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Streetwise Spanish (Book + 1CD) (Streetwise (Mcgraw Hill))

Streetwise Spanish (Book + 1CD) (Streetwise (Mcgraw Hill))
Author/Publisher: Mary McVey Gill, Brenda Wegmann
Emphasis: Slang
List Price: $17.95

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Easy lessons that help you speak Spanish like a native


This revised edition of Streetwise Spanish features an. overview of the �signature� words that differentiate speakers across the Spanish-speaking world. It also includes an audio CD featuring 30 dialogs from the book, spoken by native speakers from more than 15 countries and exercises that test your grasp of key slang expressions.


Language Notes
Text: English, Spanish --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 2 edition (October 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071460861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071460866
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review:

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

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Streets throughout the Spanish-speaking world
This book will give you a taste of the vernacular used in a wide variety of places in the Spanish speaking world. This is both the strength of the book and, if you're only interested in learning about one particular piece of the Spanish speaking world, say just Spain or just Mexico, a drawback.

The idioms presented are useful and current. This isn't a text book or a grammar book about usage. Rather, its a sampling of how Spanish is actually spoken by regular people.

I highly recommend it and its companion book, Red Hot Spanish Slang and Idioms, by the same authors.


Rating: 3 out of 5 stars - Warning CD exercises do not follow book at all!
When someone "borrowed" my 1st edition, I was glad to be able to get an Audio CD with this second edition. But, the CD chapter exercises do not follow book exercises. The familiar exercises at the end of chapters is a nice touch, but I was disappointed that CD doesn't match up with these. The book itself is a good taste of Spanish slang from around the world. The book is especially good for the learner who has become bored with the usual textbook vocabulary from beginner's Spanish.


Rating: 2 out of 5 stars - Not helpful
Only slighlty useful. The CD is of no use at all for learning - it has too little information about too few places. It would have been better to teach U.S. urban terms instead of jumping from country to country giving single phrases.

A waste of money.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - Quite Entertaining
Throughout my student years I had always learned "proper" Spanish. Just learning proper spanish does not give you a real "feel" for the language. I found many of the phrases in this book quite entertaining and funny. There are chapters for different situations (expressing anger, romantic relationships) each with two conversations in Spanish and then an English translation. One of the most valuable aspects of the book is that they let you know which Spanish-speaking country the phrase is commonly used as well as giving you tips on what phrases are OK to use in one country but can be offensive in another.

The only reason I knocked one star off the rating is because it would have been helpful to include a list of commonly used English phrases with their equivalent Spanish phrases. It's good to know what people are saying, but it is equally good to know how to express yourself. For a more "dictionary" style book, get "The Red-Hot Book of Spanish Slang" written by the same authors.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Makes Learning Spanish Great Fun!
Your Streetwise Spanish book arrived promptly and in fine condition. I like the exercises and the practical, funny sayings. It makes learning Spanish much more fun than it was before.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - VERY HELPFUL BOOK! You won't have to guess about "vos sos" anymore!
I bought this book to help "demystify" some of the alternate usage I was hearing in those interesting Argentine films I was watching. While I surmised that "vos sos" meant the same thing as "tu eres", this book actually verified that I was right! While it doesn't go into great depth about vos vs. tu, it does offer at least a basic idea of the alternate "vos" verb conjugations of the second person singular familiar form.

Most books I've studied simply mention the vos variation in a kind of "by the way" manner, as if nobody needs know more, because nobody will ever meet anybody from Uruguay or Argentina. This book is different! Personally I could use a little less vosotros and a little more vos information.

Lots of useful information about other regional variations in meaning and what NOT to say where. Handy "tests" at the end of each chapter plus "reviews" after every five chapters. ANSWERS at the back, so you can check whether or not you're actually learning anything.

Also includes appendix of "signature" words arranged by country from Argentina to Venezuela, AND a handy Spanish to English glossary of words and phrases that mean something other than the literal translation.

Humorous stories, anecdotes and cartoons keep the learning fun. Definitely a handy guide, presented in a simple enough format that even non-advanced "students" of Spanish can use. As confusing as some of these Spanish slang usages are, it makes one think of how much MORE confusing English slang must be to native Spanish speakers! Just think for a moment about the differences in American, British, Australian and Canadian (eh?) English, plus all the sub-dialects in each country and those Caribbean and South African versions. Not only different standard nouns, but alternate verb meanings, pronunciations, spellings, contractions and slang! I guess the old saying about Americans and British being two people separated by a common language really is true.

