Since my last few posts have centred around learning Spanish, here are a few of the resources I am using at the moment. Where possible, I’ve given links to the books I’ve actually got. Most of them are from Amazon.co.uk but this is not a sponsored post, this is genuinely where I bought most of these books, unless otherwise stated. All these books were bought in the UK, but I’m sure they could be shipped abroad.
As with German, I own an absurd amount of Spanish dictionaries. None are as large and extensive as my bilingual German dictionary from Collins, but I own a semi-final large bilingual dictionary, a smaller one with grammar inside too, and one of the more basic ones they have in schools. Most of mine have come from W H Smiths or from The Works. For young learners or beginners, they have a great selection of books that are cheaper than the marked price.
I also have a Spanish grammar book that I bought from a charity shop. It’s only small but it does cover most of the important grammar points and conjugation. Unsurprisingly, it’s called Spanish Grammar, and it’s only 1p on Amazon.co.uk (although that’s without postage). I used to carry it around in my bag on the days when I had grammar classes, and try to read some on the train before class, so I actually knew what my teacher was talking about.
When I was at uni, I bought a grammar workbook to get some extra practice. It’s called Modern Spanish Grammar and there’s also a textbook to go with it. I only bought the workbook but I found a copy of the textbook at a local library and I did find it useful to have both, although if you have some knowledge you can do without buying both.
I also like to use online dictionaries, although these can be problematic. My most used is Spanishdict.com because it has a separate, full conjugation page as well as examples. It has good blog posts, as well as a translation feature (I know, I know but everyone uses them at some point, right?) In addition, it boasts flashcards, a free app for Android, iOS and for Windows Phones , as well as a word of the day function.
My second online dictionary is Word Reference – unlike the dictionary above it’s not solely for Spanish-English (it even has Catalan). According to the main page they boast ‘two Spanish to English dictionaries’ their own and Collins, making them ‘unbeatable’! There are verb conjugators for French, Italian and Spanish, as well as forums and free apps for iPhone and Android.
Although I’m on an AQA course, I don’t have their official textbook – in fact when I did GCSE German in 2009, there wasn’t an official textbook yet, and we worked from many different ones. That said, I own three books to help me study.
Firstly, I own the CGP Spanish GCSE Revision Book Higher Level – CGP have a great selection of language books – for beginners and more advanced. They also have a workbook and answer book, a vocabulary trainer and a complete revision guide with audio CD. Vocabulary and phrases are split by topic, with fine side notes and illustrations. There is a handy dictionary at the back of the book of all vocabulary mentioned, and the last section of the book is devoted to grammar. I like these books, as they’re more colourful, and easier to follow than most, and I used a lot of their revision guides for different subjects when I was studying myself. If you’re looking for a comprehensive textbook/revision guide that isn’t too expensive, definitely look here first.
I then have two Letts textbooks – Letts Revise GCSE Spanish (with audio CD) and Letts Essentials GCSE Spanish Revision Guide. The latter is more of a vocabulary book, although there are useful essay and speaking exam phrases I there too, as well as grammar recaps. The top link covers all exam boards and will tell you which topics they cover. Both of these books I bought whilst studying at uni, so I wasn’t following a particular syllabus then. They are now pretty cheap to but, because the exam content in UK GCSE’s is changing starting in September 2016, and therefore these books will no longer run parallel to the course. The information and content, however, will still mostly be relevant, and at 1p they’re still with a look. As with CGP these are my go-to revision guides, and they too produce books on a range of subjects.
To expand my vocabulary, I bought Palabra por Palabra, a great vocabulary book, separated by topic. They also put more complex sentences and phrases in bold, so you can easily spot the vocabulary that can get those higher marks.
Finally, I have an Oxford Take Off In Spanish CD and workbook set, that I bought a few years ago. It’s the standard introductory course, but it’s enjoyable to listen to, and is helpful if you want to get your ear in. I downloaded them all and put them on my Mp3 player.
If there are any more resources that I’ve missed or that you think are worth a try, be sure to leave me a comment below! As always, if you want to see what I’m up to, you can always follow me on Twitter @amjsc.