By Nate Adcock on Tue, 03/22/2011
My wife is a fluent speaker of Spanish, and having heard the language for a while (and watched many Spanish language TV shows), I am starting to understand it, though still like a 2 year old when trying to speak, and often I mistake crucial words. I have tried structured language programs in the past, and I usually don't finish them (see my iStart Spanish review here). Immersive Spanish is the perfect compromise between a structured course and just going to a Latin-speaking country without a translator--at only 99 cents, it's probably the wiser choice. Read on for full review.
The app is only a tiny 28M in size, and the nature of it explains this small size. No fancy screens and long intricate lesson plans. It is a lot like that game on Sesame Street where you have to match like items. The app utters a phrase in Spanish, and you match up the phrase with the correct picture of the activity shown below. The interface also includes a small speaker icon to replay the spoken phrase. The secret to this method is that you thoroughly learn variations of common phrases (The boy is drinking, the boy is running, etc.) by association.
Immersive Spanish has a central screen with an outline of the various modules, and also includes syntax exercises that breaks down pronunciation of words. Everything in the app is centered around association of an action depicted on the screen, and the spoken and written phrases. The downside of course is that while you learn somewhat quicker, you are missing many important aspects of structure, grammar, etc. The lesson aspects get more advanced as you work through them.
I like both forms of this kind of language training aid (the more formal course method) and the simpler immersive app. I think they are both valuable to someone learning a new language, and I recommend both to anyone who is planning a trip to a Latin-speaking country or just trying to brush up their language skills. When you need or want to quickly pick up a new language, this can be a good accelerator of your knowledge. Immersive Spanish is available for just 99 cents on the iTunes store here.