Episode 24: My 5 Favorite Resources for Intermediate Spanish Learners

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Learn Spanish Con Salsa Podcast

Episode 24

My 5 Favorite Resources for Intermediate Spanish Learners

In this episode, I share my favorite resources for intermediate Spanish learners. Once you get beyond the beginner phase, you'll need resources to help you get to the next level and make continuous improvement. Listen for how to use the best tools that will work for you at this stage in learning.

Transcript

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Transcript

00:33–01:25

Hola a todos, bienvenidos. Welcome to another value packed episode of the Learn Spanish con Salsa podcast where we bring you information that's immediately useful to improving your Spanish. In the last episode I talked about my five favorite resources or most recommended resources for Spanish beginners. In this episode, I'm going to talk about my favorite resources for once you get to that intermediate level of Spanish. Now this is a little nebulous, okay. Because intermediate is such a wide range of learners, you can be a lower level intermediate where you're really just getting out of the beginner phase all the way up to a true intermediate or an upper level intermediate. We are not quite advanced or fluent yet, but you are, but you do have a pretty good command of the language. So, there's a really wide range and there's a reason for that.

01:26 – 02:11

As you know, with anything that you learn, it's always easy to make a lot of progress in the beginning and that's because there are so many things that you don't know that every day is a win, right? Every day you're learning something new and you're making quick progress, and that's because you're going from zero essentially not being able to do anything to being able to do something. So, in the beginning you feel like you're making a lot of progress. It's a lot clearer that you're improving, but what do you get to the intermediate level? Things get a little murkier, right? You're not sure if what you're doing is working, you're not sure if you're making progress that quickly and you really at this point are looking for what is the next step? So, I thought I'd address some resources for intermediate Spanish learners. From this perspective.

02:12 –

02:59

Once you get to the intermediate level you've really learned a lot of the basics of Spanish grammar and conversation and at this point you really need to spend a lot more time in a practice mode. So, you need to be using the language a lot more so that you can get better at the areas that you still make a lot of mistakes. Another thing that is really good to focus on once you reach the immediate level, and really, I say you can do this as a beginner, but especially at the intermediate level, you want to tailor your learning to you. You don't want to look at things that are pretty generic. You want to find something that is specific to your interests. So, for this reason, you're going to have to do a lot more work and coming up with your own learning schedules, your own learning materials, and really getting to what you're interested in.

03:00 –

03:48

And by now you should also know what works for you and what doesn’t, so as a beginner is, especially as Spanish, the first foreign language that you're learning. When you started out, you really didn't know how things were going to work, right? You tried what people told you and then you may have gotten better. But as you reflect on it now, you can see now that some of those things were really just a waste of time or they really didn't work for you. So, as an intermediate learner, you're much more knowledgeable about your own learning style and how you learn best. So that being said, the resources I'm recommending for intermediate learners, keep all of that in mind. Each one of these resources gives you the opportunity to tailor your learning for you. The first resource I recommend for intermediate Spanish learners is a website called wordreference.com.

03:49 –

04:41

Now, this is an online dictionary that has translations for many different languages, but of course they have in English to Spanish and Spanish to English translator. Now, the reason that I recommend Word Reference that calm is that they tend to have a pretty thorough list of definitions, particularly for words that have more than one definition. So, as you get to the intermediate level, you're going to start to notice more of the nuances in the Spanish language. You'll probably get more curious about, I heard this word in this context, but it sounds like it means something different over here. For example, the word espero I hope, you may have learned as a beginner that it means, I hope, but as an intermediate learner, you may get curious when you come across a usage of espero I hope, which actually means I expect, right? So again, these are things we'll start to notice as you get further along in your study.

04:42 –

05:27

 

And when you go to wordreference.com , they are usually pretty good about providing multiple definitions and giving you examples of those words. And one thing I've also seen that they started to do, not only do they provide the audio so you can listen to the word as well, but I've noticed they've started to identify different dialects in Spanish. So, for instance, if a word is used one way in Spain but a different way in Mexico sometimes, they will actually indicate that in the definition and that can be very useful. Now, along those lines the second website I recommend is called reverso.net that's R.E.V.E.R.S.O.net and again, make sure you check out the show notes. Go to learnspanishconsalsa.com/intermediate and I'll have all of these resources listed for you so you don't have to remember what they are right now.

