The One Resource You Need for Beginning Spanish
Contrary to what you may glean from the title of this book, there’s actually nothing modern about it — it was first published in 1959. There’s not even a decent, non-fuzzy picture of the cover online anywhere, as far as I can tell.
It was published, in fact, in the days before the “communicative approach” with its glossy pictures, survival phrases and grammar-by-osmosis. This book takes the hardcore approach: sit down for half an hour a day, read through some grammar principles, then translate a myriad of sentences like “my pencil is yellow but yours is prettier than mine”.
There’s nothing glossy about it. There are no pictures; there aren’t even any colours. It’s probably not what you want if your aim is to get by on a week’s holiday in Mallorca. But if you want a firm foundation for your language learning, if you want to be fluent, if you’re in it for the long-term — then still now, in 2020, the age of apps and paperless dictionaries, there’s really nothing better than this.
Buy An Essential Grammar of Modern Spanish here. (But don’t pay $989.90 for it. It’s good, but it’s not THAT good.)
— for more hints and tips on language learning, buy Conquering Babel: A Practical Guide to Learning a Language.
First published on conqueringbabel.wordpress.com. Some links may be affiliate links, enabling the author to earn a small commission on each sale.
Claire Handscombe is the author of Unscripted, a smart read about a young woman with a celebrity crush and a determined plan. She also wrote Conquering Babel: a Practical Guide to Learning a Language, and edited a book by and for fans of her favourite series, Walk With Us: How The West Wing Changed Our Lives. She taught French and Spanish to adults for seven years in London and Brussels and over Skype, and is currently available for remote language tuition.