Good Spanish reference book?

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WolvesOfTheNight
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Good Spanish reference book?

Unread postby WolvesOfTheNight » Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:15 pm

Having learned a little more Spanish I am now looking for a good reference book. Most of the books from classes are filled with various extras like pictures, discussions, exercises, and long winded explanations. While useful for a beginner level class I am now looking for a good reference book.

It probably needs to be targeted at foreigners learning the language, with explanations of all the common parts of the language. For example, ser vs estar, por and para, common conjugation forms, when to use each type of conjugation, command forms, how to ask questions, etc. Note that I already have a good dictionary and I can easily look up conjugations on the internet. But I have a lot of trouble with things like when to use which preterite. Ideally the book would note the differences between different dialects of Spanish, but that is probably asking too much.

One other thing: any suggestions for a better computerized dictionary and learning site than spanishdict.com? They get the job done but I feel like there should be something better. Online works, or a download for Mac.
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Re: Good Spanish reference book?

Unread postby PymbleSoftware » Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:51 pm

WolvesOfTheNight wrote:Having learned a little more Spanish I am now looking for a good reference book. Most of the books from classes are filled with various extras like pictures, discussions, exercises, and long winded explanations. While useful for a beginner level class I am now looking for a good reference book.

It probably needs to be targeted at foreigners learning the language, with explanations of all the common parts of the language. For example, ser vs estar, por and para, common conjugation forms, when to use each type of conjugation, command forms, how to ask questions, etc. Note that I already have a good dictionary and I can easily look up conjugations on the internet. But I have a lot of trouble with things like when to use which preterite. Ideally the book would note the differences between different dialects of Spanish, but that is probably asking too much.

One other thing: any suggestions for a better computerized dictionary and learning site than spanishdict.com? They get the job done but I feel like there should be something better. Online works, or a download for Mac.


Practice, Practice, Practice. Listen to spanish news services on internet radio, get a copy of Don Quoite in Spanish and read it cover to cover, ( They sell that book everywhere near tourist traps in Madrid), Deep and constant immersion in a culture with the language all around you all the time and you will not think of using the wrong cogitation. After a while of a heavy dose of content ..the wrong cogitation will sound unnatural, and you will look confused for a moment and correct yourself. Talk to people in their on language and ask to be corrected. In some countries they have schools in the language itself, eg Spanish classes in Madrid, French classes in Paris or Le Mans.. Why they have English classes for Koreans in Malaysia is beyond me..:roll:

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Re: Good Spanish reference book?

Unread postby smj » Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:12 pm

PymbleSoftware wrote:... you will not think of using the wrong cogitation.

Unfortunately no matter how much I practice thinking, I keep using the wrong cogitations. Of course there's an open question of whether or not the people around me are doing any better.... :lol:
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Re: Good Spanish reference book?

Unread postby WolvesOfTheNight » Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:35 pm

Yea, I understand the importance of practice; I have been reminded far too many times. I am currently taking a Spanish for English speakers class in Santiago, Chile. And yes, I understand the importance of talking to locals.

But conversations are not what I need a reference book for. One important part of practice (out of many) is writing in Spanish. This is a good chance to focus on putting all the various parts together without the pressure of a conversation. Take the time to build proper sentences. Use them to make paragraphs. Write a short story.

To do this I need to be able to look up stuff. Should I use the preterite perfect, or the preterite imperfect, or the preterite indefinite? In which case do I use por or para? What was that format for comparing stuff? Should I use ser or estar? When do I capitalize? At the moment I have a pile of books and notes that I have to look through to figure this sort of thing out. I want one concise and well written book that I can refer to when needed. Note that such a book will probably be written in Spanish - at this point is is better for me to look stuff up in Spanish whenever possible.
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Re: Good Spanish reference book?

Unread postby PymbleSoftware » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:28 pm

smj wrote:
PymbleSoftware wrote:... you will not think of using the wrong cogitation.

Unfortunately no matter how much I practice thinking, I keep using the wrong cogitations. Of course there's an open question of whether or not the people around me are doing any better.... :lol:


touche.

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Re: Good Spanish reference book?

Unread postby PymbleSoftware » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:08 pm

WolvesOfTheNight wrote:Yea, I understand the importance of practice; I have been reminded far too many times. I am currently taking a Spanish for English speakers class in Santiago, Chile. And yes, I understand the importance of talking to locals.

But conversations are not what I need a reference book for. One important part of practice (out of many) is writing in Spanish. This is a good chance to focus on putting all the various parts together without the pressure of a conversation. Take the time to build proper sentences. Use them to make paragraphs. Write a short story.

To do this I need to be able to look up stuff. Should I use the preterite perfect, or the preterite imperfect, or the preterite indefinite? In which case do I use por or para? What was that format for comparing stuff? Should I use ser or estar? When do I capitalize? At the moment I have a pile of books and notes that I have to look through to figure this sort of thing out. I want one concise and well written book that I can refer to when needed. Note that such a book will probably be written in Spanish - at this point is is better for me to look stuff up in Spanish whenever possible.


This sounds like a high school grammar book. Cruze some second hand book stores with a Spanish speaking friend or ask them if they still have their text books from school.

R.
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Re: Good Spanish reference book?

Unread postby smj » Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:04 pm

Wolves -- No help to offer on the Spanish, but glad to learn you went for it. How's life in Chile been treating you? A friend from college is an ex-pat photographer and writer based in Santiago and loves it, from what I can tell.
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Re: Good Spanish reference book?

