Spanish by Christmas: Gathering Books and Audio

Last month, I announced my goal to learn Spanish by Christmas. Over the last few weeks, I’ve ordered books and CDs, and downloaded decks and audio files. Find out what it actually looks like to start studying a language on your own.

Promises come easily. But after the thrill of telling the world you’re going to do the impossible (or at least, the moderately challenging), there comes the grim reality.

I love to find adventurous blog posts. But often there are either no updates, ever (especially if the bold announcement also began the blog), or else you don’t hear from them again until they come up for air long enough to gasp, “I did it!”

Instead, I want to keep you posted on the actual details of how I learn Spanish over the next several months. That’s one of my favorite parts of the Internet: discovering someone who’s writing the details about something I want to do.

Gathering Resources

The first step in learning Spanish coincides with one of my treasured hobbies: buying books.

Spend a Little Money

Since I’m following Gabriel Wyner’s methods, my first decision was to actually buy most of his recommended books for learning Spanish.

I’d already gathered a few Spanish books over the last few years. But I’ve always kept an eye out for deals, rather than investing in particular books.

I’ve especially resisted buying audio files. The Internet teems with free spoken Spanish, right? But I’m ready to admit that it won’t help me much until I’ve gotten past the initial stage.

So, this time around, I shelled out for these particular books and CDs. Of course, I also used AddAll to compare prices on used editions.

Spanish Books I Bought

  • Pronounce it Perfectly, by Jean Yates (Includes audio)
  • Assimil Spanish With Ease (Includes audio, if you buy the CDs)

Looked Good at the Time:

  • Correct Your Spanish Blunders, by Jean Yates
  • Beginning Spanish for the Utterly Confused, by Jean Yates
  • Better Reading Spanish, by Jean Yates
  • Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish, by Margarita Madrigal

So far, I’m most excited about Pronounce it Perfectly, Correct Your Spanish Blunders, and the delightfully European Assimil.

As I use these books, I’ll write reviews and link to them here.

Start With the IPA Deck

Books never come fast enough. But that didn’t slow me down, because my first step was to download this Anki deck and learn the International Phonetic Alphabet.

Meanwhile, I wanted to start learning vocabulary – except, this time around, learn the words the way they actually sound. But that’s another story.