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Madrigal's Magic Key to Spanish: A Creative and Proven Approach

Madrigal's Magic Key to Spanish: A Creative and Proven Approach
Author/Publisher: Margarita Madrigal
Emphasis: Dictionary
List Price: $12.95

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description
Based on the student's ability to create--not memorize by rote--the Madrigal method can help readers convert English into Spanish in an instant, develop perfect pronunciation (thanks to a handy pronunciation guide), form sentences from the very first lesson, and more. Previously announced in September.

Language Notes
Text: English, Spanish


Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Main Street Books (September 1, 1989)
  • Language: Spanish, English
  • ISBN-10: 0385410956
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385410953
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review:

    4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (80 customer reviews)

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars - Only recommended for beginners
I got about 70 pages into this book before putting it away for good. First, a background. I have about seven years of so-so Spanish education under my belt from my public schooling days (which ended nearly seven years ago). However, I can barely communicate in Spanish. Recently I made a resolution to achieve fluency in Spanish, for three reasons: I am dating an Argentine girl, I live in a Mexican neighborhood and I just wanted to challenge myself anyway.

This book has an interesting "dive right in" approach, but that's the problem -- you dive right in from the very beginning. This was not what I expected. For some reason, I had gleaned from the other Amazon reviews that this book might be good for those with an intermediate understanding of Spanish. It isn't. The book tries very hard to hide the underlying mechanics of everything from you. Also, it makes no mention of the "tu" (informal "you") form, which is all Argentines use. So, the book was too slow, obtuse, and misdirected for what I needed. Instead, I began studying The Ultimate Spanish Review and Practice w/CD-ROM (Uitimate Review and Reference Series), which has been fantastic so far.

I'm not even sure I'd even recommend this book to complete newcomers. There's no need to hide the mechanics of the language behind a slow and tedious methodical approach.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - One of the best, fun, easiest Spanish learning guides, but......
When learning a new language, you come across many many different products naturally claiming that they are the best. Eager language learners try many of them. Some stick, some don't. This book DEFINITELY stuck. The look of it is very old-fashioned, but the content seemed to sink in just a bit better. The lessons explain things in a thorough manner and end with many oral translation exercises that really drill the material into your brain.
That being said, this book is really old and does not include the "tu" form of anything whatsoever. Anyone who is learning Spanish knows that there is a polite (usted) and an informal (tú) way of addressing someone. This book only includes the polite forms and does not touch on the informal forms, which in modern Spanish is used quite frequently. In fact, countries like Argentina pretty much ONLY use the informal.
Experts say that no one should use just one text to learn a language. Whoever heeds this advice will most certainly come across that which this book omits. Aside from the omission, this book is wonderfully organized and extremely helpful. I highly recommend it. If someone were to update this book to include the informal way to say things, 5 stars all the way.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Don't Hesistate! Buy this Book!!!!
There is a reason this book has five stars from over 80 reviews and has withstood the test of time with impunity.........the book works!


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - great buy
great buy! I was referred to this book by a family friend. It arrived in perfect condition and on-time.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - Comprelo ahora!
What was refreshing about this book is the fact that the past tense is immediately introduced. Think about it, how many times do you tell people what you did a day ago, an hour ago, etc? The answer is - often.

In my high school Spanish class I took more than a decade ago, it was unfortunately anchored by slower/uninterested students. We never even got to the past tense. I was stuck in the present with no past and future!

Not anymore!

This book will make one the master of the preterite as well as the present. What I can understand and speak has multiplied tremendously. What I wish this book delved into a bit more is the subjunctive tense. It seemed merely touched upon. Also I really loved doing the exercises. When I was confused about a concept, the exercises would finally make things clear for me. The last two chapters have no exercises, it's only reading. I wish at least an exercise or two appeared in order to cement the rest of the concepts home.

Despite that, this book is wonderful for people like me who need to refresh their high school Spanish and would be great for beginners who wish to have a try at different verb tenses immediately.


Make no mistake, you won't be fluent. But you will have a great Spanish foundation to build upon after finising this book. I ditto what others have said about also getting resources to go along with this book. I found the Michel Thomas Method to be an excellent accompaniment and found his explanations for the preterite as opposed to the imperfect are very similar. He will slam dunk the grammar into your brain without you realizing it!

