Recommendation request for English course

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laragreene
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:27 pm
Languages: English, Spanish

Recommendation request for English course

Postby laragreene » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:38 pm

Hi there,

I'm new to this forum and hoping for recommendations. I'd like to purchase a course in English for a Cuban friend (who lives in Cuba).

She has a desktop with a fairly current copy of Windows, and would like something that she could use on that machine. However, she is limited rather slow dial-up connection, so courses that depend on internet access are really not ideal.

Any recommendations for software or downloadable content that won't break the (my) bank would be most appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
Lara
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DaveBee
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Re: Recommendation request for English course

Postby DaveBee » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:19 pm

Welcome to the forum.
laragreene wrote:... or downloadable content that won't break the (my) bank would be most appreciated.
Lots of free audio books available from Librivox, combined with the book texts these are good learning material.

A website called Farkas Translations offers a number of prepared parallel texts that can be downloaded.

EDIT
Assimil (french publisher) offers a Spanish:English book + CD course. ISBN:9782700580730

Teach Yourself Complete English as a foreign language, Book + CD. ISBN:9781473601581 (I think this is all in english)

EDIT2
I've just noticed that there are two Assimil Spanish>english courses, the one linked to above, and another targeting USA english. ISBN:9782700580983
Last edited by DaveBee on Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Speakeasy
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Languages: English (N), French (C2). Studying: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Polish, and Russian; all with widely varying degrees of application, enthusiasm, and success.
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Re: Recommendation request for English course

Postby Speakeasy » Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:42 am

Introduction
First, welcome to the forum! Next, although you haven’t specified what level of language-training your friend requires, I will assume that she has had little exposure to English and that she would benefit from the study of Beginner-to-Intermediate level materials. In that case, I suggest that you try to locate materials which incorporate a substantial amount of relevant audio recordings. Finally, before presenting you with a list of options, I would add that, in my opinion, while it would be "nice" if a Beginner were to master the grammar of the target language their are trying to learn, this step can easily be, and perhaps should be, reserved for the Intermediate level. That is, in the initial stage, only the very basic grammatical concepts need be absorbed. Assuming that your friend needs to progress from the Novice level to the Intermediate level, I recommend the following materials:

Pimsleur ESL for Spanish Speakers
The Pimsleur Method is a highly-effective "all audio" course of language instruction for Beginners. While it does not take the student to the Intermediate level, it is absolutely fabulous for "easing into" and for “developing a natural feel for” a foreign language. The course is presented in the base language (in this case, by a native Spanish speaker) with the participation two native speakers (in this case, two English speakers, one male, one female) who present the model responses to the instructor’s prompts. Sufficient pauses are included for the student’s participation. Grammar is not presented in a direct manner; rather, the basic grammatical concepts are woven into the fabric of the lessons in a subtle fashion and, ultimately, it is assumed that the student will deduce the structure of the target language through their participation in the successive lessons. Whereas there are very few written materials included with the CD version of the course, the latest version includes elementary onscreen exercises in support of the audio course. Most people report a very positive experience with the first Level of the Pimsleur programme; however, by the end of the third Level, the feeling of exhaustion leaves many people feeling glad that it is finally over and that they can move on to more condensed materials. Despite the regular price for this course, which is presently 350 $US per the publisher Simon and Schuster’s website, I highly recommend that you take the opportunity to purchase a new/used CD version from the big box websites. Based on a quick search, I recommend the following:

Simon & Schuster’s Pimsleur
They are the publisher of the Pimsleur courses. It seems that they are in the process of converting their previous CD/MP3 courses into “computer” programmes that include the onscreen support. Interesting, but in my opinion, they could have achieved an equivalent effect had they simply provided a PDF file containing the introductory dialogue and a glossary for each of the lessons. If you’re on a budget and given your friend’s limited capacity for downloading files, I would not choose this option. Nevertheless, here is the LINK to the publisher’s website: http://www.pimsleur.com/learn-english-for-spanish-speakers

