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The Story of Spanish Book Review

The Story of Spanish Book Review

I am so excited about this month’s Language Reading Challenge. And this first book that I read as a part of the challenge only further instilled that excitement. I am really looking forward to the books that we have in store for the year. And I also cannot wait to see what you are reading.

The guidelines to participate are available here and you can also join up by commenting on the posts here at Eurolinguiste or by becoming a part of the group on Goodreads.

This month, the challenge was to read a book about your native language. I am a bit of a rule breaker (not really, but let’s pretend I am), so I stretched the rules on this one. When I was little, we (kind of) spoke Spanish at home. We stopped when I was about four and shifted to an English-only environment, so needless to say, I didn’t remember anything in the language. I recently decided to take it back up.

Since it was one of the first languages I spoke, I’m pretending it’s one of my *native* languages and my book was about the Spanish language.

And in a way, Spanish is one of the languages of my country. I live in the US and while it’s not technically an *official* language, tons of people here speak it as a first language so in a roundabout way, it’s a native language of the country I live in.

So just go with it. 😉

The Story of Spanish by Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow

A few years back, I had the pleasure of reading The Story of French. In my search for a book to complete this month’s challenge, I stumbled upon another work by the authors and thought it would be the perfect fit. Especially since I just started learning Spanish.

The Story of French was really what ignited my passion for reading about language and I was excited to dive into a book that would do the same for my interest in Spanish. The Story of Spanish didn’t disappoint.

I learnt so much about Spain, the Spanish language, the Portuguese language, and even American, European, and African histories. This book contained so much and it had me eagerly turning each page (well, tapping to the next page).

Despite the extensive content, the book was written in a way that was easy to grasp and entertaining. You really don’t feel overwhelmed by everything you learn as you work through the chapters. The chapters also come to an end within a reasonable number of pages so you don’t feel tied down to the book without pause.

Some of my favorite tidbits from The Story of Spanish include:

– Spain originally means ‘land of the rabbits’.
– How Castilian became the dominant language/dialect in Spain
– What Ladino is and where you can hear it spoken
– The origins of countless words in the language (whether Latin, Arabic, Native American, French, etc.)
– Learning tons of Spanish vocabulary through stories about the origins of the words

See Also
All Documented Language Learning Projects on Eurolinguiste


I loved learning about the Spanish language reading The Story of Spanish and I’m so glad I bent the reading challenge rules to dive into it. If you’re learning Spanish or just interested in the language at all, I highly recommend it.

TitleThe Story of Spanish
Author: Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow
Pages: 449 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: May 7, 2013

Language Reading Challenge Linkup Rules:

1. Share your post discussing the book that you’ve read this month. Submissions unrelated to the theme or links to your homepage will be deleted. You can use the linkup below or just share in the comments.

2. Follow the host: Shannon from Eurolinguiste.

3. OPTIONAL: Join us on Goodreads.

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