Resources for Learning Spanish

This is a set of links to resources I am using to pursue my goal of becoming fluent in Spanish, as she is spoken in neighboring Mexico (and by a great many people in this country).

Language Tutors

  • Duolingo - the most popular mobile app for language learning, has a very thoroughly developed Spanish curriculum. I am not a huge fan of Duolingo because I feel that it is based on the immersion principal to a fault - there is virtually never any explicit discussion of grammar (or even things like gender and conjugation), so while I've gotten most of the way so far on Duolingo I'm souring to it a bit. One of the great things about Duolingo, though, which I keep it around for, is the way you can spend just a couple of minutes doing a refresher lesson to brush up on your vocabulary.
  • Wlingua - recommended by people I've talked to online. This program, available online and as mobile apps, and unlike DuoLingo it is very “grammar-forward” with lessons incorporating formal explanations of the grammar from the very beginning. It does seem to be well worth it to get the premium upgrade, which weighs in at about $13 a month. This is what I'm using right now.
  • Mango - Mango is interesting in that it's non-free, but sells itself as a subscription to libraries. So you can most likely get free access through your public library card. Mango is superficially rather similar to Duolingo but seems a lot less polished.
  • LanguageTransfer - LanguageTransfer has a free audio course put together by a rather dedicated volunteer. I haven't really tried it out yet.
  • StudySpanish - membership website with text and audio lessons. Paid service, but a free account gets you access to a lot of useful articles and quizzes.

Sample Material

  • UT Austin Spanish Proficiency Exercises - lots of short videos of primarily native Latin American Spanish speakers, organized by level. Intended for use in assessing student levels, but also great just for practice. All videos are annotated with the region the speaker comes from.
  • SpanishListening - collection of free sample recordings of Spanish speakers, organized in a number of different ways (e.g. by grammatical structure, which is particularly cool).

Communities

  • italki - this website is aimed primarily at allowing you to hire a teacher over the internet for Skype sessions, but it has some useful free feature as well, such as a language exchange program (find a conversation partner) and the ability to write 'notebook entries' that are submitted to native Spanish speakers for comments and corrections.
  • HiNative - HiNative is a Q&A website where your questions go to native speakers of the language you're trying to learn (and vice versa).
  • /r/LearnSpanish - subreddit for Spanish language learners, this is a good starting point to find other resources and a good place to ask questions Google isn't cracking.
  • Spanish StackExchange - it's StackExchange. A good place to look up answers to questions that have been asked before.

References

  • Spanish Grammar in Context - this website, also produced by UT Austin, has articles on grammatical concepts and structures with both formal explanation and examples. Very useful when you see a reference to “subordinating conjunctions” and can't remember what those are even in English.
  • SpanishDict - Spanish-English dictionary with useful conjugation charts.

Miscellaneous

  • Coffee Break Spanish - long series of short Spanish lessons available in podcast feed format. Great for listening to while walking.