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Learning Spanish: How to Understand and Speak a New Language

Experience the fastest and most direct way to learn Spanish-a beautiful and highly useful language-in this course that covers the curriculum of a first semester college course in Spanish.
Learning Spanish: How to Understand and Speak a New Language is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 414.
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Rated 2 out of 5 by from Rating Revision Unfortunately, these reviews do not permit edits or revisions once posted, so I'm now compelled to do another one for the course. I'm downgrading this course from four stars to two and changing my recommendation of the product from yes to no. I'm now on Lesson 25, and the deficiencies noted in my first review have only gotten worse. The speed with which this subject matter is dumped on students is ridiculous. New words or new conjugations are flashed on the screen only once, for a second or two, and the subsequent expectation is that you should have assimilated it by now, in terms of being able to use it at the drop of a hat. There is little time allotted for the mental formation of proper responses. There is no overriding context provided for the presentation of topics. For example, why are there two separate forms of commands? Why do I need to know both? How likely is it that a beginning student of Spanish would be issuing commands in the first place? If the student hasn't bought into why something needs to be learned, motivation is knee-capped from the start. I'm also noticing a common problem I've encountered in other online courses - an uneven and accelerating pace of the class. The more difficult subject matter requiring facility with everything that's gone before gets the most rapid and cursory treatment. I'll give a slight pass to the professor on this, since there is no immediate feedback for him to receive on the pace. But I'll guarantee that if he were in front of a class of students with these presentations, he'd be forced to slow way down because of the uncomprehending stares of most of the class, and the halting and mistake-filled responses he would get in reply to his queries. Learning is a contract, between teacher and student. If the material has not been received in a manner that makes it useful, that's not only on the student - that's also a failing of the teaching, regardless of how proficient the professor may be. Greatly disappointed, looks like Duolingo to fill in the gaps in my knowledge.
Date published: 2021-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Learning Spanish I was interested in learning Spanish because the “group” I involved in doesn’t require it; but it’s essential to have the bi-lingual status so I can converse with people from different countries.
Date published: 2021-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Learning Spanish: How to Understand and speak a ne Through Covid, I did two Spanish classes on Zoom from our local university. I purchased this course as another source of review. I am absolutely impressed with the quality and insight into the real needs of a language student. There are so many practical tips that will help me sound much less like a Gringa tourist and make me feel confident that I will be easily understood. Also love the cultural tidbits. Muy excelente!
Date published: 2021-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good speakers I have 38 that I bought through The Great Courses. I am well on my way to whittling that down.
Date published: 2021-10-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Learning Spanish I'm definitely a mature student. I'm in my 70s. And I have been trying to learn Spanish for a few years off and on. I have tried various lessons. Bill Worden is an EXCELLENT teacher. Of all the courses I've taken and studied from the Great Courses, Worden is the best of all the instructors, and there are many good ones. As well, the Spanish course itself is excellent. Would I recommend Learning Spanish with Bill Worden to others? I already have. It's a GREAT COURSE. And Worden is an excellent and great instructor.
Date published: 2021-09-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Clear and cogent I've been studying Spanish for years. This course w/ this professor provided a missing link in my studies. Great review of basic material w/ great suggestions to enhance learning and forward proficiency.
Date published: 2021-09-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from So Far, So Good First, let me point out that I'm 77! I also have to preface this by mentioning that (many years ago!!) I had approx. 12 weeks of the 26-week French course taught by the Department of State's Foreign Service Language Institute and about 6 weeks of their German course several years later. Both of those classes (limited to approx 5 students) were approx. 6 hrs. long 5 days a week and had at least 3 hrs. daily of homework (for me at least since I really have no language aptitude). At the time it was the worst thing I had gone thru! There was a lot of repetition involved. And because I have since lived/worked in several French speaking countries and Austria, my capability in both languages is o.k. I'll never go hungry or get lost and can definitely have a conversation in French, not so much so in German, but again, I have no problem. I also attended an 8 week adult education Spanish course in 2007, just prior to our first trip to South America, but frankly I've learned much more with this present course. That being said...I started this course with El Professor Bill Aug 2 sporadically as my schedule permits and am up to Lesson 5, but I have repeated all of the chapters several times. He's a great teacher. I agree with someone else's comment that it would be useful to have the words shown on the screen during the los glosarios (although I follow along with the course workbook which I ordered separately). Plus it would have been useful to see someone actually saying the words -- and this is especially true in Lesson 4 with the names of countries/nationalities as Lara says them so quickly. I would dearly love to be able to regularly speak conversationally with a Spanish speaker (I'm afraid it would have to be as tho an adult is talking to a child!), but during these Covid period, that's not very practical. My dreams of perhaps going to San Jose for an immersion course will have to be put on hold! Xfinity does have a few Spanish classes, some geared towards children, which I've also followed!
Date published: 2021-09-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from So far, so good I wish this had been my first class in Spanish, especially for the pronunciation. It's too early to say if I will be more successful in learning Spanish, but so far, so good!
Date published: 2021-08-25
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Overview

