What do you think about Michel Thomas Method?
They claim that a lot of famous people, like Barbra Streisand, Emma Thompson, Woody Allen , have learned to speak foreign languages using this method.
Does anyone know about that?
I think I'm gonna give it a try. I'll start to learn French using this method, but since I'll use others methods too ( Lingq and Pismleur), I will not be able to isolate the effects of each method.
Does anyone know about that?
I think I'm gonna give it a try. I'll start to learn French using this method, but since I'll use others methods too ( Lingq and Pismleur), I will not be able to isolate the effects of each method.
United KingdomI think the Michel Thomas method is brilliant. Of course I'm talking about the CDs and not the live course.
No, you will not be fluent after listening to the course. No, you will not have native speaker like pronunciation. No, you will not be able to handle native speakers talking to you at their normal speed. No, you won't be able to express every thought that comes into your head and I have no idea why people expect that kind of thing. That's never going to happen in the real world. Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur and all the teach yourself books in the world won't get you there. What you really need is to be listening to and reading content in (interacting with) the native language. I think most people here would agree with that.
But when you're a beginner and you look at authentic content there's nothing there that you can identify with or get meaning from. You don't even know the words for "I," "you," or "and." So you need something to get you started. I would go into a comparison of the other methods I tried here, but that would take a long time. It suffices to say that I either spent a long time working out what a word meant in the foreign language by instinctually translating it into English myself, rather than it arriving in my brain with meaning attached directly to the foreign word, which ruled out the immersion method for me, or I learnt a bunch of nifty phrases.
Then I tried Michel Thomas, and he explained the language to me. He showed me how to work with verbs, and basically, and I know a lot of people don't like the word, gave me the grammar of the language. Not perfectly, but enough. He starts with simple words, then he lets you build them into phrases, then he shows you how to manipulate the words and the phrases to make new ones, and then shows you how you can do the same thing with other words and where these words fall into, or differ from, the standard pattern. So far it probably doesn't sound great... and yes the whole time he's talking in a non-native accent (which I don't think matters at all)... but the thing is, when you're trying to come up with the phrase he's asking for you're remembering something you learned moments ago. You're reactivating that memory and setting it deeper into your mind. You're building on things you know and therefore reinforcing those foundations. I think that's why he gets the students to speak early. It's like writing things down to help remember things. (Some people seem to hate the students on the recordings because of the mistakes they make, but I think if you're like me and make some of those yourself the following explanations are helpful, and if you don't make the mistakes, being pained as someone else does almost guarantees you never will yourself.)
So by the end of the the course, especially the advanced course, you have all the basic tourist knowledge someone looking for a quick fix in the language is looking for, but you have more than that, because you've been shown how to use, and even better, how to recognise every tense of the language... and that, for me, is where the brilliance comes in. At the end of the advanced course (for French anyway) Michel Thomas says something like this... and I'm sure some people reading this will recognise some of these thoughts:
--I've given you a bunch of tools, and an open door to walk into the language which will be an enjoyable experience. It also opens the door to reading, and it will be important for you to start reading, and you'll be amazed at how well you're doing. It would be good to read magazines, or things like that because there you get interviews, you get the spoken language. And you should read every day, even for a short time, 10 minutes a day, even if you don't seem to get anything, because the continuity will be useful, in fact more useful than reading for a few hours once a week. Read things that you're interested in, don't force yourself to read things that will bore you. Keep reading and you'll get the gist of it and that's good enough. The more you read the more everything will fall in to place. Don't look up every word in the dictionary except if the word is the key to understanding the whole paragraph, but if you see a word that reappears a lot you'll know it's in common usage and you'll have a rough idea what it means and that's when it will be useful to look it up. Otherwise you might be looking up something that you'll never see again and isn't in common usage.--
So after I'd listened to all that I came back to LingQ and started reading Steve's book in French, and I was amazed at how much I could read, and more importantly how quickly new words became obvious to me, that seemed incomprehensible before. Suddenly I recognised what tense the paragraph was in, why the verbs changed the way they did. I knew "will" and "would" despite the fact that in French they're tagged on as a suffix to the verb... and so on. I listened to the audio of it at work, and pretty soon I couldn't remember Michel Thomas's pronunciation, only the native speaker from the audiobook. Pretty soon after that things I'd have had to quickly deconstruct and reconstruct in my brain to translate and understand like "aura" being "would have" appeared in my brain in the full form, so I wasn't stuck thinking through Michel Thomas's descriptions forever to arrive at the right word... but knowing what it meant and why, in my case anyway, helped cement it in my mind quicker than I otherwise would have if I was just reading and trying to work out what tense it was on my own, or from a grammar book, or dictionary. I could see a new verb in one form and immediately have a good idea of it in every other tense. Sure there are exceptions to the rules but I'm sure if I said one incorrectly to a native speaker it'd be close enough to right for them to work out what I meant to say.
