Musical Spanish

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Title: Musical Spanish
Version: Windows 9X, ME, NT
Manufacturer: The Musical Linguist
Computer Tested On: Generic 586-166
Operating System: Windows 98
Reviewed By: Frank Fogg
Review Date: August, 2001
Rating:

OVERVIEW

Musical Spanish is a music based language program for students to improve their Spanish skills. The course includes an interactive / musical CD-ROM inside of a paperback workbook.

The main concept of this program is the use of music to enhance the language learning process. The course uses ten traditional Spanish language songs to increase the listener's proficiency. The songs can be used interactively on a computer or in the car with a CD-ROM player. The lyrics of the songs in this course are pronounced clearer than typical songs, making it easier for a beginner to pick out the words.

Get more information about Musical Spanish at Amazon.comWhen this CD is used interactively, the music brings Spanish to life in several ways. Each of the songs can be listened to on a "jukebox" that the user can display on his screen. A variation of the jukebox theme allows interactive karaoke Another section uses simple cartoon animation to make the lyrics of the songs dance across the screen. This section also shows the English translations for the words under the Spanish language lyrics as the songs play. Many of these concepts have been tried before in other language software courses, but they are integrated a little differently in this program.

Interactive instructional text is provided using Acrobat Reader and is also included in the workbook. The text is divided into chapters and contains information about Spanish pronunciation, genders, plurals, and other basic language concepts. Chapter contents also include short quizzes and listening activities. A grammatical summary rounds out each chapter. A short guide is available for teachers to integrate the material into a classroom setting along with student handouts containing the song lyrics.

The course includes a 112 page booklet that has the words to the Spanish songs on the CD along with the English translations. The chapters provide a concise explanation of new material and introduce new vocabulary words and gramatical concepts . Each of the chapters also has a matching game to play that reinforces the new material in the chapter. The games match pictures into a puzzle, and the Spanish name for the item is read aloud as it is placed into the puzzle..

The interactive portion of the program operated flawlessly each time it was tested. We did encounter several instances of second windows remaining open, although this was due to operating procedure and not program error (the program was play tested by a five year old). The songs are well performed and the lyrics are clear, but they seem targeted toward older children and adults, with little of the sing-song style that is common with music for small children, and yet surprisingly younger children enjoy this musical format. Program operation is simple enough for small children to operate it with occasional parental help, but the reading material is likely to be far more appropriate for older children.

STRONG POINTS

Concept - This program provides a fresh approach to learning Spanish.

Versatile - Can be used with or without a computer.

WEAK POINTS

User Interface - At times the interface can be difficult to understand, although this problem goes away as the program become more familiar.

COMMENTS

Musical Spanish provides a different perspective on Spanish for language students. It uses music to get the point across, and can be used with or without a computer. Older children and adults will get the most from the quizzes and content of this program.

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