A tight budget doesn’t need to be your reason for not learning Spanish. Luckily, there are some great free tools available to help you practice and hone your skills.
Whether it’s learning a few words every day with an app that uses spaced repetition, picking up new phrases from an online community, or mastering your grammar with the extra tools offered by a popular online dictionary, these resources will help you learn and practice Spanish without spending a penny!
SpanishDict: The Extras Beyond the Dictionary
This online dictionary offers hundreds of thousands of meanings for the Spanish words you encounter throughout the learning process, including being able to hear word pronunciations. However, the dictionary aspect of this website is not the only reason it made it here on the list. SpanishDict also includes a series of learning tools for you to learn vocabulary, listen to conversations and participate in the active (speaking and writing) portion of language acquisition. Examples are:
- Fluencia, a free, 5-level introductory Spanish course equivalent to a year of college level Spanish. This is a great place to begin your language learning.
- Grammar lessons, over 100 lessons including practice quizzes
- Online Flashcards, sets of flashcards include voice pronunciations. You may also create your own flashcard sets.
iTalki: The Free Community
Italki is a great website that offers free elements that allow you to chat with native speakers as well as have your writing corrected.
Social interaction is an important component of language learning and Italki is a great way to practice Spanish with other people. In return, you are expected to help others in their language of interest (generally English). You can even choose people from a certain country if you are looking to prepare for a visit. This allows you to become accustomed to the local accent, intonation, and vocabulary. You can find this feature under “Community”.
There is a paid component if you like. You may hire tutors at affordable prices for individual classes.
Memrise: Flashcards with a Power Boost
Memrise is flashcards with a power boost. The program uses visual pictures to relate words to ideas or pictures that help you remember the word. The software then measures how often you should be seeing each word to optimize your ability to learn the word (called Spaced Repetition). You can either create your own flashcard “decks” adding the pictures that hold meaning to you, or look for ready-made card decks, to save time.
Here’s a great article about one person’s experience with Memrise to learn vocabulary: How I Learned a Language in 22 Hours.