Michel Thomas Spanish - worthwhile or one for the trash?

So I’ve come across a little bundle of cassettes I was given ages ago - some of the original Michel Thomas boxed sets for Spanish. There’s an 8 hour course, a 4 hour “advanced” course, and a 2 hour “language builder” course in there.

I wonder what’d happen if I actually dusted off my old Sony cassette player and worked through these? :-0

It’s a weird thing with Spanish - I can understand a fair old bit of it passively because of its similarity to Italian. But as far as active use goes, well, I reckon I could hardly order an ice-cream!

Maybe Michel is the man who would active Spanish in my brain!? :stuck_out_tongue:

Has anyone else ever used these…?

I would say that generally it’s a good primer course if you’re a complete beginner, if you like primer courses, and if you can get through his diction (it might not be that simple).

The upside is that he mainly focuses on basic building blocks and sentence patterns, rather than grammar memorization, although his constant habit of avoiding “formal grammar” is at times a bit preposterous. Downside: too much talking in English.

In any case, if this is about an old Sony cassette player…. well… you should definitely try just for the hell of it.

“…In any case, if this is about an old Sony cassette player…. well… you should definitely try just for the hell of it…”

You know, Bautov, I was thinking about this yesterday - how freaking fast technology has moved on.

I can still remember when it seemed normal to use cassettes for language courses, etc. Now, when I look at that machine in a corner of my spare room, it almost seems like a museum piece!

Nowadays I literally have a fitness watch that can store a ton of audio and play it through bluetooth headphones!

(Not only that, it also tracks heart rate, and can follow my exact movements using GPS if I’m on a hike/run/bikeride - and can then show it on a map accurate to within 2m. Not so long ago this stuff would have seemed like science fiction! :-0)

i did michel thomas it’s a good beginners course and you will find out some history of the language your studying as well he was very knowledgeable about languages but a couple of things michel thomas was polish he speaks with a thick eastern european accent so it might not be ideal for someone looking for authentic accent

and maybe his method is a little outdated. technology has advanced and they are better options nowadays but it didhelp me get the very basics of german overall it’s good supplement for complete beginners as it breaks down the sentence structure of the language into understandable elements without the over the top technical jargon found in grammar books

Yeah, but I’m in a slightly different place to a normal beginner. I already studied Italian - which is kind of similar to Spanish in many ways. What this means is that I can passively understand quite a lot of Spanish - but it’s the active side that I would need to work on. I’m wondering whether Michel Thomas would be any good for that?

in that case maybe not

If you say “Dammi un gelato”. Every Spanish-speaking ice cream seller in the world will understand you without the slightest hesitation

As for the course. I never heard of it but if you take a couple months to go through Assimil Spanish, I’m sure you’ll end up with a nice intermediate-ish level of Spanish, just levering your knowledge of Italian.
That’s how I began learning Italian

“I can still remember when it seemed normal to use cassettes for language courses, etc.”

They say vinyl sales are on the rise: Vinyl sales increased again in 2017 | The Independent | The Independent

Why not assume that the same might become possible for cassette tapes?

I wonder if LingQ is thinking about releasing a limited vinyl collection of their material.

I reckon it would be the subtle differences that could get to be a drag. Take the past tense: In spoken Italian, we basically have the perfect and imperfect past - e basta. But in Spanish (even in speech) maybe you have to factor in some kind of a historic past tense too? Okay, so it exists in Italian (and French) but there it’s basically only used for narrative fiction, isn’t it?

I’m not saying you’ll speak perfectly but you’ll understand better and will be able to make yourself be understood. Of course, becoming fluent takes more than a pass throurh Assimil. Italian speakers can spend years in a Spanish speaking country, go around understanding the language and making themselves be understood and still speak less than idiomatic Spanish. Ditto for Spanish speakers in Italy.
If you always say “he dado” instead of “di”, e.g., it’ll be clear that you’re not a native and it’ll sound incorrect but it won’t hamper comprehension.
On the other hand, if you take it half as seriously as the German grammar you’ll learn the verb forms soon and you can use your English intuition to decide when to use one form or the other (it’s very similar to the English simple past/present perfect distinction).

Hai ragione / tienes razon :wink:

I have a copy of his French one, which is supposed to be his best one. I tried it for a bit (before I knew of Lingq, etc) and was struck by two things:

  1. He has a tremendously thick German accent.
  2. The guy who plays the student learning on the tape must be brain damaged.

If you have it, I would check it out and play with it. But I wouldn’t commit to it if you were serious about learning unless you really like the program. Otherwise, I might go Assimil, Teach Yourself, or something more “in” right now.

My main issue with Michel Thomas method - too much English and very bad pronunciation from students. But he explains some grammatical concepts very well. I would use it only as a basic primer in grammar and that’s it.

Is (was) Mr Thomas a hypnotist!? :-0

Seriously, I’ve been doing this for fun (I’m on to tape 3 of the first 8 right now) and it feels like a freaking Paul McKenna relaxation tape that I once listened to! I keep feeling as if I’m going into a kind of trance or something.

I’ve got an inkling it’d be better on coke (ehm, that’s Diet Coke, you understand.)



Puede recommendar una grammatica para native speakers - maybe one aimed at Spanish school children aged 14-16?

(Apologies for the punk-Spanish here - but I’m trying to make use of what Michel has taught me so far!! :-P)

“I keep feeling as if I’m going into a kind of trance or something.”

You’ve found your language master guru.