Also I just started listening to Learning Spanish like Crazy based on recommendations. After doing the book and MT, I feel pretty advanced right now(I am just starting at the beginning so that may change as I progress). But for pronunciation practice it can't be beat!

Also Madrigal's book See it and Say it in Spanish is also a great little book you can use. Small enough to carry around everywhere!

A great improvement to this book would be audio! Publishers are you listening? Still a great learning tool without it. This book was published, I think in the 60's?? It still holds up to this day!


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - Very good
OK, it's not perfect. It is, however, a good book, better than most textbooks, and way, way ahead of Berlitz, for learning Spanish. Most Americans think they can learn a language in like 2-3 weeks. This is not so. It takes consistent practice to learn a language. This book supports that rather well. I'm sure the author is long gone, however, the book lives on. It is cited in The Next Whole Earth Catalog, by way, which is why I got my first copy of it.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Opinion of Madrigal's Magic Key to Spanish
This is an excellent book. Its approach to teaching a language is unique in that it gives fourteen patterns of Spanish words relating to English words. Rather than learning one word at a time, I can learn 50 - 100 words. I don't even have to learn individual words. I just have to remember the pattern, e.g. words ending in "ity" in English usually end in "idad" in Spanish. I also have been able to apply some of these patterns to other Latin-based languages such as French and Italian. This has been a great help to me since I sometimes do research work in Europe. Thank you for making this book available to us at such a reasonable price.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Nice book but send all of the pages.
I know the book well enough and it has a good reputation as a Spanish primer. However, the printer should take care of his work. The last copy I received was missing the first 16 pages and had to be sent back to Amazon.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Madrigal's Magic Key To Spanish
A must have for anyone wanting to learn the Spanish language! It is as the title says, "a creative and proven approach"!


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Makes learning Spanish exciting and fun
I struggled with another text for months, and although I was slowly learning the basics of Spanish, I couldn't hold even a basic conversation! I attend monthly Spanish-language group meetings and would just sit there, not understanding much of what was said, and not able to participate.
Although I've only had this book for a few days, I see huge improvements. First of all, Madrigal's approach gives you a huge vocabulary by showing you rules to convert English words into Spanish. You suddenly realize that you already know hundreds of Spanish words.

I also love the fact that she introduces the past tense in only the third lesson. My former text, which I used for months, doesn't reach the past tense until deep into the book. You CAN'T have a conversation in ANY language without being able to use the past tense, and Margarita realized this.

The lessons are concise and use quick and easy drills to test your comprehension.

This book actually makes learning a foreign language fun! Quite an accomplishment.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - A Magic Key for Beginners of Spanish
This is an excellent book for beginners. It demystifies and uncomplicates the Spanish language. It does a magical job of showing the patterns and rules of how Spanish words are made into English words and vice versa. This book is magically very helpful, even now, with me sometimes referring back to it as I traverse advanced Spanish. Buena suerte!


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Best beginner's book! Helped me a lot
I'm very happy I came across this book. It is probably the best of all 20-something Spanish learning books I own. It is FULL of information and exercises that will help anyone who wants to learn learn quickly and quite easily. Like other people have said, I am surprised I've retained so much information. Because of this book, which goes through a lot of the verb tenses and a lot of the common verbs as well as vocabulary (from the beginning of the book, you find out you actually already know hundreds of words in spanish, because they're the same in english: words with certain endings), I'm able to express myself and have conversations with others without making errors because everything is explained so well and she shows the english equivalents, and the little reminder cards the author tells us to make to glance at when we have a moment as well as the variety of exercises and tests help me a lot to remember what I've learned. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to learn the language. It will help get you off to a quick, solid start. Even though Magic Key is just a book, the author has a pronunciation key that is very useful. Ex) The ll (double l) is pronounced Y as in "yes". Because of that and the reminders throughout the book on where to stress syllables for different words, I'm much more confident when I speak than I would otherwise be. If you are interested in learning the language and you know either nothing or are just a beginner with some knowledge, I highly recommend that you add this book to your learning library! After going through this book, I went through the "Practice Makes Perfect" Verb Tenses and Pronouns and Preposition books which really helped me with more in depth grammar. I think those books are best to learn after a book like Magic Key though because I think Magic Key will help *prepare* you for more in depth grammar books.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - The best for older ones to learn
This is the 1st review I have ever written but, this book is so good I had to tell you. I'm an older one and had bought many, many different books, CD's for computer and Car to help me learn Spanish. But they all wanted to bog me down with the verb tables. I barley remember the specifics for English verbs. This book teaches you how to use the verbs correctly without all the rules. From the very beginning to the end it gives practical help. I appreciated learning the many words I harldy know in Spanish section and how to recognize them. The best book for anyone that just wants an easy way to learn how to communicate.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Great service
This book was shipped to my missionary son who will be teaching in Spanish. Great service. Thanks so much.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - Good but
The book is good, however I feel that Madrigal spent too much time on the past & present tense & not enough on the more difficult ones, the imperfect, conditional, imperative & subjunctive. Seems like she rushed through those tenses.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Madrigal's Magic Key to Spanish
A very good text for those with limited knowledge of spanish to rapidly expand their their vocabulary using the great resource of same /similar
english /spanish words. The text also provides the best treatment of tense
and person of any self study guide I have found. A very easy to use guide
for a family or small group of students to study on a lesson-by-lesson


