Becoming fluent in a foreign language can be quite a challenge. Before achieving fluency in Spanish there are a few hurdles to be got over. The first step is probably to build a sufficient vocabulary to survive in typical everyday situations and a bit of grammar just enough to export that vocabulary knowledge in meaningful sentences.
To achieve such a goal, you may wish to get some books as reference materials. It is difficult to have all the world’s material in one single book. So, you should decide what aspect of your language learning needs to be improved. As I mentioned above, there are primarily two areas you need to concentrate on when learning a language: vocabulary and grammar. You should learn enough from both of these areas equally so that you can start to express yourself from day one.
What is a beginner book supposed to teach you?
According to European framework of reference to languages, in order to reach intermeadiate level, you should
“understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.”
In this respect, you should see if the book you are planning to buy teaches the basic Spanish vocabulary for carrying out simple conversations and the corresponding grammar topics.
SPANISH GRAMMAR AND VOCABULARY BOOKS FOR BEGINNERS
This book addresses the most common words and expressions you will encounter in your daily life. But it is not just a collection of lists of those words. Vocabulary related to real life topics is given in meaningful contexts. These range from greeting and describing people, talking about languages and nationalities, family members to talking about weather and jobs. The book has totally 12 chapters dealing with these kinds of real life situations. To practice the words intorduced, you will be given a dialogue consisting of the most relevant words in that topic. The accompanying cd has these dialogues so that you will have the opportunity to hear the pronunciation of the essential words in Spanish. Moreover, there is a separate chapter about the pronunciation of the Spanish words, so that you may find all the rules related to the pronunciation in one place.
What I really like about this book is that it encourages you to carry out your own vocabulary project by keeping the lists of the words you learn. The author calls this list as vokabulario personal because she points out that if you also keep track of the words which are important for you instead of learning only the words you find in the book, your vocabulary will increase drastically.
You may receive a version of the book without the audio CDas well. On the other hand, the dialogues add a great value to the vocabulary learning process. That’s why I highly recommend you get the audio cd as well.
If you listen to the dialogues carefully and carry out the vocabulary project as suggested by the author, the book will certainly help you build a solid conversational Spanish.
In the course of the lessons, some important beginner grammar topics are explained, such as subject pronouns, definite and indefinite articles, adjectives, singular and plural nouns. Also, the quick tips tables give information about Spanish culture and common mistakes in Spanish in a short and sweet way. Hence, the essential knowledge, which you should acquire to claim you are an intermeadiate learner, is distributed throughout the book. On the other hand, if you feel like learning Spanish grammar in more detail, I have another recommendation for you.
This one is more grammar oriented. You will find broad range of grammar topics with many examples and exercises to test your knowledge.
If you like to learn new words by reading texts in Spanish, you may be interested to get this book. Because, at the end of each chapter there is a key vocabulary section related to the topic introduced. With respect to that vocabulary, every chapter includes reading passages in Spanish which are followed then by questions to test your comprehension. This kind of reading practices can improve your Spanish vocabulary efficiently. Also, in each chapter there are short English sentences to be translated into Spanish. In this way, you are led to practice the key vocabulary introduced in the earlier parts.
It is also worth mentioning that Easy Spanish-step-by-step devotes a special part to the classic Spanish topic ser and estar, which is again integrated with useful exercises.