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Mastering Spanish Vocabulary: A Thematic Approach (Mastering Vocabulary Series)

Mastering Spanish Vocabulary: A Thematic Approach (Mastering Vocabulary Series)
Author/Publisher: José María Navarro, Axel J. Navarro Ramil
Emphasis: Vocabulary
List Price: $11.95

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description
This Spanish word-power builder presents more than 5,000 words and phrases with translations into English. The feature that makes this vocabulary book distinctive is the way words are divided into themes, grouped together so that the foreign traveler or language student can find words related by subject. The subject themes include business terms, medical terms, household terms, scientific words and phrases, units of measurement, clothing, food and dining, transportation, art and culture? 24 separate themes in all. The new second edition has been expanded and updated with increased vocabulary.

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


Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Barron''s Educational Series; 2 edition (July 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764123963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764123962
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review:

    4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars - Decent Book
My item arrived in a fair amount of time and the book is decent. It is broken up in to different categories and some words are repeated in more than 1 section, but with alternate meanings. Not bad at all . . .


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - A brilliant way to enlarge your vocabulary
Barron's series Mastering Vocabulary is a great tool for language learners! As another reviewer points out, this is not a book for teaching yourself grammar. It is, though, a great way to move on from knowing the basics to being competent in the language.

Using a normal course, such as one in the Colloqial series, you will end up with knowing the grammar relatively well and with a vocabulary of 1500 words. That's a good start, but you need to know more words to get moving. The Mastering Vocabulary series is a great help along the way. By doing one chapter each week, you will know more than 7000 words after half a year. That is enough to live in a language where the language is spoken and use it in all everyday interactions and communication. My only real complaint with the series is that it's not available for more than four languages.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - A wonderful help
I have to admit that I've never had a Spanish lesson in my life, but I would really like to learn it, at least well enough to read Spanish books and magazines. While I've had French and have done considerable reading recently in that language, I have not had any serious exposure to Spanish vocabularly, so I purchased this volume to assist in developing a basic vocabularly. While I find it a little daunting, I'm surprised at how much I've been able to learn. The book is arranged in a manner that presents primarily nouns and adjectives in logical classes. The reader learns a word and its meaning and then sees how it is used in a sentance, thereby passively learning something of sentance structure and other word forms like verbs and adverbs. I find this method works well for me, because I really am a noun-adjective person more than a verb-adverb person. I can remember the concrete more thoroughly than I can actions and ideas, probably because I'm a visual person--not to mention a not very active one. I've purchased several children's books in Spanish: Lemony Snicket, Harry Potter, and the Spiderwich Chronicals, and in my attempts to read them, I can actually see progress being made. I'm quite pleased.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - Good reference book for more advanced students
This is a great book to have if you're also pairing it with Breaking out of Beginner's Spanish, or something along that lines. Not for the one who is looking to buy Spanish for Dummies. However, it's categorized well, and very logical in its presentation.

If you ARE beginning Spanish study, this is a little too detailed for you. Get the major verb tenses and conjugations down first, and then buy this book after at least a year of class or self-study.

This is laid out for the older student - upper high school and adults. For the much younger student, Flip Flop Spanish is a good one for a simple approach as well.

Sra. Gose
Author of Flip Flop Spanish: Ages 3-5: Level 1 & Flip Flop Spanish: Ages 3-5: Level 2


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Get used to listening
Studying Spanish only in my home, I soon knew how to say more in Spanish than I could understand by listening. This was a very easy way to start listening for comprehension. I put it on my NOMAD MP3 player and listened to while I walked back and forth to my place of employment. The book that comes with it has both the Spanish words of the song and a literal English translation; so, for those words that I could not understand, it was very easy to look them up. Since then, I have moved on to other recordings, but this is the one that got me started, and I highly recommend it if you are having some problems "hearing" Spanish. One caveat: My native Spanish-speaking friend, upon listening to about one second of one song said: "Aha! Spanish from an English-speaking singer." My next step was to learn to "hear" Spanish sung by a native Spanish speaker.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - not every Spanish book has to be for elementary students
Regarding the previous review about having to know the Spanish verb system, there are plenty of people who know the conjugations but are weak in vocabulary. I liked the format of this book and its orientation to more advanced students. I wish it didn't rely so much on using English. Please, someone, produce an advanced Spanish book that doesn't rely on English! Creo que aprendriamos mas rapidamente!


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - A book you will actually use...
This is NOT a book to teach you spanish verbs. It does represent a vast amount of USEFUL terms and phrases. I love this book, and use it more than any other Spanish book I own. In my opinion, it is one of the most readable learning books out there.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - An excellent source for enlarging vocabulary.
I own many Learn-Spanish books, however I want to become more fluent. This means you should know 2000 words. This is where this book fills a niche. It may well be my best vocabulary book yet. Good features of this book include:

- Using the word in a sentence.
- Presenting words in logical groups,, business, dinning, etc.
- Basic words listed in white, and more advanced spanish words listed in blue. Very helpful because I can focus on the basic vocabulary, thus making better use of my learning time.

