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Spanish For Dummies Paperback – 28 Jan 2011
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From the Back Cover
The fast and painless way to learn to speak Spanish
Are you a student studying Spanish; a traveler gearing up for a trip to a Spanish–speaking country; or someone who simply wants to communicate with Spanish–speaking friends, neighbors, and colleagues? Spanish For Dummies is your hands–on guide for quickly and painlessly grasping the basics of speaking Spanish. You′ll get a handle on grammar, essential vocabulary, verb conjugations, and pronunciations in no time!
Spanish 101 learn to recite the alphabet; pronounce words and phrases; and meet, greet, and exchange pleasantries with other Spanish speakers
It′s as easy as uno, dos, tres discover how to ask key questions, chat about the weather, describe family members, order food, talk about where you live, and more
Happy trails take your Spanish on the road and discover how to plan a trip, exchange your money for local currency, get around with various modes of transportation, and check into a hotel
Take care of business grasp the essential Spanish language skills you need to talk on the phone and perform everyday tasks at the office
Audio CD Includes
More than 30 conversations that reinforce lessons from the book
Open the book and find:
Basic grammar and common expressions
Sentence structure and verb conjugations
Formal and informal greetings
Information on numbers, time, and measurements
Pointers for describing everyday activities in Spanish
Tips for making small talk, asking for directions, and more
Fun activities to help you practice your Spanish skills
Spanish–English and English–Spanish dictionaries
Speak Spanish quickly and effectively
Master basic grammar, verb conjugations, vocabulary, and pronunciationsTake your skills to the next level with real–life conversations on the accompanying CD
About the Author
Berlitz® has taught languages to millions of people for more than 130 years. Susana Wald is a writer and literary translator in Hungarian, Spanish, English, and French, and she has taught abroad in Chile and Canada. Cecie Kraynak, MA, has taught and tutored Spanish at the junior high school and college levels for more than 25 years. She is the author of Spanish Verbs For Dummies.
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Top Customer Reviews
I recently took up learning Spanish and I found this one of the best books on the subject. I like all the Dummies series as it usually has more than a lifetime's knowledge on any subject. I am sure if I knew all that this book had to teach me I would be regarded as a positive linguist.
The disk certainly helps with listening to the language and aids understanding. I took it with me to Cuba where I was immersing myself in Spanish for a week. It was very useful. I am not knowledgeable enough to say whether it is biased in favour of Latin American Spanish. I should not think it matters as I hear a large selection of types of English ad I understand then all so I am sure Spanish speakers have the same experience.
All language learning is an uphill struggle. I am trying everything, attending classes once a week, visited Cuba, watching films with Spanish subtitles , reading bits on BBC Mundo, looking at Spanish pop songs on YouTube whilst reading the lyrics in Spanish with an English translation ( Google translate is great). I am forcing it into my brain one word at a time until it becomes second nature.
I am going to keep listening to the disk until I have got it.
A very good book
I recommend this book to everybody.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
To her credit, she does do a good job with some things--the chapter on Spanish dates and times is excellent. Again, ok but not the best beginners' book out there.
The first one was 'soy un americano' (I am an american). While the authors are correct in saying that that statement is wrong because everyone in the western hemisphere is American, if you want to speak spanish and sound like an actual person and not like a recording, you will say 'soy americano'(and without the 'un' that the pedantic authors snuck in there). Colloquially, EVERYONE in Latin America would expect to hear 'soy americano', and when I introduce myself or a friend from the US. Guess what I say? 'es americana/ es americano/ soy americana.' Plain and simple. Translated that means - I am American, whoopededoo our languages are not so different after all!
Second, 'yo no hablo mexicano' damn right you don't say that unless you want to reveal your well-hidden ignorance. However, while they're at it, the authors should've brought up the fact that in spoken spanish, you don't say the pronouns. It sounds redundant. The conjugation is enough to elucidate the person speaking. Therefore, the correct way to say 'I don't speak spanish' would be 'no hablo espanol', not 'yo no hablo espanol'just like in the paragraph above it was 'soy americano' not ' yo soy americano'.
"Saying Así no es como lo hacemos en los Estados Unidos. (That's not how we do it in the United States.) implies that the United States or the way people do something in the United States is better or the right way." - Not necessarily. If you use an obnoxious tone or turn your nose up at whatever action is in question, then yes of course it will come off as judgmental. Otherwise, it would explain your awkwardness in the face of a situation that your host may not realize is foreign to you and as a result will misconstrue your hesitancy and indecisiveness as disdain. Therefore, if something is different from the way you'd do it in the U.S., laugh, have a smile on your face and say it! Just make sure to follow it up by telling them how you WOULD do it back home. If anything it'll keep the conversation going.
"Responding No sé. (I don't know.) to a question is often perceived as a snub. When you say, I don't know, the other person hears, I don't care or I really don't want to help you. Instead of replying No sé, respond in a more positive way that conveys clearly that you want to help. For example, you may say something like Vamos a preguntarle a Pedro. Él podría saber. (bvah-mohs ah preh-goohn-tahr-leh ah peh-droh. ehl pohd-ree-ah sah-bvehr.) (Let's ask Pedro. He may know.)" - WOW wow wow. Newsflash authors, if you don't know something ya say 'I don't know". I mean whatever happened to: 'it's okay to admit you don't know something'?
Responding 'no se' is exactly what you should do if you don't know something; if you want to add the let's ask Pedro, feel free to do so! But when you're amongst foreign people, 9/10 you will know so little that it will amount to nothing so please feel free to admit it. Again, just like the 'this is not how we do it in America' phrase, make sure to use a normal tone of voice, and you can say it as much as you want because admitting you don't know something will NEVER be considered snub - unless they know you're a doctor, and you tell them you don't know how to do a physical, then yeah that would enter into the authors' 'snub' territory, but then again, that's anywhere in the world. BOTTOMLINE: way to screw the pooch on this one Wald and Kraynak.
"Arriving at least a half hour late is considered proper etiquette." - ahhhh no. If you're told a time, be there at that time. Half an hour late is AS TARDY as you want to be if you plan on arriving without a proper, hard-hitting excuse.
"Another simple slip-up can be offering to pay for someone's purchase by saying Vos pegamos. (bvohs peh-gah-mohs.) (We'll hit you.) rather than Vos pagamos. (bvohs pah-gah-mohs.) (We'll pay for you.)." - VOS PEGAMOS/ PAGAMOS??? The only ones who say 'vos' are the Argentinians, Paraguayans and a few Central American countries. Go anywhere else, say that and watch as peoples' eyebrows' downdog it all the way into their hairline. Stick with 'pagamos por TI' and you will be understood in EVERY Spanish speaking country, how's that for a bargain? All in one.
Thankfully, the excerpt ended there. I will NOT be buying this book because if I do, I know I will be bald by age 23 rather than the current 30 mi madre has estimated. I also recommend that everyone stay as far away as you can from this collection of printed words that dares call itself a book. And as for Ms. Wald and Ms. Kraynak, I know you have the best intentions in mind for your bank accounts, pero por favor dejen la ensenaza de extranjeros a los que venimos hablando, escribiendo y leyendo la lengua desde la cuna (but please leave the teaching of foreigners to those of us who have been speaking, writing and reading the language from the crib).
It seems there should of been a chapter or chapters that worked collectively with the CD.