And I'm going to stop there because I type too much and that's a bit long and preachy... but there you go, excellent beginner's springboard into the real language. That's what I think of Michel Thomas, and I think, for me at least, his method and LingQ go hand in hand.
AdministratorCanadaVery interesting Martin, and thanks for taking the time to provide all of this information.April 2009
AdministratorCanadaI would like to hear the views of any others who have tried the Michel Thomas method. I will provide my own views after hearing from others. I have purchased and tried Michel Thomas.
I am also interested in hearing people's views on other systems that are out there.April 2009
SwitzerlandI have tackled "Learn in your car" Italian and French, and Pimsleur French and German. They are both essentially similar audio courses - you get a phrase in English and have to translate to the target language.
I found Pimsleur HIGHLY irritating, as there is no transcript of the target language utterances, so you can't read what you've just heard (especially important for a highly inflected language like German). The "graduated-interval recall" concept I just didn't buy into, and this was born out by my experience: the brain does not process new words/phrases at the same rate as the Pimsleur programme appears to assume, leaving you with a "hard core" set of difficult phrases per lesson that you just don't get. Also, the vocabulary is very limited. Also, it is VERY expensive. Finally, it is hard work (I painstakingly made my own transcripts to review off-line; without this I'd have been repeating many lessons ad infinitum).
By contrast, the "Learn in your car" series I'd recommend - it's cheap and covers a lot of vocabulary (much more than Pimsleur). Also, you get the transcript (it also explains the grammar as you go along). OK, it's still output activity only (translation), but would be a useful adjunct to other resources (e.g. LingQ).
I've not tried Michel Thomas, but I downloaded the Rosetta Stone trial system from their website (in Spanish I think) and very nearly smashed up my computer before deleting it from my hard drive. Total rubbish.
None of these courses really addressed listening and comprehension, which should surely be the cornerstone of learning a language. LingQ fills that niche nicely and I can attest to the fact that speaking ability does come with continued listening and reading. I achieved much more in 2 months with LingQ than 5-6 months with Pimsleur...
Finally, there's a company called Champs Elysées, who make wonderful audio magazines in French, German, Italian and Spanish, for intermediate to advanced learners. You get a 1 hour radio-like show, with various features from the target country - places, people, culture etc. - and a full transcript, in a nice pocket-sized booklet, with explanations for difficult vocabulary, grammar, idiom etc. Their website is :-
I've used the "Hugo in 3 months" course for French, German and Dutch, and would recommend it. It comes with book and 3 CDs and is relatively inexpensive. It is a grammar based course, but the grammar rules are illustrated quite well I think with lots of examples given; certainly it's not as dry as many grammar texts you'll see. Some of the dialogues are cheesy to say the least, but as a grammar reference it has value in my opinion. There is also an "Advanced Hugo" course for the French and German, with longer, more difficult dialogues and covering more complex grammar concepts. A good set.April 2009
GermanyI looked for the Michel Thomas Method with a DVD - to see the person in front of me is often helpful.
During my learning with LingQ sometimes I thought I would like have a tutor who is able to speak my own language for giving me help.
I have listen to Michel Thomas without seeing - it is different. When I had conversations with my tutor he has sometimes his webcam open, and this is very nice. Sometimes words are better understandable when we are able to see the body language :-)
I think Michel Thomas can work with really beginners best.April 2009
DenmarkI tried Michel Thomas for Italian and found it very frustrating that he was going at such a slow pace and hearing people make mistakes in the recordings. I also tried "Learn in your car" for Italian and Russian and it's like memorizing a phrasebook basically and some of the phrase were said too fast for me to repeat them.May 2009
United StatesMichel Thomas has its place, although if you really want to learn and internalize a language I think that Lingq has got it down.
Michel Thomas is good for getting you speaking really quick and giving you an idea for how the language is built. I don't think anyone who has just put in a tape and listened to 2 of the cds can really attest to what it's able to do in the end, you really do have to finish the course.
