We were pretty surprised this year to find almost everyone around us excited to learn a new language. Perhaps it’s the new year resolution trend that’s kick-started this or a new trend… all we know is, this is resolution that will always come in handy.
We decided to follow this challenging trend… first up, what language?
Mandarin seemed to come to mind first, but then we looked at how in-depth that really is… and honestly, it scared us. Simple, we need simple. French or German then came to mind, but really it’s not a hugely spoken language and we already know enough to get us by in a small conversation.
Spanish; it’s spoken all over the world. It’s close by. Never taken it, always regretted not doing so. We have a winner.
We took the first step, booked ourselves in for Spanish lessons in our local town. We have some friends coming too, so yes, support. We’re less likely to give up if that means letting someone down.
Next, we of course decided to divulge in more Las Iguanas and general Mexican food. Because… market research, right? Not just because we love Tacos and Guac. We take our work very seriously.
Finally, we needed a good handbook or Spanish language book. As much as our phones are very accessible, nothing quite beats a book for us. It’s completely reliable, small and pocket friendly and laid out beautifully. Also – internet is oh so unreliable. A book or two is a must.
Our choices you may ask? Well, we decided on two different styles of book. One essential handbook that you can take anywhere for quick effective conversation. And an in-depth Spanish book that actually teaches you techniques and is fun!
‘Fast Talk Spanish: Guaranteed to get you talking’ by Lonely Planet.
Lonely Planet are brilliant. If you want to get a book guaranteed to get you learning and talking quickly, they are such a good publisher to go towards.
The best thing we immediately noticed about Lonely Planet’s book is the way it didn’t feel like the bog-standard pocket handbook. It was fresh and casual. Very to-the-point and easy to follow.
It’s brilliantly split up into sections. You’re immediately greeted with some phrases that are good to learn before you leave to visit Spain and then some great ones that will give you that local touch- because us Brit’s tend to stand out like a sore thumb.
Not only does it tell you how the phrases are spelt it also splits it up underneath to show you how it should be pronounced. This HUGLY helped us out.
They very quickly give you the basics that you have to know and the essentials – yes, no, sorry, thank you – you get the gist.
The book is split up into sections such as shopping, travel or food. So wherever you are, you know exactly what page to be on. There’s a brilliant English to Spanish dictionary in the back. And best of all - and bravo to Lonely Planet for thinking of this - the back page is some really quick, important phrases that you’re most likely to use. So if you’re in the moment, or panicking, you can quickly open the last page and translate what you need to!
It’s quite literally pocket sized, so can be so easily placed in your pocket or slip into your bag, if you’re going to Spain or just want to learn Spanish for the fun of it, we highly HIGHLY recommend a little book like this one. For £2.50, you cannot go wrong!
Thank you Lonely Planet for sending us a copy! Get your own here: https://shop.lonelyplanet.com/products/fast-talk-spanish-4
Next up, we recommend a Spanish book, you always need more of an explanation alongside a pocket handbook!
Introducing… Unlocking Spanish with Paul Noble.
Firstly, it’s a lovely cover and design, so visibly – 100%.
Paul and his publisher (Collins) made the great choice to lay out the book with a wonderful contents page which gives you a great idea of where you jump to, if need be – although Paul recommends you don’t skip straight away. An example of some sections are: ‘I’m scared of flying, so I’m planning to take the Eurostar’ & ‘I booked a table, ordered dinner and paid the bill, what did you do?’ – not just – dinner, travel and so on. Makes it more fun and unique!
Immediately, we felt like experts thanks to one of the beginning pages showing English-Spanish, words that you can pretty much just add ‘ico’ or ‘a’ at the end, and bam! Spanish! Later on we see ‘word robbery’ which is very similar, finding words in English and showing the similar Spanish word, we know so much already without even having to learn them. Hurrah!
Rather than just telling you what certain words mean, the book is like a fun flashcard. It asks questions such as ‘So how would you say, I paid the bill? You then cover up the orange part and try and guess! You learn by challenging yourself!
Honestly, this book is brilliant. There are checklists so you know what you have got covered and learnt – no cheating here! Helpful tips that help you to learn and absorb information. Building blocks to help make sentences… we particularly loved page 84 which shows the days of the week and why they are named that way. When you understand that Monday is named ‘moon day’ or ‘lunes’ you remember it! Learning the truth behind the word rather than the translation really does help.
Lastly, it even comes with a brilliant pronunciation guide at the back.
We were just expecting a little book about Spain with some translations and a dictionary section; but we got so much more. It honestly makes Spanish manageable. Just reading this book really can help you learn Spanish without a need for a class or course. For just £9.99 you could literally learn a language and have fun with it too… isn’t life grand!
Get yourself your own copy, here: https://www.waterstones.com/book/unlocking-spanish-with-paul-noble/paul-noble/9780008135836
Thank you so much to Collins for sending us the review copy!
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