Experience the fun, intellectual challenge, and practical benefits of learning Spanish, one of the world's most useful and beautiful languages. In this brilliantly designed course, you'll get under the hood" of the language, using an approach your teacher has refined for over 20 years to empower adult learners. Even if you think you lack aptitude for languages, these lectures will have you conversing in Spanish."

About

Bill Worden
Bill Worden

The ideal language learner is a motivated student who is unafraid to make mistakes. Motivation leads to a high level of engagement with the language, and accepting errors as a natural part of the language learning process helps students keep working toward proficiency even when things get difficult.

INSTITUTION

The University of Alabama

Dr. Bill Worden is an Associate Professor of Spanish at The University of Alabama. He received his A.B. in Mathematics from Dartmouth College, his M.A. in Spanish from Middlebury College and his Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies from Brown University.

Since 2002, Dr. Worden has taught a wide variety of courses at The University of Alabama, ranging from Introductory Spanish and Advanced Grammar and Composition to undergraduate and graduate courses in 16th- and 17th-century Spanish literature.

Dr. Worden's main area of research is the work of Miguel de Cervantes, especially his novel Don Quixote. Dr. Worden has published in the fields of early modern Spanish literature, colonial Cuban theater, and 19th-century Spanish literature. He has also published on pedagogical topics, including how to teach Spanish at the middle school and high school levels, and has lectured on approaches for helping beginning language students become comfortable speaking Spanish.

Dr. Worden was awarded the David and Ruth Kossoff Prize for Leadership in Language Teaching by the Department of Hispanic Studies at Brown University, as well as the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching by the Graduate School at Brown. In 2013, the Alabama Association of Foreign Language Teachers selected Dr. Worden as the winner of the annual Outstanding Foreign Language Teacher Award for Postsecondary.

By This Professor

Learning Spanish II: How to Understand and Speak a New Language
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Learning Spanish: How to Understand and Speak a New Language
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Learning Spanish: How to Understand and Speak a New Language

Trailer

Introduction to the Spanish Language

01: Introduction to the Spanish Language

Begin by looking at both the "whats" of Spanish (elements such as grammar and vocabulary), and the "hows"-how to study, practice, and learn the language most effectively. Start with identifying cognates (Spanish words that are similar to their English equivalents), hearing the five Spanish vowel sounds, and practicing basic greetings, responses, and goodbyes....

45 min
Definite Articles and Nouns

02: Definite Articles and Nouns

Learn the gender of Spanish nouns by practicing each new noun with its masculine or feminine definite article. Grasp how the suffixes of nouns can help identify their gender. Study how to make nouns plural, practice pronouncing Spanish consonants, and learn the letters of the Spanish alphabet....

48 min
Subject Pronouns and the Verb Ser

03: Subject Pronouns and the Verb Ser

Investigate the five singular subject pronouns and the seven plural subject pronouns in Spanish, and how they are used in Spanish-speaking cultures. Then conjugate the verb ser (to be) in the present tense, create simple sentences, and explore how Spanish adjectives agree with the nouns they modify in number and gender....

43 min
Regular -ar Verbs in the Present

04: Regular -ar Verbs in the Present

Here, learn about an important category of Spanish verbs-those whose infinitives end in -ar. Conjugate regular -ar verbs in the present tense by identifying the verb's stem and adding the appropriate endings. Continue with Spanish adjectives and their placement, cognate adjectives, and the pronunciation of important consonants....

49 min
Indefinite Articles and Numbers to 100

05: Indefinite Articles and Numbers to 100

Acquire the Spanish indefinite articles ("a", "an", and "some" in English), and observe how indefinite articles are used in Spanish. Learn to count to 100, and practice simple math problems. Finally, complete your work with Spanish consonants, making important distinctions in the pronunciations of b, v, g, d, and x....

