I live in metro Atlanta in an area that has a high Spanish speaking population. I work in a pharmacy, where I regularly meet people who do not speak one word of English. I have to somehow convey to them how to take their medicine, ask them for significant information, and generally make them feel comfortable. After 6 years of Spanish from 8th grade through college, you would think I could do this better than I can but that is not the case. I have been wanting to improve my ability to speak Spanish for quite a while and recently got the chance to do this unique book review that compares The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Learning Spanish and the book Spanish for Dummies. If you are considering learning to speak Spanish, read on!
Both of these books are laid out in a very similar and easy to follow way. They are both approximately the same length and come with a handy CD to use that really comes in handy when you are trying to get an ‘ear’ for how to speak properly. They each start you out slowly, with basic grammar and pronunciation lessons and include a basic dictionary at the back of the book.
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Each of these books is set up like you are going on a journey. After the basic introduction to grammar and pronunciation, you move into chapters on traveling, finding accommodations, asking for directions, shopping, and several other topics that would come in handy on a trip.
The one chapter I found in The Idiot’s Guide to Learning Spanish that was not in the Spanish for Dummies book was the section on Idioms. It is not always easy to translate some of the English language phrases directly into Spanish. If you tell someone to ‘keep your shirt on’ in Spanish, it might be taken the wrong way! Would hate to offend your hosts in a foreign country by saying the wrong thing!
For both of these books, I would like to see more worksheets and quizzes to test your knowledge. Or, maybe offer an accompanying workbook along with the CD.
Overall, I think that both of these books would do a good job helping you learn the basics of the Spanish language and getting you around in a foreign country for a short vacation. As with any language, if you want to be fluent, you will have to start using the language in everyday life. Watch movies, read newspapers, and talk to people regularly.
Disclaimer: As per FTC guidelines, I received product samples in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation. All opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.
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Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.