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The Oxford Spanish Cartoon-strip Vocabulary Builder

The Oxford Spanish Cartoon-strip Vocabulary Builder
Author/Publisher: Monica Tamariz (Editor), Claire Bretecher (Illustrator)
Emphasis: Vocabulary
List Price: $14.95

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description
[SERIES COPY:] This informative, colorful, and fun-to-use series of guides is perfect for anyone who wants to learn a second language quickly and easily. Each volume employs the amusing and always true-to-life cartoon strips of Claire Bretecher--an artist renowned in Europe for her witty and controversial cartoons--to not simply explain but illustrate the words and wording of a given foreign language in its common, everyday use.

While there are other cartoon dictionaries on the market, most of them provide only single cartoons. This attractive series, on the other hand, provides whole strips which tell a story and effectively bring context and other memorable features to one's learning. And only this series offers cartoons done in full color, and written by a popular cartoonist. These vocabulary-builders are the perfect starting place for people who want to begin, or else strengthen, their acquisition of French, German, or Spanish.

Language Notes
Text: English, Spanish

Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (July 13, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019860288X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198602880
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 8.1 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review:

    4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Great Learning Tool
I love comic strips and I couldn't think of a better way to build my vocabulary than with cartoon strips. I spend a little time each day practicing and translating. ¡Es muy fabuloso!


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - Useful, but not the Best
Teaching with cartoons, what a fine idea! Why are so many books so poorly executed.

My complaints here are small. I need my reading glasses for the small typeface, the cartoons are not from real comic strips (they are drawn just for this book), I find it a bit basic. Still, these are nit-picks, in general I like it. It builds thematic lexical sets.

The best cartoon book for Spanish students remains "Laugh 'n' Learn Spanish : Featuring the #1 Comic Strip "For Better or For Worse"


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Fill your head with boatloads of words in context...
Nothing beats a good context for picking up foreign language vocabulary. Many books simply push lists of words into the reader's head and hope that something catches to make the words stick. Unfortunately, rote memorization unaccompanied by usage typically results in horrificly low retention rates. This book has none zip nada of those problems. True, it includes lists of vocabulary words and lots of them. But the comics set it apart from other books that claim to expand one's vocabulary. Instead of sitting on a neuron impatiently waiting for an opportunity for use, the comics give the words a context. The word lists then becomes more of a map to help navigate the comics, and retention skyrockets.

The comics focus more on European Spanish (or Español Iberico) than American Spanish. Nonetheless, the word and phrase lists also include references and idioms unique to Latin American Spanish. Words and phrases not used in Latin American Spanish get an asterisk next to them, so it's easy to tell them apart. Regardless, this book will probably better suit those wanting to speak Spanish in Spain. But anyone learning Spanish can benefit greatly from it.

Probably the best way to get the most out of this book is to read all of the vocabulary for a particular comic first, then read that same comic a few times through to cement the words in memory. Repetition and context will fuel retention, and returning to previously read comics will yield surprising results. Some words will stick like paste on a first reading; others may take a few times through. Nonetheless, many rewards await those who read through the entire book more than a few times.

Lastly, this is not a beginner's Spanish book. It assumes much foreknowledge from the reader. Basic grammar and very basic vocabulary are not covered in any depth. Probably the best time to go through this book would be after completing a basic Spanish class or book (i.e., know more than just present indicative verb conjugation, sentence structure, same basic vocabulary, pronouns, etc.). The level of learning can best be described as beginner intermediate. Those in the advanced level will likely breeze through it. So get going, read some comics, and learn a load of Spanish words.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Vocabulary builder is great
I learned everyday English by reading a lot of comics and I always wanted a comic strip in Spanish. This book is exactly that and has a vocab reference for each strip. Great way to learn!


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Great supplement for learning Spanish!
From the perspective of a Spanish teacher, this is a wonderful book to help build your Spanish vocabulary and comprehension.

The way the it's set up is: On one page there is a FULL page cartoon strip in color. There is a lot of dialogue, idioms, and basic vocabulary. One the opposite page is a list of vocabulary found in the comic strip in Spanish and English, divided into categories. The book is organized by cartoon title and topic. Some topics include: food & drink, money, travelling, etc. There are 30 cartoons in total, a well-organized table of contents, a glossary and a verb conjugation help section.

I definitely think this would be a great way to expand your knowledge (or your students' knowledge) of Spanish in a very interesting and humorous context.

The content is appropriate for high school and college level students, and for any level of study, although first and second year students would need help understanding the more complex structures.


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