I have two questions for you linguaphiles. :)
1. Introductory Spanish Course
I am looking into buying a full set-up for basic Spanish for my niece. She is a sophomore in high school, straight-A student, and homeschooled. According to my brother, I've inspired her (aw) to want to pick up a foreign language. I think this would be great for her, and want to do everything I can to support her.
I'm obviously going to check with my brother first, but my parents and I agree that Spanish is probably a good route to go for her. She recently went on a mission trip to Mexico to build houses, which my brother chaperoned, and had a fabulous time. Living in Colorado, it's probably just handy to know anyway. So... Spanish it is.
Here's my question: What programs have you all had the best experience with? I'm willing to go all out, because this will be a group gift from my parents and I, so we can afford to splurge a little. I've heard good things about Rosetta Stone, though it is a bit pricey ($295?).
I was thinking of getting her a good computer program, a grammar guide, a dictionary, and some kind of cd/audio program. I'm also personally interested in Mexican (and other Latin American) music, so I was thinking of getting her a cd of Julieta Venegas. If any of you know of other good, clear, Spanish-language music, please let me know! Especially if any of it has Christian themes.
Since my sister-in-law, who runs the homeschool classes, does not speak Spanish, I want to provide my niece with everything I can short of a full on Spanish speaking teacher. I'm hoping as she gets into it, we'll be able to provide her with a tutor of some sort.
So, I would appreciate any reviews and/or suggestions on the following:
1. Spanish Language Learning Computer Programs
2. Grammar guides
4. Audio Programs
5. Spanish language music
Maybe I could get her a collection of short stories in Spanish, as well, to make the reading funner? My boss also suggested Spanish-language movies, which she could watch with her younger sister.
2. Introductory Portuguese Course
I myself have had a number of years of Spanish, though I don't quite consider myself fluent. As it is, I'm planning on taking an Anthropology course this summer in Brazil. The course involves some basic introduction to the Portuguese language, but as we will be living in Bahia and interacting with the peoples there, I thought that more language proficiency would be useful. We will be working with and studying various social reform groups there, particularly volunteer service providers and the sort, to determine their visions of the social change necessary to facilitate the community to move forward. I've been contemplating applying for a grant to extend my study for an additional month of research, which would most definitely benefit from more extensive knowledge of Portuguese.
My cousin did some volunteer work in Brazil a year or two ago, so he has some audio courses I'm planning on borrowing, but I want something a little more intense than that. I also work best with written work, although obviously the audio course is necessary for pronunciation and the like. I also have some friends here at the University from Brazil, who I can converse with and probably ask whatever questions I may have. I might even visit them while I'm doing my research! :)
Anyway, my plan so far has been to borrow my cousin's audio cds (Pimsleur). Also, I was planning on purchasing early the textbook recommended by one of the professors of the Brazil course, and the dictionary he recommended:
Portugues Basico para Estrangeiros: Principiante - Intermediario - Adiantado
by Rejane De Oliveira Slade (Author)
Langenscheidt's 812 page pocket dictionary
I've also thought about getting the 501 Verbs book for Portuguese, as it's fairly cheap and I've found the 501 verbs books to be a pretty useful reference for Spanish and German.
Do any of you have experience using either the above textbook or dictionary?
Also, do you recommend any supplemental grammar guides?
Audio or computer courses?
I am a poor college student, though, so my options for what all I can splurge on are a little bit more limited than say, Rosetta Stone, or what I would be able to get for my niece...
I would greatly appreciate any and all suggestions!
x-posted to my journal, foreignlanguage, learn_languages, linguaphiles, and linguists