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Spanish For Dummies

4.1 out of 5 stars 99 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 078-5555006157
ISBN-10: 0764551949
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This unintimidating guide from the experts at Berlitz helps you start speaking Spanish quickly and easily! Whether you're a student, a traveler, or just want to pick up basic Spanish, you'll find its packed with practical lessons, cultural facts, fun, and handy references including a Spanish-English mini-dictionary, common verb lists, and more!

Discover how to:

*Have everyday conversations in Spanish

*Make sense of Spanish grammar

*Improve your pronunciation

*Get a handle on verb conjugations

*Use idioms and popular expressions

*Get around in a Spanish-speaking country

About the Author

Susana Wald (Oaxaca, Mexico), is the founder of Oasis Publications, a small press that has published over 45 titles in Spanish, English, and French. She has been a simultaneous translator between Spanish and English since 1970,as well as a proofreader of texts in Spanish, French, English, and Hungarian.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley Publishing (December 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764551949
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764551949
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #335,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. L Strickland VINE VOICE on September 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
I like this book. A lot. It's one of my favorites for learning and reviewing bite sized pieces of Spanish.
I agree with the reviewer who said that it should not be used alone. Actually, what I am finding after trying to learn Spanish for business for about a year, is that there is NO single resource that can be used alone.
I travel a lot on business to various Spanish speaking countries and this is the book that I take along most often. It deserves a place in your Spanish-learning library.
My experience has been that to learn Spanish on your own, you need books, tapes, dictionaries, videos, Spanish TV, newspapers, PLUS you have to practice, practice, practice with native speakers. Every type of resource you can think of. If you want to learn quickly, move to a Spanish speaking country for a year and devote the year to learning Spanish. Otherwise, it will require persistence and patience.
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Format: Paperback
Im trying to learn spanish because I live in Miami and I think I'll have a better time getting a job if I can speak it. However, this book is really like a primer book for the absolute basics. personally, I dont think anything beats a computer program for pronounciation. On the computer, you can hear certian words over and over and have the program help you pronouce. But, I find the computer programs to be pretty much useless unless you already know the basics of the language, so I think this book would go perfectly with any material that teaches at a higher level. And in response to the person who gave this book one star I would say that this book is not designed to get you fluent, its for people who have no clue when it comes to the language and I think its excellent at preparing you for the real study of spanish
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Format: Paperback
This book 'Spanish for Dummies' is a joy to read. The author stresses learning at your own speed. I am learning Spanish so that I can converse with my ever-increasing population of Spanish-speaking patients. It really makes a difference. I see lots of smiles when I struggle to get the accent correct. The book comes with a CD that is invaluable for pronunciation. Have Fun!
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Format: Paperback
I have familiarity with several languages but just started studying Spanish about 6 months ago. This was the first book I bought. I agree that this is not sufficient by itself. It has a lot of good side bar information as well as dialogues and highlights of important words. However, I found that it also has a lot of items that are inappropriate for the level that is being taught. A simple example is the first verb taught is "trabajar"- to work. A much simpler one could be used when you are learning pronunciation/conjugation. Also dialogues used past and future tenses which are not even taught in this book (they are listed with the verb conjugations). Now that I have more knowledge, I am going back and reading it again and am getting a lot more out of it. I would pick a simpler book for my first one were I to do it again-- but not a phrase book. Another aspect of this book is that it has a lot of sections like "at the marketplace". Those are words less well known and not really that helpful or essential at this stage of my progression. There are a lot more valuable words to be learned first. I have also studied tapes like Pimsleur at the same time and it was excellent on continuous building one block at a time. I also found that often when I tried to look up a word in the included dictionary, it wasn't there, so a separate one is really required.
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Format: Paperback
I never took spanish classes and wanted to learn on my own as I have a boring job but with lots of spanish speaking customers. I looked in the ... and...bookstore near us through all their books and this one was the best for my learning abilities. The #1 reason is that throughout the book it breaks down the pronounciation of each new and old word it gives you, without having to keep refering to rules in the beginning of the book. #2 it seems to have a logical lesson plan that I can follow easily, and not just touristy type lessons as I don't really plan on just asking where the hotel is, but need a practical more rounded learning experience.
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Format: Paperback
I have been teaching Spanish for over 30 years, and recently made the mistake of choosing Spanish for Dummies as the text for a Beginning Spanish Conversation class. From a pedagogical standpoint, Spanish for Dummies is a disaster. It is a poorly organized book, which, aside from being shot through with almost-useless chitchat, misinformation, and typographical errors, has the major flaw of using entire verb tenses and moods without any introduction or explanation. A better title for the book would be Spanish for Dummies, by Dummies.

While the book does mention and provide models for the present, simple past, and future tenses of verbs, it includes in its dialogs the following tenses with no explanation: imperfect, conditional, perfect, and progressive. Also, with no explanation, the subjunctive and imperative moods (commands) are used in dialogs. Why would anyone go through a 338-page book and not expect to at least learn about these verb tenses? Additionally, the book's "la-la land" approach to grammar is exemplified by its presentation of the periphrastic future (ir a + verb) under the heading "the simple future" (p. 288). The simple future, grammatically speaking, is the one offered in Appendix B.

An example of useless chitchat, in a book that purports to be teaching the reader Spanish, is the following statement on p. 143: "Being outdoors can promote a quiet, contemplative feeling as you appreciate the beauty of nature, or it can energize you, inspiring you to action." This is only one example of the fluffy nature of this entire book.

An example of misinformation is the statement on p. 296 that if a flower pot is falling in any country but Mexico you shout "¡Cuidado!" whereas in Mexico you have to say "¡Aguas!
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