21 may. 2009

Book review: Correct your Spanish Blunders

Beginner to intermediate level Spanish students (or those teaching Spanish at high school level) will be interested in the review of Correct your Spanish Blunders (McGraw-Hill) now available on the Español-Inglés site. As with its French counterpart, the book takes a particularly straightforward, practical approach to Spanish grammar that some students will welcome. It's probably fair to say that the book assumes that the reader has a small amount of previous knowledge of Spanish and basic grammar terms such as verb, tense etc. But with that in mind, the book covers most of the grammar you're likely to need at high school level in a compact, no-nonesense way.

As mentioned in the review, the main caveat is that more advanced students will be looking for something a little more in-depth, such as Butt & Benjamin's New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish, which covers more advanced topics such as regional and stylistic variation in Spanish, use of literary forms such as the future subjunctive, more detailed treatment of Spanish pronominal verbs, and in general a more "discursive" approach to grammar.

For many students, though, Correct your Spanish Blunders will hit the nail on the head in terms of providing just enough detail in just the right way. See the review for more details.

Spanish pronunciation and rhythm

Users of the Español-Inglés site may be interested in an article I wrote recently entitled Improve your Spanish pronunciation: Getting the rhythm. The article looks in particular at how Spanish speakers divide their speech into syllables. The rhythm of speech can be an important factor in making it easier to understand. The article looks at some subtle cases that you may not have considered, for example, that the Spanish word usual is generally pronounced in two syllables, whereas its English counterpart generally has three.

15 may. 2009

Grammar section: Spanish object pronouns

You may be interested in a recently added grammar section looking at Spanish object pronouns. As in related languages such as French and Italian, Spanish has a system of so-called clitic pronouns. When the object of a verb is a pronoun (the equivalent of English me, him etc), then that pronoun generally occurs as a kind of prefix to the verb.

For example, the Spanish for he/she saw is vio. To say he saw me (or she...), the Spanish would be me vio. The Spanish for me is coincidentally spelt the same as English. Note that the Spanish word me comes before the verb vio.

For some more examples and practice of these Spanish object pronouns placed before the verb, see the above link.