With that said, for the money spent it really isn't worth it and I think people are better off with a beginner's book with lots of dialogues and short intros to the grammar and Lingq.
I've found myself on a simplification kick in my life. Why do I need all these methods and revolutions to learn a language or to work out or to learn anything? I'm trying to make everything more simple, which is most often the best course of actioin.
I read and listen to learn a language, I do simple push ups, situps, and jogging to stay fit rather than spend a lot money on a gym membership, I spend time with my wife doing things we enjoy rather than buying every self-help/relationship book. It's pretty simple really and better overall for me.May 2009
United KingdomExcellent set of posts! Thank you for the information.
I've used Michel Thomas French mainly for revision purposes of things I already was aware of, and found it a very useful course. I'm just about to start on Italian and German with Michel Thomas, and then use LingQ simultaneously to help with my reading (I have no knowledge of these languages).
I wonder what people here think to this method? I hope it works well because Michel Thomas isn't exactly the cheapest language course available.May 2009
What did you think of Michel Thomas? Would you recommend it?May 2009
GermanyI think for learning a language you have not to use an expensive course.
I wonder often about the prices in the Internet.
Here in LingQ you can have direct contact with a real tutor, you can ask all what you want to know there or in the forum.
The only what YOU should have is MOTIVATION and the desire to learn.May 2009
United StatesHe's probably just downloading it for free... :)May 2009
Åland IslandsNow i am listenning to the free course by Michel Thomas. Not bad.May 2009
United KingdomI thought Michel explained some ideas poorly (at least they weren't clear to me), and I only understood what he was getting at because I'd already studied French grammar using other sources. I found the French courses to be very useful revision for the stuff I already know, and it also helped to clarify some grammar points I was unsure about. However, I have only used Michel Thomas for French, so don't know what the other languages are like in the series.
I found the method addictive - the learner experiences a constant feeling of progression - within 30 minutes of the first tape you are already constructing quite complex sentences, all naturally. This helps a great deal with motivation, and certainly makes it very enjoyable as a learning experience. I haven't tried any other methods like Pimsleur, but I understand some of them are of the 'Listen and Repeat' variety. This would not suit me (it seems so boring!), I prefer to learn naturally, so for me, Michel Thomas + LingQ is the best combination.
I guess the acid test of Michel Thomas for me would be to buy the courses for a language I know nothing about (like Spanish) and listen to that all the way through. Maybe I'll get round to it one day...May 2009
United StatesMichel Thomas is nothing but the "Listen and Repeat" variety.
Michel: "Okay now say 'I want it but I don't have it and if I wanted it I would give it to you tomorrow because I need to eat it'".May 2009
United KingdomWell it's more "Listen in English and construct the sentence in the target language, then say it".
I was referring to those courses that simply say a word or sentence in the target language and expect you to pause and repeat it in the target language.
Michel Thomas is different because he gets you to produce the language using the building blocks he has put in place, sometimes from much earlier on in the course. Hence the great feeling of satisfaction and progress that is often felt by users of his method.
His method is more natural than some other courses that teach primarily 'survival phrases' - it enables you to construct the sentences on your own, rather than simply repeating in a parrot-fashion sentences that have been given to the listener.
So no, I wouldn't say the Michel Thomas courses are of the 'listen and repeat' variety at all, but that's just my view.May 2009
ArubaThank you all for the responses. Now that I have had the opportunity to use the Michel Thomas method for french I can say what my impressions are.
As skims have already told us, the major point about this method is that it breaks the language into building blocks and that makes one able to produce much elaborated sentences early on, hence giving the sensation of improvement.
I end up getting bored with the lessons because (1) I found Michel's voice rather unpleasant and (2) although the lessons had sort of a sequence to it (you keep constructing upon previous knowledge), I thought very hard to keep motivated learning sentences out of a context (actually I prefer to learn new phrases when they are presented in a story, so....)
I would like to hear Steve's comments on this as he's promised before.May 2009
I am a little reluctant to comment since I can easily be accused of not being objective I think it all depends on our goals and our styles of learning. I am usually most motivated to learn to understand the language, to get used to it, and to learn words. Therefore I prefer to hear native speakers, to listen over and over, to build up my feeling for the language and in this way to build up my vocabulary.
