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So You Want to Learn Another Language?

January 4, 2014

Because I haven't said it yet: HAPPPYYY NEW YEAR! !

¡Feliz año nuevo!

... I could look up how to say in a bunch of different languages but the truth is, Spanish and English are the only two I know.

I unsuccessfully attempted to teach myself French at the ripe old age of 8, and I have unsuccessfully attempted to learn Italian for the past couple years. The reason being Spanish --> Italian --> French. Italian is a good "in-between" language.

I purchased the complete set of Rosetta Stone, enrolled in a 10-week Italian class at the Empire State Building and downloaded countless apps to try to teach myself. No, I still don't know Italian.

That being said, I did teach Spanish for six years and in the course of such time I encountered a TON of resources and I definitely know more Italian now than I did three years ago...sooo, that's something?

Anyways, I thought I would share some resources I've come across along the way in case you're interested in beginning to learn another language on your own, and for free

First of all:
- Rosetta Stone - if you're like me you get an email once a day telling you about some deal they have going on to buy the COMPLETE SET for only $250 or something. Okay, no. If you are really interested in Rosetta Stone you've got to be able to find it on eBay for cheaper.

It doesn't matter if you have the 'newest' version because how much has language changed in the past ten years or however long RS has been along? Not much.

That being said, RS also now offers something called TotalE which allows you to participate in online classes and games once you pass a certain point in RS ... if you purchase RS I think they give you a free code for 30 days to try it out...my suggestion is to WAIT until you've passed level 1 to try it out because you won't get enough language until then to be able to participate.

OKAY, buttt if you don't wanna shell out the bucks for RS (and who can blame you), some other options:

- duolingo - it's a REALLY good, FREE app and actually mimics rosetta stone pretty closely. You speak, read, listen, write and I have been really impressed with it overall.
      ( you can also work from the website as well)
- busuu - again there is an app and an online version; I haven't explored this as much but you have the option to become a premium member to gain access to more materials, including tutors.
- lingualia - I have to explore this one, but apparently it's "artificial intelligence" to tailor your language learning to you! 

- Youtube: Sunny Earth Academy = Spanish & French resources, especially great for beginning level Spanish activities (the alphabet, conjugating verbs, etc). 
- livemocha - you interact with native speakers of other languages - they grade you, you grade them. 

There are a lot of websites out there that help students make interactive flashcards to study, the good news is, they've already done all the work for you -- you can just log on and search for (for example) Spanish greetings and lots of sets of vocal will pop up (or any other language). 

The best (IMO) is quizlet.com. You can review the flashcards old school or you can play games out of the words. I think there's also an app. 

Textbook websites
I used the Realidades textbook for my teaching career...I really liked it (as much as you're allowed to like a textbook as a teacher) and there are a lot of activities that go along with it. 

Level 1 - the chapters are broken down into two parts - A & B, and the activities correspond. The "repaso del capítulo" is the vocabulary sheet that goes with the chapter so that would be the best place to start, study the words and then work on the activities. 

I may be a 'retired' Spanish teacher, but I really do love Spanish and I love teaching people who want to learn. I'm interested in setting up a recurring series on language learning and I'd love to do it on Saturdays or Sundays. We could meet via google hangout and just practice going over the basics - each week we'd have a different topic. 

I'm very interested in setting this up so if you or anyone you know would be interested, let me know! It can be just a place to get together to practice speaking Spanish, or to hone your listening skills. 

I eventually want to make this a paid class but for now I'm just interested in getting my feet wet and putting some feelers out there for people who would be interested. 

I'm interested in participating in an online Spanish class.
pollcode.com free polls 
** If you have any other suggestions about how to learn a language for free and via the wonderful world of the internet, please comment below so I can add them! ** 

srta. grande :)


  1. i took spanish my entire life, up until junior year of college and now i know nothing. well, excuse me, poquito. it's bad.

  2. I took Spanish for 7 years, and I knew more Geramn after a year of being here. Amazing how much immersion does... I can barely remember any Spanish now. Thanks for the Lingualia suggestion!


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