Spanish is the second most used language in the US after English, and in fact, the US has one of the largest Spanish speaking populations in the world. It is a popular third or fourth language in Europe, and is spoken in pockets in Africa and Asia.
With its' easy pronunciation, familiar vocabulary, and rich culture, native English speakers will find Spanish to be an exciting addition to their lives. Let's take a look at some of the best methods to help us learn Spanish.
Free/Internet. My favorite online source for Spanish language resources is at
For the beginner there is a short e-mail course and there is also a year-long course coordinated with a text book (purchased separately) that you can follow, or you can browse the lessons in any order you want. Of course there are endless other resources, many with audio files to help with pronunciation. An actual qualified teacher oversees the site, so it is as close to having a tutor as you can get without actually paying for one. One of the best resources for Spanish and it's free!
The Living Language series, published by Random House, brings to life a well thought-out program in a compact package, by using a 'building block' approach to learning Spanish. The Basic Complete set includes a 40 lesson coursebook, which doubles as a phrasebook because it has lots of variations of the most common or useful phrases, a dictionary with plenty of idioms and expressions, and 3 audio cd's. It's an excellent, more-bang-for-the-buck deal. Read more about Living Language Spanish Basic Complete.
Living Language Ultimate Spanish
This is a notch up from the Basic Complete set, it includes a 400+ page coursebook, 4 cd's that are coordinated with the book and an additional 4 cd's to work with away from the book. You can also continue on with the Ultimate Advanced set. A powerful system for learning Spanish at a reasonable price.
FSI Spanish Platiquemos
Complete with books and audio from dozens of native speakers, this is one of the finest language methods available. This is the FSI Spanish version that was completely rewritten by the original author, Don Casteel, and re-recorded with all new audio. This is not simply a repackaged version of the 1957 program which I still see being sold. The original versions of the FSI methods are by all accounts excellent, but for the money you are spending, it's nice to get a product with a modern look and sound quality, and that is up to date. The Platiquemos version is the only version of FSI I would recommend. Many who have used it claim it is the best method for learning Spanish. The site also has some new features like articles on language learning, Spanish jokes and sample reading materials.
Pimsleur Spanish Comprehensive
Pimsleur's Comprehensive courses come with 16 cd's per level, 15 audio and 1 reading lesson cd with a booklet. Pimsleur is the king of all-audio programs. You will begin speaking immediately, and learning conversation with native speakers. Almost all the grammar is learned by doing. That's the beauty of Pimsleur, it's painless and fun. The only drawback to Pimsleur is that there is only a little bit of reading practice, I think some kind of supplemental reading material is needed. Since Spanish is relatively easy to read, this is a very minor problem.
I'd still choose Pimsleur Comprehensive over all other methods to learn Spanish, it's my favorite language learning system. Read my
review of Pimsleur Products
(which is largely based upon my experience with Pimsleur Spanish Comprehensive through Level 3 and Spanish Plus).
Also, read what some other language learners have said in these Pimsleur reviews - Pimsleur Spanish CD Set and The Pimsleur Family of Language Courses is the Best. Listen to the first lesson of Pimsleur Spanish free below!
Tell Me More Performance Spanish
This is my new favorite language learning program! It's just the right mix of useful content, activities and games, dialogues, native speaker audio, video, 2000 hours of studying, 10,000 exercises ... the list goes on. It's a sophisticated and great-looking language program. The best part of Tell Me More Performance Spanish is the amount of content for intermediate and advanced learners. It may be the most complete and comprehensive language program yet made. Read my review of Tell Me More or go to their website to see the online demo. This is an excellent method for learning Spanish for the serious student!
Resources for Learning Spanish Links to free courses and resources for learning Spanish. You can also find lots of helpful resources including links for finding penpals and forums for practicing Spanish on the General Resources page.
Articles on Learning Spanish
Here are some links to articles on learning Spanish - everything from help with learning specific grammar rules to general hints on learning Spanish.
Learn Spanish Cognates
Por or Para?
Don't Speak Spanish With Your English Mouth
- Christopher Morley