I find it difficult to remember explanations of how the language is supposed to work. I do not like being forced to produce the language too early. I am happy not speaking for 6 months or longer, until I can defend myself.
I found Thomas and his two learners annoying. ( I bought the Geman version). I could certainly not listen more than once, and for me the ability to listen many many times is essential at the beginning. That is why I do not like to hear any English, only the target language. I can read to get the meaning.
So Michael Thomas is not for me. But everyone has different tastes.May 2009
FranceI've got the Michel Thomas "perfect" cds for Spanish. It's not perfect, of course, but it does do a good job of building the grammar. I've been listening to Spanish for about 5 years now, on and off, but I was having problems putting the past together. It does a good job of at least making you aware of that.January 2013
CanadaI think his courses are a fantastic introduction when beginning a new language. Give me a Michel Thomas course and an old Assiml book and I'm on my way.
My first second language was French, and I struggled with it for at least a year. I couldn't seem to get anywhere; I wasn't studying seriously, because I couldn't seem to grasp anything, it seemed impossible. Then I discovered Michel Thomas and after listening to his beginner course for ten minutes I felt like I had learned more than in my year of prior study. It really changed everything for me instantly.
If you go through his beginner and advanced courses a few times, by the end you will be able to conjugate just about any verb into any tense, and when reading you will be able to tell the tense of any verb instantly even if you do not know the meaning of the verb. This is an indispensable skill to have when you begin to read native content.
The purpose of his course is really to lay the groundwork for reading, and at the end of the course that is exactly what he encourages you to do: start reading native content, make sure you choose material that interests you, and make sure to do it every day, because ten minutes a day is much more useful than one hour once a week. Sounds a lot like Steve to me!January 2013
CanadaThat's great Imyirtseshem. I think it's the perfect combination in the beginning. Michel Thomas for the verbs (the 'backbone' of the language as he describes it) and Assimil to see the verbs in action and to acquire some nouns along the way. And neither course stresses grammar to any great degree. Throw in a little 'Who is She' on lingq (if it's available in Polish) and it should not be difficult to move onto native content relatively quickly.January 2013
United StatesMichel Thomas Advanced Spanish course is one of the best I've ever done to improve my spanish! It made me more comfortable with using all tenses and gave me a grammatical base to build vocabulary on through home study (lingq)January 2013
ArubaMichel Thomas seems to be quite popular in North America. Most of my language exchange partners and/or friends from the US and Canada have heard about him but I know only very few Europeans who are familiar with this method. I have never seen a Michel Thomas course in any European bookstore either.
I just listened to some sample audio recordings from his "Total German" and "Master German" courses. It was only a 3-minute long audio which is not really enough to judge the quality of the material provided within that course I'm afraid. However, I basically like his method. I think it is especially helpful for people who are total beginners and need somebody to guide them through the first steps of acquiring the language.
What I don't like is the fact that he seems to be speaking all the texts himself. When I listened to his English, I first thought his mother tongue was German because he has some sort of a German accent in my opinion. I then checked and learnt that he was born in Poland and spent some time in Germany before he left the country because of the nazi regime.
The little German I heard had a nice flow and he spoke with a charming accent. It was quite clearly non-native but pleasant to listen to. Some words he obviously mispronounced and unfortunately taught that incorrect pronunciation to his students.
I would have to listen to an entire course to really be able to give my opinion on the content but I think I would not want to buy a course where I have lots of audio spoken by non-native speakers. The main reason why I buy audio material is so I can acquire a hopefully naturally sounding accent or at least pronounce words in a way which avoids misunderstandings. This is not always possible if you listen to speakers who themselves have trouble with the pronunciation of the target language and that seems to be the case with Michel Thomas.
I have had a similar problem with an otherwise excellent Chinese course. In that case the problem was not the Chinese, which - even though spoken by a non-native speaker - supposedly was excellent (according to what a lot of native speakers told me). But the guy mispronounced the English translations in such a way that he sometimes was almost incomprehensible to me - pronouncing "food" like "foot", the "ea" in "wear" like the "ea" in "feast" etc.
I found that so annoying that I actually stopped using that course.
I think if Michel Thomas gave the explanations but had a native speaker pronounce the example sentences etc. his method would be much more useful.
I don't think that only native speakers can be good teachers. At school I had an excellent teacher for Italian who was Austrian. I'm sure he spoke with an accent and probably made some minor mistakes (we all do), but he managed to keep me interested in the language and that was great. However, if I buy audio material for my own studies as an addition to my written material, I want to listen to native speakers. Otherwise, I'll just stick to a book-only method.
