you do not need. This is very helpful and I picked up a lot of new words in just one month of using the program. Fluenz is really a precious gem in the midst of a bunch of useless, worthless rocks of other programs that help you learn foreign languages on your computer. For us Mac users, it very importantly works on the Mac!

Conclusion

I enjoyed the time I spent using Fluenz Latin America. I love the teaching concept and the inviting guide, Sonia Gil. Fluenz has Mac support and is filled with exercises that work on your grammar, writing, and reading skills. The lessons are broken up into manageable sections and the lesson videos include useful tips and helpful pronunciation designed to help English speakers. I would like to have seen resolution controls built into the app. Fluenz shows up very small on some displays and does not match the native resolution of your monitor. For this reason I rate Fluenz Latin America a 9 out of 10. Fluenz comes in a bevy of different languages and also has an online demo available at the Fluenz website.

What language would you like to learn? Have you tried Fluenz? What are your favorite Mac language learning applications? Chime in and let your voice be heard in our comments below!


Summary

Fluenz develops language learning software designed to recreate the memorable experiences of one-on-one tutoring, with the goal of getting learners to reach functional fluency in languages in the least amount of time.

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  • http://soyplastic.net cavalleto

    Better way to learn spanish is talking with one.
    Es un honor que quieras aprender mi idioma.

    Hi from Barcelona.

    • Alex

      El español es uno de los idiomas mas completos. Al igual que cavalleto me da gusto que quieras aprender español.

      Greetings from México

    • http://www.twitter.com/jooak Josiah Oakley

      Now you are going places! Speaking and interacting with native Spanish speakers is how you go from good to great in the world of language learning.

  • Jimmy

    All Wikileaks followers should get on board with Spanish, as I’m sure it will be the language that Assange tweets in from now on.

    http://www.watoday.com.au/world/ecuador-grants-assange-asylum-report-20120815-247cl.html

    • http://techinch.com/ Matthew Guay

      At least there’s Google Translate for the rest of us… ;)

  • Mike B

    Wow… that’s a very favourable review. While I understand you’ve enjoyed the program, to describe it as a precious gem amongst the residual rocks is nicely poetic but overly reaching. Clearly the comparison has to be drawn to the Rosetta Stone programs and, to refer to that as a rock by comparison, is simply wrong.

    There are quite a few issues with Fluenz: the aspect of just clicking is, to my mind, worse than its competitors. Their implementation of Flash, in particular, requires a ‘double click’ (focus and activation) which is tedious and appreciable in its impact on flow. It might not sound like a lot but it becomes very annoying rather quickly.

    I’ve used the French program – I bought 1 through 5 – quite some time back and have had lots of time with it and really enjoyed its approach. That said, I’ve had the opportunity over the past 2 months to try Rosetta Stone in French and, at this point, I think it’s the better program – certainly not the rock as described. Perhaps it comes down to your learning style but I find the immediacy and interaction with Rosetta just inching out Fluenz for long-term enjoyment (but watch this space: I’ve only been using Rosetta for a couple of months.)

    It might not have been your intent but this whole review reads like an advertisement.

    • http://techinch.com/ Matthew Guay

      Hey Mike, Sorry it came across as an advertisement. This was not a sponsored post, and I believe Josiah simply liked the app a lot while using it.

      For what it’s worth, as a guy who’s lived in the US for 11 years and then Thailand for 12 years, I’d say the only way to really learn a language is to live around it and use it non-stop. Paper books and real teachers still go far further than even the most advanced programs today, if you back that up with real-life exposure. ;)

    • http://www.twitter.com/jooak Josiah Oakley

      Thanks for your response. As my editor stated, this was not a paid advert. I really enjoyed using Fluenz and really think the the approach is simply better. I have used Rosetta Stone Latin America for several years and the worst part of the program is how it gives you sentences without ever explaining many of the words. Of course, this is up to personal opinion and you may like the approach Rosetta Stone offers. Besides these computer programs, immersion and intermingling yourself with the locals is far more valuable than what this or any program can offer.

      I gave my personal opinion of Fluenz after years of trying various popular and not so popular programs.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • chux

    Latin American is not spanish, btw. In spanish we don’t say “ahorita”, “la concha de tu madre”, “la verga”, etc.

    Hi from Alicante ^^

    • Alex

      Josiah, el español es un idioma con diferentes modismos según la region y/o país. Con malas palabras y malos usos del idioma, como en todo país.

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