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Breaking Out of Beginner's Spanish 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Keenan does an excellent job of picking out the specific Spanish words and phrases that cause English speakers the most problems. I have several friends who are also studying Spanish. It seems like 9 times out of 10 when they ask me a question, it is an issue that was covered in "Breaking out.."
This book was written with the reader's attention span in mind. Imagine: a Spanish text that is actually enjoyable to read! I read this book cover-to-cover at least once a year. Every time I glean some new pointer that I can implement in my constant quest to sound like less of a gringa.
Sections include a discussion of the subjunctive, a chapter on cursing (!), cultural info, general language learning tips, useful verbs to add to your repertoire, and discussion of the evolution of the Spanish language. To me, the most helpful sections were those dealing with word choice: a couple of chapters that deal with stuff like "what is the difference between regresar, volver, devolver, etc.?"
If you have a general grasp of the basics in Spanish but feel like your learning has kind of reached a plateau, this book is an excellent resource for learning how to get your Spanish to the next level.
The only negative I can think of is that the book is not indexed.Read more ›
Now, two years later, I'm going through it again and discovering a virtual gold mine of information. My point being: Take the book's title seriously. It is a book for people firmly at the intermediate level or above. For these people, it answers a ton of things that have proved baffling. For these people, the book is a gem. If you are departing the beginner stage, this stupendous book will answer lots of those things you've been scratching your head over. Immensely valuable.
But don't buy it for Spanish 101.
First, the LACK OF AN INDEX is a BIG SHORTCOMING. This is a reference book written by a journalist, with an entertaining style and interesting anecdotes and verbal illustrations. It's therefore easy to forget that it is, first and foremost, a reference book. After my first quick read through this book I recall wanting to check back on a fine distinction between a couple of similar verbs (I don't remember now which ones). They might have been in chapter 7, "Sixty-four Verbs", or in chapter 11, "Which is Which". I couldn't find what I was looking for by skimming, and an index would have been greatly appreciated.
Second, a number of reviewers keep emphasizing that this book is for intermediate or advanced speakers. If you're interested in this book, I wouldn't let that stop you from getting it. I've been seriously attempting to learn Spanish for about a year and a half. From my perspective, that of having been a university student a long time ago in a place far, far away, terms like "beginner" and "intermediate" are of more use to academic bureaucrats than to teachers and learners. I consider the community college courses I've taken have been auxiliary rather than primary means of learning Spanish. A few months ago I was in Bogota for a week and surprised myself with how well I was able to communicate with the locals. More recently here at home in California I sat in on a reading course in which most of the students were, to some extent, native speakers.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is not well written. Spare your time and money and buy something betterPublished 11 days ago by Casual reader
Good book but my Spanish may not have been good enough to take full advantage of many of the tips.Published 26 days ago by Mr. Dan
The chapters are all very helpful. The chapter with phrases in which you can stall and compose your thoughts with was especially valuable to me.Published 2 months ago by Patrick Husson
Interesting yet obvious ideas of how to be a better speaker of any languagePublished 4 months ago by AnaBanana
Really helpful in clarifying several meanings of frequently used words and provides colloquial uses of words. Written in a breezy, playful style. Read morePublished 5 months ago by nico
A great book. I've already reviewed it. A must for advanced students who want to go to the next level. I ordered 2 copies. One for my teacher and one for me. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Edward Swift
This writer has a wonderful sense of humor. He gives lots of great examples and explanations. This is one of my preferred study books.Published 7 months ago by Ann S.