Unread postby [[C|-|E]] » Sun Feb 12, 2012 5:13 am

I guess that you have an additional problem if you live in South America. The Spanish from Spain and South American countries is quite different. I mean, if you know european Spanish is very easy to understand south american speakers but, if you are learning, this can be a problem. It turns out that you could buy a book intended for European people and then find that the language you are used to listen is not similar to the Spanish in the book.
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Re: Good Spanish reference book?

Unread postby hamei » Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:51 pm

[[C|-|E]] wrote:I guess that you have an additional problem if you live in South America. The Spanish from Spain and South American countries is quite different. .

Same here, only worse. I have to laugh at the starry-eyed college kids who wander in ... "I'm going to practice my Mandarin !" Uh, yeah. Which "mandarin" ? (There is no such thing as "mandarin", that's a foreigner term for standard Chinese, which doesn't really exist either. Well, it does in theory but in practice, better not walk across the street and expect anyone to understand you.) Best true story I know is a guy who spent hours and hours practicing with his Anhui housekeeper. Yup, you guessed it. No one else could understand him at all. If he went back to that village in the middle of nowhere he could talk about the weather, tho :)

Wolves, my advice would be not to worry so much about the grammar rules, that will just inhibit you. Just talk as much as you can and listen to other people. Language is more of a soaking-in kind of knowledge than a think-about-it kind of thing. And oh yeah, imitate the guys, not the girls. If you always talk to girls (who are definitely nicer and more interesting, to heck with useless males !) then you end up talking like a girl. Not so good ..... lots of foreigners come to Shanghai and practice really hard. Then they go elsewhere in China and everyone thinks they are gay :P (Shanghai accent is famous for being ... errr ... soft.) Not that that is necessarily bad but if you don't want people to think that, then you need to be aware of the pitfalls.

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Re: Good Spanish reference book?

Unread postby WolvesOfTheNight » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:18 pm

-PymbaleSoftware: Yes, a hight school grammar book might be the right thing. I will look around for one. But the bookstores like hiding all the textbooks behind the desk; I guess they are hight theft items. I will do some more looking

-smj: So far things are working out. I had really needed the change of pace. I like the great variety of landscapes, and there are plenty of mountains! The 6 days on / 8 (10 hour) days off shift is working out better than I thought it would. And the cafeteria at work has not yet killed me. I like living near a subway.

But there are also a lot of frustrations. For example, all the non-prescription medications are (I assume by law) required to be behind the counter. You have to ask for the whatever you need. Which is only a problem if you can't speak the language... No doubt this is a deranged ploy to give all foreigners headaches, or at least to insure that they keep the ones that they have! And getting to the mountains to go hiking is a real pain since I don't have a car. The busses just don't seem to go to the places where they aren't any people - which makes it very hard to get out into Chile's wilderness.

-[[C|-|E]]: Yep, that is a serious problem. And Chile is one or the worst offenders, or so they tell me.

-hamei: Interesting point about talking to girls. I guess I have not thought much about gender based language differences. So I don't have much of a feel how common they are in Spanish, or even in English. I feel like it is a non-issue in English but I have not been paying attention.
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Re: Good Spanish reference book?

Unread postby [[C|-|E]] » Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:09 pm

I would say that you could also learn Spanish from a girl and not seem to be gay :). Of course, there are very girlish expressions, but still... :D
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Re: Good Spanish reference book?

Unread postby hamei » Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:39 pm

[[C|-|E]] wrote:I would say that you could also learn Spanish from a girl and not seem to be gay :). Of course, there are very girlish expressions, but still... :D

You have to watch it in Chinese. Of course, if you don't know what you're watching, then you're not liable to be aware :) I understand that japanese is even more that way, with girl-Japanese and boy-Japanese and ne'er the twain shall meet ... unless you want to get funny looks. Oh-oh :shock:

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Re: Good Spanish reference book?

Unread postby PymbleSoftware » Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:40 pm

[[C|-|E]] wrote:I would say that you could also learn Spanish from a girl and not seem to be gay :). Of course, there are very girlish expressions, but still... :D


You will sound gay but a gf does help if she is patient and wants to teach you the male forms...

I lived in a czech and slovak household outside of Europe (1a) with a then school teacher girlfriend and her friend and her friends boy-friend ... It was lucky that guy shared the house with his girlfriend and the two of us... to laugh his ass off every time I used the female form of things, mindlessly repeating things my then gf or his gf had said... Years later in a bar in Bratislava a drunk Aussie (1c) asked if I spoke any English... I said a little .. and that I'd only been the country a few hours. I even got an StB (1b) interview about the way I spoke and acted.

Even in Japan, women talk very differently, the girl who sat in the cubical across the asile from me was always Suuuu-pa Kar--why - heeee about everything :roll:

.. and Spanish is a romance language (ie derived from latin) so it has male and female forms.. But now days I refuse to listen or speak it or Catalan. Even though I got a credit grade for it in the university annexe course.

Drinking in bars where the education students (future teachers) drink after university might be an idea.

R.

1a. we must of been on some kind of tourist trail as every Slovak travelling through seemed to drop in.
1b. Secret police like Stassi.
1c. Aussies are everywhere except Australian tourist traps.
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Re: Good Spanish reference book?

Unread postby smj » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:01 pm

You might be able to trade your knowledge of authentic and current idiomatic American English and slang for similar lessons. If there's a subway nearby, there's got to be some kind of college or university not too terribly far away...
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Re: Good Spanish reference book?

Unread postby BSDero » Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:28 am

You should be learning the accent and the modisms of spanish down there. Here in Mexico there are many accents and sometimes for south to north there are different words for the same thing, A.k.a. "regionalisms.".

But it would be better to learn neutral spanish. I'm sure it will be more helpful and all the spanish speakers will understand.
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