bbc-intermediate-suenos-world-spanish-2An independent language course review by Sarah Maddocks

Suenos World Spanish 2 is the follow on Spanish language course from Suenos World Spanish 1. It is £39.99 which again is a reasonable price as you are getting a course book as well as 4 CDs with authentic Spanish conversations and not staged ones.

The course book is divided into 10 units and each of these units has four main sections: asi se habla 1 (where new language is given and presented), asi se habla 2 (building on the language you already know), un paso mas (listening to spoken Spanish and understanding written Spanish) and temas (cultural aspects of Spain and Latin America). This is one aspect that makes the BBC Suenos course stands out as it doesn’t just talk about Spain, but other Spanish speaking countries too which many other courses tend to leave out.

Following the 10 units there is a reference section which includes self tests, reference grammar, answer keys, transcripts of what you have listened to on the CD and a Spanish to English glossary – in other words you get a lot of extras for your money.

The ‘presenter’ who take you through the course are Julio and Carmella (even their names sound genuinely Spanish) and they both have convincing Spanish accents.The BBC have adapted the tasks so that you can continue to learn Spanish without the book, meaning you could take it on the bus with you to do or sit down and have a go during your lunch hour without necessarily dragging the book along with you.

The dialogues on the CDs are in Spanish and then afterwards you have the English repeated. After the English the Spanish is repeated and then you have to repeat and practice saying it. After this second repetition, instead of repeating the exact same thing they change the dialogue to the other way round. For example: why would people in England want to learn Spanish has turned to why would Spanish people learn English? They then pose questions to which you have to give the answers. I think this is a great way of learning without actually realising how much you have learnt. The repetition really makes the new words and phrases stick in your head and you remember a lot more than you think you do.

This CD course is great as it doesn’t use only Castillian … Spanish … , but also Mexican Spanish … I think this is a good way of hearing the different accents side by side.
This CD course is great as it doesn’t use only Castillian or Continental Spanish (as in Spain), but also Mexican Spanish. The units incorporate Spanish speakers from different Spanish speaking countries, for example Jorge from Mexico visits Laura in Madrid, I think this is a good way of hearing the different accents side by side. You can tell the difference in the accent and I found that this was helpful as after I had learnt Spanish, I went to Mexico as part of my gap year, and at the time I found it harder to understand what they were saying as I had never heard the Mexican accent before. It is a little like hearing and learning English from courses using only the Queen’s English and then coming to England and hearing a Bristolian or a Liverpudlian speak.

The units in the book work alongside the CDs. There are exercises where you have to listen to the dialogues and then answer the questions. I found this really useful as you had to listen and answer the questions rather than just listen and not really take anything in. Sometimes the answers to the questions were said a little fast, and before I got a chance to answer myself, but I just stopped the CD and skipped back to the start. I think the speed of the dialogues were right as they were real Spanish people speaking. In real life, this is what you would hear if you asked someone in the street or were having a telephone conversation with someone. In other words this Spanish language course prepares you for real life situations rather than just making you learn words and grammar constructions.

The CDs and the associated exercises obviously get harder as you go along, CD1 acted more of a revision of the previous course and you weren’t introduced to a huge amount of new words or grammar. However, as you get further along with the course, the dialogues do get longer and while there are still English repetitions, there are not as many and only when the new vocabulary is learnt.

This intermediate level Spanish language course was everything that I expected from BBC languages and I am glad they didn’t let me down with this course. Although it is a comprehensive course, I enjoyed learning and it didn’t feel like a chore.

Buena suerte!

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