There's something hugely enticing about the concept of accelerated learning. After all, who doesn't want to pour knowledge straight into the brain without having to go through the tedious process of actually learning Stuff? The moment when Neo wakes up from being plugged into the Matrix for his first speed learning experience, and proclaims "I know Kung Fu" is not only a brilliant showcase of the ludicrousness of Keanu Reeve's acting skills, it's also a bittersweet moment of jealousy for any self-respecting lazy person.
Which is where Earworms come in...
The idea behind these speed-learning CDs is that they set your language class onto a background of music, allowing the phrases to insinuate their way into your brain without you even really trying. Initially, you're advised to listen straight through a couple of times, referring to the accompanying language book to help get a good grounding of how things are spelt. But after that, you can listen in bitesize chunks, without actively trying to learn the words.
So does it work? You'll be pleased to hear that it does. I really did find myself learning basic Spanish quickly and easily. But, sadly, if you dabble in dark powers you should expect to suffer some consequences, and in return for learning enough Spanish to get me through a trip to Spainland, I now also have the most annoying little blippy tunes stuck in my brain. And separating the two can be quite hard - in fact, I can't actually speak Spanish without the accompanying sing-songy phrasing. But it's a fair bargain. I can cope with speaking Spanish like a third rate rap artist, because the whole lot fell into my brain without me having to study anything.
I wouldn't recommend it as a method for learning an entire language - you're likely to find that no one can bear to be near you if you persist in speaking in sing-songy tones at all times - but if you're after a quick grounding in conversational Foreign, Earworms are a very good bet, especially if annoying songs tend to get stuck in your head easily.
Earworms are available in a wide selection of languages (French, Spanish, Greek, Japanese, German, Chinese etc) and you can buy a CD for £14.99, or purchase a download for under £10.
Product page: Earworms (including a demo)