Pimsleur Approach Gold Edition
It would appear that, over a surprisingly lengthy period of time, Simon and Schuster licenced other publishers to reproduce (that is, to copy/paste) their language courses and to market them under a modified brand name. Although this practice seems to have ceased, you can still find new/used copies of the CD and audio cassette versions of the relevant Pimsleur courses on the big box websites. Because I knew what I was looking for, I quickly tracked down two offers on eBay of the Pimsleur Approach Gold Edition English for Spanish Speakers course, in all three levels! Assuming that your friend is an absolute Beginner, I would highly recommend that you purchase the lowest-priced version on eBay. Here are the LINKS: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pimsleur-Approach-Gold-Edition-Ingles-I-II-III-English-for-Spanish-Speakers-/263085783269?hash=item3d412278e5:g:tVsAAOSwR29ZN0uL AND http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pimsleur-Approach-English-for-Spanish-people-Ingles-I-II-III-Gold-Edition/263115153840?_trksid=p2047675.c100623.m-1&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIM.MBE%26ao%3D2%26asc%3D45701%26meid%3Dbc384dc1c4c046a7bc7223c1222d6e4e%26pid%3D100623%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D6%26sd%3D263085783269 BUY THIS COURSE TODAY!

Assimil El Inglés / Assimil El Ingles Americano sin esfuerzo
I endorse DaveBee’s recommendation. Essentially speaking, the Assimil Method presents circa 100 progressively-difficult brief dialogues (which do not seem to be thematically linked one to another) accompanied by very brief exercise sets and a few explanatory notes (see my comment concerning the Linguaphone notes, below). The dialogues and exercises are translated. The audio recordings are in the target language only. The method is: wash, rinse, repeat … wash, rinse, repeat … wash, rinse, repeat. That is, a determined student should be able to “assimilate” the target language through the (thoughtful) repetition of the materials. Although some forum members might describe themselves as “not being a fan boy” of the Assimil method, I would surmise that even they would recognize the strengths of the programme. With lots of work, the Assimil method has the potential for taking the student into the CEFR A2-B1 range. Here is a LINK to Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Assimil+El+Ingl%C3%A9s+ BUY THIS COURSE!

Linguaphone ESL for Spanish Speakers
The Linguaphone “Complete” courses are widely-recognized for their potential for leading a determined independent-learner to the CEFR A2-B1 level of language competence. Although I have never studied their English course, I am quite familiar with their courses for all of the languages that I have studied to date. Essentially speaking, the method presents a series of progressively difficult lessons (30 or 50, depending on the edition) that present what-I-would-describe-as predictable situations. The dialogues, narratives, and exercises are somewhat more extended than those in many competing courses. The course book and the accompanying audio recordings are in the target language only. Rather than providing a direct translation of the dialogues, the Linguaphone Method includes a separate Student Manual which contains excerpts of the dialogues along with explanatory notes. There are approximately 8 hours of audio recordings with these courses. Nevertheless, some students report having experienced difficulties with the method, so much so that they would tend to consider these materials more suitable to Intermediate Level students. My experience leads me to believe that the actual level of the language is no more difficult than that of, say, the equivalent Assimil course and that the problem derives from the lack of a translation and (please forgive me, Linguaphone fan boys) the very nature in which the accompanying notes are written. That is, it seems to me that, in order to grasp the portent of the notes, one has to (already) possess an excellent understanding of the underlying grammatical issues presented therein. Linguaphone also offers an Advanced Level English course (which is ENTIRELY in English). So then, why would I recommend such a course for your friend? Well, first because your friend might benefit from using these materials as ancillary to the Assimil course. Also, because, despite the horrendously high prices for new copies of these courses, given their popularity, as well as the activities of “fetish” collectors like myself, one can find used copies of these course on eBay and elsewhere … at very reasonable prices. Furthermore, the Head Office of Linguaphone, located in the U.K., is prepared to sell copies of older course books, CDs, et cetera, as replacements. Here is a LINK to an offer on eBay: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Vintage-Linguaphone-Spanish-To-English-Complete-Course-Book-Cassette-2-Day-Ship-/263077232507?hash=item3d409fff7b:g:8TYAAOSwpONZVxpO Yes, yes, I know, either you or should would have to convert the cassettes to MP3 files. But you’d be doing this to help out a friend, right? Finally, many libraries have copies that can be shared.