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Best book for learning Spanish on your own
When we talk to others, we most frequently speak in the past tense yet most Spanish grammer books start with the present tense. Madrigal's book starts you learning Spanish in the past tense right away and then later, takes you into the present tense. This is the only book I use now.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Madrigals magic key to spanish
I purchased this book for an adult education spanish class I am attending. Just starting using it and it appears as if its written in a format that will make it easy to learn spanish


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - book
easy to use Spanish book. I will actually use it more next year when my daughter has her first high school Spanish class and I "relearn" it along with her!


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Uniquely written to be easy and fun!
This book is organized is such a way that it is easy to learn and it is actually fun. I have found the expanations very simple and comprehensible. Of all my spanish books, this is my favorite.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Still My Favorite Book for Learning Spanish
I have been studying Spanish for years and reviewing Spanish products for nearly as long, and I will probably be studying Spanish for many more years. But this book will continue to remain one of my favorites. The lessons in this book are structured as followed with some deviation:

1. brief introduction to Spanish grammar
2. written exercise followed by a verb list
3. A list of words to remember
4. list of verbs to remember
5. conversation on to read
6. Sentence forming exercise
7. Exercise in translation
8. tip on how to use reminder cards or index cards

The sentence forming exercises made the Spanish really stick in my head. Which is also why the sentence forming exercises were my favorite part of the book. Since the book is not one of the newer learning-Spanish books you will not find vocabulary about the Internet, computers, cell phones, and digital cameras. Instead you'll find the Spanish words for telegram and several other things that are rarely used today. But the book
is still worth every penny.

Here's a tip: Each chapter of the book has tips on how to use index cards or reminder cards to learn more Spanish. Follow the advice. I have learned so much more Spanish from using the index cards or reminder cards. I know index cards nowadays may be hard to find -- since hardly anyone uses index card boxes today. But it is worth the effort.
I have learned so much more Spanish because I followed the book's advice on using index cards to learn more Spanish.

Another tip is to use this course with Learning Spanish Like Crazy. Learning Spanish Like Crazy is an audio course that has taught me lots of conversational Spanish, conversational Spanish that I have retained. Combine it with this book and you will learn more Spanish than
you had expected to learn.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - The best Spanish book I've found
This book is excellent for the beginner, for the one getting back into Spanish after a time away, and as a refresher/resource. The approach is different from any I have seen and is very effective. My library is filled with Spanish books, but this is my favorite by far.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Spanish Magic Key
Wish this had been my first Spanish language learning text. It offers an interesting approach to language learning in a non-threatening format. Cleary Ms. Madrigal is/was more interested in helping and encouraging others to learn Spanish than in providing the usual rote memorization, grammar intensive approach typical of most books claiming to offer short-cuts to language learning. I've just begun exploring the book, however I'm already impressed with the methodology used and insights provided into language learning (I can see where some of these hints/etc. are applicable to learning other languages as well). Rather than stressing the difficulty of language learning (which tends to de-motivate even the most ambitious student), the approach in this book is to show one (at least speakers of English), the many similarities with English, and how much one already knows. This "build on the known" strategy is conducive to motivating the learner, which is one of the biggest aids to learning another language. I fully recommend this book for anyone seriously interested in trying to learn Spanish.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - A classic
This book has been around in various editions for about 50 years and it is still one of the most helpful books, particularly for self-study of Spanish. While no language book is painless, this at least offers strategies for improving one's vocabulary and understanding of grammar that are unique and helpful, if they are consistent with one's learning style--in other words, it is probably not the book for everybody, but some will find it invaluable.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - excellent seller and product
Item as described and received in a timely manner... an excellent buying experience!


