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Spanish in 32 Lessons (Gimmick)

Spanish in 32 Lessons (Gimmick)
Author/Publisher: Adrienne
Emphasis: Dictionary
List Price: $17.95

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Editorial Reviews

Adrienne's vocabulary lists are contemporary, practical, and uncensored--you'll find words here that aren't in any other language book--and they group together families of words, which makes expanding your vocabulary painless...Whether you're trying to learn the rudiments, travel with globe-trotting panache, or get out of a prickly situation, Adrienne will show you the way. -- World News Features, Gordon M. Quarnstrom

Product Description
Here is a practical and rapid way for tourists, students and businesspeople to master the basics of Spanish and begin speaking the language. This book encourages creativity, allowing the learner to discover his or her own style. It gives the reader the essential, simplified grammar without force feeding, operating from the premise that grammar comes easily once vocabulary is properly learned.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (May 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393313050
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393313055
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review:

    2.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars - Some Good Elements, but Whoa to the Publishers
"Spanish in 32 Lessons" is not well-laid out or organized; it is harsh on the reader. I can confirm the other commentators' observations that it has a substantial amount of mistakes and typos. Also, it contains no pictures or commentary. Still, after I checked it out of the library, I decided to buy it, chiefly for two reasons. In one recurring type of table, a word or phrase is presented, and then 1) a translation, 2) an associated synonym (word or phrase), and 3) an antonym (word or phrase) are given. Also, at the end, there are separate extensive lists of verbs & prepositions (phrases) and of idioms. These aspects of the book are valuable for expanding vocabulary and learning how words work in context and in combinations. The other stuff -- noun and verb lists, conjugations, and miscellaneous grammar and language points -- is OK, but the lack of organization (or an index) means you do not know where anything is.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Gimmick Series Valuable Despite Errors
Most textbooks have mistakes of some sort...they're not perfect. I think the adrienne gimmick books have a lot to offer in terms of getting you speaking right away, using realistic everyday speech, phrases, vocabulary.

Contrary to one review here that said it's not a good place to start a language, I started with the French 32 lessons on which the Spanish is based (they mirror eachother very closely) and learned a lot - enough to go to Montreal and get around quite well after about 1 year of studying it.

I like her approach though - and I think Adrienne Penner was right about some things. She says in the intro 'A language is its vocabulary - there is no way to communicate without words no matter how good your grammar'. It's a point to not take lightly. Even now focusing on vocabulary is more revolutionary than you'd think in this grammar-centric world.

Her lists of idioms and the 'text boxes' throughout the book containing tips on verb use, prepositions, etc are great and the layout encourages some quick absorption of this material.

Anyway, I am a fan - but they are cheap now so check it for yourself. You don't have to spend a lot to do so.


Rating: 1 out of 5 stars - Riddled with typos, grammatical errors, and bad translations
This book should never have left the printer's, as it is full of errors of every imaginable variety. For example, in Lesson 23, two of the exercise answers are clearly wrong:

"Have we earned a lot of money yet?" is translated as "¿Ha ganado mucho dinero ya," which means "has he earned..."
"Have they visited their mother-in-law yet" is translated as "Ha visitado a su suegra ya?," again turning the subject into "he"

That's to say nothing of another sentence that the reader is supposed to translate: "¿Ha pegado ya a su mujer?" That means "has he beaten his wife yet?"

In the same chapter's vocabulary list, the word "paliza" is defined as a "spank," when it actually means "a beating." Elsewhere, irregular verbs are conjugated incorrectly, with extra letters showing up in odd places.

Unless you're prepared to double-check everything in this book against a dictionary or book of verb conjugations, you should spend your money elsewhere.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - different approach
this book starts you off from a different point and continues down a path unlike those found in the typical school textbooks. i took 2 years of spanish in high school but have learned more from these 32 lessons in 2 months than i did in school. the way it's put together makes learning grammar, structure, phrases, vocabulary, sayings, etc much easier and uncomplicated.

there are indeed a couple mistakes in this book as previously said, granted there were mistakes in school textbooks as well. they are obvious as they don't follow the flow and stick out easily.

no glossary, annoying but each chapter has a glossary of sorts. the words used in each chapter stick closely to these as well.

odd phrases, as mentioned earlier, nothing i haven't said before in english. good to get some slang as well, spanish people use spanish slang. it's part of the language and thus makes this book all the better by including them. and try not to lose focus of the lesson being taught over the occasional silly (and humerous) sentences used to practice them.


