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Learning a new language is always an asset. Wouldn’t you like to travel to Barcelona or Madrid and order paella and sangria in perfect Spanish? As a Latin language, Spanish boasts more than 470 million native speakers spread throughout Hispanic America, Equatorial Guinea and, of course, Spain. The Foreign Service Institute estimated Spanish is relatively easy to learn, compared to English. The same rough estimations claim that within twenty-three to twenty-four weeks, English students learning Spanish are able to hold a conversation with a native speaker.
But not all of us have the time or money to enroll in academic classes to learn Spanish. Fortunately, in this day and age, the internet gives us plenty of alternatives. If there’s a will, there’s a way. There are a slew of learning platforms out there that can be used completely free of charge and that will guide you through structured lessons. Whether you’re starting from scratch or you already know the basic stuff, you can make progress in your free time, from the comfort of your couch. The best thing about learning Spanish online is that it doesn’t necessarily have to target theoretical info. That means you won’t have to spend hours memorizing charts of gender nouns, verb conjugations, and irregular verbs. Online learning has branched out to include interactive lessons, learning games, and audio exercises, breaking geographical barriers and connecting learners from all the corners of the world.
We’ve hand-picked the most useful online learning tools that can be used for free on smartphones, tablets or PCs. With increased access to knowledge come endless possibilities to learn and assimilate new cultures. If you’ve always been toying with the idea of learning Spanish online free, here’s where you can start today.
A fast growing language learning platform, Duolingo is highly intuitive, engaging and very efficient. Spanish is just one of the 40 different languages you can learn on Duolingo. Available for Andriod and iOS devices as well as Windows 10 and Windows 8, this program will give a helping hand to beginners or advanced learners. The lessons are grouped according to level, divided into categories: basics, nouns, adjectives and verbs, followed by more specific classes: animals, occupations, and colors, just to mention a few. What sets Duolingo apart from any other platform out there is that it is created with the help of users. They get involved in designing exercises, providing answers and give feedback on the structure of the lessons.
Duolingo is the best way to learn Spanish online because it keeps the users engaged and motivated. The questions and exercises never get dull. Every category has a mix of audio, speaking or writing phrases exercises. You have to choose from multiple answers or type in the right translation of what you hear. Combining passive learning with interactive learning ensures the right balance of grasping the principles of a new language. Duolingo users get acquainted with the Spanish accent and pronunciation from the first lesson. Learners are also encouraged to keep up their streak and they can even receive daily notifications reminding them about practice time.
Comprising over 750,000 users from 190 countries, Lang 8 is a language learning platform that allows users to submit texts to be corrected by native speakers. Beginners can get advice, corrections and suggestions from advanced learners. At the same time, all users can, in their turn, offer input and corrections for texts submitted by others in their native language.
The standard features that are available to all Lang 8 users allow access to learning only two languages. In comparison, premium account features offer the possibility to learn an unlimited number of languages. Submitting and correcting texts is a user-friendly process and only takes a few steps. Texts are broken up in phrases to smoothen the correction process. Native users giving their input can use colors, bold and strikethrough settings to correct texts, as well as add extra annotations for further explanations. Lang 8 also supports comments, enabling users to discuss correct variants. This program stands out of the crowd because it closes the gap between novice Spanish learners and native speakers.
To the surprise of many, Youtube is more than a platform for watching funny kitty compilations of all times. It’s also a great tool to learn Spanish online free, with a wide range of tutorials, speaking and audio exercises. Listening to natives plays an essential role in helping you speak Spanish fluently. There are different learning approaches when it comes to learning Spanish on Youtube. You can tune in and listen to your favorite Spanish programs or shows, which might have an English subtitle. This improves your conversational skills because it accustoms your brain with unfamiliar words and their appropriate pronunciation. The best thing about this kind of exercise is that you can play a Youtube video and go about your chores. Wash dishes, vacuum or dust while listening to Spanish news or vlogs in your headphones.
Another smart way to use Youtube for learning Spanish free online is searching for lessons, tutorials or whole channels entirely dedicated to teaching Spanish. Most of the times, these will be made by professors, advanced Spanish users or native speakers. These types of videos are packed with useful tips ranging from pronunciation techniques to grammar rules and use of modern slang.
To practice diction and to strengthen your fluency, you can try out a technique called shadowing. This implies choosing a short video (three to four minutes long) that comprises a lot of talking in Spanish. It can be anything from a news report to a DIY tutorial, as long as you can easily follow it and understand all the words. Listen to it carefully a couple of times and look up any unknown words. Using a pair of headphones, replay the video a third time and “shadow” the speakers by uttering their words with them. Repeat the exercise with the same video several times. You don’t have to hear yourself talking in Spanish, so feel free to turn up the volume. The purpose of this exercise is to familiarize your tongue with completely new sounds and utterings.
Learning Spanish doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. The proof for this is Livemocha. Established in 2007, this platform connects learners from all around the globe. Comprising basic courses and active lessons, reviews have only high praises about LiveMocha. The thirty to fifty-hour courseworks were designed to take the learners from learning the bare essentials to strengthening vocabulary and conversational skills. If you want to learn Spanish online for free, LiveMocha offers a slew of free of charge features, with the possibility of upgrading to a premium account for even more advantages. Made up of a large community of language aficionados, LiveMocha is continuously improved with the help of language experts, native speakers, and teachers. Practice exercises are paired with constructive feedback, video or audio chats. The cultural exchange is an essential ingredient for creating a pleasant learning environment. Emphasizing immersion and contact with native speakers, Livemocha offers users a wide variety of exercises that target both the theoretical and the practical side. By submitting exercises, learners are encouraged to engage advanced students and receive reviews. This creates a safe and structured learning environment where feedback is received on the spot.