Weekly Tip & Optional Homework Week of 9/15 for week of 9/22/14

Weekly Tip:

Question from a student:

There are sooo many Spanish language sites; what are the couple (2 or 3) that you think most helpful at an intermediate level???


There are quite a few possibilities, depending on what you’re looking for. You really want me to pick 3 max? Yikes. Ok, these are my personal favorites – the ones I can’t live without:

For grammar: http://www.studyspanish.com/

Part of the site is free, but to access the entire thing you have to pay. It’s between $100 – $175 for one year if you want premium access (to everything). I haven’t used the entire site, but several students have said that it’s very good. Although for under $20 you can buy an excellent workbook from the Spanish Makes Perfect series by McGraw Hill that will give you the same thing. But either way, the free section is very good if you have studied some grammar before.

For a dictionary: http://www.wordreference.com/

This is hands down the best multilingual dictionary out there. It’s also available as a free app.

I could spend hours researching words and checking out the forums. The forums are amazing because you can ask questions and native speakers from different countries will answer your questions. It’s incredibly thorough and useful. My only recommendation is to really take your time when you’re exploring a word. Don’t just pick the first one that pops up. For example, there might be 5 possibilities for the word you’re looking for, but one might say “vulgar” next to it or “ES” meaning it’s only used in El Salvador. It’s a lot of info – make sure you’re taking the time to find what you’re really looking for. For fun, check out the word “tomar” and see all the info that you find. It’s fascinating (wow, I am such a nerd): http://www.wordreference.com/es/en/translation.asp?spen=tomar

For entire phrases I would recommend: http://www.linguee.com/

Just make sure that you put quotes around what you’re looking for.

And please, I beg of you, do not use translators unless you want to sound like you just started learning Spanish last week. This is the absolute worst habit you can get in to. If you use a translator there is no point to actually learning to speak another language. They’re perfect in a pinch, but they are so completely off that you just form horrible habits.

To listen to Spanish:

For the lower level groups I would recommend: http://www.learner.org/resources/series75.html

Destinos: An Introduction to Spanish is a 52 episode mystery made for Spanish students. 4 accents are showcased (Mexico, Spain, Argentina & Puerto Rico) and each episode gets a little harder. I’ve never watched it from beginning to end (only random episodes) but from what I’ve seen it’s very well done. Many students have also commented that it’s fun. Be warned – this thing was made a long time ago – the outfits are ridiculous and the picture is not excellent, but for learning purposes it really is excellent.

For the higher level groups: http://radioambulante.org/

Radio Ambulante is a site that showcases podcasts for Spanish speakers. This site is not made for students. The podcasts are fascinating. They consist of a journalist interviewing someone in a Spanish speaking country. The topics are incredibly varied. I LOVE THESE PODCASTS!!! Apart from Ted Talks these are one of my obcessions.

There you have it. 3-5 sites no Spanish student should live without. I’m exhausted after writing that because I feel so passionately about these sites…I’m such a nerd.

Optional Homework

 La tarea opcional de esta semana:

…es practicar el imperfecto. Esta semana nos gustaría que usen studyspanish.com (la sexta unidad de la pestaña marcada “grammar”) o un libro de ejercicios que Uds. ya tengan para practicar el imperfecto.

La optional homework this week:

…is to practice the imperfect. In unit 6 of the Grammar tab of http://www.studyspanish.com/tutorial.htm you can find tons of exercises. If you have a grammar book at home or a preferred site, you can use those as well. The point is to practice the imperfect.