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
Text: English, Spanish
- 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:
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
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.
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!
great buy! I was referred to this book by a family friend. It arrived in perfect
condition and on-time.
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!
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.
My hint- DON'T SKIP ANY OF THE EXERCISES!
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!
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.
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.
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.
A must have for anyone wanting to learn the Spanish language! It is as the title
says, "a creative and proven approach"!
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
This book actually makes learning a foreign language fun! Quite an
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!
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.
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.
This book was shipped to my missionary son who will be teaching in Spanish.
Great service. Thanks so much.
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
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
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Item as described and received in a timely manner... an excellent buying
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
Madrigal is the essential Spanish guide for all students of Spanish. You will
refer to this book often in your studies.
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!