Good Spanish resources (books)?

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Senior Member
USA: American English, Learning Hebrew and Spanish
I just started Spanish a week or so ago at school and so I am looking for recommendations for dictionaries, reference grammars, verb references, idiom dictionaries, thesauruses and whatever else you think would be useful.

  • fran kornbacher

    Senior Member
    Entre los diccionarios bilingues que utilizo estan: Simon and Shuster's, Collins spanish/english dictionary, el pequeno Larousse ilustrado que es diccionario monolingue, 501 verbs para la conjugacion de verbos, Vox diccionario de sinonimos y antonimos. Estos son algunos de los que mas utilizo.

    Espero haberte ayudado


    Senior Member

    I totally concur with Fran K's suggestions. For printed dictionaries I would add the unabridged Oxford, and for Spanish American and AE usage, the Macmillan/American Heritage.

    Also, if you can find these in print or in used book stores, the review grammars by Francisco Ugarte and Richard Predmore are superb little books. They clarify what most beginning texts manage to trivialize and confuse.

    Un saludo,


    Senior Member
    For a good, portable resource that will help you with spoken vocabulary and colloquial/regional usage in particular, I like the Langenscheidt Spanish/English dictionaries. You can test an older version of one here:

    The dictionary also does a pretty good job of letting you know the conjugation of verbs (by consulting the appendix) as well as covering basic grammar and pronunciation.


    Senior Member
    USA: American English, Learning Hebrew and Spanish
    Here's what I have so far:

    The Big Red Book of Spanish Verbs: 555 Fully Conjugated Verbs
    HarperCollins Spanish Unabridged Dictionary, 8th Edition
    A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish

    I need a pocket dictionary too, but I'm not sure which one I want yet. I'm not going to buy a Spanish thesaurus until I actually know a decent amount of vocabulary. If you have any suggestions please share them.

    Between this and the Hebrew resources I need to buy I'm going to incur quite a bit of expense. Now I finally know why I'm working!

    Do you think that I'm going overboard considering I just started or would it be good to buy the resources early in the game?



    United States/English
    I have a couple hundred tape/cdrom sets and books.

    Here is a list of my favorites:
    A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish
    (Anyone studying Spanish should have this book)
    (Check it out at your nearest bookstore!)

    Harper Collins Unabridged dictionary
    Harper Collins Spanish Concise Dictionary 5"x8"x2"

    Random House Spanish-Engish/English-Spanish dictionary

    lenguaje com slash english slash tools slash tools.php
    has a great tool for breaking words into syllables.

    Pronounce It Perfectly in Spanish is a two tape set.
    Living Language Spanish Verbs Skill Builder 4 tape set.

    You might check out "15,000 Spanish Verbs" once you get past the 501.
    It's a list of 15,000 verbs and 82 models/rules for conjugating them.

    The FireFly Spanish/English Visual Dictionary has thousands and thouands of pictures with their English/Spanish names. Want to know the parts of a bee??? Check out the back cover. ala(f)/wing, abdomen(m)/abdomen, aguijón(m)/sting, cestillo(m)/pollen basket and so on. I'd call sting stinger, but you get the point.

    I'm not sure if a person should start or finish their studies with the following books. You can use them to learn things correctly the first time or to correct yourself later.
    The Sounds of Spanish Analysis and Application by Robert Hammond
    Spanish Pronunciation - theory and practice by John B Dalbor

    Cracker Jack

    Senior Member

    Cambridge Klett Compact Español-Inglés English Spanish Dictionary + CD-ROM (for Spanish speakers, it includes pronunciation guides of AE & BE words)

    ¿Significa? Diccionario escolar de la lengua española

    Diccionarios de dichos y frases hechas by Alberto Buitrago


    Barron's E-Z Spanish A Beginner's Course by Dr. Margarita Görrisen with 4 74-minute CDs containing conversations (for improvement of listening comprehension). This is for English speakers learning Spanish

    Basic Grammar of the Spanish Language by Ramón Sarmiento y Aquilino Sánchez

    Berlitz Spanish Grammar Handbook Comprehensive Guide to Spanish Grammar by Phil Turk

    Rapido and other books by Lourdes Miquel López

    uso de la gramática española by Francisca Castro. A comprehensive 3 volume workbook that covers practically everything you need to know about the Spanish Grammar form levels A1 to C2 according to the Common European Framework

    I highly recommend the last set of books of grammatical exercises. If you really want to learn, I recommend the following:

    1. Study at Instituto Cervantes. There are centers all over US. Nothing beats it. Or else in any center or university in your setting.

    2. If you have CATV or satellite dish watch RTVE everyday at least for 30 minutes.

    3. Watch Spanish films with subtitles in Spanish. To improve your pronunciation, try to repeat the dialogues yourself. Drop accents like "comprendow, comprendey, Josey Rodreegeeys," etc. This also improves listening comprehension.

    4. When you will have been at Intermediate level, do intercambio with native Spanish speakers learning English. This will give you a chance to correct each other.

    5. Post notices here in this forum.

    6. Above all, be patient and don't give up easily. There are times when you will think of giving up as lessons get more and more complicated. DONT. It takes at least two years of continuous uninterrupted study. If you have a chance, come to Spain and study for a term.

    7. I also recommend the following link especially the Centro Virtual Cervantes
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