This book was invaluable on my recent family vacation to Zihuatanejo, Mexico! Spanish phrases are categorized according to the situation in which you will need them; for example, restaurants, banks, stores, post offices, etc. The pronunication keys were great. We ordered food, found an Internet cafe and a bank, and were able to get more toilet paper from the non-English-speaking hotel desk clerk at 10:30 p.m. I don't know what we would have done without it!
If you are intending to learn any new language, I first recommned that you read How To Learn Any Language. In that book, you'll find a recommendation to get a phrase book. The purpose of the phrase book is to give you prior practice in real-life situations. When you get a chance to memorize phrases ahead of time, that is the BEST way to use a phrase book. Your grammar book, and sometimes even your course, does not give you the "Which room is mine?" kind of phrases. Yes, you will need to flip through the book to find responses or the next question on different topic, but that is only if you do not practice a bit ahead of time.
You can't beat this book - for the price and the small, yet concise and relevant content. Learn how to tell time, order food, go through customs, as well as greetings and social conversations just to name a few. Especially helpful are the pronunciation guides listed below each phrase. Muy bueno for the traveler or beginner.
Everything in this book is what you would already know after a Spanish I class. Any new vocabulary words could easily be picked up elsewhere. As far as the phrases go, some of them could come across as rude if not used correctly. For example, the book often uses "Quiero" as "I want" when asking for something, when "Quisiera = I would like" would be more polite. "Traigame una frazada = Bring me a blanket" should be replaced with "Me puede traer una frazada, por favor?" Don't waste your time with this book unless you're an absolute beginner, and even then I would suggest something else.
This book is definitely not for Costa Rican Spanish! There is a 1950's flavor to the phrases - that is, a rudeness and big-city arrogance to the phrases that reminds me of the way people spoke to each other as is the movie THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. If you used the phrases in this book in the small towns here in Costa Rica the locals would be insulted. Thsi book was originally written in 1954 and it shows. It might be OK in Spain but not here.
my husband teaches spanish to high school students and to an adult class. He has found that this little book is extremely useful to both groups. We have ordered 100 of these books at the present; to give to the students and they love them.
He strongly reccomends this book for all interested in learning spanish.
About 70 pages long and for [dollar amount] you cannot beat this book.All the basic spanish for travel shopping dining emergency and amusement.Along with the spanish word is also a phonetic pronunciation guide,which is also a big help.