Learning Spanish in 2023 will be one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of your life.
There are more Spanish language learning options available online than ever. You don’t need to leave your house, let alone visit a Spanish speaking country. In fact, we firmly believe it’s possible to reach native-like fluency entirely online, if that’s your goal.
- 1 Why Learn Spanish?
- 2 How Can I Learn Spanish Online?
- 3 BaseLang Spanish Lessons: “All You Can Eat” Classes
- 4 iTalki Review: 1000s of Spanish Teachers In One Place
- 5 Learning Spanish Is Simple. But It Is Not Easy…
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions
- 7 How long does it take to learn Spanish?
- 8 How Can I learn Spanish fast?
- 9 How Can I Learn Spanish for Free?
- 10 How Easy/Hard Is It To Learn Spanish?
- 11 How Can I Learn to Speak Spanish with Podcasts?
- 12 How Can I Learn Spanish via Comprehensible Input?
- 13 How Can I Learn Spanish with YouTube Videos?
- 14 How Can I Learn Spanish with Movies?
- 15 How Can I Use Language Learning Apps To Learn Spanish?
- 16 What Are Some Common Spanish Words in English?
- 17 What Are Some Good Books for Spanish Language Learners?
- 18 Further Reading
Why Learn Spanish?
For most English speakers, Spanish is the best second language to learn, simply because it’s one of the most spoken languages in the world, with over half a billion speakers worldwide.
Today, the US is the world’s fourth largest Spanish speaking country, with more Spanish speakers than Spain or many other Spanish speaking countries. In fact, the Instituto Cervantes, the non-profit that promotes the Spanish language, estimate that the US will become the world’s biggest Spanish speaking country by 2060, overtaking every country in Latin America.
There are many similarities between Spanish and English, with thousands of many thousands of “cognates”, or words that are similar in both languages. Some simple examples are words like “actor”, “hotel” or “animal” (seriously, just try saying them aloud in a Spanish accent).
One of the best ways to start learning Spanish is through online Spanish lessons.
How Can I Learn Spanish Online?
Like all the best things in life in 2021, you really need to thank your lucky stars for the internet.
In the recent past, learning Spanish with native hispanohablantes meant expensive long distance travel, or awkward group Spanish evening courses at the local college.
Today, you logon to Zoom or Skype and take private, online Spanish lessons at any hour of the day or night, even if you live closer to Timbuktu than Tijuana.
Yes there are a million language learning apps available – DuoLingo is the most famous – but we think they are mostly a distraction from the REAL THING: learning Spanish by speaking with native speakers, not by selecting multiple choice answers in a game.
As with any product or service, there is no one “the best”. But here’s a quick summary of the Spanish lessons we love, and have paid for ourselves.
- BaseLang – Unlimited Spanish lessons with native speakers for $149/mo. Sign Up Here or learn more in our Baselang review.
- iTalki – The world’s most popular site for language learners has 1,000s of Spanish teachers all over the world to suit every budget.
- Dynamo Spanish – Best for specialist lessons, like Spanish for lawyers and doctors. Your first lesson is free.
BaseLang Spanish Lessons: “All You Can Eat” Classes
We recommend BaseLang’s “Grammarless” program. It guarantees you’ll be able to have a 30 minute Spanish conversation after just four weeks for an investment of $1,200.
BaseLang also offers “Real World”, with truly unlimited Spanish classes with native Spanish teachers (mostly from Venezuela) for a fixed price of $149/month.
For the Real World program, the first week costs just $1, and if you aren’t completely happy, there’s a “negative risk” refund where they will give you $20. You really have nothing to lose.
The key idea of the “Grammarless” program is to learn to speak Spanish without worrying about any grammar whatsoever. For many lanuage learning students, this will be a formidable USP.
Use our special link and get $10 discount on your first month of Spanish at BaseLang.
- Start Now. Take your first Spanish lesson right now with Real World
- Guaranteed results if you choose their Grammarless super-intensive Spanish language program
- Affordable: BaseLang offers unlimited one-on-one Spanish lessons for a monthly subscription fee that is more affordable than many other language learning options.
- Flexibility: Students can schedule lessons at any time of day, seven days a week, and reschedule or cancel lessons as needed without incurring additional fees.
Not So Good…
- Limited Focus: BaseLang focuses primarily on conversational Spanish and may not be ideal for those looking for a more formal Spanish language learning experience
- Latin American Spanish only. There are dozens of Spanish speaking countries represented, but there’s no coverage of Spanish from Spain (aka “peninsula Spanish” or “European Spanish”).
- Subscription Model: BaseLang operates on a subscription model, which may not be ideal for those who prefer to pay per lesson or purchase a set number of lessons in advance.
