Peter Lavelle at currency broker Pure FX
Think of Spain, and what comes to mind?
Sun. Flamenco. Paella. Sangria. The distinct lack of English.
The first 4 in that list might sound attractive but, if you’re planning on emigrating to Spain, that last 1 could cause some problems. In fact, according to Ben Curtis at NotesinSpanish.com, learning Spanish is one of the most important things to help you integrate. He recently said:
“What is really important is to learn as much Spanish as possible, preferably before you arrive, or as soon as you get here.”
To help you brush up on your Espanol then before departing British shores, we’ve put together a list of some of the best (and, more important, free!) resources to learn Spanish available on the web.
Busuu.com is the Facebook of language learning sites. You learn vocabulary in chunks arranged in topics, but get your writing and speaking exercises marked by native speakers in exchange for helping with their English. Best of all, excepting the grammar units, the whole thing is free!
Lingq.com is perhaps even more social than Busuu.com. Learning units are written and edited by the community meaning that, in addition to getting help from the authors, you can submit exercises to help others with their English. Though you must pay to save your progress, this isn’t essential, and all the content is available freely.
3. Mi Vida Loca
The ever-reliable BBC has some great free resources for learning Spanish. Perhaps the best thing though, is this interactive video series in which you must solve a mystery in Madrid, all the while picking up vocab.
This does exactly what you expect: sign up via email, and you receive a Spanish word a day direct to your inbox. Alternately, there’s also an app available for iGoogle, meaning that every time you decide to search for something, you can learn some Spanish!
Though much of Notes In Spanish requires a subscription, it nonetheless includes some great resources, including free podcasts for beginners.
In addition to these, you can of course shell out for the (often expensive!) offline learning programs out there. Perhaps the best known ones are Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone. Having used Pimsleur to learning Spanish I can vouch for it, though I have heard a lot of people mention problems with voice recognition using Rosetta Stone.
Que tengas suerte!