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Guide to Costa Rican Spanish Paperback – April 1, 2005

3.9 out of 5 stars 78 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Pocket-size guidebook jam-packed with information to help you speak like a native Costa Rican. The ONLY book of its kind. --By Steve Silver Special for Costa Rica Today

About the Author

Christopher Howard has resided in Costa Rica for over twenty years. He has extensive foreign language background, having earned a B.A in Latin American studies and a Masters degree in Spanish from the University of California. At present, the author writes columns titled Learning the Language for the Association of Residents of Costa Rica's La Voz and Short Cuts for Learning Spanish for the newspaper Costa Rica Today.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Costa Rica Books (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 188123388X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1881233886
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 4.2 x 5.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,476,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Barbara Branscum on May 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
Christopher Howard has assembled the quickest and easiest way to learn the nuances of speaking Costa Rican Spanish like the native "Tico" speakers. His common sense approach to learning all the little things makes it a pleasure to practice speaking, and listening, as the locals do whenever I visit beautiful Costa Rica. I have more confidence in my communication ability now that I have this excellent book to guide me.
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Format: Paperback
I have little ability when it comes to learning a foreign language nor do I have time to take language courses. This book gave me the basics to survive in Costa Rica. Now I can at least communicate. It has extricated me from a lot of jams. This book is like an idiots guide to Spanish. Buy it!
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Format: Paperback
I spend most of my time in Costa Rica and part time in Nicaragua. When I came to came to this part of the world I virtually spoke no Spanish. I needed a quick injection of the language to get by. I did not have time to go to school. A friend recommended this book highly so I purchased. It has been so helpful. I can now get out of a lot of jams by using it. I even met the woman of my life by using some of the phrases in the book. The slang is also great.
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Format: Paperback
I was fluent in Spanish before moving to Costa Rica, but without constant conversations with ticos, it was impossible to become fluent in Costa Rican slang & phrases. So I bought the Guide to Costa Rican Spanish and in my excitement, studied the entire book and internalized as many phrases as I could. When I arrived, I was surprised at how many CR-only phrases I actually understood! Who knew that "a chile" is the same as "en serio" or that "brete" is as commonly used as "trabajo"?? I did, thanks to this great phrase book.

Looking through the local stores, there are several books that claim to be Costa Rican Spanish guides. They're not. They are quick reviews & reminders of Central American/South American (instead of Spanish from Spain) dialects and will help you no more than the average guidebook. This phrase book is different.

A caveat: some of the phrases are outdated an no longer used (according to my friends), so I would recommend this more as a passive language learning tool -- wait until you hear one of these phrases instead of using them first. I got quite a few laughs when I used certain of these words, and while it was all in good fun, it can be a little embarrassing!
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My man speaks Spanish (studied in school/college, passable enough for travel and chats with taxi drivers in US, in Mexico, etc) and he's been going to Costa Rica for years. He finds the Ticos speak very quickly and the local phrasing is - well, local and difficult to put into context (life there is very different than in U.S.) I bought this book for him and he was thumbing through it, saying, "AhA... oh, THAT'S what that means," etc etc. I'd call it an inexpensive and helpful book for travelers who know some Spanish. Yes - it's organized haphazardly, but frankly if you are not up for some surprises, adventure, and unpredictability, then you definitely should not ever travel in Costa Rica. Pura Vida! Buy this book - it's a small investment for entertainment and quite possibly the solution to some tricky local problems.
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This book is NOT for your Costa Rica vacation. It is for those non-native speakers living in Costa Rica, and assumes a certain amount of Spanish proficiency. If you're looking for a basic "Where is the bathroom" phrasebook, this is not it.

That being said, I enjoyed the phrases and found the book to be quite nice. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars because of some editing problems - many misspelled words (more in English than in Spanish), but everything was readable. The format isn't the easiest to use, but it is manageable.
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I am a tica (Costa Rican). I am 100% bilingual because I lived in the States for 14 years. I have a lot of American friends in Costa Rica who are struggling with learning the Spanish language. Since I speak both languages I am always giving them tips and answering their questions. I discovered Christopher Howard's great book while browsing at 7th Street Bookstore in downtown San José, Costa Rica. It really impressed me because of the amount of local slang and useful phrases it contains. Some of the material is hilarious! I think this booklet is a great tool for English speakers living in Costa Rica and recommend it to anyone who wants to live here.
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Format: Paperback
The ideal take-along Spanish guide is very portable (i.e. fits in a standard purse), easy to use, and contains phrases lending to everyday issues. That's why destination-bound visits to Costa Rica will welcome GUIDE TO COSTA RICAN SPANISH: it's all of the above and more. The new edition comes from a Costa Rican citizen, not a U.S. teacher, though he does hold a foreign language background as a teacher - thus it includes a healthy dose of local slang and color new to even those with some rudiments of Spanish. From proverbs and sayings to a basic English/Spanish reference set, GUIDE TO COSTA RICAN SPANISH is a take-along 'must'.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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