I´ve been asked by a number of people if I know of any free online resources for learning to speak the Spanish language.
You could have a look at any of the following websites:
BBC online language site (in particular, why not sign up for the beginners course, Spanish Steps, to learn practical spoken Spanish in 24 short steps online …..it´s FREE!)
Alternatively, why not try “Beginning Spanish 101”
which is a series of YouTube videos to help you with your pronunciation. You can click on to further videos on YouTube by searching in the right hand column after you have viewed this first one.
Do you know of any other free Spanish language resources?
I can’t recommend intercambios enough. For those not familiar with the concept, these consist of an English speaker and a Spanish speaker getting together and chatting, helping each other with their languages (and sometimes murdering each other’s languages!) I have just spent two months in Valencia city (not Andalucia, but the same principle applies) meeting individual Spaniards face to face in cafes, parks etc to practise our languages.
The best website to arrange face to face intercambios is conversationexchange.com. There are thousands of Spaniards who want to improve their English, so you will be in demand as a native speaker of English! They tend to be on the young side, but you can filter results and in the main I have had the best relationships with Spanish women aged 40 and up ( I am 60 but we shouldn’t be ageist, and I have met several young people who had interests similar to mine).
Going back to the UK temporarily, I plan to maintain these relationships via Skype. It has been such a pleasure to communicate with real Spanish people, and I have learned so much. Clearly you have to have some knowledge of Spanish first before you do these, but if you are trying to take it to the next level, give it a shot. The website covers the whole of Spain and many other countries.
Thanks Lucille – great information!
Have you not seen DUOLINGO?? Wonderful way to learn, and completely free! http://www.duolingo.com
No, I haven’t, Richard. Have you used it?
I can also highly recommend DUOLINGO. It is a free app and it is a really good fun way to learn a language. The idea is that you use the app daily to work your way through increasingly more difficult topics. However, you have to do it regularly to keep your skill level strong. You can connect with friends on facebook and see your progress on a leaderboard!
Sounds great! 🙂
yes, indeed. Been using it for about a year. Being a bit like a game, and having a bit of a competitive edge, means it keeps you going at it – even if for only a few minutes a day. Once you’ve been doing it for a few months, it becomes a habit, and you tend to do Duolingo rather than waste time browsing the web, or playing Solitaire!
I also do a bit of translation (or Immersion, as they call it) within Duolingo to gain more points and keep it interesting. Something like 20 Million people are registered with Duolingo and learning for free. It is reckoned to be the equivalent of a US University course – but progressing faster !! Highly recommended. (They offer other languages too..)
Excellent – thanks for the information 🙂
Yes Duolingo is great and I have been using it ,as going back to Spain soon .Walking ,this time the Mozarabe from Algeria to Granada and hopefully to Cordoba .Need to have Spanish .Of course the best way to learn is to be immersed in it ,but combination next best .Love your information and photos .I tried the swap idea here in Fremantle ,Western Austraiia and it worked for a bit ,but more my fault as i didn’t pursue it .I know though as ex ESL teacher etc that its a matter of constant ,regular practice and seeking opportunities to use the language .
I find this good and can be quiet addictive as you move along and make progress.Wont make you a fluent speaker but you do learn a bit ,good for pure beginners.
I’d recommend HelloTalk, a language exchange application for mobile devices. People can find thousands of Spanish native speakers on it.
Thanks Lara – that’s good to know 🙂
As well as the already mentioned iTunesU, there are also lots of excellent podcasts on iTunes that teach Spanish
Yes indeed – thanks for that addition, Keith. Using audio for language learning is vital 🙂
Hi! At last a proper blog about living in Spain! – Thank you! A resource that I don’t think has been mentioned is Coffee Break Spanish – all their language podcast are good.
Thanks for that, Sharon 🙂
Hi Marianne! I just bumped into your blog. It is great! I will be forwarding these links to the very next person who expresses an interest in learning Spanish! 🙂 Actually, I’ve just been in your neck of the woods for a family holiday. It was fab. Back to Madrid yesterday, I’d say with a bump but actually I am totally happy to be home after a month on the road (UK – inlaws’ in northern Spain – then beach). Feel free to add my humble blog to your resources list – http://mylittlespanishnotebook.wordpress.com/ I’m a translator and language lover and I write about the new words I come across in my daily life here in Madrid. Cheers. 🙂
Thanks for your visit and I’m happy to leave the link to your blog if it helps anyone to learn Spanish.
