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Old 17th May 2006, 06:00 PM   #21
lifeinperu
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Lori, ¿Cómo le va Narnia? ¿Ya has terminado? También lo he leido. Ciao!
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Old 19th May 2006, 04:57 PM   #22
lifeinperu
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Default free spanish ebooks.

I posted a couple links to find free spanish ebooks.
Look here-
http://www.notesfromspain.com/forums...read.php?t=213
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Old 21st May 2006, 06:25 AM   #23
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Reading novels, combined with grammar books and a dictionary, has been my main way to learn Spanish. I started with Harry Potter as a Father's Day gift and have gone through a bunch of writers both in translation and in native Spanish.
The key things for me have been
a. an electronic dictionary on my Palmpilot. I've bought several and none are perfect. Best is Pocket Lingo, teh electronic version of Houghton Mifflin's American Heritage Spanish Dictionary.
b. Caring about grammar--making sure you understand every word in every sentence. Spanish is like English, so subtle and flexible that if you read anything but straightforward stories you risk missing the point if you don't know every word. It's slow......


Bad news is that the result is that I'm good at grammar, but my vocab is limited. Even if you underline every word you don't understand as you go through, you don't remember it if you just look it up a couple of times--and that is usually the case as Spanish is so rich in vocabulary.
Best writer for me has been Isabel Allende--her novels are mostly about Latin/North American characters and geographies but there is a smattering of Latin magic.........though, of course, she actually writes in English!

I find this way fun, though would understand if others didn't.
S
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Old 22nd May 2006, 10:21 AM   #24
richardksa
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Mismo para mi. Ok on the grammar, but finding it hard to remember vocab. 'Tis why I read children's books as stated elsewhere. Children communicate using their limited vocubulary, so so shall I. This is on the premise of not running before you walk. Eventually, of course, I hope to read Cervantes and have deep philosophical discussions.
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Old 22nd May 2006, 07:27 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richardksa
Ok on the grammar, but finding it hard to remember vocab. 'Tis why I read children's books as stated elsewhere.
I find the vocab sticks but I get a little muddled with the more complicated compound tenses - ok with preterite, present, past continuous, & future so I get by.... am steeling myself for a serious assault on the conditional.

Out of interest - does anyone know if the Spanish have trouble with any tenses or grammatical confusions? English kids often have wrouble with persons - the was/were thing - and other tricky bits like their/there/they're... So you finish up with

They were a man walking down the beach....

Last edited by gary; 22nd May 2006 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 22nd May 2006, 10:13 PM   #26
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Default If/Would

Hey Gary,

I've found that some native spanish speakers have trouble with the conditional/subjunctive structure.

For example:

Si fuera mi cumpleaños, saldría para Ibiza.

Pero dicen,

Si fue mi cumpleaños, saldriá para Ibiza.
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Old 23rd May 2006, 12:33 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeinperu
Hey Gary,

I've found that some native spanish speakers have trouble with the conditional/subjunctive structure.

For example:

Si fuera mi cumpleaños, saldría para Ibiza.

Pero dicen,

Si fue mi cumpleaños, saldriá para Ibiza.
When we first started the subjunctive, one thing that she kept mentioning, is that even with spanish speakers, many time they are lazy and don't even correctly use the subjunctive...
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Old 29th May 2006, 09:41 PM   #28
Edith
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Default Reading books in Spanish

Years ago, I started learning Spanish by reading newspapers and magazines. I have read all of Isabel Allende's books in Spanish, including her autobiography, 'Mi país inventado'. Right now I'm reading 'La guerra del fin del mundo' by Mario Vargas Llosa, which is situated in northeastern Brazil at the turn of the 19th century. Compared to Vargas Llosa, Isabel Allende is relatively easy to read and her books can be understood by anyone who also reads magazines. One thing which keeps amazing me is the extent of Spanish vocabulary - there are so many nouns and synonyms and I still need to use my dictionary a lot! For this reason, 'Ciudad de los prodigios' by Eduardo Mendoza was quite a tough read. It took me weeks to finish the book.
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Old 14th June 2006, 02:08 PM   #29
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Default police

I love reading detective novels in Spanish. I'd heartily recommend anything by Manuel Vazquez Montalban, but my favourite is "Plenilunio" by Antonio Munoz Molina (a great cop novel)
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Old 22nd June 2006, 12:24 AM   #30
Edith
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon
Best writer for me has been Isabel Allende--her novels are mostly about Latin/North American characters and geographies but there is a smattering of Latin magic.........though, of course, she actually writes in English!
No, she still writes all her books in Spanish.

Q. Do you write in Spanish?
A. I can only write fiction in Spanish, because it is for me a very organic process that I can only do in my language. Fortunately I have excellent translators all over the world

Source:
http://www.isabelallende.com/curious_frame.htm

Last edited by Edith; 22nd June 2006 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 23rd June 2006, 06:02 AM   #31
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though, of course, she actually writes in English!

No, she still writes all her books in Spanish.

I stand very happily corrected! Thanks. I think I was thinking of Julia Alvarez, who is v popular here in the US, writing a lot about the experiences of Latin women in the US, and about experiences in, above all, the Dominican Republic........I've read them in Spanish, but thought they were translated...

As a sidepoint, I suffer from the same vocabulary issue that Edith mentioned earlier, but use a dictionary on PalmPilot--so much easier to use (and to carry around).

