Learning Spanish Like Crazy Level 1 / Nivel 1
By Russell Sabo
I’ve been going through the Learning Spanish Like Crazy Nivel 1 audio course and I have to say that it’s a very good product. If you’ve never taken an audio course before, or even if you have, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy this one is and by how much you learn.
For me, I had been learning Spanish for two years and a couple months before I decided to take the plunge into buying an audio course. During my second trip to Colombia I discovered just how important it was to be able to speak and listen (and UNDERSTAND) what others were saying. In Medellin, I was getting a lot of the words correct when I talked because I’m lucky enough to have a coworker who is a native Spanish-speaker who helps me out, and because my friend in Medellin whom I had been talking to for months online had also helped me out and corrected me when my mispronunciations and bad grammar were too much for her to bear. We were able to talk to one another because she knew me well enough to figure out what I was saying, but trying to understand others was a nightmare. Catching one word out of 10 wasn’t going to cut it, I decided. I needed more help. So I went online and started searching for audio language courses once I got home.
I found a couple of different products; one was from Rocket Languages and the other was the Learning Spanish Like Crazy system. The Rocket Languages product seemed to be more for a complete beginner, although it does have 3 levels. Learning Spanish Like Crazy, however, had 3 different levels with a ton of bonuses..AND…most importantly to me, the product was geared toward learning conversational Spanish. Exactly what I was looking for! So I bought Learning Spanish Like Crazy Nivel 1 (Level 1), and as part of the deal at the time, if I bought Nivel 1 I could also buy Nivel 2 at a good discount. So I bought them both!
After downloading everything, which took about a half hour due to how much content there was to download, I went straight into Lesson 1. If you already know a little bit of Spanish, there’s a good chance that you’re going to be a little bored by the first few lessons. For me, after my experience in Colombia, I was welcoming the boredom of the first few lessons and even learned how to pronounce words that I had seen and written before, but had neven taken the opportunity to speak. If you don’t know any Spanish, then the first few lessons will get you off and running.
The instructors speak at a conversational pace and in a conversational tone so, at first, it may be a bit difficult to understand them well enough to say the words correctly. However, everything gets repeated enough that this isn’t a problem. Besides, the best way to learn conversational Spanish is to listen to conversational Spanish.
One other thing about the instructors. Each one is from a different country, which gives you the benefit of hearing different Spanish accents. For instance, some instructors will pronounce the pronoun “yo” – meaning “I” – as “yo”, and others will pronounce it as “Joe” (like the name). Both are correct, it’s just that some countries pronounce the “y”s and “ll”s a bit harder and end up with a “J” sound. In any case, it’s great to have the exposure to the different accents.
Learning Spanish Like Crazy Nivel 1 has 30 lessons, each one averages about 30 minutes in duration. The longest lesson is 44 minutes and 6 seconds (Lesson 24, which is split into two tracks) and the shortest is 23 minutes and 22 seconds. Each lesson is geared toward learning verb conjugations, new words, and pronunciations, as well as getting an ‘ear’ for the language.
I found that each new lesson was fairly easy, with just enough of a challenge that repeating some lessons was warranted in order to let the lesson sink in, or to improve my response time. Most people in the Learning Spanish Like Crazy forums have spoken of the infamous Lesson 13, which is the lesson which introduces reflexive verbs (levantarse and despertarse are two examples). Here everything seems to speed up and I found myself straining my ears to understand what the speakers were saying. This is exactly what I wanted because normal people don’t talk to each other in a clear, professionally produced, and easy-to-understand manner. They speak rapidly, and oftentimes don’t worry about correct grammar, assuming the listener will at least get the gist of what they’re saying (English-speakers are especially guilty of this, myself included). The speakers in Learning Spanish Like Crazy use the correct grammar, but they do speak rapidly. I found that after some time, the ears adjust and you can understand everything that’s being said with no problems. Then, after that, you just need to get your tongue to cooperate.
After you get through Lesson 13, you’re off and running. It doesn’t get any easier, but the challenge level doesn’t seem to fluctuate much once you pass the Lesson 13 hurdle. This means that you won’t throw up your hands in frustration and give up, but instead, you can sit down and simply learn without all the frustration.
