Spanish Phrase Books and Language Aids

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Having one or two good Spanish phrase books at your elbow when traveling through Mexico, could change your life.

I know. I speak from experience.

The first time my wife Alma (who is from Puebla, Mexico) and I went out, I didn't speak more than a few words of Spanish and she had very little English. But that night at dinner I had my little yellow phrase book, and the rest, as they say, is history.

One of the nicest things about traveling in Mexico is the delight shown by almost everyone whenever a gringo makes even the clumsiest effort to communicate in their own language. Unlike other countries I could mention, the effort is very much appreciated, whatever the result.

Of course, in virtually all the tourist destinations in the country, English is now spoken by many who work in the hotels and restaurants. But if you go farther afield—which by all means you should do—language may be an issue. (Indeed, there are many throughout Mexico for whom even Spanish is not their first language, who are raised in households and communities where the native languages are still spoken.)

To come to know the soul of Mexico, one needs a little Spanish.

The good news is that there are plenty of good phrase books available. There are also more serious texts, audio programs, and (the mother of all language programs: Rosetta Stone.

Here's a list of our favorites.

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