So, I think the method itself sounds interesting but I don't like the way it is implemented (would prefer a native speaker to be involved).January 2013
United StatesThe Michel Thomas course is excellent for some things and not so excellent for others.
The course is mainly designed to get you to be able to express yourself in an intelligible manner quickly. For that it is very helpful.
Thomas did an excellent job (in my opinion, in the two languages I used his courses for (Italian and Spanish)) at explaining all the verb tenses, how they are used, and easy ways to remember them.
The course is structured basically around verb conjugations. You learn a few pronouns and some vocabulary here and there, but the meat of the course is common verbs (especially common irregular verbs) and pronouns. He states in the courses that his philosophy is that the backbone of a language is in the verbs and how the verbs function, and that once you have that down learning words is the easy part. (He suggests you read books or newspaper articles every day in order to improve your vocabulary). Therefore, after 6 hours you are creating sentences with the subjunctive mood and compound tenses, rather than having memorized a list of common household words.
A typical sentence he may have you try to construct after 8 hours would be something like "If I were to do it now it would be necessary for him to be here;otherwise he might tell me later that it should have been done differently." i.e. sentences full of common verbs in complex tenses, filled with pronouns and a common adverb here and there.
Overall the course does a good job at working your brain hard enough to where it isn't boring but not so hard to the point of frustration.
Learning to express yourself these sorts of exercises are great, but unless you do the reading and listening Michel Thomas suggests (i.e. LingQ) you will be left with a false sense of competence and the assumption that your vocabulary is much greater than it really is.
The fact that nothing is pronounced by a native speaker (unless you are using one of the courses made by his proteges after his death) means that the course cannot teach you the proper pronunciation.
You are also basically listening to Michel Thomas teach the language to two absolute beginner adult students. I assume this mechanism is there to make you feel like you involved personally with Mr. Thomas and his students so you can see that you are not the only one who is struggling with concepts. The problem is that I found these people incredibly annoying and after a little while of listening to the tapes I wanted to slap them for being so stupid every time they made a mistake. I find Michel Thomas's method of speaking very calming and reassuring, and he attempts to keep this calm and reassuring attitude throughout the courses, but at times even I detected hints of annoyance in his voice at some of the imbecilic responses of the learners on the tape.
Michel Thomas courses are good for:
* learning to understand and conjugate all the verb tenses and moods
* learning to conjugate common irregular verbs
* learning pronouns
Michel Thomas courses are not good for:
* learning vocabulary
* learning to understand spoken speech
* learning correct pronunciation
* your tranquility if you are easily annoyed by people who constantly give incorrect answers to simple questions.January 2013
Aruba"...your tranquility if you are easily annoyed by people who constantly give incorrect answers to simple questions."
I agree - in my opinion this is the number one drawback with Michel Thomas Courses. When I tried MT French some years ago, the sheer numbskullery of some of the answers by the students on the recordings drove me almost crazy! :-0
People might consider using the Paul Noble Courses instead? I believe these are put together in very much the same way as MT, but (as I understand?) one always hears a native speaker give the correct answer with PN. (I have to confess that I never used PN myself, but I think there are some quite good reviews out there.)January 2013
HungaryI have started French course and i think it's good :-) I can't say so much opinion because I have started for some weeks.I understand everything but I'm not native English speaker.I remember and memorise the words quickly :-)
sometimes irritating when the girl (learner) try to speak...I don't know why ...it's irritating for me but I'm satisfied till this.
I have some French friends so it's good to learn,, mainly if I want to travel to France one day.
I don't know it's enough or not...I want to learn more seriously French in the future but i think it's not enough if i want to do it later.January 2013
CanadaI've never understood the criticism about Michel Thomas's accent. Yes, it is unusual, and yes he will not help you with your accent. But I can't imagine anyone finding success in language learning if they are concerned with their accent on day one.
His course is designed for people who have zero knowledge, people for whom pronounciation should be of the lowest priorities. Even his advanced course is for absolute beginners, for people who have not studied anything except his introductory course.
