Breaking Out of Beginner's Spanish / Edition 1

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Overview

Many language books are boring—this one is not. Written by a native English speaker who learned Spanish the hard way—by trying to talk to Spanish-speaking people—it offers English speakers with a basic knowledge of Spanish hundreds of tips for using the language more fluently and colloquially, with fewer obvious "gringo" errors.
Writing with humor, common sense, and a minimum of jargon, Joseph Keenan covers everything from pronunciation, verb usage, and common grammatical mistakes to the subtleties of addressing other people, "trickster" words that look alike in both languages, inadvertent obscenities, and intentional swearing. He guides readers through the set phrases and idiomatic expressions that pepper the native speaker's conversation and provides a valuable introduction to the most widely used Spanish slang.
With this book, both students in school and adult learners who never want to see another classroom can rapidly improve their speaking ability. Breaking Out of Beginner's Spanish will be an essential aid in passing the supreme language test—communicating fluently with native speakers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292743229
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1994
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 215
  • Sales rank: 165,449
  • Product dimensions: 6.84 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseph J. Keenan is a journalist, editor, and environmentalist who has lived and worked in Latin America since 1984.
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Table of Contents

Foreword and Forewarning
Acknowledgments
Introduction

1. Ten Ways to Avoid Being Taken for a Gringo
2. Minding Your Verbal Manners
3. Tricksters
4. Our Fellow Human Beings
5. The Secret Life of Verbs
6. The Twilight Zone
7. Sixty-four Verbs, Up Close and Personal
8. Cranking Up Your Spanish
9. Snappy Answers
10. Invective and Obscenity
11. Which Is Which?
12. Say It Right

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

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2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2007

    A reviewer

    After using the Learning Spanish Like Crazy cds, I was looking for something to help me with everyday usage. Breaking out of Beginner¿s Spanish is a great tool for non-native speakers to learn some of the finer nuances of culture and language, giving lessons and tips on common mistakes and cultural issues. It even addresses obscenities and insults, something few other books attempt to take on. If you¿re going to be using your Spanish while traveling, then you should definitely pick this book up. There¿s quite a difference between simply learning the rules of a language and speaking it in the real world. If you¿re a new speaker, however, start with something more comprehensive like the Learning Spanish Like Crazy course. Breaking out of Beginner¿s Spanish is a very short, sometimes humorous read, but it isn¿t comprehensive ¿ especially with things like verb conjugation.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2008

    The Best Spanish Reference Book for Middle to Advanced Speakers

    This is a book that I have been searching for. Most of the books I have come across only give very 'stiff-sounding' vocabulary and idioms. The author of this book seems to be someone similar to me in how I learned Spanish 10 years of school and college and then going to Spanish speaking countries and dating Spanish women. He is very good at explaining a lot of things that are culture related. For example, the difference between 'nice' and 'not so nice' people in Spanish are differentiated as buen educado and mal educado. What I hate about most Spanish/English dictionaries is that words are not necessarily translated properly and I noticed that reverse lookup from the Spanish and the English sections sometimes don't correlate (saca puntos, which is pencil sharpener is incorrectly translated in the English section of many dictionaries to corta lapices). What I really find more valuable at my level is a Spanish dictionary with Spanish translations. This book is a valuable as that type of dictionary. So far this is the best book I have found for my level of Spanish.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2003

    Great Book!

    This is definitely one of the greatest books that I've ever read. It's very informational while also being funny at the same time. You will learn very much from this book and will want to read it "muchas veces." I have never read a book with more valuable information than this one.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 10, 2009

    Almost perfect

    I have read other reviews and I agree with the pros and cons.
    Pros - very well written and explains a LOT of the things a gringo like myself needs to know about a lot of the differences in Spanish words - when to use which word, or when NOT to use a word in a situation... like the chapter about words to avoid that are taken as cuss words. All in all, a VERY informative book. I took this book to my Spanish class I'm taking in college and my teacher borrowed it for a week. She gives it her blessing!!!

    Cons - as other readers have pointed out: 1) No discussion on Por vs Para. 2) No index on words. Sometimes after reading all the chapters, you know he talked about huevos but what did he say about them? What page was that on?

    Other than the above Cons, I have no problem with the book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 20, 2009

    Good AND funny

    This is a very interesting book that I would recommend for people who know a decent amount (2+ years in college) of Spanish. Explains certain tricky words or phrases in an entertaining manner that keeps you reading!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2004

    Excellent!

    Highly recommended for any student of Spanish(at any level). The author does an excellent job.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 7, 2012

    Extremely Useful and Fun to Read

    If you are looking for a book that is not your basic classroom text this is the book for you. As a student of the Spanish language myself, I am on a quest for fluency. Breaking Out of Beginners Spanish is thorough, relatable and easy-to-read. The author is able to capture the reader’s attention through the use of everyday situations and stories while providing instruction at the same time. While this book in my opinion is not intended for someone who has little to no exposure to the Spanish language it can be used as a reference. Spanish and English are two very different languages and follow different grammatical rules. Keenan helps the native English speaker understand which areas to watch out for with a sense of humor. It’s the perfect refresher course on how to integrate yourself into the Spanish culture and language including a dose of manners. This book has helped me to let go of my fear and get out there and start talking.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Best Book of Its Kind

    This is a book that I have been searching for. Most of the books I have come across only give very "stiff-sounding" vocabulary and idioms. The author of this book seems to be someone similar to me in how I learned Spanish; 10 years of school and college and then going to Spanish speaking countries and dating Spanish women. He is very good at explaining a lot of things that are culture related. For example, the difference between "nice" and "not so nice" people in Spanish are differentiated as buen educado and mal educado.

    What I hate about most Spanish/English dictionaries is that words are not necessarily translated properly and I noticed that reverse lookup from the Spanish and the English sections sometimes don't correlate (saca puntos, which is pencil sharpener is incorrectly translated in the English section of many dictionaries to corta lapices). What I really find more valuable at my level is a Spanish dictionary with Spanish translations. This book is a valuable as that type of dictionary.

    So far this is the best book I have found for my level of Spanish.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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