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Master the Basics: Spanish (Master the Basics)

Master the Basics: Spanish (Master the Basics)
Author/Publisher: Christopher Kendris Ph.D.
Emphasis: Vocabulary
List Price: $16.99

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description
The new, updated edition of this language review book summarizes Spanish grammar, pronunciation, parts of speech, idioms, vocabulary, synonyms, antonyms, and phrases for telling time, days, and months. New in this edition is the currently revised system of alphabetizing, the addition of frequently used words and phrases in technical and computer communication, and more exercises, puzzles, and word games than ever. The book is filled with practice exercises with answers in reading comprehension and writing proficiency. A diagnostic test with answers opens each chapter, and a chapter-closing test helps language learners measure their progress. This book makes a fine classroom supplement to main textbooks, and also serves as a valuable self-teaching brush-up course for vacation and business travelers to Spanish-speaking countries.

Language Notes
Text: English, French --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Barron's Educational Series; 3 edition (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764137468
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764137464
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review:

    3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars - Great reference material; not a self-teaching book!
The title "Master the Basics of Spanish" gave me the impression that I could order this book with little to no experience in Spanish, crack it open and start to learn the language. This is not the case. This is merely a reference material that explains all the concepts of Spanish grammar organized by sections (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.) and not in an order that is conducive to learning (you need to learn a little bit about nouns and verbs at the same time, so you can start forming sentences!) Also, its explanations are given under the assumption that the reader is knowledgeable of grammatical concepts (what a direct object is, an indirect object, etc.) and has a solid Spanish vocabulary (the exercises in the book are scant, but often ask you to translate English sentences into Spanish -- not only do you need to know the grammatical concepts taught in the book, but you also need to know the vocabulary needed to translate the sentences, something not really covered).

That being said, this is an excellent reference material. Need to know the irregular preterite stem of "poder"? Just go to the well-organized table of contents to find the page where it's listed. Forgot the imperfect subjunctive endings? They're all listed in an easy-to-find, easy-to-read format. So although it is a perfect reference guide, its title is completely misleading. As a "basic" text it completely fails. As a reference text I give it 5 stars, as a beginner's text I give it 1 star, hence my 3-star rating.

For the beginner Spanish student, I highly recommend the book Spanish Now! Level 1 (and later Spanish Now! Level 2). I also recommended the book 6,000+ Essential Spanish Words to help build your vocabulary. For a great Spanish dictionary, look no further than www.wordreference.com, a free online dictionary that covers a multitude of languages. It has not only a Spanish-English/English-Spanish Dictionary (that gives you precise meanings of words -- all the nuances that are important for picking the right translation) but a monolingual Spanish dictionary as well (to get definitions of Spanish words in Spanish).


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - You'd better know your grammar
This book is heavy on self-testing, including reading comprehension and writing, a nice feature that many Spanish books don't have. It also has special sections on idioms, synonyms and antonyms, and definitions of basic grammatical terms. That's the good part. To make sense of the grammar section, the student had better have an excellent handle on grammar and grammatical terms. This is an excerpt from the "Position of Double Object Pronouns: A Summary" section. "With a verb in a simple tense or in a compound tense in the interrogative: The indirect object pronoun remains in front of the direct object and both remain in front of the verb form. The subject (whether a noun or a pronoun) is placed after the verb form." Then, ONE example is given. If the learner can handle this type of instruction, the book is great. For people who are a little light on grammar, Dorothy D Richmond is a better choice.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - Great resource - one I will continue to use!
The contents are structured well, and offer useful tips on remembering Spanish. The tests at the end as well as the synonyms/antonyms vocabulary list are a terrific bonus. I would recommend this book for any beginner or someone hoping to refresh their Spanish.


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