I'd like to use free resources learn enough Spanish that I'll be able to understand menus, ask basic questions (e.g., where is the train station, how far is the whatever), not butcher pronunciations, understand gender and basic verb conjugations. Essentially aiming for 101-level proficiency. If you've successfully done this yourself, I'd love to know what resources you used.

FWIW, in college I was good at learning languages in the classroom setting. I also have some French already.


  • Google gives you lots of links, including free online courses on edx.org and all over the Internet. This is no different than any other major language. Local library likely has Pimsleur audio courses. What kind of resources are you missing in the results of your searches? Oct 7, 2019 at 0:07
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    @PeterM. I'm less looking for help locating resources--there are many--than I am looking for help determining which of those resources people can vouch for based on their personal experience learning Spanish Oct 8, 2019 at 16:54

2 Answers 2


I learnt Spanish at GCSE and A Level in UK. During this time I learnt a lot of vocab (I would write lists of vocab out and spend one hour learning it each week for the weekly vocab test). This way I learnt lots of vocab. But I was never very good at verbs. So that was something I had to practice.

I listened to one podcast Notes in Spanish that helped. They have Beginner but really that was something that supplemented my learning at school. Since leaving school my approach was to talk Spanish to people and also learn by reading. I also try and listen to Spanish music occasionally and focus on what they are saying. You can go on Youtube and look for English songs with Spanish subtitles - e.g. The Beatles with Spanish subtitles. Or Spanish songs with English subtitles. That can be helpful.

My general advice would be to learn basic words and sentences - and 10 or so sentence structures that you can then replace with different words to make different sentences. For me it's really about the audio and learning how to listen and then say the Spanish words also. Have you heard of FSI - it is a bit of a well-kept secret among language learners. Although it is a bit dated they have some really good resources for so many different languages. You can find it on many websites. Here's the top Search hit. http://www.fsi-language-courses.net/fsi-spanish-basic-course/

So aside from that I would say sit down and literally watch 2 or 3 hours of Youtube videos. Just type in Spanish beginner course or something and you should find one that can start to help you learn. Write notes as you go along. Don't worry about getting there straight away or even learning anything 'useful' at first. Just focus on getting some key words - and pronunciation. It might help to watch a Youtube video on the Spanish alphabet as well.

That's all I can think of right now. Sorry it is my first post in this forum so I hope I said at least one thing that could be considered helpful.

  • Welcome to LL.SE! While you are here, you might want to take the (quite quick) tour to get more of a feel for the site: languagelearning.stackexchange.com/tour
    – Tommi
    Oct 17, 2019 at 8:24
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    Thanks. Will do. Chris
    – Chris
    Oct 18, 2019 at 9:03

If online is what you are looking for, I can recommend Mango languages. It strikes a nice balance between the Pimsleur repeat-after-me and Duolingo's gamification. I was able to get it for free because my local library has an online subscription, perhaps your library does as well.

If you prefer a more traditional approach, you can try the Foreign Service Institute's courses, which are available for free online (at the yojik website https://fsi-languages.yojik.eu/languages/fsi.html ) they are weirdly focused on military matters, but I personally found them helpful.

  • Thanks for the heads up about Mango. It seems to be available through my library as well. I ended up joining Duolingo out of laziness and a desire to just start learning, and while it is better than I expected (I do think I'm learning), it's a little too easy. I don't like that you're given a selection of answers to choose from--I'd rather be forced to recall the Spanish word from memory. So I could use something a little less gamified. Oct 22, 2019 at 23:21

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