Deviants [2004]

Genre: Comedy, Romance
The first hint that this isn't your normal, staid Spanish review course is the subtitle that's flashed across the screen: the "Salsa-riffic World of Spanish." The Standard Deviants, a cast of ebullient young performers who believe no joke is too bad as long as its memorable, bring their talents to a course in introductory Spanish in this video. Lots of flashy graphics keep things lively, but the course material itself is rock solid--it's been approved by an academic panel. Following some basic information on where Spanish is spoken, the real lessons begin with instruction on pronunciation and the Spanish alphabet (which, of course, uses some typographical symbols not used in English). A bit of vocabulary is imparted as the pronunciation lessons progress, and after some pointers on capitalization, simple lessons in practical conversation begin. The video proceeds to the inescapable bane of many language students, conjugating verbs. While this production won't be a substitute for an actual course in Spanish (and the cast specifically points out that it doesn't intend to be), the presentation is consistently energetic, with the lessons easy to remember. Someone who is interested in learning (or reviewing) basic material will no doubt gain from watching it. --Robert J. McNamara

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