But, back to THIS BOOK. STREETWISE SPANISH really is useful. You'll learn a LOT! Easy to browse through randomly as well, no need to go from front to back. About the only question it didn't answer for me was, "What does 'guey' mean?" That word is still a mystery!


Rating: 3 out of 5 stars - Interesting supplement, but I can't focus in it
This book presents slang in a chapter by chapter format each with new topic, greetings, put-downs, love, etc. The format is concise not exhaustive, meaning you must reread bits and pieces at your own pace until you develop and understanding. Even if you don't memorize every phrase, by reading the chapters you get a feel for Spanish idioms and slang so later you are more aware that you are hearing/reading colliquial Spanish, even if the terms were not in the book. My difficulty with this book is that I hesitate to use the phrases until I've heard a native speaker ratify the authors advice. Whether that's the authors fault or my own, I still wouldn't use this as a focus of study, more of a supplement and reference guide.


Rating: 3 out of 5 stars - Is it practical for me?
It looks good - When I showed it to a Spanish speaking teacher, they felt it was not too practical for my use.

I would send it back but probably will not


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Streetwise Spanish
This is a book that the market has been waiting a long time for! As a Spanish professor I think that one can only take so many text books before craving some real "street" Spanish. My students hear Spanish alot outside of class and they often have questions about Slang. This is a great book for learning new vocabulary and colloquial expressions, but also, with the CD, it is awesome to have the opportunity to listen to native speakers from different countries engaged in conversation with notes about the various accents you're hearing. I highly recommend this book to any of my high intermediate and above students.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - At Last, a Book that Teaches Us the Spanish that Natives Really Speak!
As the owner of Toni Roman's LearningSpanishVideoReviews web site, I am more than happy to have this opportunity to post my review of this wonderful resource for learning to speak and understand everyday Spanish.

The formal Spanish that we learn through classroom study or by textbooks is such a small part of the Spanish spoken in clubs, bars, cafes, "calles," novelas, and between lovers, close friends, and family members. Streetwise Spanish is a book that effectively fills that gap.

This book has many words and phrases that I often hear native speakers say but have never been able to find in the Spanish books. Like "guagua" for "bus." Most Spanish books only teach you the word "autobus." But I have never heard a Puerto Rican, Cuban, or Dominican say "autobus." Not only does Streetwise Spanish mention the word "guagua" (the Spanish word for "bus" used by Spanish speakers from the Caribbean) but it also gives the origins and traces the roots of this word that sounds like baby talk to my gringo ears . Another example is "Que onda?" which I always hear Mexican speakers say instead of "como esta usted?" which other textbooks teach.

From Streetwise Spanish, I learned that "Que onda?" literally means "what sound wave?" but Mexicans use it the same way young Americans say "what's up?" instead of "hello."

Here's another example from Streetwise Spanish: The word "un momentico" which my Colombian friend uses instead of the
phrase "un momento" that I have learned from other Spanish books or the "un momentito" which I would have guessed and said is the diminutive Spanish definition for "one moment."

The one thing that I found most helpful about this book is that it often tells you which Spanish words and phrases are only used in certain countries or when to be careful about using a word or phrase that may be vulgar or offensive in one country but not another.

A perfect match for Streetwise Spanish is Learning Spanish Like Crazy because compared to the other Spanish course that I have used, Learning Spanish Like Crazy focuses more on the conversational or everyday Spanish that Spanish speakers really speak.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - What a find!
I'm surprised more people haven't written a review of this book. In fact, I was reading a review of a similar book, "Street Spanish, Volume 1", and the reader who wrote the review stated that "Streetwise Spanish" is the best in this genre. I agree. I have been largely unimpressed with the Street Spanish series, which I have browsed through but never bought. I am proud to say I own a copy of "Streetwise Spanish". The editorial description posted here at Amazon is very thorough, describing all the features and instruction methods of this book, so I'll just add a brief commentary.

I think the dialogues in this book are great. They're based on a variety of everyday situations, which facilitates self-study. In the preface, the authors state that they chose the thematic approach because it helps readers retain new vocabulary words better. Dialogue-based instruction is nothing new, of course, but the problem with many textbooks is the exchanges are stilted, wooden -- and usually just plain lame. "Streetwise Spanish" provides a refreshing departure from the so-called conversations that many other books pass off as examples of language in action.

