Dreaming Spanish is a series of Youtube videos that have been transformed into a language-learning platform. Each video provides full Spanish immersion, even from the Super-Beginner level. Additionally, the speaking pace in each video increases depending on the level, which allows you to progressively improve your listening comprehension.
The creator, Pablo, states that through listening, you will be able to naturally develop the accent, vocabulary, grammar, speaking abilities, and comprehension of a language.
Dreaming Spanish publishes a new video every 3 days. The website automatically tracks how long you have spent watching its content, and you can sort by level, topic, or by which of the 15+ guides are presenting in the video.
For those of you looking for a free, immersive method to study Spanish, you should definitely check out Dreaming Spanish.
Language learning podcasts often have different levels, but they usually expect you to magically advance in the space between them. Lis and Rob, on the other hand, seem to seamlessly transition from level to level. They differentiate between Spanish from scratch and beginner Spanish, and the intermediate level is a realistic step up from the beginner episodes.
You can listen to their podcasts on a couple of different platforms, but listening on their website gives you the advantage of following the podcasts like a course. You can gain access to special courses with a subscription, such as those that focus on pronunciation and vocabulary. Each episode’s page has a line-by-line interactive time-stamped transcript — by clicking on the time stamp next to a line of text from the dialogue, you can jump to that sentence within the recording. You can also see a translation with notes that elaborate on the different phrases or word usage (or correct some of Rob’s speech). Unfortunately, the page does not follow along with the podcast, so you will have to manually scroll down as you listen.
The advanced episodes feel more like upper-intermediate Spanish, so advanced learners may not feel as challenged. However, for the beginner to the intermediate learner, Spanish Obsessed is full of opportunities to improve your skills.
Notes in Spanish
The beginner episodes of Notes in Spanish may be a bit tricky for the absolute beginner, but the narrators, Ben and Maria, say that it’s normal to be a bit lost at first. They add their personality to the conversations, so even when they teach basic introductions, it is far from the dialogue you would read in a Spanish 101 textbook — you will sound natural in no time if you practice listening comprehension with this duo.
There is no end to the topics that Ben and Maria can talk about in the intermediate and advanced episodes — one day you may be touring their home, the next you’ll be listening to them discuss Harry Potter. Each episode comes in bite-sized 10ish minute chunks so you can acquire some new vocabulary on the go.
It’s probably not possible for beginners to use this podcast as their sole learning resource, as after 30 beginner episodes the intermediate episodes use almost no English. You may need some extra support to keep up. Ben and Maria offer the Real Spanish Control course to help you transition from beginner to intermediate, but you can also check out the podcast Unlimited Spanish to practice speaking, Duolingo to learn the basics, and SpanishVIP or iTalki for private tutoring.
Ideal for people who are already at an upper beginner/intermediate level, Clozemaster will help you build your vocabulary and learn new words and sentences in context. While you won’t learn much grammar or improve your speaking and writing much, it is great at what it does and the videogame aspect makes it fun and addictive to work though. Although the exercises are all pretty much identical, there are various ways in which you can increase the difficulty and Clozemaster’s free account is almost as good as the Pro User one.
It is the go-to app for free (except on iOS) Spaced Repetition System (SRS) flashcards. It has a simple user interface with various features that more hard-core users can dive into if they choose.
Your flashcards will appear according to your natural forgetting curve; the app will test you in increasingly spaced out intervals, with more difficult cards appearing more than once in a session, while easier cards spacing out over weeks — or even months and years. An SRS system is the most effective way to drive information into your long-term memory.
The cards can sync between the web, desktop app, and mobile versions to keep your flashcards updated and with you at all times. You can add images and audio clips to your cards and change the text formatting (if you use it on your computer). One feature unique to Anki, as opposed to other SRS flashcard apps, is the “Cloze deletion” function, which allows you to block out parts of your card and create a “fill-in-the-blanks” type card format.
If you want a resource for how to make effective flashcards, check out the book, FluentForever. The author leaves a whole section dedicated to understanding how to use your Anki deck to advance your skills quickly.
Wlingua relies on two methodologies for learner success: staggered repetition and progressive exposure. Staggered repetition seems identical to typical spaced repetition methods, while progressive exposure ensures that all new words and concepts are based on what you have previously learned. This ensures that there are no gaps in knowledge when it comes to tackling more advanced lessons. Additionally, each lesson focuses on one concept at a time in order to avoid overwhelming the learner, and there is a clear path for what you will be learning from beginner to the end.
Each new word is “linked to its precise meaning or use” so that you can use them in context. The program consists of new vocabulary, grammar, exercises, reading practice, and audio by native speakers with different accents. The downside is that there seems to be more focus on reading and comprehension than on listening and speaking.
Only Spanish and Russian are currently available from Beginner to Upper-Intermediate. Other languages are available at the beginner and elementary levels.
You can use the app without registering for an unspecified number of days. There is limited basic content available for free, while the premium plan offers unlimited access, practice reviews tailored to your learning, and downloadable PDF lessons.
Español Automático supports Spanish learners to dive into real-world Spanish. Their content seems well organized and high-quality, despite some of the courses being quite an investment. They have a free podcast with purchasable transcripts in addition to some online courses. As all of the content is entirely in Spanish and at a relatively natural speed, it is most suitable for intermediate or advanced learners. Nevertheless, the hard-core beginner may benefit from it as well.
The podcast covers various topics, such as grammatical nuances and tips to advance your learning. The creators might explain (in Spanish) the difference between ‘the four porqués’, or they might help you overcome your fear of making mistakes. You can get the transcripts for a small donation on Patreon, but you are encouraged to listen to their videos and podcasts without a transcript in order to increase your listening comprehension.
Español Automático has a couple of courses — in particular, Piensa y Habla en Español seems quite promising. Each unit comes with a text accompanied by an audio narration, plus vocabulary explanations, challenges, and comprehension questions. Similar to Oscar’s Point of View lessons in Unlimited Spanish, the narrators in Español Automático will summarize the text in various verb tenses in order to help these tenses become more intuitive. You can test out the first unit on their website to see more about this course.
Lingoda is an online language learning platform where you can take private or group classes at any time of the day. They offer lessons in Spanish, German, French, and English. There are a large number of lessons available for everyone from absolute beginners to more advanced levels. It’s a good option to get the structure of a course with the guidance of a teacher, at an affordable price.
Language learning with Netflix
If you want to make language learning more accessible while watching Netflix, this chrome extension is for you.
The free version allows you to skip subtitles forward and backward in case you didn’t catch what was said, and you can also choose to automatically pause the movie or show after each subtitle. The full transcript is also displayed on the side. By hovering over a word you can see a short translation and hear an audio pronunciation, or you can click on the word for more context and further links to various dictionary sites.
With a Pro membership you can save words or phrases, receive translations that are closer to the meaning in the original language, and create subtitles for dubbed movies.
LLN’s catalogue can help you find Netflix movies or shows with high-quality subtitles to improve your experience,
Assimil is a French company that has been selling language-learning resources since 1929. Assimil materials are available as books, CDs, and downloadable e-courses; there are a variety of available course types, and instruction is based on interacting with phrases in the target language. The popular Sans Peine or, With Ease, courses are for absolute or false beginners that would like to reach the B2 level, but we think you’ll need to incorporate some other study materials to make this happen.