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Spanish Idioms in Practice

Understanding Language and Culture

By Javier Muñoz-Basols, Yolanda Pérez Sinusía, Marianne David

Routledge – 2014 – 216 pages

Purchasing Options:

  • Add to CartPaperback: $39.95
    August 1st 2013
  • Add to CartHardback: $140.00
    August 8th 2013


Idiomatic expressions are the ‘salt and pepper’ of any language. They give Spanish its colour and imagery, its richness and variety.

From set phrases and idioms to metaphorical expressions and proverbs, these essential components allow users to add humour and spice to their language, vividly embodying Hispanic culture while naturalizing their communication style to more closely resemble that of native speakers.

Key features:

  • Includes a selection of the most widely used idioms from Spain and Latin America;
  • Idioms are classified into specific and easy-to-reference categories;
  • Creative activities, exercises, mnemonic devices and learning strategies facilitate the acquisition and mastery of idiomatic language;
  • Connections between the Spanish language and Hispanic culture are explained and illustrated;
  • Reference tables at the end of each section highlight similarities between English and Spanish usage of idiomatic language;
  • Original samples, as well as fragments from various Spanish-speaking countries and well-known literary works, are included to help expose students to the use of idioms in journalistic and literary writing.

Practical, informative and highly entertaining, this is the ideal text for all intermediate and advanced learners of Spanish.


"Engaging from its very first page, this outstanding book allows students to master the intricacies of Spanish idiomatic language. The authors have created a unique resource that will help students learn hundreds of idiomatic expressions and, most importantly, practice and understand them in context. Carefully crafted learning activities, and varied samples of literary and journalistic texts from different Spanish-speaking countries, illustrate the meticulous research into the use of idiomatic expressions conducted by the authors prior to writing the book. Professors and teachers of Spanish will be delighted to include this exceptional resource in their course syllabi as a means of teaching students to use the Spanish language with the same vividness as native speakers do. I would also recommend this book to native and bilingual Spanish speakers who are interested in expanding their familiarity with idiomatic language and learning about its origins." - Professor Domnita Dumitrescu, California State University, Los Angeles

"I found this to be an excellent guide to Spanish idioms, their meanings and their uses. A combination of good, clear explanations (for example of the origins of some idiomatic expressions), impressive illustrations and thoughtful exercises should enable students to remember and use the host of everyday idioms featured. This most difficult of areas for the non-native speaker is cleverly and memorably broken down so that students of Spanish will feel able to make use of a rich array of expressions which may previously have been only passively registered." - Dr Jonathan Thacker, Merton College, University of Oxford

"This book provides students and teachers with an excellent, up-to-date guide to Spanish idiomatic language. Carefully documented and drawing on diverse sources, it offers a rich selection of the most widely-used idioms in both Spain and Latin America. Students will find a large number of idiomatic expressions usefully classified into semantic fields (food, human body, clothes, nationalities, historical and cultural references, etc.), as well as a wealth of linguistic and cultural information. The inclusion of an answer key to all the exercises and activities makes the book suitable for independent study. Thanks to activities with a strong visual component, useful chapter summaries, engaging self-assessment activities and opportunities for writing practice, students will learn to speak and write Spanish with vividness and clarity. Spanish Idioms in Practice is an essential resource for achieving genuine fluency in the language." - Professor Leonor Ruiz Gurillo, University of Alicant

"Es sabido que las expresiones idiomáticas forman una parte importante de las particularidades de una lengua y su cultura, y que su presencia en el lexicón mental del hablante nativo es fundamental. En este sentido, Spanish Idioms in Practice resulta un material de gran utilidad para que el estudiante de español llegue a ser competente en su reconocimiento y uso. En especial, esta obra resulta motivadora y dinámica tanto por las ilustraciones que la acompañan como por la gran variedad de actividades que posee. Concretamente, son de gran valor las tablas de referencia dedicadas a explicar el origen de las expresiones, pues facilitan la comprensión de su significado, y las tablas que recogen de forma sintética las equivalencias de las expresiones en español y en inglés, lo cual es altamente beneficioso para estudiantes con lengua materna inglesa." -Clara Ureña Tormo, LinRed / Lingüística en la Red 11, 2013 (


Introduction. Capítulo 1. Expresiones idiomáticas con comidas, animales, árboles y plantas, y otros elementos de la naturaleza. Capítulo 2. Expresiones idiomáticas con las partes del cuerpo. Capítulo 3. Expresiones idiomáticas con partes de la casa, objetos, ropa y colores. Capítulo 4. Expresiones idiomáticas con lugares, personajes de la historia y de la literatura, nacionalidades y tradiciones culturales. Capítulo 5. Expresiones introducidas por preposiciones. Capítulo 6. Refranes populares. Answer Key. Index.

Author Bio

Javier Muñoz-Basols is Senior Instructor in Spanish at the University of Oxford.

Yolanda Pérez Sinusía teaches at the Official School of Languages and at the Universidad Carlos III in Madrid.

Marianne David is Adjunct Professor of Spanish at Pace University in New York.

Name: Spanish Idioms in Practice: Understanding Language and Culture (Paperback)Routledge 
Description: By Javier Muñoz-Basols, Yolanda Pérez Sinusía, Marianne David. Idiomatic expressions are the ‘salt and pepper’ of any language. They give Spanish its colour and imagery, its richness and variety. From set phrases and idioms to metaphorical expressions and proverbs, these essential components...
Categories: Language Teaching & Learning, Spanish including Latin America, Languages of Western Europe