You walk into the library.
Vast stretches of shelves surround you.
You’re looking for that beginner Spanish textbook with accompanying audio you’ve heard such great things about.
As you scan the rows of books, you start to wonder if mastering the Dewey Decimal System takes more time than learning the subjunctive.
Finally, you find what you’re looking for and make your way to your seat in the corner. You take the tape out of the pouch in the back of the book and put it into your Walkman.
“¿Dónde está el banco?” (Where is the bank?) a disembodied voice asks you.
As you struggle to make out the cartoon outlines of buildings in the book, you whisper, “Está al lado de la biblioteca” (It’s next to the library).
Does this sound like a recent experience of yours? Unless you’re somehow learning Spanish in 1987, it probably doesn’t.
While libraries can still be wonderful places to find language learning materials, thanks to the internet, all you need to learn Spanish is a functioning computer or smartphone. And you can take your learning anywhere.
However, while it’s a blessing that the number of language learning resources online now outnumber those in the most impressive brick-and-mortar library, navigating through them may prove intimidating.
With so many choices, it can be difficult to feel confident that you’re selecting the right learning materials. It’s also easy to jump on the first option you find and become too dependent on a single resource, when it’s important to spice things up with new and varied resources.
So to help you out, we’ve compiled this list of 17 great websites to put you on the path to fluency.
Where to Learn Spanish in the Vast Online World: 17 Top Sites
Gamify Your Learning
Ever find that the joy of learning sometimes isn’t enough to get you through your study session? Gamified learning might be what you need. The same features that make your favorite video games addicting can be used to keep you excited to practice. If that sounds interesting, we’re sure you’ll love these websites.
Struggling with verb conjugations? Whether you need to review the present tense or the imperfect subjunctive, Conjuguemos can help you out with its short lessons and conjugation games. Though the website specializes in verbs, it also offers other grammar, vocabulary and listening exercises.
Best for intermediate and advanced learners, Clozemaster is a unique way to learn vocabulary words in context. You’ll be given a sentence in Spanish with a word missing, and you’ll have to complete the sentence using an English translation as your guide.
Clozemaster’s “Fluency Fast Track” sorts thousands of the most common words in the Spanish language by difficulty and uses spaced repetition to ensure that you commit them all to memory, making this a worthwhile option for those looking to expand their vocabulary.
Interacting with real-life material is the goal of all Spanish learners. And thanks to FluentU, this is possible within the context of a complete learning program for beginning and advanced learners alike.
Babbel uses interactive courses to help you focus on the conversational side of learning. The courses let you practice along with dialogues using voice-recognition technology and cover a wide range of subjects to keep you entertained and focused, including Spanish-language culture. You can move at your own pace and the lessons are made to fit into a busy schedule.
Memrise is a balance between the efficiency of flashcards and the pleasure of gamified learning. Though it offers courses in just about all topics, it specializes in language courses, many of which are community-made and include native audio. There is an abundance of courses for learners of all levels, whether you can get more use out of “Introductory Spanish 1” or “Medical Spanish.”
One of the world’s most popular language learning resources, Duolingo is a great resource for beginners and intermediate learners. The website’s bite-sized translation and listening activities can work wonders for casual learners, and the newer “Stories” feature provides a unique way to work on reading comprehension and vocabulary acquisition.
Flashcards are essential for any language learner, and with the rise of online flashcards, it’s become easier than ever to study on the go. Though there are hundreds of options, we’ll start you off with two of the more popular ones for language learners.
These are both customizable options that give you access to user-created material—so just be aware that pre-made decks and quizzes may not always contain accurate information.
One of the most popular websites in the United States, Quizlet is an essential for any Spanish learner. Flashcard decks can be “learned” through fun quizzes, and the review options include addicting games and customized tests. If you’re looking to supplement your work from an online course, a Quizlet user somewhere has likely already made a public deck for it.
Anki comes highly recommended by language learners as a way to learn and remember vocabulary. The program takes advantage of a “spaced repetition” method that has you review words just when they’re starting to fade from your memory. The user interface can be tricky to navigate at times, but the online community is always happy to answer any questions you might have.
