Learning Spanish Online

Hi there! This blog post is going to introduce some of the best ways to learn and improve Spanish through online social media channels. I hope you can try some of these out and learn a lot from them.

Top 5 YouTube Channels to learn Spanish

1. Easyspanish
EasySpanish

This team of teachers record videos with grammar and conversation tips. They take to the streets and ask the Spanish public what they think about various themes. For example, in one of their videos they ask the public what they have in their handbag.

Their videos normally last between 10 and 15 minutes and always have subtitles in both English and Spanish, making it a useful learning tool for students with a high level of Spanish as well as a lower one (there is also a section called “easyeasyspanish” for those with an A1/A2 level).

2. Superholly
SuperHolly

Superholly is an American youtuber who was a Spanish student. Her videos aim to teach people how to sound like a Spanish native. She tells stories about her life in Spanish and always includes idiomatic expressions and tries to explain colloquial phrases.

Her videos normally last around 15 minutes and are always entertaining and very practical. They are particularly useful for those who already speak English, as she sometimes explains harder Spanish grammar points in English.

3. Butterfly Spanish
Butterfly Spanish

ButterflySpanish is a YouTube channel that mainly tries to improve the viewer´s understanding of Spanish grammar. They record their videos in a classroom and always write grammar explanations on a visible whiteboard so that viewers can make notes whilst watching the videos. It is a great channel for those students with a lower level of Spanish (A1/A2), as they normally clarify Spanish grammar points in English.

The videos normally last quite a while (20-30 minutes) and therefore go into detail so that the student takes something away from each video. They record videos on a variety of Spanish grammar points and problems, from the imperfect subjunctive to alcoholic drinks in Spain (which can help you forget about the dreaded subjunctive, of course!)

4. Lirica- Learn Spanish with Music
Lirica - learn Spanish with music

This channel offers a different way of learning- through songs. Each video comes with different grammar and comprehension tasks, as well as an English translation, making it super useful for those who love music and have a good grasp of the English language.

The videos always consist of lyrics to a song and images accompanying the music to maintain the viewer’s attention. They are very short too, so extremely easy to follow!

6. Señor Jordan
Señor Jordan

These YouTube videos are really fun and different! Señor Jordan records songs designed to help you remember verb rules and conjugations, with the lyrics shown on screen in vibrant colours. Each song is followed by an explanation of the points covered and the chance for the viewer to test their knowledge. He also has a pet cartoon monkey and has recorded a series of videos with his little monkey called “Storytelling with el mono”, which are just great!

Have fun learning! 🙂

Museo del Prado: 5 must-see works

It´s always difficult to decide which attractions to visit when you´re travelling, especially in a city like Madrid, where there is so much to see. The Prado Museum is definitely worth a visit for anyone interested in art, but with a collection of over 7000 paintings, it´s easy to feel overwhelmed. To help you find your way through this awe-inspiring art collection, we´ve prepared a shortlist of the most important pieces to see when you visit.

1.     Velázquez | Las Meninas

Despite years of study, this painting continues to intrigue amateurs and experts alike, who have been unable to determine the meaning of the scene. It is one of Velázquez’s largest works, and features a curious cast of characters including a princess, a nun, a dwarf, and even the artist himself.

2.     El Greco | Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest

This is arguably the best known of all of El Greco´s paintings, and one of the earliest of his works to be painted in Spain. The contrast between black and white draws attention to the nobleman’s delicate hand and fingers, while his dress emphasises his status as a gentleman.

3.     Goya | 3rd May 1808 in Madrid (The Executions)

This painting depicts the execution of working-class Spanish men by French soldiers, following the popular uprising of 2nd May 1808. It combines features of Romanticism and Impressionism, and is recognised as one of the first examples of Contemporary Art, setting a new precedent for war paintings. Picasso actually based his famous work, Guernica, on this piece, proving its enduring relevance to future generations.

