Hola and bienvenido! I’m back from the scorching climes and rife nationalism of the kingdom of Catalunya, where I was causing havoc at travel blogging conference TBEX. Back in Madrid, hanging out at Equity Point hostel, I met my man Adrian, a fellow Spanish learner travelling and experiencing Spain much in the same vein as I started out over a year ago. Here to share his tips on learning Spanish online (we already had some other ones from yours truly earlier this year), Adrian looks at a number of resources out there that you guys can use for free.
Boom. Let’s get going.
Learning and practicing Spanish is easier than ever with the multitude of Online resources available to us these days. This list aims to provide you with an overview of different methods and links to the best sites, programs and platforms.
If you have a basic understanding of Spanish, intermediate or advanced knowledge, nothing is better than lot’s of exposure to conversation and if you don’t have any friends who speak Spanish as a first language you can find some using these websites. Language exchanges are a great way to practice, meet new friends and you can either meet in person, arrange to speak through Skype, or contact each-other through e-mail.
Intercambio-Es: This free site enables you to meet language exchange partners within Spain.
The Mixxer: A free educational website for language exchanges via Skype
My Language Exchange: A free platform to find conversation partners anywhere in the world.
Conversation Exchange: Another free platform to find conversation partners anywhere in the world.
Complete immersion is a great way to learn Spanish and you can do this without being in a Spanish speaking part of the world (although this helps,) for example by putting Spanish radio on in the background. You can choose from various parts of the Spanish speaking world, here is a list of some, but there are thousands. Try to find one with music or content you like.
Canal Sur – Flamenco Radio station based in Andalucia, Spain
Radio 5 – News radio from Spain
Mexico-Radio – A compliation of all the radio stations broadcasting in Mexico. After choosing a region click on the icon to go to the stations website and listen live.
Another great resource for listening to Spanish is to watch Spanish TV, or, even better, watch movies in Spanish. The best way to do this is to watch a film with the spoken language in Spanish (dubbed or original) and with Spanish subtitles so you can read while you listen. An easier alternative would be to put on the English subtitles, but you won’t learn as much. You can download films illegally, safely and easily as you already know, I prefer to download torrents (piratebay.se), and look for films in Spanish. Here are a few great films originally in Spanish but you can aksi find most movies dubbed in Spanish.
El laberinto del fauno ( Pan’s Labyrinth ) – 2006
El Espiritu del Colmena ( The Spirit of the Beehive ) – 1973
Volver – 2006
The Motorcycle Diaries – 2004
Reading is another extremely helpful way to improve your Spanish and expand your vocabulary. Newspapers are an excellent way to find free Spanish reading material online.
El Mundo – Popular newspaper from Spain
El Universal – Popular newspaper from Mexico
Excélsior – Another popular newspaper from Mexico
Another excellent way to improve your reading skills is to start giving Spanish books a crack. A good idea is to start with childrens books if you are at a basic level. I have found that having two copies of a more advanced book, one in the original Spanish and one an english translation, makes deciphering the language much easier and more reliable than a dictionary or google translate. You can download various e-books from amazon or other websites that distribute them.
Don Quixote – Cervantes
Pedro Paramo – Juan Rulfo
Memoria del Fuego – Eduardo Galeano
Grammar Practice and Exercises:
While there is no substitute for practicing speaking, listening, reading and writing, without at least a basic understanding of grammar, you won’t know where to begin. Of course grammar can be learned intuitively and through conversation exchanges but it can also be learned on structured courses like those at Keiser University Online.
Study Spanish – Free Spanish Grammar outlines. (You can only do the tests and excercises if you sign up for a membership which is not free.)
Word Reference – A great resource for English – Spanish dictionary.
So there you have it, the resources are abundant and can be as entertaining and as easy as meeting new people, listening to the radio or watching movies. So you have no excuse, learn Spanish!
Got any more resources to throw into the mixer? Share your thoughts below…