Spotify Exploding with New Tools for Learning Spanish
iTunes is going away. Let’s face it - ITunes has always been awful. It lured you in with a tempting variety of podcasts for learning Spanish. Once in, the program was a nightmare. You had to sort through the free versus paid teaching programs and rarely could you open the program without having to update it first. It was clunky and got hung up in random places more often than not.
Spotify, however, is a godsend for Spanish learning. Judging by how many Spanish learning podcasts on Spotify have less than a dozen episodes, an indication they are new, it appears that we will be able to soon choose precisely the podcasts with the level, accent, and topics we want, right down to playlists of music good for language learning.
Some of these podcasts are based on cultures of a specific country, Cuba, Spain, Columbia or Mexico for example. Some have more grammar episodes. Others deliver the news or contemporary topics in slower Spanish. All are better than iTunes (Apparently, I am still a little stroppy about the whole iTunes experience). Spotify is an easy download. I never have problems with it. The king is dead! Viva Spotify!
Here are podcasts with more extensive libraries and best professional production.
Talking in Spanish - Basic beginner podcasts by a Spanish teacher in pronunciation and basic vocabulary (you have to start somewhere!).
Spanishland School - No matter how much you hate learning grammar, eventually it will make your learning easier, as well increase the possibility of your being welcome in more educated circles of the Spanish-speaking world. This podcast painlessly presents critical grammar points.
Learn Spanish/Spanish Survival - Geared towards travelers to Mexico, this podcast teaches you how to ask for help, exchange money, and cultural niceties like asking permission to take a picture.
Notes in Spanish - I have always liked the Notes in Spanish website, broadcast by a couple in Spain for those who prefer their Spanish Castilian. It has been around awhile. Their website offers a comprehensive range of lesson for all levels. They more recently circled back to do a fresh podcast for beginners on Spotify.
Learn Spanish Con Salsa - Cuban-based, this podcast is all over the board. Some podcasts to teach culture are even in English. It needs direction but if you have a particular affinity for Cuban influences in your learning, this might be for you.
Doorway to Mexico - Although the podcast covers survival topics such as shopping, asking directions and ordering drinks interspersing English with Spanish, I would put this in the advanced beginner category. Without basic vocabulary, it would be hard for the phrases to stick.
Accelerated Spanish - I am not sure what to make of this one but some people have tried every traditional method without success and this site might be effective as it uses a different approach, a proprietary mnemonic method to learn vocabulary rather than memorization.
How to Spanish podcast producers David Perez and wife Ana. “Our goal with our podcast is to help students achieve conversational listening skills. We offer a list of difficult vocabulary we used during the episode in order of appearance to give you just enough help. By constantly listening to our conversational podcast and studying the materials we offer, you will learn how to listen in Spanish without translating.
How to Spanish - A lovely podcast. You can actually hire David, a creator of the podcast with his wife Ana, as an instructor through the language site iTalki. The couple lives in Mexico City and offers advice on how to navigate Mexican culture, vocabulary, and slang in their podcast.
As you know from audio books, the quality of the narration matters. Both speak a beautifully neutral, articulated Spanish. If you want to hire an instructor simply to practice conversing, I have hired David on occasion and highly recommend him..
Hoy Hablamos - Although the podcast is based from Spain, the topics are usually not specific to that country. Podcasts cover contemporary topics like analysis of Game of Thrones. The diction is clear (believe or not, some podcast speakers do not have clear enough diction for students new to the language.)
News in Slow Spanish - This is the most professional of the sites and has a long history. What is most impressive about News in Slow Spanish is that they have dumbed-down the news (that is written it in an easier vocabulary for students) in such a way that you do not feel like you are listening to a “News for Children” podcast. This takes more effort than you might think. Words are well articulated and voices well-modulated. They have also taken the step to offer both Spanish and Latin American podcasts.
Unlimited Spanish Podcast/Speak Spanish Now - Some podcasts are grammar, others a mix of more advanced grammar (How to express cause and effect) and topics specific to popular Spanish culture.
Learn Spanish Online for Free focuses on listening skills and does a great job in maintaining neutrality in accents, topics, vocabulary, and idioms it teaches. It is the only podcast I found in which I could not tell what Spanish-speaking country it was based out of.
Advanced Spanish with Spanish Obsessed - You can tell whether the episode is intermediate or advanced by the topic; educational systems versus Making friends for example. They also have a very good website.
Emotions in Harmony - is not a language learning podcast. Dr. Carmen’s (she is a psychologist) episodes cover emotions, relationships, mental health and how to be “the best version of yourself.”
Learn Spanish Más Que Siesta - Advanced podcasts over a wide variety of topics. As the podcasts are largely interviews (it is a rare interviewee who can adjust their speaking style for language students), it is really a podcast for any Spanish speaker, not just language students.
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About the author:
Kerry Baker is the author of the Interactive Guide to Learning Spanish Free Online, a curation of the best free tools on the web for learning Spanish. Interactive links are organized by level and skill being practiced (learning, writing, speaking, listening). Learning Spanish is critical to achieving your best life in Mexico. Get started!
Her second book, If Only I Had a Place, is the ultimate guide to renting in Mexico. Do not be fooled by realtors and websites. Renting is different in Mexico, with unique opportunities and traps for expats. This book on renting is more than a how-to. It explains why taking on the rental process well establishes your foundation in Mexico for years to come.