05:28 –

06:21

But reverso.net is really good for looking up phrases in Spanish. When you go to the website, look for this section that says context and you should see that in the menu on the very top of the site. It should just say context. When you look up a word or a phrase in this section, it gives you something very, very valuable and not only gives you a translation and multiple translations if that word is used more than one way. It also gives you an entire list of examples in context of that phrase that is extremely valuable. If you're not 100% sure about the translation or definition that you receive for word or phrase. When you see it in context, it really brings into light exactly what the intention is behind this word. So, if you look up a phrase in context and in the results, you see that a lot of the ways that the word is used is in a very formal context.

06:22 –

07:10

You'll see a lot of results from things like as research studies and news reports and things that are very formal business language that gives you a clue that maybe that word is a little bit more formal versus if you get a lot of more casual, more conversational examples that come up You'll get a sense of the tone of the word and how it's actually used, from some real examples. So, that can be very powerful and very useful and it can save you from making a lot of mistakes when you're looking up words. So, I definitely recommend the in-context feature of Reverso. If you just search on the website, it limits the amount of results that you get in the context section. But when you sign up for an account, which is free, you'll be able to get more results and it'll actually save the history of all the words that you've looked up.

07:11 –

08:02

Another cool feature is that if you download the app, they're also will create flashcards for you with audio that will not only give you the word, but it'll also give you the phrase. So, if you looked up something in context, it'll give you a flashcard with the word, and then it'll also give you that phrase that you looked up in context. So, you can mark those as favorites, save them to your Reverso account, and you can download the app and review them as flashcards. So that's a really great resource to build your vocabulary. Now the third resource I recommend for intermediate Spanish learners is the site audible.com audible is Amazon.com audio bookstore. The reason I recommend audible.com is that when you get to the intermediate level you really want to look for a more interesting content on different topics in Spanish and audio.

08:03 –

09:05

 

Books are a great way to practice not only your listening comprehension but your reading skills in Spanish and begin to augment your vocabulary. So, listening to an audio book is a great way, not only to learn about something that you're genuinely interested in, but also get used to hearing a native speaker talk about that topic and if it's something that you're interested in, most likely you'll want to have conversations about that topic as well. So, go to audible.com check out the Spanish language section and there are many different books. From novels to nonfiction, to books on meditation and spirituality so, whatever your interest is, you can find an audio book on that topic, download it to your account and listen to it whether you're in your car, taking a walk, at the gym. It's really a valuable resource to your Spanish exposure and because you are a Learn Spanish con Salsa podcast listener, I have a link in the show notes where you'll be able to get one free audio book download it.

09:06 –

09:51

If you don't already have an audible account, so go to learnspanishconsalsa.com/audible. That's A.U.D.I.B.L.E, and you'll be able to redeem your free audio book purchase and you'll get to test drive the audible service to see if it works for you. So, I definitely recommend audible.com and if you can get your hands on the paper copy of the book as well, or even the e-book, it's a really good idea to actually read along with the text of the book while you listen. And in a future episode, I'm going to go into some more details about exactly how you can use audio books to 10 X your vocabulary in Spanish. Now, the good thing about audible is if you download a book and for whatever reason you don't like it, you can always return the book and get something that you like.

09:52 –

10:32

Now this has happened to me before. There's a book that I downloaded and it's not that I didn't like the book but I really did not like the voice of the narrator and that can happen. Think about it. You're listening to a book for sometimes hours, and if the voice is a little bit grading to you or for whatever reason, it doesn't hit your ear correctly, it can be a big distraction from trying to pay attention to the content of the book and the language. So again, if there's a narrator that you don't like, look for another version of the book, sometimes they do have a multiple narrators, especially for the very popular books, but audible is really good about allowing you to try out the service and to refund it if it's not working for you. So, I definitely recommend giving it a shot

10:33 –

11:20

Now the fourth resource I recommend is actually a repeat from the beginner list. This is SpanishPod101 once again. But for intermediate learners, I actually would recommend, to go to the upper intermediate series. Now, SpanishPod101 actually has various different levels. They have a lower intermediate, sort of like that middle of the road, true intermediate level, I guess an intermediate, intermediate, that's a little redundant. And then they have upper intermediate. But what I found is that those lower intermediate lessons sometimes just have way too much English and when you're getting to a true intermediate level, it's going to be really distracting for you to hear English sort of break up your Spanish listening practice. It can actually become really frustrating if you get into the flow of listening to Spanish and then you hear someone interrupt with English.

