How do you say "bored out of my mind" in Spanish?
May 5, 2009 3:22 PM   Subscribe

LanguageFilter: Best way to learn Spanish (and other languages) online, for free?

So, the economy has slowed down work to a snail's pace. It's like being in high school Detention Hall all over again. So, I figured I'd do something I never did in Detention Hall: study! There's a lot of options out there for Spanish: podcasts, websites, etc. I found this, wondering if anyone can point out the winners on it or elsewhere? I was a linguist in grad school and taught university Latin for a few years, just never did Spanish. I figure I can jump in with both feet, but I want to work with a quality resource. Oh, and did I mention FREE? Free. Danke.
posted by TigerMoth to Education (18 answers total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
Most libraries have foreign language CDs available for loan. Your library probably will lend you a MP3 of the series via their website (some do mp3, some do wma with some drm to disable after the loan period is up).

I can't offer a comparison (though I have borrowed a few language courses this way), but if you want free this can't be beaten.
posted by devbrain at 3:30 PM on May 5, 2009

The Annenberg Foundation has their Destinos video programs online. (I believe there's stuff for French and German on that site too.)
posted by XMLicious at 3:38 PM on May 5, 2009

If you're interested primarily in speaking Spanish, the Foreign Service Institute courses provide a good introduction. The FSI courses were developed by the State Department to teach languages to foreign service officers, and although they're a little old, they're also solid and well regarded.

I can't speak specifically to the FSI Spanish course, but I've used some of the other courses very successfully, and they're available for free these days.
posted by cimton at 3:41 PM on May 5, 2009

Try the Spanish version of wikipedia. It seems they have spoken word articles.

Also, don't be afraid to plunge right into real Spanish. My German really improved when I started to listen to the news for half an hour every day.
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 3:57 PM on May 5, 2009

In response to your title, "Que Rollazo" is Spanish (Spain) slang for "How fucking boring."
posted by saxamo at 4:19 PM on May 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

I think most English speakers need to spend 3 months living in a Spanish speaking country taking 15-20 hours per week of Spanish classes, but I gather you're a "language person" so buying Spanish novels & downloading Spanish TV might suffice. Still, if your out of work & planning on eventually moving back in with parental units, you might consider ditching your flat early and using the extra money for a language acquisition vacation in spain, mexico, etc.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:59 PM on May 5, 2009

I was directed to this recently- looks like a reasonable link to other areas you could try.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 5:10 PM on May 5, 2009

You could try Coffee Break Spanish. I've been doing the same at work with the French version.
posted by WayOutWest at 5:21 PM on May 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

I second Coffee Break Spanish, based on my experience with Coffee Break French.
posted by schrodycat at 5:58 PM on May 5, 2009

My local library has an abbreviated version of Rosetta Stone available online, for free, to members. You might check to see what is available at yours.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:19 PM on May 5, 2009

One thing to be aware of with Coffee Break Spanish is that it's teaching Spanish Spanish, not Latin American Spanish, which may or may not be what you're looking for. I listened to an episode or two and decided that since I'm in California, although I'm going to have an accent in Spanish no matter what, I'd rather have a California-Anglo accent than a California-Anglo-speaking-European-Spanish-as-taught-by-a-Scot accent.

Instead we got the Pimsleur Latin American Spanish Short Course CDs from the public library and *cough* iTunes is set to automatically rip inserted CDs as MP3s *cough* oops, how'd that happen?

Now all I need to do is to actually listen to and do more than the first lesson.
posted by Lexica at 7:15 PM on May 5, 2009

Some libraries are affiliated with a site called NetLibrary which offers the Pimsleur language audiobooks, including Spanish. They are really great programs. Check with your library and if they are affiliated, they will provide you with a password and you can download as needed.
posted by bristolcat at 7:20 PM on May 5, 2009

As far as reading comprehension goes, I have helped my Portuguese by subscribing to the Brazilian Google News feed. Newspapers are written in a simple style, and it turns out that the same journalistic cliches are common.

I am contemplating starting a Portuguese language blog (a la Alan Cox' old Welsh blog) and posting a paragraph a day in order that passing speakers can mock my grammar and syntax.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:52 PM on May 5, 2009

Coffee Break Spanish is pretty good, and even better if you pay for the transcript, I think. But there are loads of options. Check out the list here under SPANISH
posted by mateuslee at 1:38 AM on May 6, 2009

Wordsgalore has a wonderful free program for learning Spanish that contains 1000 most common Spanish words with pronunciation.
posted by leigh1 at 2:17 AM on May 6, 2009

Livemocha is a free language learning site along the lines of Rosetta Stone.
posted by Caravantea at 6:54 AM on May 6, 2009

I think most English speakers need to spend 3 months living in a Spanish speaking country
  1. The United States is a Spanish speaking country.
  2. This goes double for Texas.
I agree that exposure to native speakers will be helpful, and depending on where you live in Texas this may be very easy to arrange. You might contact a local adult education or ESL center and see if you can find individuals interested in conversation exchange -- you speak with them in Spanish for an hour, then they speak with you in English. This can be a fun thing to do if you have time on your hands anyways.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:41 AM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

As usual, the 'Beeb has got you covered.
posted by nudar at 9:09 PM on May 7, 2009

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