We think BaseLang is the best choice for 95% of Spanish students. Go sign up now and try it for yourself, or check out our full BaseLang review.
iTalki Review: 1000s of Spanish Teachers In One Place
The elevator pitch: Learn Spanish with 1,000s of teachers worldwide (including both Latin American and European Spanish), with “pay as you go” Spanish lessons for every budget.
italki is an online language learning app that connects language learners with language teachers from around the world. The platform offers one-on-one lessons in over 130 languages, including Spanish, making it one of the best ways to to learn Spanish and improve Spanish language skills.
italki allows students to select a teacher based on their teaching style, reviews, experience, and availability. Lessons are conducted via video call, like Zoom or Skype, and students can schedule lessons anytime with 24 hours notice.
The iTalki platform also offers a variety of additional resources for language learners, including a community forum and self-study materials. Overall, italki is an effective and convenient option for language learners looking for personalized language instruction from qualified Spanish teachers.
- Personalization: iTalki offers personalized one-on-one Spanish lessons, allowing students to learn at their own pace and focus on specific areas of interest or weakness.
- Convenience: Lessons can be scheduled at a time and frequency that works best for the student, making it easy to fit language learning into a busy schedule.
- Variety: iTalki offers a wide range of Spanish tutors from different countries, with different teaching styles, expertise, and accents, allowing students to find a tutor that matches their learning style and preferences.
- Value for money: iTalki is relatively affordable compared to traditional language schools or in-person tutoring.
Not So Good…
- Lack of Structure: Some students may find the lack of a formal Spanish curriculum or course syllabus to be overwhelming.
- Learning Style: The personalized approach may not suit all learning styles, as some students may prefer a more structured approach with regular assessments and feedback.
- Self-Discipline: iTalki requires a significant amount of self-discipline, as students need to set their own goals, monitor their progress, and stay motivated to continue learning outside of the lessons.
- Quality Control: While iTalki tutors undergo a vetting process, some students may encounter tutors with varying levels of teaching experience or who are not a good match for their learning style or preferences.
Learning Spanish Is Simple. But It Is Not Easy…
It isn’t something you do once, or overnight – or even in 12 months. Learning Spanish requires an ongoing commitment of time and effort.
To paraphrase Warren Buffet, learning Spanish is simple – but not easy. In that regard, it’s a little like getting fit, losing weight or saving pennies in your piggy bank.
And – just like the examples above – it will probably suck at the beginning.
This insight won’t stop every huckster on the planet trying to sell you expensive products of dubious utility and/or promise instant, effortless results with your Spanish language learning….
- Learn Spanish while you sleep!
- Get Fluent in Spanish in An Hour! Guaranteed!
- Master Spanish Surfing FaceBook
File these promises alongside your X-Ray Spex and Incredible Sea Monkeys.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to learn Spanish?
The amount of time depends on several factors, including your existing language learning skills, your level of motivation, the intensity of study, and your exposure to the language.
So, for example, you’ll find it much easier if you’ve learned another language – especially a Romance language, like Italian, Portuguese or French – or if you are surrounded by the language thanks to your location or loved ones.
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), estimates approximately 3540-400 hours of study to reach B1 level of proficiency in Spanish, which is intermediate fluency.
How Can I learn Spanish fast?
Learning Spanish (or any language learning project) requires time, effort, and consistent practice. However, it is possible to make significant progress in a few months, provided you are highly motivated and have the time available. We love BaseLang’s two month sprint if you’re really serious about learning Spanish fast.
Nowdays it’s perfectly possible to learn Spanish without ever leaving your house, let alone visiting a Spanish-speaking country. There are a million resources available, with everything fron online classes, exchange programs, and language learning apps, meaning it’s easy to create a Spanish immersion environment at home.
The most important thing is to commit the time you’ll need & make a study schedule to ensure that you’re making progress. Ultimately, the amount of time it takes to learn Spanish depends on a variety of factors, including your prior language learning experience, your learning style, and the amount of time and effort you are willing to commit to the learning process
How Can I Learn Spanish for Free?
Learning a new language can be expensive, but if you are on a tight budget, it’s most definitely possible to learn Spanish for free, too.
There are many free resources available online, including language learning apps (eg, ClozeMaster or Memrise), websites like SpanishDict and StudySpanish.com, and YouTube channels like Dreaming Spanish.
Personally, we love to start learning languages with podcasts. Check out Language Transfer, Duolingo Spanish Podcast (much better than their language learning app) and Spanish Pod 101.
How Easy/Hard Is It To Learn Spanish?
The US government’s Foreign Service Institute ranks Spanish as one of the easiest languages in the world to learn for English speakers, with an estimate of approximately 25% of the time required versus the hardest languages, like Arabic, Japanese or Mandarin.
Exactly how hard or easy it will be will depend on your prior language learning experience, your familiarity with other Romance languages, and your learning style.
