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Madrigal's Magic Key to Spanish?

Daveduck
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I'm wondering whether any of you buenas personas might also be using this classic text, written by Margarita Madrigal in the mid-1950s. If so, I'd like to hear how it's going. If not, read on!

I started learning Spanish six months ago, starting from essentially zero, aside the from a couple of dozen Spanish words that any reasonably awake North American knows by default.

I started with Rosetta Stone, which has come way down in price, by the way. But the complete absence of any actual instruction in English was a huge problem, especially for grammar. So I poked around Amazon to see which grammar texts had the best reviews. Madrigal's Magic Key to Spanish was pretty much the star of the show.

It has been fantastically useful. Not long after I started with it I found duolingo and have not been back to Rosetta Stone, though I do plan to soon (its native speaker recordings, and assessment of my speech, is vastly better than DL's). I owe almost all of my grammar knowledge to Madrigal, and the process has been virtually painless.

She very cleverly starts with the past tense, reasoning that this is the tense we use when telling stories, and telling stories is a lot more interesting that an endless series of present-tense sentences.

This is after she illustrates the similarities between English and Spanish, and has the student write out several lists of mildly conjugated cognates.

I was learning so much so fast that I was curious to know more about the author. An interview from 1978 is worth a read:

http://tinyurl.com/p5tuuay

(The bold assertion in the first paragraph sounds a little cheeky, but I'm not going to disagree.)

Her Wiki entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margarita_Madrigal

I'm about halfway through the text, working an average of 45 minutes per evening with it, and an hour with DL. In six months I've learned enough that if forced to I'm sure that I could survive in an all-Spanish environment. Nuanced discussions about Madrid politics? No. Bread-eating turtles and basic communication in everyday activities, yes.

The only slight issue with the book is that it was written in the '50s and apparently never updated. This means that people are sending cables and telegrams, smoking up a storm with pipes and cigarettes, taking the train to Chicago and San Francisco, and visiting Cuba (though still not an issue for Canadians... :>). Some orthographic changes have occurred since, such as fue no longer taking an accent. But these are quibbles, and for me the dated references are part of the charm.

Right then. Anyone else on board the Madrigal train? Let me know how it's going, or how it went. Reply via cable or telegram at your pleasure.

Cheers.

[EDIT: Fixed newspaper link.]

4 years ago

22 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/rspreng

I have used her stuff. It can be a good supplement to Duo.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Daveduck
Daveduck
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Any other title in particular that you can recall? (Y me gusta su perro.)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/psionpete
psionpete
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It looks quite good and have ordered the Kindle version. I wonder if this us where Michel Thomas got his idea from as it looks very much like his course (but in book form). I think it was produced before his course although I could be wrong about that.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Daveduck
Daveduck
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Huh. Yet another system. You've tried it?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MattHieber

Michel Thomas is fairly famous for quick language acquisition. Like with many formulaic systems, though, his approach works better for speaking than listening comprehension. A human tutor or immersion is our best bet there.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AuntieJenny

I ordered this book from Amazon.com and it arrived today. Just a quick browse through the book tells me how very useful it will be. Even if it's not one's favorite method of learning, all of the conversion tricks make a handy reference guide when we fail at rote memorizing techniques. It is an excellent supplemental tool to use with Duolingo and audio tools to learn pronunciation (videos, podcasts, StudySpanish.com, etc). Language Transfer presents very similar methods in their excellent video series at http://languagetransfer.org.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Daveduck
Daveduck
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Keep at it regularly and you'll really benefit. Good luck!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vea123

It is a great experience. I love how she covers the mostly used words and verbs. Past tense is used more commonly than present tense. I've also tried programs like Duolingo, Rossetta Stone, and Living Language. They don't really work as well. I do try using this program with Madrigal. Any other suggestions?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dmitridb

This book is really sweet, especially if you keep with it. It looks thicker than it is with a paperback novel sized format and a lot of space between words and illustrations by andy warhol of all people. I got the German version now too, and it's really good for learning in a more nuanced way than Duolingo's approach, which is what I'm finding best for practicing speaking and rote memorization of general usage along with vocabulary building.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mercutio

this is in latin american spanish though I believe?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Daveduck
Daveduck
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Yes, but the additional (or different) tenses in European Spanish are few enough to seem easily enough added later. If it's true that European Spanish is to Latin American Spanish as British English is to American English, then fluency in one gets you 90% of the way to fluency in the other, eh.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rspreng

More like 99%. I like Magic Key the best. I forget the names of the other, shorter books.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Duo.name

Any ideas on the best textbook to learn the Spanish Spanish?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rbentley

It's very good at helping you recognize and "create" thousands of cognates. But the most bizarre thing about it is that the illustrations are by Andy Warhol, which probably won't impress anyone too young to remember him.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Randy622

I am currently reading this, on "Leccion Numero Cinco". So far, its been good, easy to read and clearly gives good examples of the fundamentals in the Spanish language. Helps you learn a lot of Spanish words that are similar to english and how to structure them into Spanish vocabulary. I like the conversation exercises, because I practice them with my Mexican friends. Anyways good book, I recommend.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PamNelson1

I have had muchos problemas with Rosetta Stone and voice recognition and so I have switched over to DL and Madrigal's and love both of them. I had a online subscription with RS and just didn't renew it.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MattHieber

I moved and can't find my copy but it was absolutely the best book on Spanish I ever used.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gmathis

What book? I missed that part.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Duo.name

maybe he meant the book in the header?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gmathis

Possibly. Reading his other comments, though, I thought it was different from Madrigal's. Thanks. You're probably right.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Daveduck
Daveduck
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The reference is to the topic of this discussion, Madrigal's Magic Key to Spanish.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Marido_de_Maru

Well, I have the Magic Key, and I only have gone through the first couple chapters a few times. I found it boring, and did not think it was helping me, until I went to Mexico, and found that it gave me the ability to "create" words, as she puts it. So, the little I have used it, it has helped me in my conversational Spanish much more than I thought....

4 years ago