Thursday, November 20, 2008

REVIEW: Dirty Spanish

Title: Dirty Spanish: Everyday Slang from "What's Up?" to "F*%# Off!"
Author: Juan Caballero with Nick Denton-Brown
ISBN: 9781569756591/Ulysses Press
Rating: A

First Line: This book was written with the assumption that you already know enough Spanish to get by.

They never teach you slang in those high school foreign language classes. At least they never did in mine. But of course, we all wanted to learn how to swear in the language we were learning. I became better acquainted with the intricacies of another language when Maria, a foreign exchange student from Colombia, and I became friends. I mispronounced something that caused her (1) face to turn tomato red, and (2) to break out in hysterical laughter. Although I knew I'd just committed some major faux pas, she would never tell me what I'd actually said. That alerted me to the fact that I'd better be careful what I say when I try to speak someone else's language.

A little book like Dirty Spanish is a great tool. Not only will it help you to not sound as if you've just wandered out of Spanish 101 in high school, you'll learn that harmless slang in Mexico might get you a fist in the nose in Spain. Divided into chapters such as Howdy Spanish, Friendly Spanish, Party Spanish, Body Spanish, Angry Spanish and Hungry Spanish (among others), the author also tells you which Spanish-speaking country uses the particular phrase. There's lots to learn in these 126 pages, and you'll laugh along the way.

Dirty Spanish is indispensable for any trip you're planning to a Spanish-speaking country, or if you just want to understand what Spanish-speaking employees are saying as they walk past. (I'd received a compliment and didn't even know it!)


  1. This is hysterical! Where did you find this book!?

  2. Dawn, I managed to snag a copy at it can be hysterical!

  3. I have a similar book called Street Spanish and it is truly useful!!
    I used to repeat things I heard friends say in Ecuador to my host family there and see their eyes widen in shock...embarrassing.


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