Anyone studying Spanish needs a good dictionary. However, learners frequently wonder whether it’s best to use a Spanish–English dictionary or one that’s entirely in Spanish. The answer? It depends. While beginners will find a Spanish–English dictionary clear and efficient, it may prevent more advanced learners from thinking entirely in Spanish. On the other hand, a dictionary meant for native speakers can be confusing if you don’t have a large vocabulary.
No matter what type of dictionary you prefer, the internet has something for you.
A Spanish–English dictionary targeted at learners, SpanishDict is one of the best reference resources for Spanish students out there. Words can be searched in either English and Spanish, and the system lists all definitions with example sentences. With conjugations available for thousands of verbs, SpanishDict is also a great website for those who need to brush up on their grammar. Those with the iOS app can download these definitions and conjugations for free, so you can access them even without WiFi or cell service.
“Diccionario de la lengua española”
Published annually by the Royal Spanish Academy, the “Diccionario de la lengua española” (DLE) is to Spanish what the “Oxford Dictionary” is to English. All words are defined in Spanish, making this the perfect tool for those who are looking for a more immersive dictionary. In addition to including vocabulary from every Spanish-speaking country, this dictionary includes all expressions that use a given word.
So, for example, even though you probably know that gato means cat, you might not know that Costa Ricans use it to refer to someone with blue eyes, or that hasta los gatos is a colloquial way of saying everyone.
Do you ever wish you knew more Spanish slang? Look no further than tuBabel, the Spanish-speaking world’s answer to Urban Dictionary. Entries are listed by country, and community members can vote on the accuracy of various words and sample sentences. With over 60,000 words from Spain and Latin America, tuBabel can serve as either an introduction to colloquialisms or a way to learn some more obscure slang terms.
With over 250 million Spanish speakers on the internet, there’s a huge amount of native content to help you master the language. In addition to the websites meant specifically for Spanish speakers, a lot of your favorites likely have content in Spanish as well. To get you started, here are some websites that will keep you entertained as you learn.
If you already waste time mindlessly scrolling through BuzzFeed, you might as well find a way to make it educational. BuzzFeed Español includes the same style of short articles and addicting quizzes that the English version does, making it the perfect way to get comfortable with content aimed at native Spanish speakers. No matter how good your Spanish is, you’re sure to enjoy the site’s entertaining content.
El Tiempo is Colombia’s most popular newspaper, and includes articles in Spanish about current events in Latin America and the world. For those who don’t love reading newspaper articles, the website also has a daily crossword puzzle that can help you expand and practice using your vocabulary.
Taringa! is one of Latin America’s most popular social networks. Users create posts on topics that interest them, and other community members vote and comment to make their opinions known. For Spanish learners, this means you can discuss topics you like with native speakers. Many popular posts have a lot of pictures, so even relative beginners should be able to get something out of them.
Though it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that Spotify has music and podcasts in Spanish, the pre-made playlists are where the streaming service really shines. In addition to the “charts” feature that includes the top songs in almost every Spanish-speaking country, the Latin section has playlists from just about every Spanish sub-genre imaginable. Furthermore, plenty of podcasts are available for those looking for audio Spanish lessons, including the popular Coffee Break Spanish course.
Netflix’s international expansion over the past few years has brought with it a wealth of Spanish-language movies, TV shows and documentaries. Film buffs will rave over modern classics like “Y Tu Mamá También,” while those looking for some current shows will love “La casa de papel” (my favorite show in any language) and “Las chicas del cable.”
If you aren’t quite feeling confident enough to watch something new in Spanish, your favorite Netflix originals probably have Spanish dubbing as well.
YouTube is just as big in Spain and Latin America as it is in the United States. Spanish-language channel HolaSoyGerman has over 33 million subscribers, and elrubiusOMG isn’t far behind with close to 29 million. Intermediate learners just beginning to immerse themselves can also find full episodes of children’s TV shows such as “Pocoyo,” while those looking for language instruction can find videos on just about any grammatical topic. Of course, it would be impossible to link for us to every helpful video, but see what you can find by searching in Spanish!
The internet is a valuable resource for any Spanish learner, and it’s easy these days to access content that both interests you and helps you pick up the language.
Whether you’ve been learning Spanish for one week or one decade, we’re confident that these websites will help you out.
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