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Spannish for Dummies
By Susana Wald and Cecie Kraynak

One would think that being incarcerated in a border state and in a county where the Sheriff's office has been found to have engaged in racial profiling against Hispanics, there would be no paucity of people in jail with whom to converse in Spanish, but there is. Since the adage, "If you don't use it, you lose it," applies to speaking languages, I gave this beginner's guide a go.
The pronunciation guidelines were a tad misleading. One example is the word "cuenta," which can mean "account," among other things. The authors break down its pronunciation as "kooh-EHN-tah," which appears to draw out and separate the vowel sounds for the letters "u" and "e." By this guideline, if I were not already fluent, I might think this word is pronounced "coo-enta." However, the "ue" vowels go together for a diphthong, or one fluid sound, making the pronunciation closer to something like "KWENta" or "KWEHN-tah." But maybe I'm splitting hairs.
Otherwise, the book serves as a suitable vocabulary builder and includes words that are more or less exclusive to certain countries.

-- Jodi Arias

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