4.     Rogier van der Weyden | The Descent from the Cross

Van der Weyden was a Northern Renaissance painter, and one of the most influential northern European artists of his time. He never signed his work, but this painting, which depicts Jesus being taken down from the cross, is the oldest piece which can be attributed to him with some certainty. The painting is renowned for the realism of the characters´ tears – all the more impressive given that it was painted at the beginning of the 15th century.

5.     Hieronymus Bosch | The Garden of Earthly Delights

It´s hard to believe that the weird and wonderful creatures and contraptions depicted in this piece were imagined over 500 years ago; although Bosch never dated his work, scholars have placed the piece between 1490 and 1510. Viewed from left to right, the triptych shows the progression of humanity from its creation to its eventual destruction. The piece has also inspired surrealists such as Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró. Hypnotic, perplexing or simply bizarre – you can decide for yourself, but you certainly won´t have seen anything like it before!

Fun ways to learn Spanish

There are many easy and interactive ways to make language learning a fun process. Below are some different ways to help you learn Spanish without having to sit at a desk!

Study Spanish in Madrid

1. Spotify and Spanish podcasts

Spotify doesn’t just have to be a tool for listening to your favorite music artists. Why not listen to podcasts in Spanish? Put the playlist on whilst you are walking to meet a friend or whilst you are cleaning your room. Repetition is key when learning a language, listening to a podcast everyday will improve your listening skills and expose you to more vocabulary and show you grammar structures being used.

I would personally recommend the Español Automatico podcast on Spotify with Karo Matrinez. Her ethos is to learn a language is full immersion; her podcasts discuss typically Spanish phrases and also discuss tricky grammar concepts like the subjunctive case. She also creates transcripts of the podcasts so students also read what is being said.

2. Quizlet

This website and app is ideal for learning new vocabulary. You can create your own study sets using the vocab your Inhispania teachers give you in class, or you can use sets created by other Spanish students. The app helps you to learn new words using a variety of settings: mini-tests, games or flashcards. You can also use it for phrases that you want to learn, like Spanish idioms and colloquialisms. What´s more is that the app is totally free!

3. Keep a diary

Keeping a diary every day is incredibly useful. Not only do you learn new vocabulary through writing about your daily activities, you can also track your progress. Sometimes it can be frustrating when you feel like you are not making any improving, keeping a diary will remind you that you are getting better- slowly but surely! As time goes by, you will find it easier to describe your day, you will be able write more and will make fewer errors. After a couple of months you will look back at your first diary entry and laugh at the little mistakes you used to make.

4. Intercambios! (Language exchange)

Try and find a Spaniard, or someone who is fluent in Spanish to trade speaking with. Meet up and speak half of your time in Spanish and the other half in your mother tongue. This is mutually beneficial. You can both learn how to speak a new language conversationally and you can make a new friend! It is also a good way to get to know Madrid, a local will know the best places to eat and drink. They can show you what it is really like to be a Madrileño!

At Inhispania, every Wednesday at 8pm one of our weekly activities is to visit an Intercambio at Larios Café. Come along and meet new people and practice your Spanish!

We also have an advertisement board in the school for Intercambios, why not make your own advertisement?

5. Netflix

Netflix, as everyone knows it is one of the most popular ways to relax at home. Why not watch Spanish dramas? There are plenty to choose from my personal favourite is Las Chicas del Cable. Other examples include La Casa de Las Flores and La Casa de Papel (the list goes on and on). Everyone learns differently, I am a visual learner so for me having Spanish subtitles with Spanish audio is the best way for me to learn.

If you are a beginner why not try watching a children’s programme in Spanish?

This way you do not need to put on subtitles in your mother tongue (which normally turns into only reading the words on the screen and not actually hearing what is being said at all).

Or watch a series that you know really well (for me it is Friends), but watch it in Spanish with Spanish subtitles, you will know roughly what is being said because it is a familiar programme to you, only this time you will hear how these things are spoken in Spanish. Game of Thrones (Juego de Tronos) is translated into Spanish, as is Friends. See what other series you can find that have a Spanish equivalent!