20 July 2009

Learning Spanish - Helpful Books

On July 11th I posted "Learning Spanish - The Cornflakes Method" to my blog and in it I mentioned two books that were essential for me. One was "Larousse Standard English/Spanish Dictionary", Mexican Edition, ISBN 970-607-993-9 and the other was "501 Spanish Verbs" by Christopher Kendris, ISBN 0-8120-9282-1. I would like to add a few more books that I found extremely helpful when I started learning Spanish.

The first book is:

"Spanish-English Housekeeping"
by Ruth M. Dietz
Eakin Press (February 1983)
ISBN-10: 0890153795
ISBN-13: 978-0890153796

This book is still in print and available for around ten dollars on Amazon.com. It contains vocabulary, pictures, and simple dialogs about how to manage things around the house and how to explain to domestic workers what you need and instruct them properly. Believe me. You need this book.

The second book is:

First Spanish Reader: A Beginner's Dual-Language Book
by Angel Flores
# Dover Publications (December 1, 1988)
# ISBN-10: 0486258106
# ISBN-13: 978-0486258102

This inexpensive book contains a number of stories with Spanish on one page and English on the facing page. The stories start out using very simple vocabulary and simple verb tenses and they get progressively harder. I really enjoyed this book. It helped me quite a bit and I am sure that it will help you too.

The next book is an "oldie but goodie" but it is a real gem. It is called "A México Por Automóvil: A Spanish Reader for Beginners" by Raymond L. And Olmsted and Richard H. Grismer (MacMillan). It was written in 1938. It uses a very basic but broad vocabulary and it covers a trip taken the length of México on the old National Highway Number One. You can still find used copies of this book on Amazon for about ten dollars and also occasionally on eBay. I highly recommend it, especially if you have troubles with verbs. There is nothing that will put vocabulary and sentence patterns in your head better than reading.

By the way, I received some very nice comments on my "Cornflakes Method" post and I really appreciate them. You see, I am on a mission. It is a mission to promote better understanding between people of different cultures. I try to help some people learn English and I try to help other people learn Spanish. In the face of everything that is going on in this chaotic world it is the only way that I can think of to help make things better in my own little way. Please keep the comments coming. I am open to criticism and suggestions...always. Oh, and one more thing. Will the people who comment as "anonymous" please remember to give me at least a first name so that I can tell one anonymous from another? Thanks :)


1st Mate said...

I'd like to join you in your mission, Bob, doing what I can here in Sonora. There are so many techniques we can use to improve our Spanish, it doesn't have to get boring. Everything from flashcards to newspapers to novelas to getting acquainted with neighbors, vendors at the mercado, the mechanic who works on your car… It's possible to hide out in gated gringo communities for days without using any Spanish. I know gringos who live that way, but they miss out on so much, and they contribute to the "us and them" syndrome that keeps people apart. I've been doing some hiding out myself lately, mostly because of the heat and its effects on my energy, but today I go to my Spanish conversation class and I'll tell my maestra (in Spanish of course) about The Mission.

1st Mate said...

One other idea for enhancing the Spanish learning experience: make Mexican blog buddies! Comment on their blogs in Spanish (ask for corrections), get a correspondence going. Help them with their English if they ask for it. I have done this, and since she lives nearby we have gotten together a few times. She has provided a wealth of information about Sonora, its politics and culture. I'm hoping to go meet her family soon.

the verbarrator said...

This is a nice list of books that you have shared to us. Learning Spanish is a very challenging and fun way to do.

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.