42 min
The Verb Estar and Numbers over 100

06: The Verb Estar and Numbers over 100

Investigate the verb estar, the second Spanish verb for "to be". Learn about the uses of estar, as contrasted with ser. Conjugate estar in the present tense, and use it with adjectives describing emotions, conditions, and locations. Learn to count to 1000, and conclude with a historical note about Spanish pronunciation....

46 min
Regular -er and -ir Verbs in the Present

07: Regular -er and -ir Verbs in the Present

Conjugate two new categories of Spanish verbs-those that end in -er and -ir. For both, learn and practice the appropriate endings for the present tense. Continue with possessive adjectives, and study how these are used in Spanish. Then discover three ways of forming questions, and learn vocabulary related to the family....

45 min
The Verb Ir in the Present

08: The Verb Ir in the Present

Begin with an important irregular verb: ir, meaning "to go". Conjugate ir in the present tense, and learn about its key uses in Spanish. Next, study and practice common Spanish interrogatives-words used in asking questions. Finish by looking at effective ways to remember new words and build vocabulary....

40 min
Expressing Time in Spanish

09: Expressing Time in Spanish

First, practice telling the time of day in Spanish, expressing the hour and minutes, and learn important vocabulary relating to time. Continue with the days of the week and vocabulary regarding days and dates. Finally, learn the months of the year, and form questions relating to time, dates, and the seasons....

45 min
Expressions Using the Verb Tener

10: Expressions Using the Verb Tener

This lesson begins with another important irregular verb: tener (to have). Grasp how to conjugate tener, and learn expressions using it regarding physical conditions, emotional conditions, and age. Add more important vocabulary related to the family. Finish by considering some important strategies to help you succeed as a language learner....

38 min
Verbs like Hacer and Interrogative Words

11: Verbs like Hacer and Interrogative Words

Study the verb hacer (to make or to do), and learn some of the many familiar expressions that use it. Continue with the similar verbs poner, salir, and traer, and take a deeper look at Spanish interrogatives. Learn how to talk about punctuation in Spanish, and discover how it is used....

42 min
The Verbs Saber and Conocer

12: The Verbs Saber and Conocer

Spanish has two verbs, saber and conocer, which carry the meanings of the English verb "to know." Investigate their conjugations, their differences in meaning, and their uses. Then add some new verbs that are conjugated like conocer, and begin to study Spanish prepositions, focusing on those that describe spatial relationships....

45 min
Stem-Changing Verbs

13: Stem-Changing Verbs

Here, work with Spanish verbs that are irregular-not in their tense endings, but in the verb stems used to conjugate them. Study how to conjugate verbs of this type as you learn a range of new verbs. Also study prepositional pronouns, as well as rules for which syllables to stress when pronouncing Spanish words....

42 min
Ver, Dar, and Other Irregular Verbs

14: Ver, Dar, and Other Irregular Verbs

Delve into the fascinating history of U.S. place names that are derived from Spanish, including the names of five states. Continue your work with key irregular verbs, and study important guidelines for conjugating them. Then, listen to excerpts from a Spanish newscast, and explore the value of listening to the news in Spanish....

42 min
The Present Progressive

15: The Present Progressive

The present progressive is a useful grammatical construction in Spanish that describes something that is in progress right now, happening in the present. Learn how to form and use the present progressive, and how its use in Spanish differs from the way it's used in English. Continue with vocabulary related to dining, meals, and eating venues....

42 min
Direct Object Pronouns and Adverbs

16: Direct Object Pronouns and Adverbs

Begin with additional vocabulary concerning food and drink, focusing on breakfast and lunch. Then study direct object pronouns (such as "them" in English), which replace direct object nouns to avoid redundancy, and learn their uses and placement in Spanish. Finally, encounter Spanish adverbs: common words used to modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs....

41 min
Affirmatives, Negatives, and Demonstratives

17: Affirmatives, Negatives, and Demonstratives

Now add the Spanish demonstrative adjectives ("this" and "that" in English) and the related demonstrative pronouns, and study additional vocabulary related to eating dinner. Look at ways to create both affirmative and negative statements in Spanish, and learn about regional differences in the language as it's spoken across the world....

