by Anthony Larsen
During my own Spanish learning journey I’ve come across a lot of tools and resources for learning the language. Some were useful, and others were just novelties. Many were free while still others cost money. I’ve compiled a short list of Spanish learning tools I have come across that are not only free to use but are also useful.
SpanishDict is primarily known as an online translator and dictionary that works fairly better than Google translate. But the site offers more than just translations and definitions. Within its dictionary function is has conjugation sheets and real examples from the internet of how a specific word is actually used in a sentence. SpanishDict also has grammar lessons along with discussion boards and practice quizzes. It’s almost like a grammar book on steroids.
Unless you’re new to the language learning community you’ve probably heard of the digital flashcard system called Anki. That’s because it really is a powerful tool to help you memorize and remember new words. Anki’s spaced repetition system ensures that you practice a word right before you forget it. With Anki you have the ability to create your own flashcards and build your own personal deck of new Spanish words. Anki also has shared decks (many of which are in Spanish), which allow you to use a deck someone else has made and uploaded.
This site lives up to its name. It’s a huge list of English to Spanish cognates sorted alphabetically or by subject.
Wespeke provides a free language exchange that allows you to chat via text or video chat with native Spanish speakers from around the world. You can search native speakers by their native language, their target language, or their country. Wespeke also provides an in-site notebook so that you can keep track of new words you learn during your conversation.
As far as online language dictionaries go Wordreference is one of the best. It provides much of the same information a normal dictionary would including synonyms, conjugations, and of course definitions!
Hellotalk is a language exchange app that allows you to practice with Native speakers via text message, audio message, or even a phone call. The app has some great features like a translator and word counter that will keep track of characters to make sure both languages within an exchange are being used equally.
With Forvo you can search just about any Spanish word and find recordings of its pronunciation. What’s even better is that you can listen to word’s pronunciation in different accents from around the Spanish speaking world.
Lingualy allows you to read news articles that have been translated into Spanish. In Lingualy you can also find the definition of words you don’t know and put them in a test bank so that you can practice them later.
AsiHablamos is an online Spanish dictionary that provides definitions for Spanish slang. Think Urban Dictionary but in Spanish.
Destinos is a telenovela created specifically for Spanish learners. The dialogue is spoken a little slower and uses straightforward grammar and sentence structure. The story centers around a young lawyer solving a mystery for a dying man.
Spanish Hackers is a resource for native English speakers learning Spanish as a second language. We share learning posts on grammar, tips and strategies for speaking Spanish; and we also share some of the mistakes we have made along the way.
Spanish was the first language I tried to learn as an adult and it will always have a special place in my heart. The road to fluency is nothing less than a wonderful adventure, and I hope this list helps you on your own language learning journey.
Anthony Larsen is a writer and founder of SpanishHackers. When he's not providing useful Spanish learning tips he loves to travel and drink overpriced coffee.
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