11:21 –

12:08

So, I recommend going straight to the upper intermediate level in SpanishPod101 I believe they also have some advanced lessons. Not only is a conversation in Spanish, but the grammar breakdown and the conversation after, right? Sort of the conversation about the conversation. Okay, is also 100% in Spanish and that can be really helpful to push you to the next level. As an intermediate learner, you're going to have to look for ways to really push yourself. If you want to really improve, you'll have to do things that you find just a little bit challenging. Now, it shouldn't be something that you have absolutely no idea what's going on. That's too hard, so you want to find something that's just maybe a little bit more difficult than what you did before or what you're comfortable with, so you're really going to have to push yourself out of your comfort zone as an intermediate learner.

12:09 –

13:12

And I found that the upper intermediate and advanced levels of SpanishPod101 are really good for that. And the fifth resource that I recommend for Spanish learners that are at the intermediate level is italki.com And that's I T.A.L.K.I.com. Now Italki is a partner of our podcast and if you go to go.italki.com/spanishconsalsa you'll get a $10 credit for your first lesson. So, I wanted to let you know that upfront that they are a partner and you will get a $10 credit if you use go.italki.com/spanishconsalsa. The reason I recommend italki.com for intermediate Spanish learners is because you really need to focus on getting speaking practice in Spanish while reading and listening to audio books will improve your vocabulary. You'll really want to practice what you learn in an actual conversation and Italki he has some very reasonably priced tutors from all over Latin America that you can connect with and begin to practice speaking Spanish.

 

13:13 –

14:02

Then you might also find you'll get a lot of requests for language partners on Italki and language partners are another great way to practice speaking Spanish. I want to focus on the paid tutoring service for a few reasons. One, once you pay for something and you put it on the schedule, you are more likely to show up and take it seriously. And again, you can find some pretty reasonably priced tutors and you can really tailor the classes to your schedule. Most of the tutors use Skype Italki does have its own, platform on their website where they allow for video chat. Unfortunately, I've found that at least at the time of this show that it's a little bit buggy and most of the tutors still prefer to use Skype. But it's really good to get some lessons on the calendar so you can plan things out in advance.

14:03 –

14:49

In language exchanges, there's a little bit more effort to get people to commit to show up and also to get yourself to commit because in a language exchange, both of you are a sort of volunteers. You're doing this for free, you're helping someone with their English, they're helping you with your Spanish, but it's going to take some additional time because you'll have to also spend time talking in English. So, if you're strapped for time, if you're pretty busy, I would recommend to definitely check out some of the tutors that are on Italki.com because you'll be able to commit some time on your calendar where you have some skin in the game to actually practice Spanish. If you're just starting out with Italki, you also will get three trial lessons and these are steeply discounted lessons so that you can try out the Italki service and also find a tutor that you really connect with.

14:50 –

16:16

So, if you haven't it before, I definitely recommend signing up booking those three trial lessons and seeing if you can find someone to practice speaking on a regular basis. The more you make speaking Spanish a habit and the more you practice conversation, the easier it will become. So those are my five resources for all of you intermediate Spanish learners out there. So just to do a quick review, the first resource I recommended was wordreference.com and that's for looking up new vocabulary. The second resource I recommended it's reverso.net and that's a really good place to find Spanish phrases used in context. The third resource I recommended was audible.com and that's a great way to find audio books on a variety of topics that are in the Spanish language before the fifth resource again I recommended was the upper intermediate and advanced series in SpanishPod101 and finally I recommended Italki.com for conversation practice on a consistent basis. So that's it for this episode of Learn Spanish con Salsa. Be sure to check out the show notes for links to all the resources I mentioned in today's episode. So, if that, I'm going to wrap up this episode, and as always, I hope you learned something today that will help you get one step closer on your journey from being a Spanish beginner to bilingual, adios.

 

Links and Resources

  1. WordReference.com
  2. Reverso.net
  3. Audible.com (Related: How to 10X Your Spanish Vocabulary with Audiobooks)
  4. Spanish Pod 101 (Upper Intermediate/Advanced Series)
  5. iTalki (Spanish Tutors)

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