Learn Spanish with Paul Noble
Leave Us a Review
  • Learn Spanish with Paul Noble
  • Paul Noble
  • Published by: Collins
  • Level: Beginner
  • First Published in: 2010

Learn Spanish with Paul Noble is an audio book course for absolute beginner Spanish students. Students will work on listening comprehension, repetition, and memorization exercises while working with this course. The book also goes over Spanish and Latin American dialects in order to get students used to different accents all through out the course.

REVIEW BY Tyler Follis Book EXPERT
Review posted: 02/12/2013
Have you used this book?

I normally don’t start out reviews like this, but I would like to make one thing clear from the beginning : if you have little to no Spanish knowledge to speak of, go buy this right now. In my opinion, it’s possibly the best product available for someone looking to start studying Spanish. Paul Noble isn’t paying me to say this, his publishers aren’t paying me to say this (though I would gladly accept their money), I just really think it’s that good. Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk some more about what Paul Noble’s Spanish is all about.

The basic idea of Learn Spanish with Paul Noble is that learning is done entirely through listening to, and “interacting” with, the audio recordings. If you have any experience with the language programs put out by Pimsleur and Michel Thomas, this is basically the same idea. Paul Noble will play the role of your Spanish instructor, along with two native Spanish speakers who will be demonstrating how the language is spoken. The basic idea is that Paul will teach you something, you will hear the Spanish speakers use it in examples, then you will have to recall and use it yourself. It sounds simple, but the way the information is presented makes it extremely easy and you will quickly be impressed with the kind of things you can express in Spanish. As the program progresses you will be asked to recall an ever increasing amount of vocabulary, phrases, and sentences, eventually even having to create your own sentences from what you have learned. The key to success with this program is to follow the instructions Paul gives you and always speak aloud when you are providing answers and repeating after the native speakers.

Unlike Pimsleur, from the very beginning you are going to be taught how to manipulate Spanish grammar. The program won’t bore or confuse you with technical details, but you will be taught to do more than just memorize and repeat back canned phrases that they give you. If this sounds difficult – it’s not. I am a big fan of this approach because I felt like I was able to learn and memorize a lot of Spanish grammar points that I could utilize to create my own novel sentences.

"From the very beginning you are going to be taught how to manipulate Spanish grammar. The program won’t bore or confuse you with technical details, but you will be taught to do more than just memorize and repeat back canned phrases."

Paul Noble takes advantage of the many cognates and borrowed words that are commonly shared between English and Spanish to make your learning experience go smoothly and pleasantly. At first I thought that this approach seemed kind of gimmicky, but I quickly realized that it was a greatly effective approach for helping the learner dive into the language. Though he makes you start out by teaching words that you will probably be readily familiar with (romantic – romántico, map – mapa, etc.), I never got the feeling that he was avoiding teaching you Spanish words that are significantly different from their English counterpart (speak – hablar, have – tener, etc.). He always makes sure to present things to you in small pieces at first, then builds up to using these pieces in a useful phrase. It is a little slow at first, but eventually you will be putting together longer and longer sentences, finding yourself able to say more and more useful things.

The audio course does come with a short book containing all of the content that is introduced in the recordings, as well as a bit of extra information. Personally, I didn’t ever find that I needed to reference this book (and it is actually suggested that you not do so while you are working through the course), but it is good to have in case you were ever curious about how something was spelled, or to take in the information visually after you have completed the audio portion.

The one thing that did bug me about Paul Noble’s course is that some of his explanations are simplified to the point that it’s annoying. An example that stands out clearly in my head is his explanation of the word “noun”. Despite the fact that the course is directed towards adult learners, he goes about explaining such terms as if he were addressing a class of frightened first graders. I suppose some people might find this comforting/reassuring, but for me, it was just annoying. I understand that he is trying to provide a course which can be used by anyone regardless of their ability to understand grammar, but this still sounded laughably stupid to me.

The quality of the audio on the recordings is very high. I don’t know exactly what the bit rate on it is or anything, but I felt like the voices on the recording sounded crystal clear and like they were recorded on modern recording equipment, which isn’t always the case with Pimsleur or Michel Thomas. The are two native speakers used for the course, one man and one woman. The woman is from Spain and the man is from Latin America, so you can hear examples of the variations in pronunciation between speakers of these two different dialects. Also, Paul makes sure to point out if there is ever a difference between the vocabulary that is used in Spain and Latin America, and provides examples of both variations where applicable. For me, I didn’t mind have one speaker for each gender and each dialect of Spanish, but some students might have appreciated use of both genders for each dialect in order to mimic their desired accent.

A lot of people who are interested in this product might be curious as to how good you are going to be once you work through the entire course. Well, all together there are 12 CDs which amounts to about 12 hours of Spanish instruction. When you think about it that way, it really doesn’t seem like much at all. I mean, if you were taking a Spanish course in college that would amount to only about two weeks worth of instruction as far as class hours go. With that said, I imagine that you will learn a lot more in 12 hours with Paul Noble than you would with your average Spanish class. You will learn a lot of Spanish and get a great foundation upon which you can continue your studies further, but I certainly wouldn’t say that you will be proficient or confident in carrying on conversations with Spanish speakers upon completion of this course. It’s a great course — possibly one of the best for beginners — but you can only do so much in 12 hours. I don’t know how much value you would get out of it if you have already completed the Pimsleur or Michel Thomas course for Spanish, but if you are considering starting with an audio course, I think Paul Noble is the way to go. With that, I give this course my rating of Highly Recommended. Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any more questions.

For teachers: This course would be a great assignment to students prior to beginning a Spanish class. It will quickly familiarize learners with the sound and feel of Spanish, along with providing a foundation in vocabulary and grammar.

For students: In the same vein, I would suggest this to any student who wants to successfully prepare for taking a beginner's Spanish course. It's one of the cheapest audio courses you can find, and I guarantee you will have no trouble working through it as long as you stay consistent.



Leave your review for 'Learn Spanish with Paul Noble '

Fields with * are required.