spanish immersion software

Spanish Immersion Software: 10 Stellar Programs for Language Learning (2020 Picks)

How is it that some people can switch from one language to another so easily?

Did their parents force them to learn another language when they were kids?

We’ve all met them: “I speak just the five languages. Well, six if you count Tagalog, but I’m only conversational in it, so it doesn’t really count…”

Believe it or not, many multilinguals didn’t net their language skills because they’re super-human (or had over-zealous parents). Many of them spent their childhood bouncing between the likes of Geneva, Hong Kong, Madrid and Rome.

But they didn’t refine their talent by spending hours with their jet-setting noses stuck in books conjugating verbs robotically.

They were fully immersed in the language from a young age, learning and practicing new words in a foreign tongue in order to get by—to trade sandwiches at school and understand the cartoons on TV.

So, without a time machine and a new set of world-wandering parents, or the option to move to a new country to study the language in immersive depth as an adult, how can the rest of us stand a chance of picking up Spanish so easily?

The answer: Spanish immersion software.

Here’s a guide to why Spanish immersion software works, together with details of the best Spanish immersion software around, updated in 2020!
 


 

Learn a foreign language with videos

Why Spanish Immersion Software Works

  • Learn like a two-year-old: Kids are smart at learning languages. Without any clear structure or language learning instruction, they just shift from babbling to talking. And they do that by being fully immersed in the language, starting with simple words that are important to them, and moving on to complex sentences to make themselves understood.
  • Dive straight in: Speaking and listening skills are perhaps the most important (and useful) aspects of learning a new language. With Spanish immersion software, you’re thrown straight in with words and basic sentences.
  • Exercise based: Practice, practice, practice. Through repetition and regular practice, the exercise-based nature of Spanish immersion software means you’re less likely to get bored, and more likely to learn.

Spanish Immersion Software: 10 Stellar Programs for Language Learning (2020 Picks)

There are lots of language learning options out there. Here are 10 of the best Spanish immersion software programs on the market as of 2020.

And don’t worry if some of these options look they’re going to break the bank—check out your local library to see if any of the courses are stocked for your use free of charge. My local library system has Pimsleur, Michel Thomas and Rosetta Stone, for example.

FluentU

spanish immersion software

Cost: Monthly fee and savings for signing up for longer periods of time. Free trial available. See full pricing information.

Format: Website, App

FluentU is designed to get you comfortable with everyday Spanish by combining all the benefits of complete immersion and native-level conversations with easy-to-read subtitles.

FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.

FluentU has a wide variety of videos topics, as you can see here:

learn-spanish-with-videos

FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used.

Plus, if you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.

learn-spanish-with-interactive-captioned-videos

Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.

learn-spanish-music-videos

Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.

practice-spanish-with-adaptive-quizzes

The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and recommends examples and videos for you based on the words you’ve already learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re studying with the same video.

Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the iOS or Android FluentU app.

Rosetta Stone

spanish immersion software

Cost: Variable monthly fee with savings for signing up for longer periods of time and a lifetime access option. Free trial available. See full pricing information.

Format: CD-ROM, app

At a Glance:

+ Combines reading, writing, listening and speaking.
+ Based on visual learning.
+ Actual speaking practice with Speech Recognition Technology and tutors.
Can be repetitive.
Limited vocabulary and spontaneity.
No explicit grammar lessons.

As the saying goes, “If you want to learn to swim, you have to get in the water.” And that’s what Rosetta Stone does, right from the first lesson. Whether you choose the classic CD package or subscribe for the online course and app, there’s no safety net of your own language to guide and assist you; you’re literally immersed from the get-go. That might sound daunting, but words and phrases are added on a gradual basis according to how quickly you are learning.

You may start off with simple matching exercises, like adding words to pictures, but with speech recognition technology to help you with your speaking, sessions with tutors and games to play in the online community, there is enough variety to keep you motivated.

It isn’t just about repeating phrases over and over, either. Rosetta Stone’s sequences have been carefully designed to help you recognize patterns, not just rules, making it easier for you to retain what you’ve learned, even when you’ve switched the software off.

Pimsleur

spanish immersion software

Cost: Monthly fee with the option to purchase specific products, instead. Free trial available.

Format: Audio CD, MP3, app, download

At a Glance:

+ Focused on conversation.
+ Completely native audio used.
+ No frills approach is streamlined and easy on the eyes.
No variety in very rigid instructional format.
Limited vocabulary.
No explicit grammar lessons.

