All The Spanish Resources I Use or Try for My Spanish Challenge 

 

I will be writing up a brief summary of all the resources I use through this challenge, some will have more in depth reviews if I really loved or hated them. From Free to Paid to Extremely Expensive – all will be covered here though the EE ones I will probably have to farm out because this nerd is on a budget. There will be no particular order within these lists – they’ll get added as I use them!

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Free Spanish Learning Resources

DuoLingo

Website and Apps for iOS and Android

Verdict

I love me some Duo Lingo. I always have. It appeals to me – it’s free, fun, and makes me feel like I achieved something goddamit. I have used it extensively for Swedish and little but for French, as well as played around with a lot of different languages for funsies. The quality of the courses varies – Spanish, French, Swedish are great and I haven’t noticed anyone complaining about them. but for the first while the Greek course was impossible – and I haven’t tried it since though apparently it is much better (beta versions are, after all, tests).

How Free is it Really

Completely. at no point do you ever have to pay real world money to progress. if you run out of lives by getting questions wrong you can buy them back with gems, or earn them back by practising the lessons you’ve already done.

You can buy gems, if you want to but they are in no way necessary. There are ads, and you can watch ads for little bonuses but they aren’t massively intrusive – one screen after your lesson is a small price to pay.

Paid Version

The paid version is basically exactly the same as the free version except you can do lessons offline, and repair a streak if you forget a day – and it is ad free of course. This supports keeping the app and website free for most users, which I am happy to support when I am able to. You can choose between 1 month, 6 months, and 12 months at $9.99, $7.99, and $6.99 respectively. So depending on how much you use it, and your budget it might be a nice way to support this really cool resource!

Tiny Cards

Website and Apps for iOS and Android 

Verdict

This is a sister app to Duo Lingo, on its own a bit redundant because it is literally just flashcards. However the Duo Lingo courses are pre-loaded, so you can test memory of the actual vocab you are learning in the main app.

How Free Is It Really

Completely, I don’t think there is a premium version and there are no ads.

Bonus Points

If you just really really like the app you can use it to make your own flashcards or subscribe to one of the other public decks people have made!

Memrise

Website and Apps for iOS and Andriod

Verdict

love love love. It’s a bit fun, a bit cute, but really works. Memrise uses whats scaled Spaced Repetition. Memrise was founded by Ed Cooke, a Grand Master of Memory, and Greg Detre, a neuroscientist who specialises in the science of memory and forgetting. So, I guess the probably know something about the topic?

Seriously though, what happens is you choose a course, choose how many words a day you want to learn, and then go for it. If you get the card right you don’t see it for a few goes, then if you get it right again you don’t see it for a while longer. the word is shown to you juuuuust as your brain is about to forget it, which is the perfect time for long term memory creation. If you get a word wrong it shows you more regularly and amongst words you’ve already mastered.

There will be an in depth review after this experiment.

How Free Is It Really

Depends what you want.

If you just want to go through the flash card / vocabulary building system then it’s completely free.

If you want the GrammarBot (you answer questions from an AI bot about grammar), chat bots, immersive videos and , offline learning, and in depth analysis on the web then you can pay between $5 and $9 monthly (though at the time of this article there was a 50% off deal so a year was $2.50 a month! Or you can buy lifetime access for $129. So if you think you’d use it for more than 25 months then the lifetime access makes sense!

Spotify

Verdict

Well, its free music without the headache that comes from radio hosts constantly announcing how terrible the word is (i really don’t like listening to the news …)

Music for Spanish Learning however is really really cool. It helps you get to low the flow of the language, its catchy, and it is always awesome to learn a song in another language.  I put together this super short playlist of artists and songs recommended by a whole heap of forums and websites. You can follow Music for Learning Spanish playlist if you’d like – let me know what you think and any suggestions you have!

How Free Is It Really

Spotify premium with offline playing and no ads is available in most counties, other than that completely free!

 

Podcasts

Notes in Spanish Podcast

Verdict

Available on Podcast App on iPhone, but I can’t see any other providers except for an RSS feed on their website. All the episodes are available to play on the website here.

I immediately liked this podcast, the hosts sound like genuine people who you would want to meet for a chat! The podcast itself is hella useful – really colloquial things that you cant learn off apps or textbooks, as well as some really nifty ‘easy get arounds’ for certain pain in the ass things about Spanish.

The episodes are quite short, with a manageable amount of vocab in each one. for Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced, and Gold for anyone who is a bit of a swot ( un empollón , episode 1!). 

How Free Is It Really

The actual podcast is completely free – and they do talk about free transcripts though I haven’t been able to find those. They do offer a paid worksheet pack for £47 – it includes all the vocab taught and a whole bunch of worksheets to work on the Spanish in each episode – I have no doubt they would be useful, but this experiment is trying to be free!

 

Books

Fluent in 3 Months

Buy Fluent in 3 Months

I think most people who have looked up how to learn a language will have come across Benny Lewis. He is a tiny bit of a legend with his Irish accent and decent humour. He speaks seven languages fluently and can comfortably converse in a bunch more. he also failed at basically every language course he took on. So there is hope!

I really like this book, and while it has a little bit of Spanish specific stuff (Benny has certified mastery of Spanish), it is a great book to read for anyone looking to start a new language. I have my full review here. 

I already had this book, it retails for £9.99 but I found it on sale for £6 on book depository, and you can get it second hand for anything between £1,70 and £4.  It is also a really common book in libraries I have found, so check out your local! There are also a lot – and I mean A LOT of useful resources for free on the website.

About The Challenge

My Spanish Challenge has emerged from a surprise trip I decided to take, I had not planned on going to Spain just yet – and somehow here we are! You can read more about my Spanish challenge, follow my progress through the blog posts, sign up to our email notification, or through our social media!

 

 

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