So, you want to learn Spanish online for free?
You can’t afford to pay a teacher to teach you Spanish, or maybe you just want to try it out before committing to spending any money. Either way, it’s good to learn as much as possible by yourself before you start shelling out your hard earned cash.
Below I’ve compiled a great list of resources for you that will help you learn Spanish without spending a cent! Scroll down now to get straight to them!
Or read on for some tips before you proceed…
The benefits of teaching yourself:
- You can go at your own pace. Research has proven that students who are allowed to learn at their own pace actually learn much faster than those who are forced into a specific schedule. This is because they can slow down when they’re having trouble and make sure they grasp concepts firmly before moving on, which means they can move quicker at a later date.
- You can set your own schedule. Do you work all day and have a family to look after at night? Are you a night owl? Either way, you can learn Spanish whenever it suits you.
- Cost. This is obviously a big one, and it’s going to be a lot cheaper to teach yourself than pay someone else to teach you.
- Availability. It doesn’t matter where you live, as long as you have access to the internet then you can learn from anywhere! And if you buy a book or download some lessons, you don’t even need internet access!
Disadvantages of teaching yourself:
- Language is something you need to practise, and if you’re not learning from a teacher then it’s very hard to practise your speaking. Although computers are getting smarter, you still can’t have a conversation with them!
- Structure: there are good ways and bad ways to learn anything, and languages are no different. Often free resources will be useful to a degree but they will not be complete or structured in the most beneficial way. If someone has the experience and has taken the time necessary to put together a complete course then they’ll usually want to charge you for it.
- Motivation. If you’re learning by yourself, then it’s often difficult to keep up the motivation. Life gets in the way and soon enough you’ll find yourself watching the latest TV series in the time you had set aside for learning Spanish.
- Can’t ask questions. This is a huge one. The benefit of having a teacher is that you can ask any question you need to in order to advance on to the next topic. Getting stuck or skipping over an important concept will only lead to frustration and a slower pace further down the track.
- Getting it right. If you don’t have an expert there to guide you, how can you tell if you’re getting it right or not?
This may sound like I’m trying to put you off learning by yourself, but that’s not true at all. I think self-learning should play a LARGE part in your Spanish learning strategy, I just don’t think it should be all you do.
Some home study combined with a few hours a week of professional guidance and practice is probably the most efficient and affordable way to learn a language.
Some things you should know about learning Spanish before you start:
- Spanish is a phonetic language. This means that each letter is pronounced exactly the same in every word. Unlike English, this makes things a lot easier. Think about the English letter A for example. In each of the following words, the letter is pronounced differently: apple, team, dainty, grape… You get the idea… In Spanish, the letter A is pronounced the same in every word. This means all you have to do is learn the pronunciation for each letter and you will know exactly how to pronounce a word just by looking at it! Watch the video below to learn the pronunciation for each letter NOW!
- The next important thing you’ll need to know about learning Spanish is that Spanish uses genders: masculine and feminine. This means that every object is either masculine or feminine, whether it be a chair, a table, a glass or a car. For example, table (mesa) is feminine, meaning we have to say la mesa (the table). Whereas vaso (glass) is masculine, meaning we say el vaso (the glass).
- In Spanish, the adjective comes AFTER the noun. In English we say the big table, but in Spanish we say la mesa grande.
- In Spanish, they pluralize the adjectives as well. In English we say “the big tables” not “the bigs tables” but in Spanish they say “las mesas grandes”.
- In Spanish you conjugate the verbs. This means that for every person the verb changes. In English we say “I eat” or “you eat”. The verb (eat) doesn’t change. There is one exception to this, and that is with he or she. We say “he eats”, so we put an “s” on the end of the verb when we’re talking about he or she. But only in the present tense. In all other tenses, the verb is the same irrespective of who you’re talking about (I, you, he, she, we, they). In Spanish, the verb changes for each person. For example, the verb eat (comer) is conjugated like this:
I eat – Yo como
You eat – Tu comes
He eats – El come
We eat – Nosotros comemos
They eat – Ellos comen
So the verb COMER changes with each person. This is true in all the tenses.
- The last thing you need to know about learning Spanish is that it’s actually fun and easy. It has lots of rules and it sticks to them, unlike English which has many exceptions to the rules making it very difficult to teach or learn (trust me, I was an English teacher for years and I much prefer teaching Spanish!) Not only that, but Spanish speakers are normally very friendly and they love sharing their language with others, so learn just a little bit and you’ll have plenty of people to practise with!
What is the easiest and fastest way to learn Spanish?
In my opinion, here is a list of the best ways to go about it:
- Go to a Spanish speaking country and take private classes at an immersion school. This is by far the best way to learn, as you’ll spend hours a day getting one on one tuition and then even when you’re not at school you’ll be speaking Spanish with the locals! Highly recommended! Check out our article on immersion schools if you want to know more!