If the Pimsleur method is considered good enough for U.S. government agencies, diplomats and corporations, surely it’s good enough for the rest of us?

Perhaps the reason Pimsleur is so popular, and has been for 50 years, is because it has an incredibly effortless approach to learning. By committing to just 30 minutes per day—listening to a CD and repeating the words out loud—Pimsleur promises to have you speaking a language in no time.

Pimsleur has a much stronger auditory focus than some of the other programs here. Much of language learning with Pimsleur means listening to a conversation and then repeating parts of it, gradually building up knowledge until you can recall the phrases that have been said when prompted.

Pimsleur does come with a reading component, too, but this is secondary and not heavily focused on. The audio is the huge selling point for them—you can use this program to learn easily and effortlessly, wherever you go. Many people use this program for learning while driving! Just let the teachers guide you from basic phrases to complete sentences. It always prompts you to listen, repeat and respond, making it highly interactive.

The software works by Graduated Interval Recall. Say, what? It’s a system of getting you to repeat words at specific intervals that are optimum for moving words from your short-term (sieve-like) memory to your long-term (I’m-actually-an-elephant) memory.

Best of all: As there’s no clicking on laptops or tablets, you can learn Pimsleur in the car, turning that dead commute time into something much more productive.

Instant Immersion

spanish immersion software

Cost: One-time purchase of specific products. No free trial but there’s a money-back guarantee.

Format: Download, CD-ROM, MP3

At a Glance:

+ Affordable.
+ Teaches with authentic audio and videos of Spanish conversations.
+ Opportunity to practice with native Spanish speakers.
Grammar-heavy.
Lots of memorization instead of natural language learning.
Lack of lesson focus.

Instant Immersion Spanish is based on image recognition, and parcels its learning sessions into edible 10-minute chunks. There are 10 modules to work through, each dedicated to a specific topic of learning, starting with the basics such as food, colors, time and numbers.

Each module features learning sections as well as fun games that are designed to be engaging while reinforcing your learning. The software includes record and playback functionality for practicing pronunciation, the chance to video chat with native speakers and a dictionary that can be printed and created into flashcards for offline learning.

If you’re specifically interested in learning Spanish for business, there’s also a module dedicated to workplace topics including business meetings, IT/internet, phone calls and business travel.

Michel Thomas Method

spanish immersion software

Cost: One-time purchase of specific products. Free lesson and booklet are available for different levels of the program.

Format: CD-ROM, iPhone/iPad app

At a Glance:

+ Focused on conversation.
+ Completely native audio used.
+ Loads of speaking practice.
Lack of grammar lessons or explanations.
No reading or writing practice.
Repetitive.

Similar to Pimsleur, the Michel Thomas Method is all about learning without books, homework or having to memorize anything. Perfect if you’re happy to sit back and let the Spanish language wash over you.

The late Michel Thomas counted Hollywood stars, politicians and business leaders among his past pupils, and his method promises to have you learning a language in hours not years.

Speaking is an integral part of the Michel Thomas Method, so you might want to practice this when you’re alone, but listening, absorbing and then speaking is the magic formula for this particular piece of Spanish immersion software.

Fluenz

spanish immersion software

Cost: One-time purchase of specific products, with bundles of different levels available. See full pricing information.

Format: CD-ROM, DVD, website, app, MP3

At a Glance:

+ Combines reading, writing, listening and speaking.
+ Over 150 native Spanish tutor sessions in one purchase.
+ Sleek and attractive user interface.
Lack of spontaneous speaking opportunities.
Quite expensive.
Repetitive.

Fluenz offers an interesting twist on Rosetta Stone. Unlike Rosetta Stone, which is so immersive that there are zero words in your native tongue, Fluenz believes that a combination of immersion and structured teaching is best. By presenting students with English translations, Fluenz helps students better relate to the structure and grammar of the language, and thereby absorb it better.

There are a number of exercises to keep you interested, like matching words to images, answering questions, writing what you hear and translating words and phrases into your native tongue. Learning tips sprinkled throughout are spoken in English, such as suggested word associations and occasional motivational prompts, like getting you to imagine being in Spain.

OUINO

spanish immersion software

Cost: Monthly fee and savings for signing up for longer periods of time, plus the option to purchase lifetime access to the program. Free trial available. See full pricing information.

