You say you’re too busy to learn Spanish?
You’re not fooling anyone.
Let’s be real here.
You’re probably spending some of your time at work or home tumbling, pinning, tweeting, facebooking, blogging, or busily turning blue links purple on Reddit.
Lucky for you, many of these productivity-sapping activities can be converted into a fun, chill way to learn Spanish.
What is Reddit?
If you haven’t discovered Reddit yet, it is singular for its ability to both provide essential, topical, and fascinating information and be a massive time succubus. Armed with an anonymous username, you can spends hours alone on the “front page,” where top content from all over the site engages in a never-ending battle for the #1 spot. Images, links, screenshots, news articles, videos, gifs and memes, all just one click away and offering instant gratification. Beyond the front page, there are endless subreddits, pages with specifically themed content, which cover every topic under the sun.
For seasoned redditors, I’m offering you the opportunity to turn mindless link-clicking into productive, valuable learning time. For those of you who are Reddit virgins, why the heck do I love it so much as a Spanish learning tool?
Why Reddit for Learning Spanish?
- Diverse content. There are pages full of Spanish grammar lessons and online learning tools, others devoted to Latin music and dance. It’s up to you to decide how you learn best.
- The international community provides a portal to open discussion about Spanish language, culture, and current events in Europe and Latin America.
- It’s personalized and user friendly. Subscribe yourself to the most useful subreddits and get daily updates on new, fresh, popular posts.
- It’s interactive and community-driven. This means that you can post helpful content for other language learners to see, write comments, and ask questions to the whole community.
How can you learn Spanish vocabulary with Reddit?
Go to your preferences at the top right corner of the page. Under the heading “Content Language” check the box for español or all future endeavors here will be for naught. This enables you to see posts in Spanish as well as English. If you’ve already been anointed as a redditor, I double dog dare you to full-on change your interface language to Spanish and start navigating in your new language.
Now, start exploring subreddits.
*(Beginner’s tip: to get to a subreddit, type in www.reddit.com/r/[subreddit name here]).
The big Spanish language subreddit is the aptly named /r/Spanish. This is where gaggles of enthusiastic redditing Spanish students gather to discuss grammar woes, decipher regional idioms, and promote or dispute the value of various learning tools. A permanent fixture on the right-hand sidebar is a list of online guides to get yourself started learning basic Spanish. Though this subreddit page is typically flooded with questions about how to use this or that verb tense correctly, you’ll get exposed to a lot of internet destinations you might otherwise never have discovered.
Just today I saw a discussion about offensive slang words throughout Latin America, a list of documentaries from Spain, and a link to the top 100 Spanish songs on Spotify.
To find Skype partners to practice Spanish with or pen pals – wait, are they called keyboard pals nowadays? – head over to /r/languagelearning.
For the serious, technical inner workings of language, /r/linguistics is the ticket.
Another large Spanish-lovin’ community is /r/espanol. That’s right, espanol, not español. This subreddit is like the front page, but in Spanish – a huge assorted grab-bag of links to relationship questions, news articles, not-safe-for-work pictures, memes, you name it, posted and upvoted by hispanohablantes. This is where the denizens of /r/latinamerica and all other Spanish-speaking regional subreddits (such as /r/peru and /r/chile) unite.
Regional subreddits for Spanish-speaking countries are a great place to meet people and learn about the humor, idioms, culture and current affairs of individual countries. A good chunk of subscribers to these subreddits are foreign expats who live in-country. Don’t be afraid to jump in and ask questions or make comments in either English or Spanish!
There are new subreddit options popping up every day: /r/ciencias (recently switched to a private subreddit – invite only) invites Spanish-speaking science lovers to share informed opinions and intellectual dialogue, /r/futbol is a chaotic den of rabid international soccer fans, and /r/videojuegos caters to gamers of all kinds.
If you’re more advanced and looking for a challenge, record yourself speaking Spanish and post to /r/judgemyaccent for constructive criticism (and sometimes not-so-constructive criticism).
More fun less work? Visit /r/latinhouse, /r/salsa, and /r/hispanicmusic to find some Spanish-language music. Or say music just doesn’t sound fun enough? Wow. Do you really need a whole cup full of honey to take a sip of medicine? Alright then…
Why not let memes be your guide to learning Spanish vocabulary?
- Memes are short and sweet. Short sentences and phrases, easy vocabulary. The best memes are able to pack a punch with a simple message.
- With memes it’s super easy to figure out what’s going on. If you’re not familiar with memes, you can look at a bunch of them and quickly catch onto the patterns.
- Regardless of the language, you already know the feeling behind the message. Pretty coo, right? Most of us are all too familiar with memes. When you see Bad Luck Brian’s braces or the Success Kid’s infamous fist pump you know exactly what to expect.
- You can pretend you’re working while silently giggling at your computer screen. That’s all any of us really wants, anyway.
Rage comics may have passed from fashion in other parts of the world, but they are raging on in Latin America. Cheap jokes, cheesy puns, and minimalistic formats transcend the language barrier. These old-fashioned internet classics may be a little been-there-done-that, but the simplistic humor is easy to understand even with minimal knowledge of Spanish. Here’s a good example:
Catch the joke there? That little face on the control is the “troll” face. Con/Sin = With/Without. Definitely not reaching Monty Python levels of hilarity, but that hackneyed humor might merit a snort.
Some other key players in rage comics are:
Siempre solo: Forever alone
Asumido el reto: Challenge accepted
The hottest memes right now are images recycled over and over again to convey quick messages. Each image has its own connotation. The tears of the First World Problems girl suggest a petty problem is being griped about, while the College Freshman meme details the naïve blunders of a first-year student. Let’s look at how these memes translate into Spanish, and how they be used to learn vocabulary!
El Puffin de Opiniones Impopulares: Unpopular Opinion Puffin
No me gustan las pinturas de Frida Kahlo: I don’t like Frida Kahlo’s paintings (gasp!)
Whenever you see the puffin, you know the message is going to challenge a popular opinion.
Hombre Ridículamente Fotogénico: Ridiculously Photogenic Guy
Extra en una pelicula / gana un premio Oscar: Is an extra in a movie / wins an Oscar
Damn that handsome bastard! If the meme features the Ridiculously Photogenic Guy, then you know something good happens due to his uncommonly good looks.
Philosoraptor: (same in English)
¿Qué pasaría si Pinocho dijera “Mi nariz crecercá ahora”?: What would happen if Pinocchio said, “My nose will grow now”?
This pensive velociraptor is always sharing bizarre epiphanies and challenging things you thought you understood. What the heck would happen to Pinocchio? Would he explode? I don’t know but I’m not sure I want to find out.
Some memes don’t belong to a pattern – some are uniquely hilarious.
In this one, a street shawarma vendor slices delicious roasted lamb from the spit for eager customers.
Él es mi pastor / Nada me faltará: He is my shepherd / I will lack nothing
Because who doesn’t understand having a borderline religious passion for good street food?
These are just a few examples. Hang out around /r/memexico for a while, explore, and find even more! When you’ve had enough subreddits and memes for one day, step outside of Reddit and hop over to ureddit.com, the University of Reddit.
There, Reddit users who love learning teach their specialty subject in a structured, traditional classroom format – not too structured, I guess, since some teachers have previously used Minecraft and other online games for instruction. All this comes at no cost to participants. Spanish is currently available from introductory to advanced levels.
You see? The internet isn’t just for procrastination! Instead of aimlessly surfing, tell the internet who’s boss and use it as a fun, effective tool to boost your Spanish learning experience.
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