In a previous post, we wrote about the difficulties you might encounter as a foreigner starting to learn Spanish. Hopefully, you are still full of determination to move forward with your plan – Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages on the planet and an excellent asset in your portfolio, so it’s definitely worth the effort. Before investing in lessons with one of our private teachers, it can be a great idea to get started on your own to try and grasp the basics of Spanish – you can also increase the benefit of the lessons for yourself if you know exactly what you need help with from your teachers.
Luckily, since Spanish is such a widely spoken language, there are a lot of resources available for new learners. To help you navigate this sea of opportunities, we’ve compiled a list of the most useful online resources you can use as your first steps towards fluency.
As we have already covered in our posts about resources for English and German, the free language learning apps can get you started on your way to Spanish as well. Our favourites are Duolingo, Memrise, and Busuu.
You can choose whether to just use one or two of these apps (just search for “language learning” in your App Store and you’ll be able to find many that serve the same function), or combine them to supplement each other.
Writing, Grammar, and Spelling
The language learning apps we’ve named do a good job in introducing Spanish to the very beginner, but they definitely lack the option of explaining how the language works – which rules apply where and how the grammar works. For that, you would need some more specialised sites:
Study Spanish – This is an absolutely irreplaceable source of information about learning Spanish. They offer clearly structured lessons on anything from grammar to pronunciation. Although they do offer for-money audio courses, you can also find great free information on this site.
Professor Jason’s Youtube Channel – You can find over 40 video lectures on Spanish grammar on this brilliant Youtube channel. Very clear explanations and a not-over-the-top style make this an excellent resource.
Reading, Understanding, and Vocabulary
Luckily there are tons of options for reading in Spanish – the Internet is full of Spanish language websites and news outlets. You just need to find the pages that have information relevant and interesting to you, so you keep going back. We have found these to be great resources for beginners:
News in Slow Spanish – This page offers audio clips of weekly news in Spanish spoken slowly and with extra-helpful transcriptions. This way, it can help you train your ear to listening to Spanish, and if you find something difficult to understand, there’s the helpful written section. Although the site has paid premium features, you can still get a lot out of the free version.
BBC Languages Spanish – The British news flagship also offers free lessons and resources for improving your Spanish. You can find a list of Spanish news, TV, and radio on the site, including the BBC’s own Spanish site – BBC Mundo.
Practice and Quizzes
After you’re done with the hard work of improving your language skills, it’s time to put them to the test. But we don’t mean the horrible tests you had to take in school, even testing can be fun these days (as long as you don’t get graded):
Sporcle’s Spanish Tests – An entire list of different Spanish quizzes and tests to put your skills to the test. You can see how much of the vocabulary you learned has stuck in your mind and find out what else you need to improve.
E. L Easton’s Spanish Quizzes – If the last website left you feeling like you need more tests or quizzes, then this is the site to offer those. A wide variety of tests, quizzes and games will keep you occupied (hopefully happily) for hours.
Other Useful Resources
Use this excellent spell checker for Spanish to check your writing practice. Don’t forget to use Google Translate if you get stuck with translation, or try to get in touch with one of the many language exchange partners available online, like HelloTalk, My Language Exchange or Conversation Exchange – just remember they will most likely want to swap their knowledge for Spanish for your skills in your native language.