- Paperback: 215 pages
- Publisher: University of Texas Press; 1 edition (January 1, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 029274322X
- ISBN-13: 978-0292743229
- Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.8 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 266 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Breaking Out of Beginner's Spanish 1st Edition
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" ...a breakthrough ...indispensable reading for any non-native speaker of Spanish ..." William F. Harrison, co-author of Spanish Memory Book: A New Approach to Vocabulary Building
About the Author
Joseph J. Keenan is a journalist, editor, and environmentalist who has lived and worked in Latin America since 1984.
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Top customer reviews
If you know a lot of words in Spanish and are ready to progress to the "What's the best way of saying things?" stage, than this is the book for you. It's really uncanny how the author has been able to identify so many useful constructions. A lot of times I'm looking for a way to say something and I remember that it was covered in the book, so I end up going back to refresh my memory. There is so much here that it is impossible to absorb it all in a single reading. You'll want to keep this book close at hand to refer back to.
I especially enjoyed the section on using the subjective, and adopting the author's methods have quickly taken my Spanish to the next level and beyond. Also, the list of 64 verbs "up close and personal" is extremely useful, as with each he covers multiple expressions based upon, and usages of that verb.
Finally, this book is very easy to read. The author's wonderful sense of humor not only makes turning pages enjoyable, but gives keen insights into the differences between Anglo and Latino cultures, as reflected in linguistic differences.
My only disappointment here is that this book hasn't been updated since its original 1994 publication. However, this is a minor quibble -- the book isn't about current slang but about the basic usages of the language which change very slowly over time. I can assure you that all the constructs from the book that I have applied in talking to people have been completely understood and have made me sound more fluent.
While this book is not for beginners (as the title clearly indicates), if you are looking to construct natural-sounding sentences from the words you already know, and leave behind word-for-word translations once and for all, while kicking your Spanish into overdrive, I can highly recommend "Breaking Out of Beginner's Spanish."
It can be a quick read, but I recommend going back so you can really learn the nuances. Author writes in a light, informative manner.
I'm considered fluent, and even received bilingual pay, but I still learned from this book.
-A lot is written in this book about conversation, so when you talk you sound like a real person and not like a student. There's a chapter on manners and politeness, a very useful rundown on filler words (Spanish "umms", "uhs", etc.), one word answers, and even cursing. Very handy.
-The chapter on 64 common verbs, how to use them, and common expressions on them
-The mindset behind the subjunctive is explained well, not just when to use it but WHY it's used. This is the right way to learn the subjunctive as it's very fluid and broad.
-Other common verb subjects that trip up learners are explained thoroughly here: the conditional, ser vs. estar, imperfect vs. preterite
-Chapters on English concepts or words that are hard to translate in Spanish. "Fear", "maybe", obligation, back/front, and many other things.
-The book is written in a friendly colloquial way.
-No por/para explanation. This is a common difficulty in Spanish, especially for beginners, and there's no reason to leave it out
-Explaining the different subjunctive tenses and how they interact would have been great too
-Some explanations on various prepositions
-Why is there no index in a reference book?
-Keep in mind the writer is using Mexican Spanish, in the early 90s, so some slang terms might not be relevant anymore.
Overall this is a pretty good book for taking your Spanish to the next level but it doesn't teach everything. Dedicating a chapter to the history of Spanish but leaving out an index is perplexing.
Most recent customer reviews
When I was first learning Spanish, living in South America, it really helped me to move beyond the dry learn by rote of Berlitz
I would recommend it to...Read more