Format: CD-ROM, download

At a Glance:

+ Over 400 lessons and 60 short stories.
+ Specific lessons for pronunciation.
+ Learners can choose their own learning path.
Lack of spontaneous speaking opportunities.
No supplementary resources (dictionaries, vocabulary lists, etc.)
Limited vocabulary and topics.

The aim of OUINO isn’t to get you to recall words associated with pictures, it’s to get you to learn the building blocks from which you can construct your own sentences. By breaking down sentence structures, supplying a hefty slab of vocabulary and tackling verbs, the idea is that you’ll end up with the requisite foundation for becoming fluent in Spanish.

Like FluentU, OUINO lets you study the subjects you want to learn when you want to learn them—probably one of the most useful aspects of learning a language, because who wants to learn how to describe their pet when what they really need to know is how to order dinner.

Easy Spanish

Individual Software Easy Spanish Platinum

Cost: One-time purchase only.

Format: DVD, MP3

At a Glance:

+ Uses real-world conversations.
+ Speech Recognition Technology used to perfect accent.
+ Includes interactive dictionary.
Lack of spontaneous speaking opportunities.
Outdated user interface.
Limited vocabulary and topics.

Easy Spanish has been designed by some smart brains: university language experts. The learning system is step-by-step and as well as full immersion, it incorporates voice recognition software so you can practice real-world conversations and nail your pronunciation.

Easy Spanish includes MP3s so you can enhance your learning while you’re on the move, as well as an interactive dictionary and cultural movies.

Whether you’re learning Spanish for business, school or travel, you can set your own learning objectives and track your progress along the way. And, if certain words aren’t coming natural, just hit the speech lab for more in-depth language workshops.

Language101

spanish immersion software

Cost: One-time fee for “lifetime access” to specific products, with bundles of different levels available. Free trial available. See full pricing information.

Format: website, MP3

At a Glance:

+ Uses real-world conversations.
+ Can slow down native audio for better understanding.
+ Uses Spaced Repetition technology for vocabulary recall.
Lack of explanations of grammar or otherwise.
No spontaneous speaking opportunities.
Quite pricey.

Language101 (not to be confused with the Pod101 series) is a website that allows you to learn Spanish through authentic conversations and, best of all: Spanish music!

The format is quite simple. You’re introduced to Spanish words and phrases through real conversations or songs, and then you practice recalling and saying the phrases. The method of teaching is quite innovative. However, instead of just getting a sentence’s meaning in English, learners also get a literal translation, allowing you to see the deep structure of the language and understand how sentences are truly built.

You also have the option of listening to the Spanish at two speeds: normal speed and “Ultra Slow” for careful listening and pronunciation practice. Throw in some Spaced Repetition, and Language101 will have you speaking conversational Spanish in no time at all!

LingQ

spanish immersion software

Cost: Monthly fee and savings for signing up for longer periods of time. Free limited account available. See full pricing information.

Format: website, app

At a Glance:

+ Uses real Spanish audio.
+ Learner has complete control over their Spanish learning.
+ Uses Spaced Repetition Technology for vocabulary recall.
Limited grammar explanations and practice.
No spontaneous speaking or writing opportunities.
Interface is quite rudimentary.

LingQ is an immersive language learning program that was created by famed polyglot Steve Kaufmann and his son, equally well-known former hockey player, Mark.

The idea behind LingQ is simple: Immerse learners completely in native audio and complement the recordings with written transcripts. LingQ doesn’t stop there, though! Each word in the written transcript is clickable, and you can select one word or multiple words for an instant translation.

Any word can also be converted into a LingQ. Think of these as flashcards that can be reviewed later using Spaced Repetition technology to help the words stick. Best of all, learners have complete control over the lessons they choose. The library of lessons is sorted by level of Spanish proficiency and topic, and new lessons are being added by fellow users every day.

See something online that would make an awesome Spanish lesson? Simply import that content into LingQ and turn it into a fruitful Spanish learning experience as well!

 

With this range of Spanish immersion software programs to choose from, you’ll be speaking like a native in no time.


Jo Fitzsimons is a full-time traveller, digital nomad and language learner. When she’s not up to her neck in false cognates, she spends her time writing about her travels on a freelance basis and also on her blog, IndianaJo.
 

If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.

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