Speaking the local lingo certainly improves a travel experience. As much as we all try to dive into the regional culture and gain an insight into what it really means to live, work and play in a particular corner of the world, we'll always be limited by our ability to communicate. Of course, learning languages is a struggle. Even the most impressive of linguists need hours upon hours of hard work before they can even begin to communicate to any sophisticated level in a second, third or more language. Luckily, the Internet comes with a host of resources to help you kick-start your language learning, many of which are free. From videos to podcasts and websites, we've put an overview of just where to start. The focus of our first language resource post is Spanish, arguably the most useful language for travel besides the one you're currently reading in, and we're targeting it largely at beginners, though some of the resources go well into the intermediate and even advanced areas of the language. Let us know how you find the info:
SpanishDict.com A video resource that's as close to being in a classroom as you can be without a personal tutor. Resources range from videos on YouTube (link to the first video of the series) to flashcards, grammar and verb systems. The website requires sign up (free) but the YouTube videos can be accessed with a single click.
CoffeeBreakSpanish Podcast A great spoken podcast that can be downloaded for any MP3 player through iTunes, and comes together with a host of optional (and sometimes paid) extras such as flashcards and Spanish exercises. While it can be a bit slow paced, it's great for those who struggle with languages and for learning on the go. Uses a direct translation model, which is not ideal for higher level learning, but then the podcast does target beginners in its dozens of episodes, so it's a great starting point.
BBC Languages The BBC's language services are generally top notch, and benefit from the major broadcaster's multinational draw, featuring things like daily phrases and selections of interesting idioms. The course is entirely free and covers most necessities in beginner's and intermediate Spanish, as well as moral boosting funny language courses and an impressive twelve week beginner's course. Extremely comprehensive, and perhaps as good as it gets without heading for the classroom.
Spanish Verb Forms Indiana University language resource aimed at forming verbs correctly in Spanish, including complete conjugations of hundreds of the most common Spanish language verbs. Perfect for more advance learning.
Spanish learning links resource A huge list of Spanish language resources from which you can pick out exactly what suits your needs. Options range from verb, grammar and video options all the way to advanced options covering regional pronunciation and news articles. A little outdated, but some of the resources are exceptionally useful and most are free.
Do you have any of your own great Spanish learning resources? Any tips in the comments will be greatly appreciated...