Online Spanish classes come in many forms. I’ve just been having a lot of fun exploring the Spanish Proficiency Exercises at the University of Texas at Austin. You listen to short videos made by people from many parts of the Spanish-speaking world. They are available for beginners all the way through to the most advanced level, called superior.
Each exercise has five parts:
- A video clip, where the native speaker speaks slowly and from a script
- More video clips, where the native speakers speak naturally – some rapidly, some slowly. Some of them have regional dialects, and some may use slang.
- A Spanish/English glossary of vocabulary you would need to discuss the same topic
- Sample sentences about the topic
- A brief grammar lesson related to the topic
I did several of these, and enjoyed them. For example, I did one from the Advanced-A level, which was about what people hoped to be doing in ten years.
For step 1, above, the video opened in a new little window. I was pleased to see that the text of the script the woman was using was right next to the video.
Step 2 also featured the texts of the scripts. The question was answered by five people, and their city and country were given next to their names. I watched them talking without looking at the texts at first – the lady from Peru really went fast, and in an accent I was unfamiliar with! Great practice. Then you could listen again if you wanted to, or read the script.
You can download these for your iPod or other mp3 player. The links to do this are in that fashionable gray font color that always annoys me because it’s not as easy to spot things at a glance.
Step 3, the related vocabulary, had a bunch of useful words and short phrases like: aumento de sueldo (m)—pay raise
Step 4 includes some sentences. Hoping you won’t need the one about being on probation by then if you behave yourself, here’s another example:
Puesto que la economía está tan mal decidí regresar a la universidad para realizar una maestría. — Since the economy is so bad I decided to go back to college to get my master’s degree.
Step 5, the grammar lesson, was on the conditional tense and the subjunctive mood, since you would need those to talk about your dreams and hopes for the future. I thought it was sufficiently brief that it was painless and also interesting.
So Can You Learn Spanish Free from This Online Spanish Course?
In my opinion, this is a superb website for people who already know some Spanish, even if it was high school classes you don’t remember much from. I went to the very first lesson for beginners and here is the script for that lesson:
Tengo aquí las llaves de mi casa que sirven para abrir y cerrar la puerta. Tengo una cartera donde guardo el dinero, las identificaciones y las tarjetas de crédito. También tengo aquí mi bicicleta que sirve para movilizarme en la ciudad.
As you can see, that’s not basic. But if you are up for starting with that, give this website a try. At my relatively advanced level of understanding, the exercises are great for improving my ear. I expect to go back there myself.
I would see this website as an excellent adjunct to a commercial program like Fluenz Spanish, for example. (That link takes you to my review of Fluenz.)
If you do explore these free lessons from the University of Texas at Austin, do come back here and post your impressions!
Filed under: Learn Spanish Online Free