Jiffy Spanish Lesson

I signed up for free Spanish lessons via e-mail called Jiffy Spanish Lesson. I get an e-mail once a week with a link to a free Spanish lesson. This lesson was on vocabulary for family. For a student who has a small foundation in the language or who isn't exposed to Spanish at all, the lesson would be helpful. However because of how basic it is, just a list of vocabulary words, I was not impressed. This is the 10th lesson so I assume it will take quite a few more weeks before we get in to verb conjugation and sentence construction. The company that produces these lessons also has a course in Spanish that you can purchase called Rocket Spanish. I've not been impressed with the free e-mail lessons so I'm not going to pay for instruction from the same company. I would recommend signing up for free e-mails before purchasing the program.

Audio Course Example

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This is an edited clip from an audio course in Spanish called "Learn Spanish in a Week" that I found on piratesbay.com for download. It is pretty extensive, this is just a sample of a volcabulary lesson.

I like that the course gives the opportunity to repeat after each new word or phrase. It also tests your comhrehension through out the course, five folders with 20 or so 2-3 minute audio lessons, by telling stories in Spanish. If I don't follow a story, I can go back and listen to the previous courses to catch up on key parts that I missed.

The only real draw back is the lack of hard copy in front of the student. There's not any written instruction so visualizing some of the lessons can be difficult, especially if you are a visual learner. Otherwise, with motivation and serious study, I find this format very useful.

Options through the University of Arizona

While the internet is a useful tool for learning the Spanish language quickly and on the cheap, for some of us a classroom and instructor are necessary to learning. Both traditional and non-traditional students have a resource through the University of Arizona.

"We have students from all walks of life in our program," said Dr Guiliana Donnelly, Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Spanish department at UA.

"There are the traditional tracks through a minor or a major," she continued, "if you work hard and follow our directions you should leave the university not just speaking Spanish but also writing and reading with a comprehensive cultural knowledge."

With in the Spanish major offered at UA there are four separate tracks that include: literature, linguistics, half Spanish half Portuguese, and a new track on translation and interpretation.

Options are available for non-traditional students who prefer to learn Spanish with out seeking a degree. Dr. Donnelly's website provides answers to commonly asked questions as well as requirements to begin studying Spanish at UA.

"Our only requirement is that a student completes all prerequisites before enrolling in a course," Donnelly said.

Each course has a different prerequisite which can be found in the schedule of classes.

The university also provides a separate track for heritage speakers who have been exposed to Spanish through their family of community.

"Because of the different skills and levels that heritage speakers have, we put them on their own track up to the 340 level so that all students, heritage and foreign, start out with the same foundation of knowledge.

Placement exams for either track are conducted through the College of Humanities.

"Those who test well in the placement should seriously consider CLEP testing so that they get credit for the units that they've skipped," said Donnelly.

Diamond in the Rough

Googling “learn Spanish for free online” yields over three million results, several of which are not, on fact free, as well as a massive amount of less than helpful links. After reviewing various sites, I’ve chosen and ranked my three favorites.
Study Spanish
This website offers conversational instruction through a CD set that one can purchase for $165, or it can be downloaded for $125. The free verb drills, pronunciation lessons, grammar and vocabulary sections are helpful, especially the pronunciation lessons which include audio for the student to hear and then repeat, ensuring the correct inflection.
Each unit also provides a written lesson, quizzes, tests. For a self motivated student, this would be a good choice. If you do well learning from reading and spoken example, this is a great option for you.

123 Teach Me
The first thing that I liked about this site is the translator on the left sidebar. There is also a verb conjugator, in which you can plug in a verb and the site with conjugate it out for you. A picture dictionary is easily utilized when a specific word is forgotten. Though it only covers six topics including cars, human anatomy, school, etc. There are also some great audio files that test student on their oral comprehension.
This site is much more basic, not a contemporary design but it does provide a lot of great tools that can be used when studying Spanish.

Jiffy Spanish
The format of the site is slightly unorganized and you have to sign up with your e-mail address before you can start the online courses for free. All of the courses are audio, so it’s perfect for those who learn through oral instruction. The site is promoting a product called Rocket Spanish.
This option would be the last choice for me considering the amount of work that one has to do to find the free lessons. It is more like a treasure hunt than an online Spanish class.

Best Yet

In my quest for free online Spanish lessons I've continually come across esaudio.net where one can get free lessons on everything from grammar to vocabulary in either text of video format.

Augmentatives allow the speaker to emphasize the idea they would like to convey. This tutorial outlined the idea very clearly with great examples.


The decision

As if waking up before the sun and driving to class isn't bad enough, the morning traffic makes me late and there is no close parking. Bursting in to class, I realize there is no sneaking in quietly as the class is the size of a large janitor's closet and packed with 20 students. Squeezing in to the last open seat, I try to follow what our professor is saying, unfortunately he is only speaking in Spanish and I haven't had my caffeine for the day.

This is the only language class required for me to graduate in three months and i decided to put it off until my final semester of college. Unfortunately this means that I've not taken a Spanish class in almost four years, not an ideal position for an 8 am fourth semester Spanish class my last semester.

Thinking about what a horrible idea this was, I am yanked out of my semi-meditative state by the entire class turning to look at me. Like a deer in the head lights I look to our professor who repeats his pregunta. Realizing he is asking for my introduction I blurt my name and major, in English. Oops.

And that's how I came to the conclusion that I need to refresh my espanol prior to taking a class that results in a possible blow to my GPA and self-esteem.

So now I am on a journey to re-learn Spanish quickly and for free. Google "learn Spanish" and there are a million different resources on-line. Some are useful, others are worthless. This semester I plan to weed out the poor resources and share great finds for learning another language for free.