I’ll hop over there myself and take a look.
Thanks for the article, great resources! We’ve been trying to learn our Spanish in Galicia and it’s been a slow process. We’ve been using Duolingo.com, but the best resource of all are our Spanish roommates!
Ah yes, there’s no substitute for speaking with the natives 🙂
Hi Marianne. I did a Cervantes Institute course about 8 years ago when I lived in Manchester. It was very basic but got taught by native Spanish speakers. I then did a OU course (Portales) which taught me a lot more structure and comprehension. I enjoyed it thoroughly but it was a bit lonely with minimal chance of conversational encounters. In May this year I moved to Competa permanently. There used to be a language school in the village, Idiomas Santa Clara, but I think it closed a few years ago. I’d love to start learning again and in particular build confidence in conversational Spanish plus learn a bit of the local lingo / slang. Any suggestions?
Hey – fancy you living so close to me. We must meet up sometime. Us northerners must stick together 😉
Hmmm Clara who used to run the language school is now the proud co-owner of Bodegas Bentomiz on the outskirts of Sayalonga. We took a tapas tour there last week and she was telling us that she left the language school a few years ago.
There is an “intercambio” session at 7.30pm – 8.30pm each Wednesday evening in Cómpeta at the Centro de Ocio. I’ve never been myself as we go to a quiz on a Wednesday, so I can’t tell you how many people go, but it might be worth a try. I picked up a leaflet about it a little while ago, which advertises a website http://www.competaintercultural.blogspot.com
Hope you’ve got your earplugs ready for this weekend’s Feria!
Thank you very much. Indeed we must stick together and we’d love to meet up sometime. I was out with the dogs last night talking a walk in the hills just behind us, actually really close to Bodegas Bentomiz I think and I could hear the boom boom boom of the feria. We’re probably going to to take a walk one night to check it out.
We’ll check out the intercambio. I have seen it mentioned and thought about it. We really do need to get moving on the language front. My Spanish is like Les Dawsons piano playing. I know the words but not necessarily in the right order.
On the meeting up front, let us know when. We don’t keep a busy social diary!
We have found this free site to be helpful. It helps show an English speaker you already have a pretty good sized Spanish vocabulary and it is easy to understand. I have not purchased the program, but I did sign up via email for communications. Each week, I receive great information that takes me a step closer. 🙂
Thanks for sharing that resource, Heidi 🙂
If you use Apple products, iTunesU has several lessons called 5 Minute Spanish. After using Berlitz CD’s for a while, I had some grammatical questions & no one to ask. The 5 Minute Spanish was VERY informative to me. Plus, there is a setting to listen to it at 1.5x speed.
OH that´s good to know – thanks for that 🙂
Thanks for the resources. I wish I had someone to practice with, but now that my granddaughter is going to take Spanish in high school, maybe she will be my practice partner, though it will have to be long distance. Yo hablo espanol, pero mi espanol es muy malo. No recuerdo muchas palabras. Mi pronunciacion es bueno. So I think it would be fun to check out those websites.
OH well done!
Yes, check them out and keep practicing 🙂
I swear by the CD course of Michel Thomas. His unique teaching style made it SOOOooo easy to pick up, and to construct real sentences within minutes. For anyone wanting to speak the language properly, they’re great. Best of all if you visit the UK or have friends there, you can order the Michel Thomas Foundation Course (Spanish) from your library, and surprisingly they are not “copy-protected” so you can return them to the library quite quickly (if you see what I mean). Apparently they are much cheaper in Canada and the US. I have CD 4 of the Advanced Course permanently in my car.
I have listened to this course, but there is something about Michel Thomas´s accent that really annoys me, so I end up being irritated by his voice rather than learn the lesson. It´s just a personal thing. I know other people swear by it.
Thanks for the reminder, Tamara, and I hope you got back to the UK safely. 🙂
I am on Livemocha too. Small world isn’t it!!! 😉
Yes, a VERY small world! 🙂
I hope you don’t mind….I created a post about the language resources I have found over the years. here it is: http://travelswithtoby.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/learning-spanish/
I don´t mind at all – the more learning resources the better! I´ve been meaning to add in “Notes in Spanish” for a while.