Five apps for learning and practising Spanish

Posted on 11/01/2012


1. Living Language Spanish

Level: beginner to post-beginner

Price: free to $19.99

This is a good place to start learning the basics of Spanish. You can try a couple of units of Living Language for free before deciding if it works for you, but it seems very well put together. Each unit walks you through vocabulary and grammar items, essential expressions, and then fun, imaginative games to help you internalise your new knowledge, and a recap at the end. (For my review on Living Language French, see this page.)

2. WordReference

Level: beginner to professional

Price: free

Unlike Google Translate or any other automated translators which you should avoid at all costs, WordReference is a real dictionary, and it’s used by professional linguists, and if you have additional questions that aren’t dealt with, you can ask them in the forums.


Level: post-beginner to intermediate

Price: free to £2.99

The Dictionary app has a handy Spanish Word of the Day part. Why not take a look daily, and challenge yourself to write a sentence with the new word, or brainstorm around it?

4. TuneIn Radio

Level: beginner to professional

Price: free

TuneIn Radio allows you to listen to thousands of different radio stations worldwide. You can search by location, so it’s easy to find a station broadcasting from Spain, California, Mexico, or anywhere else.

5. Scrabble 

Level: lower intermediate to professional

Price: £4.99

This app is well thought out. You can play against another person, yourself, or against the computer, and you can set the difficulty level if you choose that option. It’s a great way to start to play with language and become more comfortable with it – and also to learn new vocab, since the computer is bound to use words you don’t yet know. Why not write them down in your vocab book and look them up later?


— for more hints and tips on language learning, buy Conquering Babel: A Practical Guide to Learning a Language here in the US and here in the UK.
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