Spanish uses a similar alphabet as English (there’s one extra character, the “ñ”), so you don’t need to learn a completely new writing system or alphabet. Spanish spelling is relatively straightforward, with consistent rules and few exceptions, unlike languages like French or especially English.
Spanish pronunciation is simpler than other Romance languages like French, Italian or Portuguese and much simpler than English is for Spanish speakers! There are half a dozen vowel sounds in Spanish, versus the 20 or so in English, for example or the complex nuances of French pronounciation.
Finally, Spanish grammar is relatively simple compared to other languages, even “simple” Romance languages, like Italian, that are often described as “easy” for English speakers to learn.
That being said, learning any language requires time, effort, and consistent practice. With consistent practice and exposure to the language, anyone can learn to speak Spanish fluently.
How Can I Learn to Speak Spanish with Podcasts?
Spanish podcasts are a great tool for Spanish learners, especially for those who prefer a more flexible and self-paced approach to learning. Podcasts help help you improve your listening skills, as well as expand your Spanish vocabulary, new words and knowledge of Spanish grammar without using boring flashcards, tedious grammar exercises or practicing verb conjugations.
There are a huge number of podcasts available for Spanish learners, covering a variety of topics, from news and current events to TV shows and popular culture. Some popular Spanish podcasts include the Duolingo Spanish Podcast (much better than their language learning app) and Spanish Pod 101.
How Can I Learn Spanish via Comprehensible Input?
You can certainly learn to read Spanish – perhaps even at a high level – via “input only” methods. And you can certainly learn to understand spoken Spanish, too, with audio input.
But they almost certainly didn’t learn to speak Spanish or write Spanish, just by reading or listening alone. To get good at “output”, you need to practice, well, output.
Which is not to say that we are not huge believers in Stephen Krashen’s theory of comprehensible input – we are massive Krashen fan boys, in fact – but we believe that comprehensible input can come later.
But first, as in right now? You need to learn to speak some Spanish.
How Can I Learn Spanish with YouTube Videos?
YouTube is a great resource for learning Spanish, and there are thousands of YouTube channels and millions of videos available that can help you improve your Spanish language skills.
Some popular YouTube channels for learning Spanish include SpanishPod101, Easy Spanish and Dreaming Spanish. These channels offer Spanish lessons, vocabulary, and grammar tips, as well as authentic Spanish content.
Watching and listening to native Spanish speakers can help you improve your listening comprehension skills as well as your Spanish pronunciation. You can also search for videos that specifically focus on trickier topics, like Spanish accent rules or grammar.
How Can I Learn Spanish with Movies?
Spanish language movies can be a great tool for language lear ning, especially if you are an auditory learner. Watching movies in Spanish can help you improve your listening and comprehension skills, as well as expand your vocabulary and knowledge of idioms and colloquial expressions. We recommend you start with Spanish subtitles while you improve your language skills.
When you watch movies in Spanish, you have the opportunity to listen to the language spoken in a natural context in native content, and pick up new words and phrases without having to memorize them from a textbook or flashcards.
How Can I Use Language Learning Apps To Learn Spanish?
Bad news: so many language learning apps are a racket. Many iOS or Android language learning apps are closer to slot machines than a Spanish language learning course: blinking toys delivering dopamine hits at semi-regular intervals.
Sure, you could waste months playing with DuoLingo (here’s why that’s a waste of time) or pay $299 for Rosetta Stone (here’s why that’d be an expensive mistake)
Or… you could “do the real thing and stop doing fake alternatives”. That is to say, practice the single thing you want to get good at: speaking Spanish.
Not learning flashcards (yawn), playing multiple choice language learning video games – or even flirting with a cartoon owl. Sorry, Duo 🙁
What Are Some Common Spanish Words in English?
English is loaded with 1000s of “loan words” (or “cognates”), words borrowed from Spanish. Every native English speaker will know literally hundreds of them…
- Greetings: Hola, adios in Spain or chau in Latin America
- Nouns: Casa, fiesta, salsa
You get the idea – there are a tonne more. Here’s a cool list of 1001 examples.
What Are Some Good Books for Spanish Language Learners?
There’s a million options, and we really think it’s a matter of personal taste. You really need to work out which language learning books fit your language learning style. However, we’ll mention a few books we think are worth exploring:-
- “Spanish Short Stories for Beginners” by Olly Richards: This book is a great way to improve your Spanish reading and comprehension skills, while also expanding your vocabulary and exposure to common Spanish phrases and expressions.
- “Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish: A Creative and Proven Approach” by Margarita Madrigal
- “Breaking Out of Beginner’s Spanish” by Joseph J. Keenan: This book is ideal for intermediate-level Spanish learners who want to take their language skills to the next level, providing advanced grammar and vocabulary lessons and practical exercises.
- Our BaseLang review