My 4 Favorite Spanish Language Study Books

Some days I’m really motivated to study Spanish. Other days, not so much. It all depends on the amount of coffee and carbs I’ve had that day. (Hint: more coffee equals better studying, while more carbs equals better napping.)

For my birthday, my friends gave me a book, which is great for language nerds like me who spend their free time reading linguists’ blogs and articles about language change. Yep, that’s me. So obviously I was quite enthused by the gift and the thought that went behind it.

Presenting Kaley’s Favorite Books for Learning Spanish

Las 500 dudas más frecuentes del español

Las 500 dudas más frecuentes del español is the book I got for my birthday a few weeks ago. Just like we do in English, Spanish-speaking people make mistakes when writing and speaking Spanish. This book is designed to help clear up any debates about the correct usage of the language. I recognize that spoken and colloquial language may not follow these guidelines, but written language needs to adhere to them in order to be fit to print.

Quick, a quiz!

  • ¿Está bien dicho Cuidado, que caes el vino? (For the answer, check out page 232.)
  • ¿Está bien dicho Me miraba de arriba a abajo? (Answer on page 300.)
  • ¿Por qué algunas palabras como azúcar o mar admiten tanto el masculino como el femenino? (Answer on page 194.)

El Bueno Uso del Español

El buen uso del español is a book someone has on his Christmas list, and I admit to hoping he finishes before I return from visiting family over Christmas. For the nerdiest of nerds, this book explains how to use Spanish well, meaning you’ll need to have a pretty good grasp on the language before you dive in.

Hablar por los codos

Hablar por los codos. Frases para un español cotidiano. Idioms are so fun, aren’t they? And Spanish has some pretty good ones. This book contains 175 frases hechas. I’ve talked about some of my favorites before on an old post, so go check it out if you, too, love idioms!

EL Cronómetro DELE Study

El Cronómetro. Studying for the DELE (Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language) is no easy task, especially if you’re trying to do the C1 or C2 level. I’ve been studying on and off for a while now, and I still haven’t done it, but if you’re thinking about doing a master’s in Spain or teaching Spanish, it might be worth your while to pick up this book.

Other options: Preparación DELE or Nuevo Prisma, both of which I have at home.

What are you Spanish-study books? Or just nerdy, linguistic books in general?

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23 comments

  1. I almost bought that first book just last week, just can´t spend the money just yet.

    The book that I´m currently using is ¨Curso de Perfecionamiento,¨ and a while back I downloaded ¨Diccionario práctico de gramática: 800 fichas de uso correcto del español.¨ I highly recommend both.

    http://www.casadellibro.com/libro-curso-de-perfeccionamiento-hablar-escribir-y-pensar-en-espanol/9788471434609/29889
    http://www.casadellibro.com/libro-diccionario-practico-de-gramatica-800-fichas-de-uso-correcto-del-espanol/9788477116042/1038486

  2. I really love learning from books more than anything. My books in my German classes were always not so helpful as it was more reading material and simple grammar and no English explanations. My favorite German book is http://www.amazon.com/German-Made-Simple-Understand-Quickly/dp/0767918606/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387283214&sr=8-1&keywords=german+made+simple and I also found these cool crime novels in German that are all in German, but written for English-speakers learning German.

    1. Aw, that’s fun! I too love learning from a good textbook; I find them fun! Even in high school, when people would complain that we had homework, I would be secretly happy!

  3. I love posts and books about languages, so I shall give my opinion! thanks for the great post!!

    the first question is wrong because the correct is “cuidado, que tiras el vino” (you drop or throw the wine, you don’t fall the wine)

    the second one really confuses me because I don’t really know whether it is “me miraba de arriba abajo” or as you have written “me miraba de arriba a abajo”….the first one makes more sense to me, but I might be wrong.

    the third question? well I don’t know the answer, but I do know when we as native Spaniards can use either the masculine or feminine with certain nouns…..”mar” (sea) is a good example, I mean, everyone uses “mar” as masculine, but if you are writing poetry or literature you use it as feminine to give it beauty, as in ” la mar yacia en calma y silenciosa al romper el alba despues de una aciaga y tempestuosa noche” (the sea appeared still and in deadly silence at break of day after a dreadful and tempestuous night)

    1. Between people working on boats (fishing, merchant or warships), “la mar” is used, even in officially entries in the logbook.

      1. i do know that fishermen also say it as feminine, but you know, they have their own words like “garfín” instead of “delfín” (dolphin), “gavina” instead of “gaviota” (sea gull), “arte/jarcia” instead of “red” (net), at least fishermen from my hometown, so that’s the reason i didn’t include sailors or fishermen.

  4. I have my ACTFL oral examination on Thursday and this post reminded me how badly I need to study :P I’ve been watching films without subtitles all week, but can’t find the effort to open up my grammar book….probably because I took Advanced Grammar this semester and am drained from 2.5 hour classes and endless homework every week! I wish I liked studying grammar but it just puts me to sleep.

  5. Love that you’re a language nerd. I still beat myself up when I want to talk quickly and my brain isn’t sure how to say it in Spanish…I still have more to learn so could definitely ready some Spanish study books…wow. As of late, I keep thinking to crack a Spanish notebook and do some exercises but man, It’s a lot of work!

  6. Thanks for the interesting list of books, Kaley! I’m wondering if in your experience with the DELE prep books, you think the Cronómetro is enough or would recommend the other two as well?

  7. Oh the DELE! That was hard to study for and I knew I didn’t have the discipline to study on my own, so I ended up enrolling in a 4 week review course before the exam at the Instituto Cervantes here in NYC (which was expensive, but well worth it in the end). I ended up passing the C1 level and the classes really helped me! I was also unemployed at the time so I had nothing better to do. That book really looks helpful though!

  8. oh my, more books to think about getting! I must be a nerd too because I love these types of books tho I don’t spend enough time looking at them. I discovered Radio Nacional de Espana app for my phone and have been getting in more spoken Spanish that way. thanks for the links, going to add some to my wish list ;)

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