Wednesday, January 12, 2011

4 Websites Every Spanish Student Should Bookmark

Hey guys,

First of all, sorry it's been so long since I last posted. I've been busy with the holidays, switching medicines (which is sending my mind and body on a wooden roller coaster) (hover here), and starting back at school (my classes seem pretty exciting this semester, actually).

In other news, in case you didn't know, I have an insatiable appetite for learning the Spanish language. It's incredibly frustrating and intimidating, however, to have to remember all of the grammar rules and the meanings of certain words (hover here).

Anyway, there are a couple of websites that I have made friends with this past year and consult them numerous times each week, if not each day. Here they are:

SpanishDict.com
I was required by my Spanish instructors to purchase a hard copy of a Spanish-English dictionary, but SpanishDict has saved me a lot of flipping back and forth. When I'm practicing my Spanish, I use this site religiously. It's time-saving features include:

An awesome search feature that can often detect
if the word you entered is English or Spanish
                               


Tool that allows you to roughly translate text (note: Do not rely on this tool for correct grammar! It is developed by Google Translate and will not always give you the correct verbs/nouns)


This site was developed by Rosetta Stone and is a wonderful tool for conversing with native Spanish-speakers (as well as speakers of many other languages, and you can help other people learn English if you feel so inclined). When you create a (free!) account, you indicate which language(s) you are fluent in and which you are learning. Once you join, you can talk to people via "Text Chat," "Voice Chat," or good 'ol e-mail messages (through a Shared Talk e-mail service).
I had searched all over the web for a credible way to instant message Spanish-speakers, but I constantly ran into stupid chat rooms where everyone either talked in English the whole time and didn't respond to a request for helping me practice, or they were full of spam and explicit content. Shared Talk reinstated faith in me that there are intelligent, patient, helpful people out there. I haven't even had to start conversations with people; I have received numerous enthusiastic messages from Spanish-speakers offering to help me learn Spanish (and some even asking if I will help them improve their English, which has been fun!)

One feature I wish was available on this site is the ability to save your conversations so that you can go back and study them later. I have an idea for a makeshift conversation-saving feature, though. If you maximize the conversation window (with the button on the top left), you could take a screen shot of the key parts of the conversation and save to your pictures. I haven't tried this yet, but I plan to.

Getting all of the different verb meanings and conjugations straight in my head (which is already jumbled) is a very daunting task. However, with the verb conjugation trainer on OnlineSpanishHelp.com, I can study the verbs on my own, customize my verb drills, and keep track of my progress (since I signed up for a free account). You can customize the drills by type of verb (-AR, -ER, -IR, irregular verbs, semi-irregular, etc). Here are some screenshots of the drill:


Easy level


Hard level
 This site also has some other helpful games, drills, and basic lessons.

Colby Spanish Site
This website, provided by the Language Resource Center at Colby College, is a phenomenal tool for reviewing and practicing grammatical concepts in Spanish. You can choose from numerous interactive practice exercises and guided reading/listening.

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I hope these sites/tools helped you if you haven't already discovered them. If you are learning Spanish, take some time to explore the uses of these sites, and if you aren't send this post to someone who is. Sharing is caring!

Know any other great sites for learning Spanish? Just want to give some general feedback comments? Share them with me, yes?

2 comments:

Lauren said...

Omg. Thank you lol I have my first Spanish class tomorrow and this will be really helpful :D

Justina F. Lee said...

Amazing! I'm in my 3rd year of spanish. I love languages and I think I have a talent for it. Definitely appreciate your links!