Essential Spanish

9th December 1994 at 00:00
Spanish for Leisure and Tourism Studies, By Vicky Davies and Alvaro Jaspe, Hodder Stoughton Pounds 10.99. 0 340 60713 0, Cassette Pounds 18 0 340 60715 7. Absolute Beginners' Business Spanish, By Fernando and Sarah Doval Clarke, Hodder Stoughton Pounds 7.99. 0 340 59857 3, Cassette pack 2 x C60 and support book Pounds 20 0 340 59857 3.

These two new publications will be of great interest to all teachers of vocational Spanish. Spanish for Leisure and Tourism lives up to its title by providing the student with 12 units based on typical work scenarios dealing with Spanish-speaking customers in a British context. The situations include, for example, reserving a room in a bed and breakfast hotel; a Spanish family buying tickets for a theme park; helping Spanish tourists select menus in restaurants and pubs; organising a trip to London, and to a hop farm.

The course emphasises a functional approach to language learning. Each unit contains three situations beginning with vocabulary followed by a conversation, a grammar explanation and practical exercises. There are summative assignments designed to consolidate students' progress after every three units. The book also contains a glossary, tapescripts of the accompanying cassettes and a key to the exercises.

The cassettes enable the student to focus on listening comprehension and pronunciation practice. The format of the book and cassettes lends itself to self-study. It is a practical no-nonsense course ideally suited for the student of leisure and tourism or indeed any adult wishing to study Spanish in that particular context.

In a similar vein but in a Spanish setting we have Absolute Beginners' Business Spanish. This course is designed for the adult student needing to concentrate on Spanish in a working environment. As its title indicates, it presupposes no prior knowledge of Spanish. The book traces the path of UK students on work placement in Spain, and focuses on the situations they are likely to encounter such as showing people around, sending faxes and answering the telephone and general socialising with colleagues. There is a greater emphasis on grammar in this course than in Spanish for Leisure and Tourism Studies with good explanations of each new point introduced in the chapters. In both books there is ample scope for listening comprehension and pronunciation practice thanks to the audio tapes which are clear and authentic.

The exercises related to the tapes in Absolute Beginners' Business Spanish are imaginative and varied. Another positive feature of this course is that it offers the opportunity for pair work.

By the end of Absolute Beginners' Business Spanish the student should have a sound grounding in the mechanics of basic Spanish grammar and a wealth of the necessary business related vocabulary.

These two publications, both designed with a specific student in mind, also have the advantage of being user-friendly to any adult wishing to embark on a beginners' course.

Mary O'Sullivan is a Senior Lecturer in Spanish at the University of Hertfordshire.

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