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SPX August 31, 2011 11:55 PM

Language Resource Bias
 
So I just signed up at www.spanishhour.com and intend to go through their 50 day course. Having spent the last couple of hours on the site, for $9.99 a month I actually think it's an incredible deal.

However, there is one thing that concerns me. Nowhere does it say that it focuses primarily on Spain Spanish or Latin American Spanish, but after noticing a few details like the accent the speakers have on a few words and the use of coche instead of carro, it appears that the focus is on Spain's version of the language. Nevertheless, I ASSUME--just because it's sensible--that they have designed the course to be as universal as possible. But who knows at this point.

My primary interest, however, is on Latin American Spanish. So, for those who have more experience than I do, how concerned should I be?

Rusty September 01, 2011 12:36 AM

As with any course, you'll be taught what the designer of the course wants you to learn. You don't need to be overly concerned. I recommend, though, that you check the vocabulary given in the course against a good dictionary that points out regional differences in vocabulary. If the course offers up a word used only in Spain, just learn the alternative(s) alongside.

In Peninsular Spanish, the 2nd-person plural (vosotros) is used. If it's evident that this is used regularly in your course, just substitute the 3rd-person plural (ustedes) instead. That's what they use in Latin America.

If you have access to Latin American Spanish speakers, they will be your best 'sounding board'. If they steer you another way, adjust.

Latin America is a very big place. Each of the countries that has Spanish as the primary language has its own flavor of Spanish. You're probably already aware that you'll need to make some adjustments and concessions. At least the grammar stays pretty consistent!

wrholt September 01, 2011 01:06 AM

I'm not familiar with the website or with its course, so I can't speak for its quality or for how regionally-oriented it is.

Personally I wouldn't be too concerned about whether or not the program is strongly Spain-oriented: my instructors came from several different countries and had very different accents; the end result is that I mostly have little trouble understanding anyone from anywhere, provided that they take a little care to avoid too much local-only slang. If and when you choose to live for a time in another country, you'll learn the local expressions from your friends and acquaintances there.

SPX September 01, 2011 01:06 AM

Yeah, that all makes sense, Rusty and holt.

I thought about checking the vocab, but there's one small problem with that, and that's that they throw a LOT of words at you in each lesson. In the promotional materials they say that by the end of the course you'll be "well on your way to a 10,000 word vocabulary," and while that sounds like an exaggeration it's clear that they want to drill as many words into your head as possible, so you kind of just have to roll with what they give you if you want to get through it all in a reasonable amount of time.

I don't think I'm going to worry about it too much. I know how to recognize and avoid the "th" accent on certain words and am hip to the vosotros pronoun, so I will not be fooled there, ha ha. Also, as you say, the grammar is otherwise pretty much the same.

Also, I'm kind of just happy to be going through an organized course that doesn't bore me to tears. They have text, audio, video, games, etc for each lesson, which is cool. So much of my learning has been so scattershot--I mean, I know the Spanish word for "extraterrestrials", but I don't know the word for "answer"--that this is a good change of pace.

It does seem like they'd warn you though regarding which version of the language the course specializes in, but I have seen more than once across multiple products that the vast majority of the time they really don't.


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