Rating: 1 out of 5 stars - This book is messed up.
I went to lesson 32 to have a look at the things I'd be able to say when I was done with this book.

Some of the translations:
--If you don't undress, I will beat you. (p.156)
--He's a fairy and his sister is a hooker. (p.158)
--She's not really a hooker but only a liberated woman (p. 140)

Looks like someone's got issues.


Rating: 3 out of 5 stars - Not A Ver y Clever Gimmick.
I started using this book after working through other Spanish grammar textbooks. And I'm glad I did. As other reviewers have stated, "Spanish in 32 Lessons" is not for absolute beginners. Don't make this your first book on Spanish.

Good points: Frank, direct to the point (no tedious explanations of grammar), plenty of exercises and, it seems, a rather large vocabulary for the student.

Bad points: Incorrect answers at the back of the book. (Glad to see that another person has noticed.) Narrow scope of example sentences. (Why so much about your "marido"? Makes one wonder about the author's married life.) Lack of a glossary at the end. The last one is the worst thing about this book. The other flaws can be tolerated. Mistakes by the author can be helpful actually, since it encourages you to think for yourself. But the absence of a complete glossary for easy reference makes this quite frustrating.

Advice: Find another textbook to work with first. Collins Cortina is good. I also liked an old "Spanish Grammar" by Eric Greenfield, published by Barnes & Noble, that had (best of all) complete one-page conjugations of dozens of commonly used verbs! It also had a slim vocabulary (600+ words) so you won't have to memorize that many. In my opinion, learning common phrases should come first. Then, the structure of the language (especially the use of the verb). Nouns and adjectives can be easily learned at any time.

When your Spanish is good enough so that you can read a Spanish newspaper or web page with relative ease, for example, then try Adrienne's book. Be sure to have a good Spanish-English dictionary with you though.


Rating: 3 out of 5 stars - Helpful approach to vocabulary, but be careful!
The Gimmick series uses a technique of learning several synonyms/antonyms at once to increase vocabulary rapidly, and that is very helpful. But two MAJOR cautions about this book:
1. Some of the answers in the back and some of the definitions themselves are wrong. Often the wrong person of the verb is given in the answers, and I have run across at least one completely incorrect verb definition. Furthermore, when the author teaches vulgar terms (part of the gimmick) her English definitions often fail to capture the offensiveness of the Spanish words.
2. The lack of a complete glossary and the author's habit of using words not yet introduced in the exercises make the translation drills tedious.
That said, this is an interesting review of Spanish basics for people who already know some Spanish. Despite the author's claim in the introduction, it is difficult to use this book to learn Spanish from scratch all by yourself.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - For Reviewing Spanish, It's Great!
Adrienne's "Spanish in 32 Lessons" is a good review book for re-learning Spanish. I emphasize the word "review." It does have drawbacks for someone who has never spoken a word of Spanish [such as no pronunciation guide], but for one who already knows the simple, logical rules of Spanish pronunciation, so what? It is nicely arranged in 32 chapters that can be used as weekly self-teaching "courses" if that is one's goal. It teaches the basic essentials and makes no bones about the fact that it is not a complete text, but does have the ability for anyone to start using those first halting words and phrases.

I especially like its compact size such that on my morning bus commute to work, I can easily review a chapter and pick up a few more commonly used words/"modismos" that either I'm not acquainted with or have not used in a number of years.

This reasonably priced book, for those especially wishing to review Spanish, is well worth the money.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - For intelligent self-motivated learners only.
This book moves presumes that you can figure out a good deal for yourself -- it might be a good idea also to get a book on grammar to check out the finer points that may be unclear to certain readers. Furthermore, this book offers no instruction on pronunciation. This is a fast, no-nonsense way to Spanish, and I for one love it.


Rating: 1 out of 5 stars - There are much better "Teach Youself" guides out there...
If you are looking to teach yourself Spanish, I do not recommend this book. Unlike most guides, this book is designed for someone who already has knowledge of the language, although it advertises itself as a book for beginners and those with no background. Instead try Spanish the Easy Way by Barrons.


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