I would love to see more in the 'false friends' notes. I would like to see words that are spelled similar but are different, such as cansado and casado, encuentro, encuentra. Common words with similar spellings are a trouble spot for learners.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - it is what it is
This is wonderful book for reviewing vocabulary. You should also know that French, German, and Italian versions exist as well. The words covered are very helpful, especially for those who like to travel and need to know "easy" words that do not appear frequently in literature but do come up often in offices, stores, etc. Each entry offers a clear example of usage in its proper context. These books are so inexpensive, that it is worth taking one with you on a trip abroad, even if you end up abandoning it at the end to make more room in your suitcase for the books that you want to bring home.


Rating: 3 out of 5 stars - Powerful, but...
...capable of producing some fairly alarming editing errors, for one. Things like "To abrigo es distinto..."

A second important item of note to potential purchasers is that the book assumes you have THE ENTIRE VERB SYSTEM down cold. Each of the 41 sections of the book has 'standard' and 'advanced' sections of vocabulary. But Word 1 in the standard list could fire off an example that features a sentence that combines conditional and subjunctive imperfect tenses. After all, it's a vocabulary - and not grammar - book. But just make sure you know that going in.

Third point - I can't figure out what make a word or expression worthy of 'advanced' vs. 'standard.' I'm just opening up to a random page (p. 338) as I write this review, and I see the words 'apenas,' 'mayor,' and 'menor' in the advanced section, while 'de ninguna manera' sits in the standard. Odd, huh?

Despite all these objections, this book is really a good edition to your library. Its triumph is the groupings of the words and phrases into 41 loosely defined categories. Despite what I think are three valid criticisms here, reading and re-reading this book is an effective way to increase your vocabulary. Which, after all, is its primary goal.



Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Great Approach to Spanish Vocabulary
The book makes sense! It has helped me a great deal in expanding my Spanish Vocubulary. It was frustrating as a beginner in Spanish not to be able to recall and use words that I normally do when speaking in English. This book expanding my vocabulary, which greatly helped me in my Spanish classes. It is a great supplement to any Spanish grammar book. It is also in a great compact size which makes it easy to carry around in your pockets when traveling. I highly recommended it.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Lots of work, lots of words
Make no mistake, learning this entire book is a lot of work, but it is well worth it. I actually have taken a different approach to learning with this book. I prefer learning without translating, so I use a black ballpoint pen and mark over the most important words and phrases in the example sentences, then write them above, perhaps drawing a small picture to help me remember what the sentence means. It really thrashes the book, but I prefer learning in this way. As I am marking up the sentence I repeat the sentence to myself. Then I go over the sentence 3-5 times in blocks of 3-4 sentences, testing myself to see if I remember the words or phrases in blanks. After I finish a page I test myself on the whole thing. I try to only use the English translation to make sure I understand what everything means, and I regularly review the sections I've already completed. So far I've finished about a third of the book, and I'm also using the Street Spanish series for a little more casual vocab. I would be more interested in a more Latin-American focused version of this text, since I am studying abroad in Venezuela, but that's OK. It does include a list of Latin-American words at the end of the book. The problem with this book is it doesn't have exercises to help you learn the words, but my way of using the book seems to work well enough.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - Great vocabulary book for the advanced student
Like my title suggests, this is a great book for the advanced student, but way too deep for the beginner. I first ran across this book during my sixth year of Spanish study in graduate school. It helped me a lot to build on an already extensive working vocabulary.

This would actually be a great book for beginners if the words were phonetically spelled out, but unfortunately, their not. If you're looking to build your existing vocabulary, give it a try, otherwise, pass for a more beginning-type vocabulary approach. Have fun and good luck!


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - A good book for building spanish vocabulary.
I highly recommend this book for a person who is, like me, passed the beginner spanish level and wants to increase his or her vocabulary. It lists over 5,000 words grouped into 41 subjects and includes useful bilingual phrases that reenforce learning. I don't recommend this book for beginners because some knowledge of the spanish language is required to use it. Everything is translated from spanish to english and there is no english to spanish guide.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - An essential book for your library
I find this book to be very good. It offers 5500 words or so for a person to learn which is more than enough to cover general conversation on any theme, explain any thought, and say anything that is not deeply technical. A typical person's vocabulary is between 12,000-15,000 words though many of them are not used. This book is great-it is organized by themes and has more advanced words in gray. I recently got this book and find that it rounds out my vocabulary. I recommend this one and 1,001 Pitfalls in Spanish by Barron's. Both are absolutely essential for native English speakers. In fact, those two books and a lot of reviewing is adequate in my estimation for anyone with very little background in Spanish to rise to a level of fluency achieved by a small percentage of the 'gringos' who try to learn it. I'd give it a '10' except I think it would be neat to have even more vocabulary-perhaps 8000 words to involve more technical and medical terms, etc. They also try to stick to fairly universal terms understandable in any Spanish-speaking country. Many of the words are more from Spain than, say, Mexico(in my estimation) but are universal enough to be used almost anywhere. I rank it to be a "Must-Buy."


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