Book Review of ˇAhora Hablo! Travel Edition, Seven Simple Steps to Authentic Spanish by
(available from www.ahorahablo.com for $12.95 )
I consider myself the perfect person to review Meg Graham’s
book, ˇAhora Hablo!– Seven Simple Steps to Authentic Spanish. Until now, my two words
of Spanish came from Speedy Gonzales. If this book can teach me to get by in
Latin countries, it’s a sure-fire hit.
My first impression is favourable. We are definitely not talking
some weighty tome – slender and light, ˇAhora Hablo! fits
my backpack perfectly. Spiral binding makes it more practical than conventional paperbacks, which end up with broken spines.
The glossy cover looks as if it would repel enchilada juice and the occasional splash of tequila.
is set out simply and clearly. After 20 years teaching Spanish, it’s not surprising that Meg knows her stuff. I looked
in vain for pages telling me that the pen of my aunt was on the bureau of my uncle. Meg has stuck strictly to the basics,
giving the traveller common vocabulary and just enough grammar for understanding. The spaces for notes on many pages are a
great idea if you need a helpful local to jot down directions or the name of a food.
Meg’s phonetic key is based on English pronunciation.
I learn to pronounce ˇCuidado! (Look out!) as “kwee-dah-doe”.
She encourages readers to “create their own ideas in authentic Spanish” and soon I am proclaiming to all and sundry
that “El inodoro no funciona.” (The toilet doesn’t work.) That phrase would have been so handy on earlier
a rainy Sunday afternoon, reading and studying ˇAhora Hablo!– Seven Simple Steps to Authentic
Spanish. I move from Speedy’s andale and arriba
to mastering several useful expressions and having a rudimentary idea of word order and pronunciation. Better still, I gain
an understanding of how to use the book and where to find what I need. Meg Graham gives me the confidence and knowledge to
get started in Spanish.
Wherever I travel, I try to learn a little of that country’s
language. This habit has won me friends all over the world and helped me navigate a way through problems. It has also led
me into some bizarre conversations, but that’s been part of the adventure. Now I’ve put South America on my must-visit list for next year.
After all, I have to try my Spanish skills sometime.
Susan Stephenson ©2007