40 min
More Affirmative and Negative Expressions

18: More Affirmative and Negative Expressions

Learn and practice a range of new vocabulary related to colors, followed by words that describe clothing. Take a detailed look at Spanish affirmative and negative adjectives (as in "some" and "none" in English), which can also be used as pronouns. Also study how to pronounce vowel combinations, diphthongs, and triphthongs in Spanish....

39 min
Indirect Object Pronouns

19: Indirect Object Pronouns

Continue working with vocabulary related to clothing, and practice describing clothing. Then study Spanish indirect object pronouns-pronouns that replace indirect objects-and learn verbs that commonly use them. Last, explore some additional strategies for learning and remembering new vocabulary....

41 min
Double Object Pronouns

20: Double Object Pronouns

Enlarge your vocabulary with words relating to rooms and furnishings in a house, and learn how to say ordinal numbers in Spanish. Then study how to use indirect and direct object pronouns together (as in, "I give it to you" in English), and explore some important expressions using the verb pensar (to think)....

38 min
Reflexive Verbs

21: Reflexive Verbs

Reflexive verbs are those for which the subject and the object of the action are the same (as in, "I wash myself" in English). Study how these verbs function in Spanish, and learn commonly used examples. Look deeply at the uses of the verbs ser and estar, the two Spanish verbs signifying "to be." ...

45 min
Talking about the Past: Acabar and Hace

22: Talking about the Past: Acabar and Hace

Here, add important vocabulary relating to motion and travel, and learn some common reflexive verbs that describe mental and emotional states. Then study two useful constructions for speaking about the past: acabar de, which describes something that just happened, and hace...que, which expresses how long something has been going on....

42 min
Talking about the Past: Desde Cuando...?

23: Talking about the Past: Desde Cuando...?

This lesson introduces two common constructions that allow you to ask how long someone has done something, and how long something has been going on. Following this, add a range of vocabulary related to leisure activities, household chores, and romantic relationships. Also explore strategies to improve your speaking in Spanish....

43 min
Formal Commands and Unequal Comparisons

24: Formal Commands and Unequal Comparisons

Continue to enlarge your vocabulary with words relating to places, such as public venues and businesses. Then learn how to say formal commands, also known as imperatives, as well as negative commands, and practice using them in different contexts. Study ways to compare two things that are not the same. Finally, consider two effective approaches to remembering grammar rules....

43 min
Informal Commands

25: Informal Commands

Study and practice informal commands, both affirmative and negative, including their important irregular forms. Learn vocabulary related to the human body, and practice commands referring to the body. Then grasp how to use pronouns with commands, and explore some of the most commonly used command forms in Spanish....

45 min
Superlatives and Equal Comparisons

26: Superlatives and Equal Comparisons

Delve into vocabulary relating to sports and outdoor activities, and investigate the importance of el fútbol, or soccer, in Spanish-speaking countries. Learn how to make comparisons involving actions, numbers, and things that are equal, and how to express superlatives. Last, consider a useful approach to thinking about and incorporating new vocabulary....

44 min
Regular -ar Verbs in the Preterite

27: Regular -ar Verbs in the Preterite

Begin to work with the preterite tense, which expresses actions completed in the past. Explore how to use this tense in Spanish, how to conjugate regular -ar verbs, and how to make preterite conjugations easy to remember. Expand on preterite usage by practicing with new vocabulary used in describing past events....

44 min
Regular -er and -ir Verbs in the Preterite

28: Regular -er and -ir Verbs in the Preterite

Continue your exploration of this vital tense in Spanish, and learn to express past actions with regular -er and -ir verbs, stem-changing verbs, and irregular verbs. Observe how some Spanish verbs actually change meaning when used in the preterite. Also learn important adjectives that describe inherent characteristics of something, as well as others used to describe changeable conditions....

41 min
Irregular Verbs in the Preterite

29: Irregular Verbs in the Preterite

Round out your knowledge of the preterite by working with the full range of Spanish verbs that are irregular in this tense. Grasp why, in studying the present and preterite tenses, you have now learned the hardest verb conjugations in the Spanish language. Then add important vocabulary about work and money....

47 min
Next Steps in Improving Your Spanish

30: Next Steps in Improving Your Spanish

Begin this final lesson with useful vocabulary regarding professions, technology, and the Internet. Learn about key verbs that are commonly used with prepositions, and review the preterite tense. Conclude by looking at ways to have an immersive experience with Spanish, and get a preview of a second level of Spanish study....

49 min