Last edited by Simon; 23rd June 2006 at 06:05 AM.
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Old 23rd June 2006, 06:07 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon

As a sidepoint, I suffer from the same vocabulary issue that Edith mentioned earlier, but use a dictionary on PalmPilot--so much easier to use (and to carry around).
aaargh....I'm starting to repeat myself...
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Old 23rd June 2006, 06:10 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richardksa
Eventually, of course, I hope to read Cervantes and have deep philosophical discussions.
I recently posted to my family's blog:

<<I've just had a Spanish lección with my teacher in Cuernavaca, Mexico, via the Internet. We discussed Russian literature. At least, I did. Dios only knows what he was talking about.>>

Deep discussions are easy if you have them separately....
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Old 23rd June 2006, 06:26 AM   #34
Edith
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon
though, of course, she actually writes in English!

No, she still writes all her books in Spanish.

I stand very happily corrected! Thanks. I think I was thinking of Julia Alvarez, who is v popular here in the US, writing a lot about the experiences of Latin women in the US, and about experiences in, above all, the Dominican Republic........I've read them in Spanish, but thought they were translated...

As a sidepoint, I suffer from the same vocabulary issue that Edith mentioned earlier, but use a dictionary on PalmPilot--so much easier to use (and to carry around).
Yes, I know Julia Alvarez! She wrote 'En el nombre de Salomé'. At first, I thought she had written the book in Spanish but it turned out to be a translation.
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Old 23rd June 2006, 06:41 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edith
Yes, I know Julia Alvarez! She wrote 'En el nombre de Salomé'. At first, I thought she had written the book in Spanish but it turned out to be a translation.
Yep, that's one of the ones about the Dominican Republic--the most famous is probably "In the Time of the Butterflies". All about the resistance to Trujillo....but she then went on to wrote about the cultural shock of moving from the DR to the US. Books like "How the Garcia girls lost their accents".
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Old 23rd June 2006, 07:58 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon
Books like "How the Garcia girls lost their accents".
That one is also on my 'To read' list, but I will probably read it in English now because I like to read books in their original language (when I bought En el nombre de Salomé, I didn't know it was a translation).

BTW, if you're interested in the DR, I just learned that Mario Vargas Llosa's book 'La fiesta del chivo', which is about the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, has been made into a film.
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Old 23rd June 2006, 08:09 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edith
BTW, if you're interested in the DR, I just learned that Mario Vargas Llosa's book 'La fiesta del chivo', which is about the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, has been made into a film.
One of my favourite books, and one of the most powerful and disturbing I have ever read... I'm not sure I dare see the film in case they do a bad job of it!
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Old 23rd June 2006, 10:33 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben
One of my favourite books, and one of the most powerful and disturbing I have ever read... I'm not sure I dare see the film in case they do a bad job of it!
I haven't read the book yet (another one on my 'to read' list, which is growing longer and longer, LOL), but this doesn't surprise me since Vargas Llosa has a very keen eye for injustice.
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Old 30th June 2006, 02:16 AM   #39
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I just read La tregua by Uruguayan author Mario Benedetti. A friend had recommended it, saying that it's a pretty easy read and I wouldn't need a dictionary too much. I found myself using a dictionary more than a few times per page and writing the words in English in the margins. I should try the Palm Pilot way. I suppose I'd need a Palm Pilot. Probably more advanced speakers would have an easier time with this novel, but thanks to my diligence, I did get through it. And I have to say, despite having to look up so many words, I found it to be touching look at life and happiness.

Now I'm reading Isabel Allende's Mi país inventado. Now I can see why my friend thought La tregua was an easy novel. Allende is a lot of work! But worth it, I think.
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Old 30th June 2006, 10:54 AM   #40
Edith
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catica
I just read La tregua by Uruguayan author Mario Benedetti. A friend had recommended it, saying that it's a pretty easy read and I wouldn't need a dictionary too much. I found myself using a dictionary more than a few times per page and writing the words in English in the margins. I should try the Palm Pilot way. I suppose I'd need a Palm Pilot. Probably more advanced speakers would have an easier time with this novel, but thanks to my diligence, I did get through it. And I have to say, despite having to look up so many words, I found it to be touching look at life and happiness.

Now I'm reading Isabel Allende's Mi país inventado. Now I can see why my friend thought La tregua was an easy novel. Allende is a lot of work! But worth it, I think.
I know where you are coming from because it took me many years to get where I am now. Just keep on reading and it will get easier eventually. Learning to read in Spanish is a matter of sheer persistence because the language has got so many words. I started out with newspapers ten years ago and I've been reading Spanish novels for a couple of years now. Now I find Isabel Allende a very easy read, especially compared to some of Gabriel García Márquez's novels. Cien años de soledad was one of the most difficult books I have ever read in any language, especially because more than four of his protagonists were called José Acadio.

I also read Isabel Allende's three children's books, they are definitely worthwhile checking out if you would like to try something easier. Personally, I don't think they are among her best books but they are ideal for learning Spanish and for building your vocabulary. The titles are:

La ciudad de las bestias

El reino del dragón de oro

El bosque de los pigmeos

BTW, what is a Palm Pilot?

Last edited by Edith; 30th June 2006 at 07:15 PM.
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