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.
Text: English, Spanish --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
- 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:
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
I highly recommend it and its companion book, Red Hot Spanish Slang and Idioms,
by the same authors.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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
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!
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.
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