Learning Spanish with Free Audio Lessons: The Lay of the Land

Today we have the plea­sure of wel­com­ing a guest con­tri­bu­tion by Eleena de Liss­er, who runs Voic­es en Español, a bilin­gual blog and con­ver­sa­tion­al Span­ish pod­cast (iTunesRSS Feed). In this post, Eleena draws on her expe­ri­ence and offers an overview of the best free audio lessons that will teach you Span­ish (which hap­pens to be the num­ber one sec­ond lan­guage stud­ied in the Unit­ed States). Oth­er Span­ish lessons can be found in our larg­er col­lec­tion How to Learn Lan­guages for Free: Span­ish, Eng­lish, Chi­nese & 37 Oth­er Lan­guages. Many thanks Eleena, and take it away…

Learn­ing Span­ish today is as easy as sit­ting in front of your com­put­er and down­load­ing online audio to your MP3 play­er. If you’re moti­vat­ed, you can learn a great deal of Span­ish at lit­tle to no cost with­out ever leav­ing the com­fort of home. A tremen­dous range of instruc­tion­al Span­ish lan­guage pod­casts, from the begin­ner lev­el to advanced, are wide­ly avail­able on the inter­net and many of them are free. (Some charge for accom­pa­ny­ing tran­scripts and writ­ten prac­tice exer­cis­es.)  So whether you are a raw begin­ner or a sea­soned lan­guage study vet­er­an, there is a pod­cast out there to suit you. Here are the details on a hand­ful of edu­ca­tion­al Span­ish lan­guage pod­casts that are worth a clos­er look:

Cof­fee Break Span­ish (iTunesFeedWeb Site), whose slo­gan is “lan­guage learn­ing with your lat­te,” is undoubt­ed­ly king of the instruc­tion­al pod­cast hill, with a large and loy­al fan­base. It is ide­al­ly suit­ed for begin­ners and oth­er stu­dents seek­ing a review of basic Span­ish gram­mar and phras­es. Mark Pentle­ton, the pro­duc­er and instruc­tor, and Kara, his stu­dent, are Scot­tish, so while you won’t be hear­ing a native Span­ish speaker’s pro­nun­ci­a­tion in the ini­tial episodes, that seems to add to the charm of the pro­gram for some lis­ten­ers.

Anoth­er pop­u­lar instruc­tion­al series is Notes in Span­ish (iTunesFeedWeb Site), pro­duced by Ben Cur­tis and Mari­na Diez, a hus­band-and-wife team out of Madrid, Spain. Ben is British and Mari­na is Span­ish, and they too have built quite a large fol­low­ing for their con­ver­sa­tion­al Span­ish pod­casts (for begin­ners, inter­me­di­ates and advanced stu­dents), which promise to teach lis­ten­ers “real Span­ish” the way it is actu­al­ly spo­ken every day in Spain.

Lin­gusTV (iTunesFeedWeb Site) is a unique entry into the instruc­tion­al lan­guage pod­casts are­na. It’s an edu­ca­tion­al video pod­cast done in the form of a tele­vi­sion sit-com (sit­u­a­tion com­e­dy), laugh track includ­ed. While the actors speak sole­ly in Span­ish, sub­ti­tles are pro­vid­ed and expla­na­tions of vocab­u­lary and gram­mar points are pro­vid­ed on the web site.

SpanishPod101 (iTunesFeedWeb Site) dis­tin­guish­es itself from oth­er cur­rent­ly avail­able instruc­tion­al pod­casts by pro­vid­ing lessons that fea­ture dif­fer­ent accents from around the Span­ish-speak­ing world. Dia­logues are repeat­ed mul­ti­ple times and an Eng­lish trans­la­tion is pro­vid­ed, to fur­ther aid learn­ing.

For advanced lan­guage stu­dents seek­ing a change of pace and a break from gram­mar drills, there are my two pod­casts: Voic­es en Español (iTunesFeedWeb Site), which con­tains inter­views and lit­er­a­ture read­ings with native Span­ish speak­ers from all walks of life, and Cody’s Cuen­tos (iTunesFeedWeb Site), a Span­ish-lan­guage pod­cast of clas­sic fairy tales and leg­ends. While Cody’s Cuen­tos isn’t a con­ven­tion­al instruc­tion­al pod­cast, the fact that you prob­a­bly already know the sto­ry in Eng­lish will aid your com­pre­hen­sion of under­stand­ing the tale in Span­ish. Tran­scripts for the sto­ries are avail­able on the Cody’s Cuen­tos blog so that you can read and fol­low along in the text while lis­ten­ing to the audio.

This is just a small sam­ple of the kind of  Span­ish lan­guage pro­gram­ming cur­rent­ly avail­able online. Sev­er­al more Span­ish learn­ing pod­casts are list­ed here in our col­lec­tion of Free Lan­guage Lessons.

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Comments (10)
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  • Alexis says:

    I have tried most of these and absolute­ly love span­ish­pod and rojas span­ish. Span­ish­pod is engag­ing, hilar­i­ous, and makes teach­es mate­r­i­al that is rel­e­vant to young adults. Rojas Span­ish is great because of its pro­duc­tion qual­i­ty and con­tent, but, def­i­nite­ly not for begin­ners.

  • Toffler says:

    I like the rec­om­men­da­tions for pod­casts. They def­i­nite­ly have their place, but its also nec­es­sary to prac­tice your skills to check your pro­nun­ci­a­tion and acqui­si­tion of the lan­guage and to devel­op con­fi­dence in speak­ing. The best way to do that is with a lan­guage part­ner, and the inter­net offers increas­ing­ly many sites for find­ing lan­guage part­ners and prac­tic­ing with them online. My favorite is http://www.italki.com, which has native Span­ish speak­ers from a vari­ety of coun­tries, allow­ing me to hear dif­fer­ent accents and learn slang from those coun­tries. (Today I was chat­ting with a guy from Peru and anoth­er from Colom­bia :) ) I pre­fer the inter­ac­tive approach to lan­guage learn­ing, but pod­casts are a good place to start.

  • faith says:

    i grate­ful we have are mak­ing earth like heav­en were we have no lim­i­ta­tion in self learning.thanks

  • Anna says:

    Hi there, I see all of the itunes feeds for span­ish lessons but are there any on this site in mp3 for­mat so I can down­load to my laptop/MP3 play­er? Thx

  • Philipfcooper says:

    Def­i­nite­ly should add Luis Rojas’ pod­casts… free down­load and don’t even need an itunes account.  Just go to rojasspanish.com  The pod­casts from the start are well worth lis­ten­ing to.  Inter­me­di­ate lev­el — high school Span­ish 3 and up.

  • Philipfcooper says:

    make that http://www.lacasarojas.com/podcast/   for Luis Rojas’ pod­casts.

  • Sovann Koth says:

    i’m inter­est­ed in Span­ish lan­guage

  • brad says:

    i want to learn span­ish

  • Dalton says:

    Thanks for the info. Ill see if I can save this pod cast and add it in my phone. That way when im dri­ving I can play your span­ish dis­cus­sions in the car and learn on my way to school or work

  • Denis says:

    What about the pop­u­lar Rock­et Span­ish. I like it because first it goes step by step and sec­ond you can check your pro­nun­ci­a­tion with­in the pro­gram and third you can down­load the audio train­ings to lis­ten on the go. Here is the page http://dess.me/RktSp

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