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A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish (Volume 1) 5th Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1444137699
ISBN-10: 1444137697
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  • A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish (Volume 1)
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  • Practising Spanish Grammar (Practising Grammar Workbooks) (Spanish Edition)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

The fifth edition reaffirms A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish as the most practical and comprehensive Spanish grammar book on the market. By illustrating grammar through references to English and other languages, the authors have created a unique resource, giving the English-speaking reader access to a wealth of knowledge about the Spanish language, explained in a clear, cohesive and effective way. This new edition is the first to incorporate the findings of the latest Nueva gramática de la lengua española, published by the Real Academia Española, making it compulsory reading for students at all levels, academics, translators and professionals interested in mastering the intricacies of the Spanish language. - Javier Muñoz-Basols, University of Oxford, UK

The 5th edition of Butt and Benjamin's New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish manages to improve an already outstanding text. It should be standard issue for all serious students of Spanish. - Ian MacKenzie, Professor of Spanish Linguistics, School of Modern Languages, Newcastle University, UK

A New Reference is a title we consider compulsory as a reference book for our students in the final year of their BA and BComm International programmes, and also at MA level. I also use it as a reference and I have always found it very useful. This new edition will be even more useful as it includes the new spelling and accent rules and a glossary of computing vocabulary. It is definitely the only grammar book in the market for final year graduate and postgraduate students. - Begoña Sangrador-Vegas, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, National University of Ireland, Galway

About the Author

JOHN BUTT, Emeritus Professor of Modern Hispanic Studies, King's College, London

CARMEN BENJAMIN, a native speaker of Spanish and a former lecturer in Spanish at King's College, London
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 5 edition (May 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444137697
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444137699
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been a student of the Spanish language since 1960, lived in Miami for 30 years, in Spain for nearly 20 years. Now, in retirement, I've been teaching Spanish for the past 7 years. In all of those years, I've seen many a grammar book, but there is none that is the equal of the a New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish by John Butt & Carmen Benjamin.

I didn't develop real fluency in Spanish, until I moved to Spain, and one of the first things I did was to order this book. Without it, I would never have achieved the fluency that I have now. I am often taken to be a native speaker, in part because of the accent I developed living in Miami, but, primarily, it's because of my command of the language made possible by my having used this book to master the grammar.

It's not your typical grammar, meant to be taken chapter by chapter. Rather, it's more like a cookbook of the Spanish language, with chapters devoted to specific grammatical and syntactical issues (and with adequate examples). No matter what aspect of the language you want to now about, this book covers it. If it doesn't cover it, you don't need to know it.

Seriously, it is without equal in the category of Spanish grammar books and is the finest, most accurate and up-to-date grammar book I've ever seen. I have now purchased this book for the 4th time, because, each time it's updated, it just gets better (I would never have believed that possible from the 1st edition).

I highly recommend this book, new or used, with a cover, without a cover. You will NEVER find a better grammar book.

If you want to learn Spanish for regular communications, or improve your Spanish, or you want to be a Spanish teacher of a certified translator/interpreter, this is the book for you.
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I am a non-native graduate student in a Spanish linguistics program. I have a good grasp of Spanish grammar, but often find myself in need of a good guide to consult the exceptions and details of grammar, such as "Why do we say 'el agua' if it is a feminine noun?". I am also a graduate instructor, so I need to explain these sorts of things to my students.

This book is incredibly comprehensive and has been very useful as an advanced language learner seeking to refine and master the intricacies of the language. I highly recommend it to advanced learners, especially if they enjoy reading about subtleties and minutia of how the language works.

I would be less willing to recommend it to those who are still mastering the basics of the language, and want a quick and concise reference manual. The book sometimes goes into minutia--such as whether reflexive verbs should be labeled "reflexive" or "pronominal", and why they are called reflexive verbs. Such discussion may be a bit much for those looking for a quick and dirty answer.
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As the authors say in the introduction, this book is an advanced reference book for fluent or near-fluent speakers of Spanish. This point is made by most reviewers, but it is not emphasized enough. For example,in the verb section, the authors don't even bother with with regular verb conjugation, jumping right into irregular and stem changing verbs (what they call "radical changing" verbs). This can throw off any but the highly advanced learner or the fluent speaker.

In addition to its use as an advanced reference, I've found it to be an interesting venue for browsing. Just open to any page at random and the advanced student will find a wealth of information that he will not be exposed to in any book written for second language learners. I suspect that there is even more here than one would find in a Spanish grammar written for native speakers.
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My background in the Spanish Language is this: I am Hispanic but I grew up speaking only english in my family. I started learning Spanish in the 8th grade. Today I have a degree in Spanish. I studied Spanish and Portuguese in graduate school. About the¿book, I'm not going to be some kind of Spanish language snob and say this book is only for advanced students. One thing I learned in graduate school was that no matter how much you might know about a subject, there is always both more to learn and others who know more about the subject than yourself and that goes for eveybody Professors, students, linguists, interpreters, ect... in my humble opinión. Having said that, I think this book is useful for anyone who is studying the spanish language that is not a native speaker. The book is detail oriented, but don't let that intimidate you especially if you are just starting to learn the language. If you intend to study spanish and learn to speak, read, and write the language this book will be of great help. I wish I had known about this book when I was in undergraduate school.
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I have been buying every new edition of this book when they come out for the last 20 years. This is so well researched, so logically organized and so user friendly nothing else compares with this grammar. A must have for the serious Spanish student!
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After buying a more than a few poorly written Eng-Spanish grammar books - dogs - I found this one. Not perfect, but very very good. I highly recommend it.

The good -
Goes into details that my teachers couldn't help me with. Covers the differences without being dogmatic to language standards bodies. (trying to mandate usage is a good way to kill a language - take French - not adopting foreign words will kill off the language - people choose living languages over dead ones. ) They explain the official rules - but include the real world usage with good explanation of regional differences.

I had read sections on the 'personal a' in several other grammar books - this one is the only one that covered it well.

The bad -
To much cross referencing within the text - that is what indexes are for.

Similar to many books, they don't stick to the literal translations enough - learning the literal is the key to thinking in a different language - Thinking in the language is the key to ability to use it. For example - people learn that 'my name is' is 'me llamo'' - when it just isn't the case (It actually means 'I'm called') and lets the student miss the chance to learn. Learning wrong and having to relearn is always bad. To their credit, they often have the literal where the difference is getting large.

Could probably use more counter examples - for instance - when one does not use the 'personal a' as well as when to use it.

I find that etymology and the history of words helps - perhaps the next edition might have even more.

,.,.
To sum it up, I'm really glad I found this book - I was beginning to think there wasn't any such book available. Now if I could only find a Eng/Spanish - Spanish/Eng dictionary with the etymology of the words, I would be content. (I find that etymology and the history of words helps retention - and there is no end to shared etymology between English and Spanish words. )
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