Addendum 1: Curso intensivo con CD inglés - Naumann & Göbel Verlagsgesellslchaft
In the 1990's, a reputable German publisher of guide books, Naumann & Göbel Verlagsgesellslchaft mbH, created a series of introductory language courses in a number of common language pairs, one of which was their English course for Spanish speakers "Curso intensivo con CD inglés." Despite the high quality of these intensive courses, the company could not compete in a marketplace that had become saturated with courses of equal quality and they ceased publication of the series. Copies can still be found on the internet: https://www.abebooks.co.uk/9783632989479/CURSO-INGLES-INTENSIVO-CD-Varios-3632989478/plp. Here is the LINK to my (corrected) review of these materials: https://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=6093. Quite frankly, my choice would be to begin with Pimsleur and follow-up with this course. While I suspect that the native English speakers on this course would be from the U.K., this would not have a significant effect on your friend's ability to learn the language. I would then progress to the Assimil El Ingles Americano and Linguaphone courses.

Addendum 2: American Readings: Selections & Exercises for Vocabulary Development
While there existing untold numbers of opportunities for locating free resources for reading English, many of which include audio recordings, it occurred to me that the University of Indiana might have some of these in their large collection of freely-available archived materials. The choices for ESL recordings are limited, but I did find the following: http://www.iu.edu/~celtie/esl_archive.html. The exercise book is still available on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/American-Readings-Selections-Vocabulary-Development/dp/B00BHJH66O) and on AbeBooks (https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&an=&tn=American+Readings%3A+Selections+%26+Exercises+for+Vocabulary+Development&kn=&isbn=)

Addendum 3: Should You Wish to "Accompany" Your Friend
Should you wish to accompany your friend on her quest to learn English, the following advice from FluentU might be useful: http://www.fluentu.com/blog/educator-english/teaching-english-to-spanish-speakers/. Although my local library does not have copies of any of the language courses that I mentioned above, it would appear that many libraries in the U.S. have entered into arrangements with the publishers and copyright holders permitting them to share these materials. Thus, as far as I understand, there may be additional opportunities for you to accompany your friend whilst she works through them.

Online Courses/Materials
Although I have never been to Cuba, many of my friends and acquaintances have done so and have reported the difficulties of online connections. Nevertheless, should your friend be interest, based on reviews of their materials for languages other English, she might wish to consider the Duolingo and FluentU websites.

Intermediate-Level English
Upon completion of the above programme, your friend should be prepared to tackle Intermediate-Level materials. As this forum operates, for all practical purposes, in English, the question of Intermediate-Level English course has not drawn a lot of discussion. Still, you might wish to revive it on behalf of your friend: https://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=2478

Private Messaging
As far as I understand, registered members must make three (3) posts to this forum before they can communicate with other members through the Private Message function. I will send you a Private Message as a follow-up to my comments above. If my understanding of the administrative controls is correct, you must post comments on this, or on some other discussion thread, thereby bringing your total to three (3) in order for you to respond to my PM.

EDITED:
Typos and tinkering with the text.
Changes to comments relating to the digitizing and sharing of copyrighted materials.
Addenda 1, 2, 3.
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laragreene
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:27 pm
Languages: English, Spanish

Re: Recommendation request for English course

Postby laragreene » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:23 pm

Thanks, Davebee and Speakeasy, for your input!
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Speakeasy
Brown Belt
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Languages: English (N), French (C2). Studying: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Polish, and Russian; all with widely varying degrees of application, enthusiasm, and success.
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Re: Recommendation request for English course

Postby Speakeasy » Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:25 am

Offer of "Pimsleur Gold" on eBay
I just noticed that this offer has already expired. The price for the three-volume set of the Pimsleur ESL for Spanish Speakers CDs was only 89 $US, which was really quite inexpensive! If you and your friend are still interested in tracking down this particular item, I suggest that you click on the "See original listing" link and send the seller an Email via eBay expressing your interest in purchasing the item and requesting that he relist it. Sorry that I could not be of greater assistance. Good luck!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pimsleur-Approach-English-for-Spanish-people-Ingles-I-II-III-Gold-Edition/263115153840?_trksid=p2047675.c100623.m-1&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIM.MBE%26ao%3D2%26asc%3D45701%26meid%3Dbc384dc1c4c046a7bc7223c1222d6e4e%26pid%3D100623%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D6%26sd%3D263085783269
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