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Best resources, films and books for learning spanish
May 11, 2014 5:52 PM   Subscribe

I'm spending the bulk of my spare time learning Spanish, and I'd be interested in any pointers. I'm a beginner, early to mid A2. There is a ton of content out there and I'm having trouble filtering.


I'm particularly interested in...

- Evidence based studies into efficacy of different methods?
- Online apps, Duolingo and Fluent U look interesting but seem a bit beta, and require a lot of typing which I dislike. I'm looking at subscribing but can't find much on actual success rates for these sites
- Spanish films, podcasts, books and shows, particularly suited to beginners.
- Reading online content in spanish in conjunction with a google translate chrome extension. Are there any apps out there that are purpose built for this?.
- Flashcards, I've checked out Anki, but the decks I've tried seem a bit random.

I find it hard to stick with linear audio/ video courses.
posted by molloy to Education (5 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
As someone with a lot of Spanish background but greatly in need of grammar and vocabulary refresher, Duolingo is perfect. But I definitely benefit from all the typing--it would not work for me to just read or use flashcards without also doing the processing required to type out English/Spanish and Spanish/English translations.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:21 AM on May 12


As someone with a lot of Spanish background but greatly in need of grammar and vocabulary refresher, Duolingo is perfect. But I definitely benefit from all the typing--it would not work for me to just read or use flashcards without also doing the processing required to type out English/Spanish and Spanish/English translations.

And as someone who has always had difficulties learning a new language I also find Duolingo to be perfect. There is typing involved, but it's just a sentence at a time and you can tab through a lot of the input. The app is also fantastic and works both as a stand-alone app and a multi-platform extension of the site.

Two months of Duolingo taught me more Spanish than 40 years in L.A. plus a stab at HS Spanish I, and after returning to it after a few months I'm very surprised at how much I've retained.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:03 AM on May 12


I checked this book out of the library. They suggest a number of family-friendly films with easy-to-understand Spanish (most are American movies, you listen to the Spanish dubbing). The book includes vocabulary and phrases from the movies.

It was several years ago that I checked it out, and if I remember correctly I had problems matching up the subtitle track with the vocab in the book. Never did much more with it, but it seems like an interesting concept and it has some positive reviews on Amazon.
posted by lharmon at 7:29 AM on May 12


I find that anything passive (reading Spanish, listening to people speak Spanish, etc) will increase my comprehension but not my ability to speak. The only thing that makes me a better, more confident and fluid speaker is actually speaking. So, in addition to your private study I would recommending finding a place to practice actually speaking - whether with other second language learners or with native speakers.
posted by insectosaurus at 8:16 AM on May 12


I highly recommend Anki and suggest making your own decks. That way, you'll be studying the things that are relevant to you, right now, and not going with someone else's idea of what you need to learn.

You can set it up to require typing the answers or not, as you prefer - like hydropsyche, I find that being required to type the answer really helps my retention (and spelling).

There is a TON of evidence that spaced-repetition software (SRS) is enormously helpful in learning - you might find some useful info in the Further Reading section at Wikipedia.

I'm not a huge fan of Duolingo (although I haven't used it a lot yet) but they claim that this independent study shows that Duolingo is more effective than a university course.

Finally, lang-8 is a good place to practice your writing. You write short entries and native speakers correct them for you (and you return the favor by correcting others' writing).

¬°Buena suerte!
posted by kristi at 3:02 PM on May 12


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