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Hide This French Book 101
Hide This Spanish Book 101

A countdown of the 101 hottest expressions

Book Review

book cover
Hide This French Book 101
Eve-Alice Roustang Stoller
Hardcover,  101 pages
Berlitz Publishing
US $6.95 CAN $10.50
book cover Hide This Spanish Book 101
Isabel Mendoza
Hardcover,  101 pages
Berlitz Publishing
US$ 6.95 CAN $10.50

Berlitz language books have always been useful, and the pocket-sized Berlitz [Language] for Travellers phrasebooks have long been the leading titles in their category. Still, Berlitz books have generally run more toward practicality than whimsy, and they've never had the charm of our favorite phrasebook, 700 Phrases in English to Faroese, which incorporates such phrases as "The workers perspire; some push wheelbarrows full of coal" and "Look over there! A smack is discharging fish."

The new "Hide this Book" series promises to change Berlitz's reputation as the publisher of your father's phrasebooks. Dad--or Mom--might raise an eyebrow upon being told that "J'en ai plein le cul" (literally "I have my ass full") is French for "I'm sick of it," or that "Estoy arrecha, cariño" is proper Spanish for "I'm feeling horny, honey."

Hide This French Book 101: A countdown of the 101 hottest French expressions mixes the rude ("Vendu, l'arbitre!", which suggests "The referee took a bribe!") with the practical ("Quelle est ton adresse e-mail?" "What's your e-mail address?").

Hide This Spanish Book 101 raises the ante with such phrases as "Qué tatuaje más chévere!" ("What a cool tattoo!") and four different ways of asking "Do you have condoms?"

Both books are instructive for language students, because--in many cases--they present idiomatic phrases ("Ella juega a los bandos," or "She swings both ways") with literal meanings ("She plays on both teams").

It's worth noting that the two books aren't just sources of in-your-face phrases: They also tell you such useful things as local synonyms for "fiesta" or "party" in five Spanish-speaking countries and the names of trendy French drinks from pastis ("anise-flavored alcohol, usually mixed with water") to fraise tagada ("strawberry-flavored gummy candy dissolved in vodka").

The hardcover format of Hide This French Book 101 and Hide This Spanish Book 101 makes them more useful as read-at-home books than as pack-'em-in-your-pocket phrasebooks, but they offer good value for the money--and they make entertaining bon voyage or buen viaje gifts for travelers and semester- or year-abroad students.

For more information on the "Hide This Book" series and other language books from Berlitz, visit Berlitz Publishing's Web site at