Spanish fluency. For beginners who can’t get enough of free stuff, here are a few more free websites and online resources for getting started or brushing up on the basics.
Isn’t free stuff great? You won’t find many comprehensive guides like ours lying around the web without a pricetag, but thankfully, cyberspace is full of language learning nuggets and niche resources you can use to start learning Spanish without paying a peso.
Photo by Frank Hebbert via Flickr under CC BY 2.0.
Even advanced learners can use a tune-up on the basics now and then, and on many of the sites listed below, you’ll find Spanish learning material appropriate not just for beginners but for learners of all levels. For beginners especially, combining a few of these resources to focus on different areas like listening comprehension, pronunciation, and grammar can make for not only a cost-efficient but also an effective and time-efficient way of getting started with Spanish.
Here are 12 of our favorite online resources for beginning Spanish learners who love learning Spanish gratis:
With everything from statistical and cultural information and basic vocabulary to online TV stations and even links to help you find online or in-person courses, BBC Languages is a must-have resource for Spanish learners. Get started with the interactive video series Mi Vida Loca and expand your knowledge and vocabulary as you explore the rest of the site.
123 Teach Me
123 Teach Me is an all-in-one resource with a verb conjugator, translator, and even a handy Spanish sentence generator to help you see words and phrases in context. Check out their free self-study courses for a slightly more structured approach to getting your feet wet.
Learning with games is one of the most effective, engaging, and natural ways to learn a language. Start by picking a beginner topic like animals or clothes, and follow the games through until your final quiz.
Youtube is not only home to countless channels devoted to learning Spanish and other languages, but also things like clips of children’s shows and video tutorials for perfecting your pronunciation. Don’t forget to check out the Transparent Spanish YouTube channel, where we share instructional videos geared towards learners of all levels!
As we’ve pointed out before, you should definitely be watching TV for language learning. Lingus.tv is there for Spanish learners to do just that, with clips and videos for beginner, intermediate, and advanced learners to get a feel for the language spoken naturally at near-real life speed.
There are plenty of places to find shows in your target language online, but Streema is one of the best. With TV and radio from over one hundred countries worldwide, just click on the name of a Spanish-speaking country, kick back, and tune in to what’s on local TV. One of Streema’s added benefits is that if you’re learning a particular regional dialect of Spanish, you can easily choose to watch TV from countries in that region.
News in Slow Spanish
Watching the news in Spanish is a great way to fine-tune your listening comprehension and stay abreast of current events, but getting through an evening update can be challenging for beginners. The people at News in Slow Spanish know this too, which is why they’ve recorded sound clips of newscasts in slower, more carefully articulated European and Latin American Spanish intended for beginners, alongside handy transcriptions for you to read along with.
Sounds of Speech
It’s important to learn early how to pronounce unfamiliar speech sounds in your target language. The International Phonetic Alphabet (or IPA) is one of the best ways to crack Spanish consonants and get your mouth around Spanish vowels, and the University of Iowa’s Sounds of Speech website is the perfect tool for doing so. Click on sounds and experiment with the interactive diagram that demonstrates exactly how the various parts of your mouth move to produce different sounds in Spanish, and incidentally learn a bit of Spanish phonetics vocabulary along with it!
There’s no substitute for actually speaking and using a language you’re learning. Sites like ConversationExchange.com are replete with Spanish speakers hoping to exchange their mother tongue with native speakers of English or other world languages–if you sign up today, you’ll likely have a Skype date with your new language exchange partner before the week’s over!
Traveling to learn a language is a time-tested language learning strategy, and probably the most exciting one as well. Check Wikitravel’s Spanish phrasebook for an extensive guide to the phrases you’ll need handy for your Latin American backpacking trip or walking the Camino de Santiago.
Even if you don’t plan on hitting the road, social travel networks like Couchsurfing are bursting with speakers of nearly any language you can imagine, but especially big world langauges like Spanish. Sign into Couchsurfing and check for language exchange events in your area, or do a quick search for Spanish-speaking users in your city.
One of the many ways to immerse yourself in Spanish for free, Workaway is a work exchange website where you can search odd volunteer jobs of all kinds in exchange for a room or bed and often a meal or two daily. If you thought you couldn’t afford a language immersion trip, explore sites like Workaway, HelpX, and other work exchanges, and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to spend a few months earning your bed and practicing your language skills in a Spanish-speaking country.
Whether you’re just starting your language learning journey, or just a more advanced learner looking for a refresher on the basics, don’t let money become an excuse to go another year without starting on or improving your Spanish. Choose your favorites of the resources listed here, and be sure to download our free Beginner’s Guide to Spanish to use alongside them as your go-to resource for all things beginning Spanish!