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Conversational Spanish Dialogues*

Rife with Errors in Both English and Spanish

I have previously reviewed the book on Conversational French Dialogues, so I was expecting more of the same from this book. Unfortunately, that was true, but this book has even more issues than the French book did.

Again, I find that the English sections within the book to be written in a way that no English speaker would talk. As with the other book, this makes me question whether the Spanish itself is actually a good reflection of the way Spanish speakers talk. There definitely are some issues with spelling and grammar on the Spanish side. While I have never taken any Spanish classes, I did grow up in California and so did assimilate some concepts of Spanish spelling and grammar. I know, for instance, that Spanish speakers don’t typically use many personal pronouns while speaking; the Spanish sections had a lot of this usage. The word “sí” is often spelled without the accent over the “i,” which actually changes the meaning of the word. Clearly, the word with the accent meaning yes most often appeared to be the correct word in context, but it was spelled without the accent, which makes it the word “if.”

A lot of the dialogues are on topics that would help a traveler or exchange student to a Spanish-speaking country, like how to order in a restaurant or find your classroom. I did think, though, that some choices for dialogues were a little bizarre; for instance, there were dialogues about getting the wrong job application in the airline industry or asking for help with your computer’s operating system (including licensing it). Neither of these topics would be needed for someone who was just casually visiting a Spanish-speaking country. And there definitely seemed to be a bias towards Spain rather than Spanish-speaking countries in Central and South America, as there were topics about moving around Europe and North Africa—like flying to London or returning from Amsterdam—compared to similar about Central and South America.

I think the formatting of the eBook makes it hard to truly assimilate and compare Spanish and English because the sentences aren’t right next to each other; it isn’t so easy to flip around in an eBook to compare back and forth. This book, too, would certainly not be suitable for anyone who is a beginner or near beginner learning Spanish. I would think that someone should be at least an intermediate level to be able to use this book so that you would know some of the phrases and concepts and could better correlate between the Spanish and English sides of the dialogue (as well as have a better sense of the errors. Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend this book. There are undoubtedly better books on conversational Spanish.