In a way I find his course to be one of the only commercial products designed as a simple introduction for the potentially serious language learner. It is not intended to help you pass a test, or to give you a few perfectly pronounced expressions to impress locals you meet in a bar while on holiday. The course never claims that you will become fluent (unlike Rosetta Stone or Pimsleur in particular with their obnoxious advertising). It's designed to introduce you to a language, and then leave you hopefully excited, motivated and hungry to do the rest on your own.
Personally I like the fact that the students on the tapes make mistakes- it helps you actually see your progress as you improve on repeated listenings. That girl on the French beginner tapes, oh I loved to hate her, and I loved it even more when Michel would shout at her. The way he would say 'no!' after she gave an incorrect answer, good times.January 2013
CanadaImyirtseshem, I've never tried Anki, but people have recommended it to me. How does it compare with the flashcards on Lingq? (which I never seem to have the time for)January 2013
Arubaad lapoubelle: (...) That girl on the French beginner tapes, oh I loved to hate her, and I loved it even more when Michel would shout at her. The way he would say 'no!' after she gave an incorrect answer, good times. (...)
I think it is great that there are many different products out there to help people learn a foreign language. This makes it easier for all of us to choose the type of course, study material etc. that best suits our personal learning style. Having said that, I probably wouldn't be able to listen to the kind of recording you mentioned above for more than 5 minutes without getting a major headache ;-)
As for the accent, I actually don't put too much emphasis on it. I try to imitate native speakers but I consider an extensive vocabulary and correct usage of the language more important. However, speaking with an accent and mispronouncing words are two different things in my opinion. An accent can be quite charming (and I liked Michel Thomas' accent in the German recording I was listening to), mispronouncing words may actually negatively affect your ability to successfully communicate with people. In most cases mispronounced words will still be comprehensible due to the context provided, but to be honest I don't see why I should pay for a product where I am taught an incorrect pronunciation (not talking about accent here) which I then will have to get rid off again.January 2013
United Statesa bad ear is simply an untrained one.January 2013
United StatesYour statement is indeed correct as well.January 2013
FinlandI have also tried the French course, and I like it. It's also based on verb conjugations and he does good job explaining things. It's much more effective than just reading the grammar rules. There's also a vocabulary course. I understood, that it's done posthumously and only based on Michel's work, but it's also very good.
The only problem is, that I have just listened the tapes, so I'm able to speak few French phrases, but I have no idea how to write it :)January 2013
ModeratorSpainIt's not just that he's not a native speaker, it's too that he has something weird in his mouth, he's not pleasant to listen to. It's as if he produces too much saliva when he speaks, I really can't stand it sorry.
I've tried the French course but I can't overcome that thing he does with his mouth when he speaks.
Why a non native speaker and with a speech impediment would record himself in a language course is beyond my understanding :PJanuary 2013
United StatesAh yes, there's that too, I had forgotten about his quite audible salival swishing. This isn't exactly a speech impediment though, its fairly characteristic of old people. I listen to a few radio programs where the presenters are older people and many of them make that exact same noise.January 2013
For all the saliva in the late Mr. Thomas's mouth, he still produced less verbal bile on his tapes than yourself in your last post.January 2013
ModeratorSpainlapoubelle I didn't post it with any bile, I was just stating a fact.
For what I know MT didn't produce any bile on his recordings either, so I really don't know what you're talking about.
I thought it was a speech impediment, now thanks to odiernod I know it's something characteristic of some old people. I still can't understand why would anyone with an unclear (and irritating, I may add) diction would make recordings for language learning.January 2013
ModeratorUnited KingdomI suppose money may have played a small part in that decision.....
Actually, we had all his Spanish and Italian CDs from way back when they first came out. I had seen a tv programme here in Britain where he took it upon himself to teach some recalcitrate London teenagers French within a couple of hours, the lessons spread over a week. He gave them more than just a way into the language. He convinced some of them who had never thought they could do it, that it was possible for them to achieve a goal. I also knew of his past and his role as a tutor to the Stars.
He himself is/was fascinating, his voice is/was irritating like hell and those students on the CDs, especially the girl....! His 'non-grammatical' explanations seem to be very appealing to people who are afraid of grammar. My mind, unfortunately, does not work the way the MT method does - well, at least to a large extent. For us, it was an expensive experience. But if you are a grammar phobe, he'll be just the ticket, I guess. For me the method died with him. I took the Arabic course out of the library, but it didn't do it for me, perhaps because the people were blander, certainly without excess saliva? (By the way I hated it when I heard him shifting his bottom on the - what I took to be - leather chair.January 2013