What do you learn in Learning Spanish Like Crazy Nivel 1?
Below I’ve included a list of each lesson and its subject matter.
- Lesson 1. “AR” verbs in the Present Tense – Subject Pronouns
- Lesson 2. More “AR” verbs in the Present Tense
- Lesson 3. Possessive Adjectives – Possessive Pronouns
- Lesson 4. More Possessive Adjectives and Possessive Pronouns
- Lesson 5. “ER” verbs in the Present Tense
- Lesson 6. More “ER” verbs in the Present Tense – Colors – Rooms of the house
- Lesson 7. More “ER” verbs in the Present Tense – Colors
- Lesson 8. Greetings – Starting a Basic Conversation
- Lesson 9. “IR” verbs in the Present Tense
- Lesson 10. More “IR” verbs in the Present Tense – Nationalities
- Lesson 11. More “IR” verbs in the Present Tense – Nationalities – Prepositions
- Lesson 12. More Prepositions
- Lesson 13. Reflexive verbs
- Lesson 14. More Reflexive verbs
- Lesson 15. More Reflexive verbs
- Lesson 16. Preterit verbs (regular past tense)
- Lesson 17. More Preterit verbs
- Lesson 18. Imperfect Verbs
- Lesson 19. More Imperfect Verbs
- Lesson 20. More Imperfect verbs
- Lesson 21. More Imperfect verbs
- Lesson 22. Imperfect verbs – Preterit verbs
- Lesson 23. The Weather (present and past tense)
- Lesson 24a. Present Perfect Tense
- Lesson 24b. Present Perfect Tense
- Lesson 25. More Present Perfect Tense
- Lesson 26. Present Progressive Tense – Direct Object Pronouns
- Lesson 27. Direct Object Pronouns
- Lesson 28. Indirect Object Pronouns
- Lesson 29. Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns
- Lesson 30. “Tener que…”
Learning Spanish Like Crazy Nivel 1 also has bonuses for purchasing their product, the FSI Spanish courses that the US government created 40 years ago in order to train CIA agents, FBI agents, DEA agents, and other government personnel.
- FSI Programmatic Spanish Level 1 – More than 17 hours of recorded Latin American Spanish lessons
- FSI Programmatic Spanish Level 2 – More than 12 hours of recorded Latin American Spanish lessons
- FSI Spanish Level 3 (Advanced Spanish) – More than 13 hours of recorded Latin American Spanish lessons
- FSI Spanish Level 4 (Advanced Spanish) – More than 12 hours of recorded Latin American Spanish lessons
- FSI Fast Course Spanish – Accelerated Spanish
Should You Purchase Learning Spanish Like Crazy Nivel 1?
For a Level 1 Spanish Program, I’ve found this to be perfect for learning how to improve my listening and speaking skills. I’ve also noticed that many mistakes that I used to make, especially when using direct and indirect pronouns, have been drastically reduced. Also, up until purchasing Learning Spanish Like Crazy Nivel 1, I had only had access to written materials, so finally learning how to pronounce everything I had learned previously was a relief. I found (and still find) that my confidence level when speaking to my Spanish-speaking friends has soared.
Should you buy it? Definitely! If you have absolutely no exposure to the Spanish language, you’re going to need to repeat many of the lessons to let it sink in, but don’t worry about it. The people who have previous exposure to the Spanish language are repeating the lessons also in order to get everything to sink in AND they’re happy about it! I’ve read posts on the LSLC (Learning Spanish Like Crazy) forums where some people talk of listening to each lesson 5 times before they feel they’re ready to move on to the next. So yes, buy Learning Spanish Like Crazy Nivel 1, decide how you want to use it to learn, make a plan, and stick to it.
One last thing…I mentioned the LSLC forums. Once you buy Learning Spanish Like Crazy Nivel 1, you get access to the forums where everything Spanish is discussed. If you have any problems or questions, make sure you post them on the forums. Everybody there is friendly, knowledgeable, and has a passion for learning the Spanish language. You will get the help you need. And make sure you read through the posts; there’s a ton of links to other sites that deal specifically with learning the Spanish language: everything from Spanish internet radio, telenovela episodes, grammar sites, children’s books, and others that I never thought to look for.
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