- Find a local private teacher or get private classes online via Skype (or some other video chat software). This is almost as good as learning in a Spanish speaking country except you’re not getting the practice after class. However, having a private tutor is a very efficient way of learning as you’re constantly practising (and with languages that’s very important). The Spanish Cat offers Skype classes for just US$15 per hour so it’s a VERY affordable way of learning.
- Join group classes. Group classes aren’t quite as good as private classes as you don’t get as much chance to practice, but if the teacher is good then they will pair you up with other students and your practice time will actually be enough. Having a teacher to explain things in the easiest way to follow and who you can ask questions to is very useful when learning a language.
- Teach yourself via videos, audio, apps and other methods. This is an EXCELLENT way to study outside of class time, and is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED as an additional resource, but it’s not the best way to learn a language. A language is like a sport – you can’t really learn properly unless you’re actually practising. And practising speaking is just as important as practising listening or reading. Remove this essential component, and you might be able to understand the language to a degree but you’ll never be actually able to speak it.
The best way to learn is probably actually a combination of all of the above. Spend some time in another country, take either private or group classes, AND use online resources to accelerate your learning.
If you do all this, you’ll be speaking Spanish in NO TIME!
What order to do it in?
- Start to learn Spanish online for free, just to get a grip on some of the concepts.
- Then take some private or group Spanish classes.
- And finally, visit another country when you already have some degree of Spanish so you can make the most of your time there!
See the links below for a comprehensive list of resources to help you learn Spanish online free!
LEARN SPANISH ONLINE FREE RESOURCES
Videos, Audio and Podcasts:
- Spanish Pod 101 – these guys offer a great online course, and have over 1500 videos, flashcards, quizzes, PDF resources, forums and an app to help you learn a lot of the grammar and vocabulary.
- BBC Spanish Learning – The BBC has produced a great range of videos, audio, and exercises to get you learning everything you need to know about Spanish!
- Spanish Sessions – Over 60 videos on Youtube to get you learning Spanish in an easy and fun way. The only problem with this is the order they’re in – which is a bit random – but if you watch them all you’ll certainly learn a lot.
- Destinos – a telenovela (soap opera) designed to help you practise your Spanish. It’s probably a bit advanced for beginners, but definitely for higher level students it’s great practice to help you learn Spanish online free.
- Professor Jason Spanish – Professor Jason has done a great job producing not only good videos but categorizing them by level and ordering them in a way that makes sense.
- Spanish Dict – 60 videos by one of the world’s largest online Spanish dictionaries will take you in a well thought out way from beginner to more proficient Spanish student.
- StudySpanish.com has a great range of exercises, vocabulary builders, grammar lessons and video and audio to help you start learning Spanish. They also have a paid program if you really like their stuff, but personally I think the paid option is a bit out of date.
Apps for learning Spanish:
- Duolingo – Duolingo is the world’s largest language learning app, and it’s Spanish course is pretty good. Duolingo is good for vocabulary but it’s not great for learning grammar. If you’re someone who likes to know the rules, then another system might suit you better.
- Rosetta Stone – Rosetta stone teaches you Spanish IN Spanish, and doesn’t use any translation to English. This is a recognised language learning technique, and if you’re good with languages then it might suit you well. It’s free for a trial account, but you must pay if you want to continue. One other advantage is that it has speach recognition, meaning you can interact with it to some degree.
- Fluentu – Fluentu also has a free trial account. Fluentu is fun in that it takes real videos and songs and adapts them for learning Spanish, meaning you’ll be getting an education in Spanish culture and music as well as in the Spanish language!
- Memrise – this app is great for helping you to learn new vocabulary. It doesn’t teach anything more than this, but as an additional tool to increase your vocab it’s excellent! And free!
Well, that should be enough to get you started!
How long does it take to learn Spanish?
To be honest, to become completely fluent in the language will take 2-3 years, and that’s if you’re spending a reasonable amount of time in a Spanish speaking country or practising often (either with a teacher or friends).
However, don’t despair. With just 1-2 hours of study per week, within 4-6 months of learning the language with a reasonable teacher (either in group or private classes) you should be able to speak and understand Spanish in a basic or intermediate conversation.
You’re expression will be limited, as will your understanding, but you’ll be able to make yourself understood and hopefully so will the person you’re speaking to!
As with everything, it depends how you go about it and how much time you put into it.
If you do 3-4 hours per week then you should even be able to learn quicker than the above!
I really hope you’ve enjoyed this article, and can start the exciting journey of learning Spanish today!
Don’t forget to check out our own Spanish language programs or read some of our other blog articles on learning Spanish! There’s plenty there to get you motivated!