Besides the realistic dialogue, the book contains vignettes that focus on culture, traditions and literature of the Spanish-speaking world. The essays range from a primer on Spanish names to a primer on "palabrotas" (bad words) and their euphemisms. Another essay describes the preoccupation Chileans have with pigeonholing people into one social class or another, a practice that gives rise to a uniquely Chilean set of slang terms that defy translation. This book links language and culture so well that at times it reads more like National Geographic. BTW, there's also a companion volume, a dictionary/thesaurus. Both are well worth the money, but I've used the dialogue book a lot more.

"Streetwise Spanish" is entertaining and extremely informative. I've read it from cover to cover (well, if you don't count the glossary in the back, that is!) twice so far, and every chapter has at least one satisfying tidbit. You can't help but pasarlo bomba (have a blast). Who knew learning Spanish solo could be so much fun!


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Fun, Real, Entertaining Spanish!
This book is the best birthday present I ever got from a friend...It is at once a GREAT read, with hilarious jokes, situations, and catroons sprinkeled throughout; and a solid educational resource...although you won't find it in your high school Spanish class. Also, it covers a wide spectrum of slang, from innocent proverbs to informal greetings to more risque or vulgar phrases. Which of course help you to be an informed global citizen, haha. When you think you're done learning all the words for one lesson, you can quiz yourself with the brief excercises at the end of each chapter!
But wait, there's more! Since Spanish is the official language of a dazzling 21 countries, this book also does a great job at pointing out and explaining regional differences. All in all, this book will teach you to greet, express a multitude of emotions, complain, respond to lewd comments, spout proverbs, and overall feel a lot more comfortable with your usage and understanding of everyday Spanish. With readings, excercises, vocab lists, fun, and a dictionary in the back, this book is your one-stop for picking up tons of casual Spanish as it is really spoken.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Best of its Kind
There are a plethora of books purporting to deal with Spanish slang on the market; a surprisingly large number of them have come out in just the last few years. After having checked out many of them, I must say that this is far and away the best one that I have encountered to date.

One of the problems with dealing with colloquialisms in Spanish is that they differ so much from region to region. This book addresses this by setting the dialogues in different Hispanic countries, including (dare I say it?) that particularly large Hispanic country called the United States, specifically in California and Florida. The book then selects out the colloquialisms covered in the lesson and tells you what the equivalent terms are in other Hispanic countries.

Another problem with learning colloquialisms, and this is true in any language, is that they tend to vary considerably depending on the social type you're dealing with: students, business types, street people, etc. Not infrequently, the learner may have to deal with several different strata in the course of his or her travels, and so familiarity with several situations is called for. The different lessons, and lectures, in this book intentionally vary the milieu of the characters so that you get an even spread.

The book also has an abundance of cultural notes and asides, jokes, and situational items to polish up your skills. Among the features I enjoyed best was the essay on that famous Hispanic folk art, the "piropo", including examples of the genre, along with some snappy comebacks for women to use when encountering this phenomenon on the street.

So may study aids come out on Spanish every year that it's hard to single out the real winners. This book is definitely one of them, and regardless of your interest in the language you'll find your money well spent on this one. To top it all, it's a good read!


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - not what i thought
i have been studying espanol for about 4 years now, and it seems like every book tell's you the same thing. i wanted a book that would tell me how to say "what's up!" not "how are you?" so I bought this. it was the best twenty bucks i ever invested. my boyfriend, who is mexican, was shocked when i started speaking not just fluent spanish, but common fluent spanish. a definite if you want to learn how to speak in a less formal manner. nothing stiff about the book at all.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - A Great Book for Learning Everyday Spanish
This book is a great buy. I bought it recently for my final stage of Spanish, slang. I have already mastered the grammer and much of the vocabulary, so this is the last thing. When I say slang, I do not exactly mean profanity. I am talking about idiomatic expressions. This book greatly helps you to sound like a native speaker. It has a dialogues, translations, vocabulary notes and lists, exercises, jokes and cartoons, and some culture notes. It also has reviews and answer keys, as well as a bilingual glossary. I appreciate its warning of how vulgar a word can be, and also its explanation on how different words are used in different Spanish-speaking countries. You can't get confused while using this book, because everything is so easy and clear. A very good choice to learning everyday Spanish.



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