Written by IainB
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Monday, 21 February 2011

image for Review: Language tapes I'd like to travel

As the Spoof's foremost reviewer I get to review some cool stuff.

This month I was sent three Lingo language packs: German, Italian and Spanish. I would quite like to have learned Chinese, just to find out what the people in the Chinese Chippy were saying about me. I've never been very good at learning languages though. I even with English struggle. Lingo packs come in three parts. These are: reading and speaking, listening and speaking and sleeping. The first parts of these require a computer with a microphone. They aim to teach a complete new language in two weeks to a level sufficient to get by in a foreign country and to fluency level if continued. It did not specify the country in which one could get by, but I doubted that learning German would get me by in Thailand.

I could not decide which of the languages to start with, so I decided to do one from each. For the Spanish, I would use the computer, read the text and speak it into the microphone. For the German, I would learn this while driving, it seemed appropriate, as I drive a Fiat. I would learn Italian while I slept using the small device that fits under a pillow.

The computer application for Spanish was fairly easy to understand, although I wish I'd done the German language course first, as the instructions for the Spanish language were in German. For the German, I needed Italian, and for the Italian I needed Greek. I didn't have Greek. Fortunately, I could figure out what I needed to do. After doing a Google translation of the instructions, I learned I had to listen to the Spanish phrase and repeat it until I was fluent. Unfortunately, as it was a Spanish language course for Germans, I didn't know what the phrase meant. Still, as per instructions, I persevered, and decided to do the exercises every day for two hours in the evening.

I used the German course in the car to and from work. This is another two hours a day thanks to the Manchester traffic system that is designed to make people use the Metrolink tram system. Thus, instead of watching NCIS, I was at the computer learning phrases that would help me order bratwurst from a Spanish deli and ensure that, should I ever be in Barcelona, I could reserve a hotel room with specialist hangers for Lederhosen.

When I went to bed, I put the Italian language tapes under my pillow, and went to sleep to the dulcet tones of an Italian woman ordering humus and yogurt.

The following day, on my way to work, I learned how to order ice cream and pizza while holidaying in the Rhine valley, and coming home, how to not offend the natives when ordering Italian wines in the German wine capitals.
"Fantastico," I thought.

While I made dinner, fuhr ich mit dem Spanischkurs. It seemed fairly easy, although I didn't know how well I was doing, sin nadie que la práctica de. A dinner of lamb schnitzel pasta, served tapas style was followed by un'altra notte di sonno.

I followed this pattern for the two weeks that they suggest. Ho deciso di provarlo alla deli Italiano.

"Ich möchte einige kabeljau für meine paella mit meeresfrüchten," le dije al hombre detrás del mostrador. Fortunately, he was German.
"Certo, vorresti che avvolto?" he asked me, and I understood him vollkommen.
"Si, prego," I replied.

Flush with success, Sono tornato a casa a hizo la cena of Meeresfrüchte.

I give Lingo Language Packs cuatro daumen, not fünf, as Io ora lo trovate difícil mantener una conversación with English sprechen. Ich würde empfehlen di imparare una lingua alla volta, por el bien de su cordura.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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