Tuesday, September 25, 2012

5 Ways the 21st Century Makes Learning Spanish Easier




Chris here again. Today we have a guest article from Kristen Joy Williams. Kristen is the author of Spanish Is Your Amigo, a Spanish language textbook and workbook. You can go check out her free Spanish video lessons on her YouTube channel SpanishIsYourAmigo. She is a native English speaker who has a passion for teaching the Spanish language in the simplest way possible. She lives in Houston, Texas and works as a private Spanish teacher in-home and around the world via Skype.

Click one of the links below to connect with her:


Now, on to the article!

In the world we live in, there are countless ways to further your language education; many of these are even free. Are you the type to break your vow to learn a new language? You no longer have an excuse. Today, I'm counting down 5 ways that the 21st century makes learning Spanish easier.

Twitter is a great place to pick up typical conversational dialogue. If you don't already have a Twitter profile, now is a great time to sign up. A quick search for hashtag #LearnSpanish will yield tons of links as well as simple phrases that will advance your learning. If you like one of the links, make sure to retweet it to save it to your twitter feed for future reference.

Another tip for the search engine is to pick a common English word, translate it into Spanish, and type it into the search bar. For example, I searched for the word "day" in Spanish (día) and yielded tons of Twitter users that are tweeeting in Spanish. Once you find a user whose posts interest you, start following them and begin chatting.

Tip: Make sure you hit the "all" option to get all the results rather than the top tweets. And you can do this with any language, for example French (jour) and German (tag).




YouTube is one of the best places to get free Spanish instruction from a real person. There are also videos specifically designed to help you learn vocabulary or improve your listening skills through music. Check out some of my favorites

·         SpanishIsYourAmigo: (http://www.youtube.com/spanishisyouramigo) Of course, I have to include my personal channel. Each of my Spanish lessons is under 5 minutes. The videos will take you step-by-step from beginners to advanced Spanish.
·         Happy Hour Spanish: (http://www.youtube.com/happyhrspanish) This is one of my new favorite channels. These videos take you on an immersion trip throughout Spain without ever leaving your house. They are made by two girls, one from Spain and one from California.
·         AskPaulino: (http://www.youtube.com/askpaulino) Paulino's short Spanish videos are completely in Spanish. His viewer-submitted questions are particularly helpful for new learners as he answers them very slowly and carefully.
·         SpanishWithRocio: (http://www.youtube.com/spanishwithrocio) Need to boost your vocabulary? These videos feature pictures along with the words to help you lock in the information.
·         GagaYohon100: (http://www.youtube.com/gagayohon100) If you love watching music videos from artists like Carly Rae Jepsen and Lana Del Rey, check out this channel. All the featured videos are subtitled in Spanish so that you can read along.
·         SpanishSessions: (http://www.youtube.com/spanishsessions) These videos come straight from Madrid and most of them are set in a typical classroom. They're heavy on grammar and great if you want to learn the vosotros form.
·         TontitoFrito: (http://www.youtube.com/tontitofrito) Señor Jordan posts new Spanish videos every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. His videos vary from phrases of the day to typical Spanish lessons.
·         LanguageNow: (http://www.youtube.com/languagenow) If you want to know everything about Spanish grammar, check Professor Jason's videos out. He features Portuguese lessons as well.

3. Skype & Google Hangouts

For some reason, many people aren't attracted to the idea of taking language classes via video chat. But it truly can't be beat. What's not to love? It's easy, accessible, and cost-effective, and no doubt your listening and speaking skills will significantly improve. You can either find a language exchange partner or hire a professional Spanish tutor. LiveMocha (http://www.livemocha.com) , Fiverr (http://www.fiverr.com) , and even Craigslist (http://www.craigslist.com) are great places to find affordable Spanish tutors.

4. Forums

Forums are a great way to improve your grammar, find language partners, ask questions, chat about culture, and more. Some of the best are:

·         Spanishdict: (http://www.spanishdict.com) This site is user-friendly and widely used, so you'll get tons of responses to your most pressing grammar conundrums. Spanishdict also has a great translator tool, verb conjugator, and dictionary.
·         Tomisimo: (http://www.tomisimo.org) This is another great forum. Their home page boasts that they are in the business of "helping you speak like a native." I agree.
·         Reddit: (http://www.reddit.com/r/spanish) Reddit features a great community of Spanish speakers and learners sharing links and answering questions.
·         Wordreference: (http://www.wordreference.com) This site not only features forums in over 15 languages including Spanish, it also features verb conjugators and dictionaries.

5. Helpful Sites

Here are some of the most helpful sites to further your learning:

·         Photo Vocab: (http://www.Zachary-jones.com/photovocab) Photo Vocab is "a Spanish vocabulary builder that presents a Spanish word-of-the-day picked from the captions of the day’s most striking photography."
·         Professor Jehle: (http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/) Professor Jehle's site is one of the best I've found for Spanish grammar lessons. It's a must-see for any student.
·         Meetup:  (http://www.meetup.com) Type "Spanish" in the search bar to find meetup groups designed to practice Spanish with people in your city.
·         StumbleUpon: (http://www.stumbleupon.com) If you like keeping up with the latest Spanish blog posts and links, sign up for a StumbleUpon account. It automatically refreshes websites that feature content that you're interested in seeing.
·         Yahoo Answers: (http://www.answers.yahoo.com) If you need a Spanish question answered fast, ask the yahoo answers members. Within seconds of posting, often you'll have multiple answers to your question.
·         Pinterest: (http://www.pinterest.com) At the moment, Pinterest isn't very search-friendly, but have no doubt that it will soon become a place to find some of the best Spanish links around. Sign up for an account and start pinning your favorite links.

I could go on forever about great Spanish resources, but I want to know, what's your favorite method of learning Spanish?  If you have a great link to share, leave it in a comment below.



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