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Madrigals Magic Key to Spanish
If you want to learn to speak, read and write Spanish, then this book must be in your library. No other book is in the same league.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Madrigal"s Magic Key to SpanishI x
I am not a professional Spanish teacher, I have been teaching Spanish to senior citizens for 15 years.Iurrently have 23 students reading and writing short sentences after the first chapter. Other students using this book after 1 1/ 1/2 years with a good teacher are functional in the language. The book relys on cognates Thousands of words that are similar in Spanish and English/ As this is a conversation class, the past tense is taught BEFORE the present. You can discuss what happened yesterday. The middle chapters, particulary pronouns, give you the rythym of the language. I have studied Spanish for years and this book is great for me and all levels of spanish.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Madrigals Magic Spanish book
This is the BEST! book ever. Who knew learning Spanish could be so easy! Get it now. You will never need to buy another Spanish book.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Learning Spanish? You may already know more than you think...
This is by far the BEST book to use when learning Spanish! It was highly recommended to me by many members of the "Costa Rica Living" (CRL) Yahoo Group, and I understand why. It is not a dictionary, but is easy to use and well organized. "Like" English words ending in, i.e. tion, sion, ist, ous, have the same spelling at the beginning of the word, will each have a specific ending in Spanish, and will be consistent. For instance, "information" and "operation" will end in "cion", "informacion" and "operacion", and all other "tion" word will be the same. You will have a much larger vocabulary by learning the new endings, and be able to understand many more conversations. This is the best place to start!


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Madrigals book is MAGIC!
I purchased this book for my 14 year old son and he has not put the book down. It is fun, easy and something that the whole family can use.



Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Madrigals Magic Key to Spanish Review
This is one of the best books for learning Spanish, especially for learning Spanish vocabulary words and learning to "think" in
Spanish. The author uses a method that helps the native English speaker quickly increase his vocabulary by showing the reader that the reader already knows hundreds or maybe even thousands of words already because the roots of English and romance languages have much in common. And unlike many of the Spanish books that require the reader to memorize material, this book gives the reader the power to actually think in Spanish. So that what you learn stays with you forever.

Use this book with a proven audio course and you will quickly learn Spanish. The audio course that I recommend that you use with Madrigals Magic Key to Spanish is the Learning Spanish Like Crazy CD course. Using Madrigals Magic Key to Spanish with Learning Spanish Like Crazy will help you learn Spanish quickly and easily. And most important, the experience will be fun. And if you've studied Spanish for any length of time then you know that when the language-learning experience is fun, you don't lose interest, and you stay motiviated until you reach your goal of fluency.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Madrigals Magic key is truly Magic. Es Verdad!
This is the most amazing Spanish book ever. I have been studying Spanish with books, tapes, or in classes for about 2 1/2 years. If I were only going to buy one book, other than a dictionary/verb conjugator, this would be the book. I have even showed this book to Spanish native speakers, and they were amazed at the lessons to be learned. And the vocabulary. And the ease. Si, usted quiere aprender espanol, Madrigal es fantastico. Buenas suerte!


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - best books
I've been teaching Spanish for over 10 years, and this along with
Practice Makes Perfect: Spanish Pronouns And Prepositions
Practice Makes Perfect: Spanish Verb Tenses

are the best books I've ever worked with for teaching adults Spanish.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Essential Spanish guide
Madrigal is the essential Spanish guide for all students of Spanish. You will refer to this book often in your studies.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Magic - it is!
I saw this book at a friend's house in Spain and was captivated by it. It gives a whole new (to me) approach to learning Spanish. When I got home to the UK, I just had to track a copy down and buy one. Thanks to Amazon, I did!


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